One problem that arises frequently when I phone the Old Man is that his number is engaged because he has accidentally left the telephone handset off the hook. My normal course of action is to phone Mrs CJ, and ask her to go and tell the Old Man that he needs to make sure the handset is properly seated.
When I arrived on the November Saturday, I found that the handset was off the telephone, and was resting on a little table that stands immediately in front of the telephone table. This clearly was not accidental, but when I asked the Old Man for an explanation he mumbled something about “people not being able to listen in”.
Then on Tuesday 24 November 2009, I phoned him to tell him what channel to select so that he could view a televised football match, and to get him to take his evening medication. He rang off as soon as he had selected the TV channel. (Ringing off prematurely is a bad habit of his.) When I phoned back, his number was engaged. I couldn’t ask Mrs CJ to leave her house and knock on the Old Man’s door: it was long after nightfall, the weather was wintry, and this wasn’t an emergency. So after several unsuccessful attempts at contacting the Old Man, I went to bed.
The next morning the Old Man’s phone was no longer engaged. He told me that he had discovered just before going to bed that the handset was slightly off the hook. I got him to take his medication from the previous evening, and advised him that (to preclude the possibility of overdosing) he wouldn’t be taking any medication that evening.
[Original posting 6 December 2009]