Kissing my Sister

Out of hours: the secret life of a telephone answering service


Since returning to the UK I have been on the hunt for a full time job. To keep the wolf from the door, I have taken on some part-time work at a telephone answering office .

Let me first explain what that is. The office, (which has existed for the last eighteen years about five minutes from my parents house, who the hell knew?) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They take calls out of hours (i.e. evenings and weekends) for veterinary surgeries, medical centres, and council offices. At the moment I’m in training and so have spent most of my time working for their major outlet, chicken farms. Chicken farming is delicate work. When an alarm goes off on a farm, this triggers a boop-boop noise in the office, and a fax to come through with a code. An alarm is triggered  if a chicken shed get’s too cold, or too hot, if their telephone lines are down, for intruder alerts, (bizarrely no-one ever seems bothered by this), fire alarms etc. Then we have to call the farmer, no matter what the time is, and tell him his shed is cold or whatever the code may be. For the most part the farmers are called either Terry or John and generally you can hear chickens in the background. This service covers hundreds (actually more like a thousand) farms across the UK so you get all the accents. I’ve been struggling with the Scottish ones. What sounds like Pete, is actually Craig, and what sounds like Malcolm, is really Ralph. They must hate me.

A couple of calls we’ve had of late, I wanted to write down becuase their just too weird not to. First, a call from a man who wanted a vet to tranquilize a cow. This cow has got on to his garage roof somehow and was dangerously close to falling into their hot tub. The old wives tale about how you can take a cow upstairs but you can’t lead it downstairs, is true of garage rooves also.

Cow in hot tub

First image which came out of Google, obviously this vet was too late.

Another memorable one was a call for the council, asking if they would remove the faux pedestrian crossing stuck to the road. Dom Jolly, is that you?

A while back, a young man called a veterinary surgery at Two AM to complain that his girlfriend had left him because his parrot kept swearing, ‘what the f*** can you do about this f****** parrot!’ he shouted. The duty vet didn’t call him back, surprisingly.

Despite the 15 degree heatwave we’re having, it’s actually Christmas day this Friday. Already, December is a hazy blur of red wine, roast dinners and boxes of chocolate biscuits. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t have at least one ‘festive’ glass of wine and a Quality Street – that Strawberry cream, hot damn! The season of over indulgence does not exclude animals either. So far in telephone asnwering land, we’ve had a tray of mince pies devoured by one poodle, a labrador who had eaten a whole tin of Roses (including the wrappers), and a French bull dog eat a Lindt Father Christmas. Christ.

A woman phoned in on Saturday, who had noticed a sheep in a neighbouring field which had been on its back for three days, still alive, but unable to turn itself over. They had tried to flip it over, but it managed to turn itself round again and she (not a farmer), had no idea what she should do.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 2, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
%d bloggers like this: