Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

#grumpydeafgrandad rings about TV "Rude Scotswoman answered, I complained, she hung up" I ring & get Scots voiced automated response Aargh!

We call my Dad Grumpy Deaf Grandad (or #grumpydeafgrandad to use his twitter handle).  He's called that because he's grumpy, he's very deaf (but he won't admit it) and of course he's the children's Grandad.  I wrote an introduction to Grandad here.

Grandad isn't great with the phone.  Largely because he's so deaf he can hardly hear anyone on it.  But also because he doesn't really like talking on it.  

In fact, he doesn't really like talking to anyone at all, other than us.  Well.  Other than me actually.  

You see Grandad is completely anti social.

There have been a number of occasions when I've been unable to call.  On those days J has called around to check Grandad's OK.  On more than one occasion when J has called he's rung the doorbell.  Grandad has opened the door.

"Where's the boy?" Grandad asks.  For clarification, I am 'the boy' despite being well into my 40s.

"Hello Grandad, lovely day!" Replies J.

Grandad puts his arm across doorway to block entrance, "I'm watching the football!" He says grumpily.

So J and the children have a brief conversation with Grandad on his doorstep.


You would think ringing ahead would help.  Here, Grandad's deafness defeats any useful intent.

I ring Grandad:

"Hello?" Grandad answers.

"Hi, it's me," I say.

"Hello?" Grandad barks, more loudly.

"Hi. IT"S ME!" I shout.

"HELLO?" shouts Grandad, "Huh, no one bl**dy there again!" he says and hangs up.


When we're away on holiday we try to call Grandad once a day.  Last year in Majorca we were in an area with intermittent mobile coverage, which meant not calling him for a couple of days.  On that occasion he could hear me:

"Hello?" Grandad answers.

"Hi, it's us," I say.

"Who?" says Grandad

I assume he can't hear me, "IT"S US" I shout.

"Who? I don't know anyone called 'us'." He hangs up.

That'll learn me.


Grandad calls us occasionally.  Generally it's to use us as a helpline.

No more so than when he registered for online shopping with Waitrose.  Over a four hour period he rang six times, I had to drive down to him twice (he lives about 5 miles away) and I had to ring the Waitrose helpline and get his password reset three times.

It would have been quicker and less troublesome to go and do his shopping myself.

Then there was the time his broadband stopped working.  The phone rang:

"My broadband's not working," says Grandad.

I give my usual advice, "have you tried turning it on and off?"

"Hang on," says Grandad.  He's clearly not thought of that. 

Bzzzzzzzz.  The line goes dead.  Grandad rings back.

"You hung up!" He opens with.

"No, you turned the phone.." I don't get to finish the sentence.

"Don't worry, it's sorted now, no thanks to you!" Grandad hangs up.


Grandad has tried calling helplines on occasion himself.  That normally results in even more trouble.

I arrived at Grandad's one day.  He was in a mood.

"What's the problem?" I ask.

"The TV's not working," Grandad says, " I rang the company and got some Scottish woman.  Couldn't understand a word she said, so I began to tell her what the problem was and she hung up on me!"

"Do you want me to call for you?" I offer.

"You can try, but you won't get anywhere, bl**dy Scottish people," inclusive as usual, Grandad's looking on the positive side!

I ring the helpline and get through to the ubiquitous, automated, Scottish voice.  Finally I reach a helpful Indian Lady who, running a diagnostic check, confirms that Grandad has forgotten to turn his set top box on. 

"Are you through to her?" Grandad shouts in the background. "You can tell her I'll be glad when Scotland's bl**dy independent!"  He's all heart is Grandad.


We've taken to writing notes for Grandad now.  Little ones to remind him when he's coming to dinner, or when we're buying him fish and chips.  

It's so much easier on the ears, and the nerves, than ringing him!