Today I picked the phone up to a random incoming call, which is rare - but everyone else was already on a call and I don't like leaving people waiting. It is still a bit of a novelty, having a phone system that is working, we shouldn't take these things for granted.
The lady the other end had a query about a change of address for her subscription, which is just about within my skill sets to answer. Well to be honest, I asked Christine who sits opposite (who'd just finished a call) to look it up for me on the database.
It was then a simple question to answer, but just before hanging up the elderly lady said, "Can you pass a message to Beverley Cuddy."
There was a brief moment of temptation.
Should I own up to being me as it sounded suspiciously like a complaint?
I did the decent thing, after all I had my boring accounts to avoid... and I swallowed hard wondering what was coming next.
"Some of us haven't got computers, so please can you remember that."
Turns out she was 74 and in a wheelchair. She used to breed and show Whippets and now has a beloved 17 year old cat called Twinkletoes for company. She used to have dogs and cats but she can't exercise dogs any more so hasn't replaced her fabulous Whippets. (One of her pups had been on our front cover).
We chatted on.
"Can we have more cats in the magazine?" Well I do sneak a few in here and there. There's Cinnamon on the cancer blog and she's in next month's magazine.
The lady was a big fan of our Terry Doe's writing and said there really wasn't enough in this world to laugh about, but thankfully our Terry always finds something. And Robert Killick, too, got a special mention for services to smiling.
She'd really enjoyed reading about the Endal book last month and had really been itching to buy it. But the article hadn't given any clues as to how people without the Internet could buy a copy.
It is a book I see wherever I go, I'd thought it was so obtainable no one would have wanted to buy it over the phone from us. But then I'm not house bound without a computer.
What an omission.
The more I started thinking about it, the more difficult it must be for people like our lovely reader.
I told her she could order Endal with her shopping from Tesco, forgetting that without a computer you can't get home delivery groceries.
Amazon seemed the obvious place for books - but again there's no phone variant.
In the end I felt so ashamed at my gaff, I ordered her a copy from Waterstones online - it was such a bargain (£3.79 inc postage!) and in any case I had points on my store card so it cost me nothing.
But bargains like these are completely out of reach for non-techie elderly housebound people who really could do with hanging on to their money. Home delivery would be great for people who are housebound.
She'd love to be on the net, but she just doesn't have the spare cash to buy a computer.
I sense a niche?
A charity that gets people who are housebound up and running on the Internet - it would make this lady's life so much easier and it would link her to thousands of other like minded people, too.
I know she'll love the book, pity she's not a bit nearer. She's got no relatives and would love someone with a dog to go round for a cup of tea.
Hopefully the magazine feels a bit like a doggie friend dropping in, but if she was on-line she could share all her years of doggie experience with others, too.
I'm so glad I picked the phone up.
I've nearly finished my accounts. Just a few niggly details before I fill the form in and return to normal and put the calculator away again.
And no, I'm not buying anyone else a copy of Endal so no phoning me up with any complaints on the off chance!
The lady told me what she was microwaving for dinner that night, nearly made me cry.
Be great if you could match up all the old people without relatives with the kids who don't have any grandparents.
I know, get on with those accounts....