Last week I called my good friend Christine for a blether and asked. “What you been up to then?”

“Oh Jim (her husband) and I are just back from visiting Nan.”

Nan is Christine’s mother-in-law.

“Is she OK?” I asked.

“Oh yes, she’s fine but her house phone had packed in so we dropped in to replace it.”

According to my pal the job was done in a flash and they then sat down for a cup of tea when Nan pipped up.

“I’ll just go and get my wee phone book.”

A few minutes later Nan returned with a tattered old black leather phone book and Christine couldn’t help but notice that every page she turned had scores through names of Nan’s relatives and friends who were obviously no longer here.

“Who are you phoning Nan?”

“I’m just going to go through my wee book and phone everyone to give them my new telephone number.”

“No Nan, you’ve still got the same number.” Christine attempted to explain.

“No hen, Jim just gave me a new phone.”

However, Christine said Nan just couldn’t get her head around the fact that her phone had changed and not her number.

Well, I could understand how she would think that because I’ve come across a few people who have had similar experiences.

Years back, before anyone had a mobile phone, I was sitting in my friend’s granny’s flat watching the telly.

You see Granny Margaret didn’t want to be alone when the gas man called to repair her boiler so my friend and I agreed to keep her company.

“Can I use your house phone hen?” We heard the gas man ask Granny Margaret.

“No bother son, its right at the end of the lobby.”

Granny Margaret pointed to her front door.

The gas man looked bamboozled as he lifted the handset of the phone because there was no dial and only one button to press.

That’s when the penny dropped and my pal said.

“Granny, that you’re flat intercom phone.”

I remember trying to stifle my giggles as my friend went on to explain.

“It’s not a house phone granny.”

Granny Margaret was still convinced it was a proper phone.

“Well, I speak to folk on it all the time!”

A few years later I was heading by car to Edinburgh with my friend Marlene, when I couldn’t help but notice a large black object between our seats.

“What’s that for Marlene?”

Concentrating on her driving Marlene glanced at the object and said.

“Oh, it’s our cordless house phone.”

Unsure what to say next, I sat quietly for a moment and then…..

“A cordless house phone?”


“Well why have you brought a cordless house phone with you to Edinburgh?”

“Well, I didn’t tell Billy we were going out for the night and no doubt he’ll be looking for me at some point.”

Marlene glanced at the phone and added.

“So at least he’ll be able to get hold of me.”

“Marlene.” I lifted the brick-like handset.

“This is a cordless house phone.”

I couldn’t believe my pal could be so daft.

“The clue is in the name ‘house.”

Marlene was still none the wiser as I added.

“It can only connect up to 30 feet from your house and as you live in Coatbridge there’s no way Billy can phone you in Edinburgh!”

As often as not when my house phone rings it’s a wrong number or an annoying salesperson so I very rarely answer it.

But one Saturday morning a while back I did.

“Hi Moira is that you?” A stranger’s voice asked.

“Em no, I think you must have dialled the wrong number.”

“My mistake I thought I had dialled 01236 @@@@@@.”

“That’s odd.” I replied.

“Because that’s only one digit out from my number.”


“Yes, my name is Janice and you must have misdialled Moira’s number.”

“Odd right enough Janice, but I’m trying to get hold of my friend Moira McKenzie who lives in F@@@@ Ave in Airdrie.”

“Now that is a coincidence because that’s only a couple of streets away from me.”

Our conversation was getting more bizarre by the minute.

“My name is Jean and you sound very like my good pal Moira.”

“Hi Jean, what school did Moira go to?”

“Airdrie Academy.”

”Me too.” I replied.

Jean and I chatted back and forth for twenty five minutes and when she told me Moira’s maiden name we discovered Moira and me had been in the same class at school.

Coincidence or what? I thought to myself.

“So what’s the weather like in Airdrie Janice?”

I relayed back the dismal weather report before asking.

“Is it the same where you are Jean?”

“Oh no Janice I’m phoning from Sydney, Australia!”

She added.

“It’s been great hearing a familiar voice.”

Whether you are in Sydney, Seattle or Saltcoats, have a wonderful Christmas xx