It's been a quiet week in Pavers Place, most people have been scurrying around trying to avoid the rain. Diets have been forgotten in the sudden onslaught of the cold weather and the 5p plastic bag fiasco has completely died a death.
Catherine’s money making attempts have gone through a significant slump, the aloe vera market has slowed down as people start saving pennies for the next expensive festival and no one is interested in being hypnotised at the moment; as a consequence she decided to do some temp work.
Convinced that she could turn her hand to anything, and desperate to make some quick money Catherine signed up with a recruitment agency early Monday morning, by Tuesday she was working in a call centre on the late shift in a hut on a farm in rural Kent.
‘It's down a horrid country lane’, she complained to Jacinta after her first day, 'I'm not happy when there is no middle of the road, I was nearly run into a ditch by a tractor on the way there’. As a nervous driver who had only just gotten to grips with turning right, Jacinta was full of sympathy.The next day the only chair available was one with a wonky seat at a desk with very few letters left on the computer keyboard, and a head set that came fully equipped with its own bacteria and what looked like someone else's ear wax.Catherine was distraught as she explained the situation to a sympathetic Ken.
'The thing is I don't want to be a quitter, I have always been a can- do person, this can’t beat me.'Armed with industrial strength antibacterial wipes, a cushion and a print out of the QWERTY key board, Catherine returned to the call centre the next day, on arrival she was called into the office.
'I finished my stint at the call centre, it wasn't really for me.' Mand, who had worked in the same office since leaving school had been impressed that Catherine had been willing to go somewhere she didn’t know in the first place.
'Didn't you like it?’
'I don’t think they liked me, I got told off today because I didn’t know the phonetic alphabet.'
Mand looked shocked, she had her friend down as very brainy, ' You don't know a for apple and b for banana', she sounded the letters as she spoke.
At last Catherine felt cheerier, ' Not the sounds of the letters, the phonetic alphabet, you know like alpha, bravo, when you tell someone your postcode you say delta instead of d'.
She could have been speaking a foreign language, Mand looked completely mystified, Catherine tried to explain further. 'If you had to tell someone your surname and they couldn’t understand what letters you were telling them, what would you say to help?'
Finally understanding the game Mand spelt out her surname, 'S for sausage, U for umbrella, T for teeth, O for orange and N for knee, so I like know my phonetic alphabet, right ?'
Not wishing to shatter her friend’s confidence Catherine agreed.
The next day she started on the reception in a car showroom, all the salesman called her darling and babe, it was quite irritating at first but no one cared that she said K for kangaroo, this was definitely a much better job.