The phone is telling me that I am being called from India, and when I pick it up there is lots of crackle and hissing.
A very polite Indian gentleman speaks. "Hello Mr Johnstone - (and that is not me) - it is the Microsoft Windows Computer Company here and according to our records your computer is at risk from a virus because you have not had your computer serviced by us. What is the number of your computer please?"
"I'm sorry, who did you say you were?"
"I am the Microsoft Windows Computer Company"
"What is that?"
"We are The Microsoft Windows Computer Company. You have a Microsoft Windows Computer"
"No I don't. I don't even know what that is. Where are you calling from?"
"The Microsoft Windows Computer Company"
"Yes but where, in the world?"
"We are the UK based Microsoft Windows Computer Company and according to our records...."
"If you're UK based why are you calling me from India?"
"No we are the UK based Microsoft Windows Computer Company and...."
The conversation continues, and, needless to say, we don't get very far. I do not have a Microsoft Windows Computer.
The following day, I receive a call from another employee of The Very Wonderful Microsoft Windows Computer Company (UK) from India, and the following day, and the following day, and so on and so on. I get endless calls from them.
The conversations vary, we never get very far. One day I was even rude and the poor chap was quite taken aback, telling me that I had no reason to take that attitude, that he had never spoken to me before.
Each time I explain that I subscribe to a UK Government system that prevents nuisance cold calls, sales calls like this and while I would very much like to report them and have them jailed for life, I can't because they're getting round the system by calling from India.
"No, we are the UK based Microsoft Windows Computer Com...."
Oh shut up for God's sake.
".....pany and according to our records...."
I explain, each and every day, that I am not Mr Johnstone, I not only don't have a 'Microsoft Windows Computer" I don't even know what that is. I have many computers but I don't have one from the Microsoft Windows Computer Company (UK) (or India). I ask them, I plead with them, to take my number off their system. I ask for a superviser, I ask for anyone to stop the bloody calls.
Mrs Nationwide takes a dim view of all of this. She listens for three seconds, tells them to "Fuck Off" as rudely as she possibly can, and hangs up, smiling. I explain that while she may feel momentarily better, that is not going to stop the calls.
I try, relentlessly, day after day, to get them to stop. I can't just not answer, I get international calls all the time. I try not to get irritated. I try to explain that I do not want them to call, I too want to tell them to Fuck Off, but don't.
And then, last week, the calls stopped. There was a kind of spiritual silence. Our number has been removed from the database of The Microsoft Windows Computer Company (UK) (India) Inc.
So this morning, when the phone rings, from India, I pick it up. There is hissing and crackle and a very polite Indian gentleman asks for Mr Johnstone and tells me he is calling from "The Accident Helpline Company" and that they have been informed that someone in my household has an action still pending after a car accident within the past three years.
"What accident? What car?"
"Ah can you tell me your car registration number please?"
"No I can not tell you anything. Who are you and where are you calling from?"
"We are the UK based Accident Helpline Company and we have information about an accident. Somebody in your household. In the last three years"
"Why are you calling me from India then?"
"No. We are the UK-based Accident Helpline Company"
"Can you tell me any of the details of the information you have?" I ask, quietly.
"Unfortunately due to The Data Protection I cannot disclose that" he reads off his screen, and then adds for good measure, "But have you had an accident? In the past three years? Or somebody in your household?"
I ask if there's anyone there from the Microsoft Windows Computer Company and he has no idea what I'm talking about. I feel I should explain. But I can't be arsed.
Mrs Nationwide can answer all calls from India for the foreseeable future.