In order to publish, i.e. upload my weekly ‘Life in Laytonia’ blog/column, I am very much in the hands of my Internet provider, Three Broadband.

I am writing this week’s musings with the sinking feeling that they may never see the light of day.

Wednesday 1st July 2020:  I receive a ‘Hello George’ letter from The Three Broadband Team about the service being upgraded:

“…We’re writing to let you know as part of this upgrade we need to end your service early on 05/08/2020.  But the good news is you can choose to move to a new 5G plan. To take advantage of this offer, give us a call on 03306….”  Yada,yada,yada.

End my service?  Oh, no! I telephoned immediately.  I took advantage of the offer.  I was told that I would receive a new SIM card to go into the router.  Very easy to execute (even for me) I was advised.

NB.  If I asked once, I must have asked 6 times for assurance that my broadband service would definitely not end on 05/08/2020.

Customer serviceAbsolutely, George.  Now you have signed up, there’s nothing more to do.  You’re ready to go on switch-over day, the 5th of August.

I asked again about the technicalities regarding inserting the new SIM card.  I was reassured that any idiot could do it.

I didn’t bother to point out that when I had extricated myself from my dreaded TalkTalk contract last November and opted for the ‘easy for any idiot to set up’ Three Broadband Router, that this idiot had to get a Wi-Fi man in – and he didn’t find it easy.  At least, that’s what he told me when he handed me the large bill!

The important thing was, that I was all set up for the upgrade.  I was especially encouraged by the final sentence in the letter from The Three Broadband Team:

‘…There’s no need to contact us again if you’ve taken this offer…

As there was no need to contact them again, I didn’t.  Sorted!! 

I did receive the odd email from Three Broadband over the following couple of weeks. Each time I opened them, I noted that they were merely email copies of the letter that I had received on 1st July asking if I would like to accept the upgrade offer.  Since I had already taken it up, I didn’t bother scrolling to the end. 

Whoa!  You didn’t scroll down to the end, I hear you all saying.  Was that wise?  No, it bloody well wasn’t! 

But why would I?   With uncharacteristic efficiency, I had already signed up for the upgrade on 1st July.  Not often George Layton is ahead of the game!

Thursday 30th July 2020:  Hmm…Less than 6 days before the August 5th ‘end your service early switch-off’ and the upgrade to the new 5G plan – and I haven’t yet received the easy to insert SIM card.  Actually, I’d forgotten that the Sim card was supposed to be coming.  Ooh, taken my eye off the ball there.

I telephoned customer service. I got something of a telling off.

Customer serviceDid you ask for a call-back?

I told her I hadn’t clue what she was talking about.

Customer serviceYou were sent emails on the 7th, 9th & 27th July to arrange a call back if you wanted to take advantage of the upgrade offer.’

As I was frantically searching for these emails, I explained to the good lady that in accordance with the instructions in the July 1st letter from ‘The Three Broadband Team’, I had telephoned immediately to move onto the new and upgraded 5G plan.  All sorted!  5 weeks ago!

Customer serviceCaller, did you arrange a call back to take advantage of the upgrade offer.

GeorgeMadam – why would I arrange a callback when I’d already taken up the upgrade offer?

Customer serviceTo take advantage of the upgrade offer, caller, you have to arrange a call-back.

George (strangled):  But I’d already taken it up.  By telephone.  On July the 1st!

Can you hear my voice rising?

Customer serviceWould you like me to arrange a call-back, caller?

I saw one of the Three Broadband emails:

Three Broadband

If we don’t hear from you, your broadband service will end automatically on 05/08/2020
The Three Broadband Team


George (defeated):  Yes please…

Our adored little doggie, Woody, is a Cockapoo.  He is really cute.  It’s not just me, everyone thinks so. 

One of the less cute Cockapoo characteristics, however, is that they are inclined to have problems with their anal glands.  Probably genetic.  They tend to get overfull and they have to go to the vet to have them squeezed, usually once a month.  Sorry to be so graphic. 

As a loving and responsible owner, I hold him on the table, averting my eyes, while the vet pays attention to the squeezing end of the proceedings.  Not the most glamorous reward for 5 years at veterinary college.

Friday July 31st 2020:  And the vet is where I am, eyes averted, when I receive the promised Three Broadband call-back call.

After 4 months of anal gland lockdown, it wasn’t the best moment, but with my Wi-Fi under threat, nothing was going to stop me taking this call even with one arm round Woody’s neck.

Long story short – everything is seemingly sorted (again!).  A courier will deliver the new router on Monday the 3rd of August.

GeorgeNew router??  I thought you were sending a new SIM card!

A patronising snort from customer services.

Customer serviceOh no, that was changed weeks ago.  You’re getting a brand new router.  The Sim card will be in there.  Just plug in and go!

Woody yelped and jumped off the table.

VetAll sorted…(not my favourite phrase at that moment)…’I’ll send you the bill by email.

George: (mumbling despondently):  I can’t guarantee I’ll get it…

Saturday 1st August 2020:  I receive an email.  And it’s not from the vet:

Three Broadband

To: George Layton Reply-To:


Just a quick note to say your Three Broadband service has now been cancelled on 1st August 2020


More uptight calls between Customer Service and myself.  All a mistake, she tells me with a laugh, these things happen.  She assures me that my broadband is working.  I check.  It is.  She also confirms that the new router will arrive on Monday.

Customer service:  In good time for the 5th of August switch-over.  All sorted…

All sorted!  I’ll believe it when I see it. 

And I did see it.  The new router arrived as promised, though I hadn’t dared move far from the front door for fear of missing the courier.  I had received numerous texts to warn me that somebody had to be in to receive it.

I unpacked the router and I couldn’t help noticing how similar it was to our toilet brush. 

See below:  (The router is the one without the silver handle – I think.) 

Wednesday 5th August 2020: When I wake up, as predicted the Internet isn’t working. No Wi-Fi.  The Three Broadband Team has certainly been efficient there.

Moment of truth.  Time to install.  I follow the instructions: 

1.  Put it near a window sill.  2.  Plug in.  3.  That’s it.

Eureka – it works.  I can’t believe it!  It does exactly what it says on the box.

Take a look:

I’m thrilled that my Wi-Fi is up and running.  But I do have an odd sense of disappointment. 

I thought after the preamble ups and downs of this whole bloody saga, it would climax with the mother of all rants!  Not a bit of it.  I’ve got to hand it to the

The Three Broadband Team – it really did what it said on the box.

And it’s true.  Any idiot can do it…