This morning I decided enough was enough and called the relevant company to come and take a look. After the usual 'We now have sixteen thousand options for you, please listen carefully before you make your choice as these options may have changed' and 'Did you know you can report a fault online, go to www.wedonotwanttotalktoyou.co.uk', I was trying to remember I was a lady. When the line was finally answered it took a good twenty minutes to take my details. A thinly veiled attempt to get my ex-directory number off me was made by telling me my address would give it to them anyway (why ask then?) and finally I had done my civic duty. I was told they would be out within the next four to twenty four hours (!). Twenty minutes later I was impressed to find the workman on my doorstep. This is how it went.
"Was it you who reported a fault?"
"Yes, I think your equipment may be faulty, it's making a loud metallic clanking noise."
"Sorry, what was that? Can't hear you above the noise!"
"Said I can't hear nuffink!"
"The clanking noise? It's really quite loud!" I said, pointing upward.
With this he looked skyward, doing a good impression of a man with severe constipation and wiped his nose on the back of his sleeve.
"I can 'ear a dog whinin', is that what you mean, sweetheart?"
A dog whining. Yes, that must be it. A metal dog stuck in a tree. Whining. And he called me sweetheart.
"No, that's my dog who is in the kitchen. I am talking about the loud noise I am intermittently shouting over so you can hear me. The loud metallic sound? The clanking?"
"Sorry, love, I can only hear cars. Noisy road, ain't it?"
"Yes, yes it is. Look come in and you can listen from inside, maybe that will help?"
Yes, I know. Of course it wasn't going to help. The noise was outside, we were indoors but I was desperate, I wanted the clanking gone and peace to reign. Well, just the sound of the 'M25' anyway. It's comforting.
So in he came and stood at the window. The clank clanked, he listened hard and then suddenly...
"Ah, you mean that high pitched whistle?"
The look on my face must have led him to think otherwise as he edged toward the door and said he would have a look outside now he knew what sort of thing to listen out for. I watched as he walked up and down the pavement, round the back of the house, round the front again until he disappeared from view. He popped up by the flower beds and knocked on the window.
"I think I have solved it, darlin', it's your rose bush."
By this time I was beginning to think one of us was slightly unhinged. The clanking continued as he shouted above it to be heard. He grasped the offending rose bush and shook it so hard it dropped its remaining foliage in shock and let out a pitiful squeak as it was rubbed against the brickwork in a way it hadn't felt since it was a mere cutting and was fending off weeds to make itself known.
"My rose bush? My ROSE BUSH is making that appalling racket?"
"Yeah, listen, babe, can't you hear it?"
He shook it again even more vigorously and I started to look around for the TV cameras, not quite believing he was serious.
"You actually believe my rose bush, or what's left of it, is responsible for the metallic clanking noise which is particularly loud right at this very moment? You can't hear it?"
He answered in the negative and I asked him to wait whilst I telephoned my other half. I needed back up before I said something really quite rude or worse reached for something heavy to use. Once I had enlightened my OH, I passed the phone over to the workman, whose face paled as he listened to my favourite Italian conversing in a way only he can when he has a snit on. After a moment the workman passed the phone back and quietly went about checking the apparatus he had come to see.
My poor rose bush isn't emitting anything at all now, not even a spark of life, but the clanking has gone. So has the workman who left rather speedily with only a swift backward glance at my rose bush which he had left hanging over the footpath, foliage scattered.