Great Britain

Getting the silent treatment

ALL of a sudden, Google’s stopped listening to me. If I say Hey, Google – to ask the time, request a song, or add an item to the shopping list – there’s no longer any response from the woman with the soothing voice.

Don’t ask me why she’s stopped talking to me. I’m reliably informed it’s some sort of malfunction with the voice-recognition technology, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve upset her without understanding why. Perhaps that sounds familiar?

Anyway, if I want to add fishfingers to the shopping list, I now have to tell my wife – so that she can tell Google for me:

Me: “Hey, Heather, could you please ask Google to add fishfingers to the shopping list.”

My wife: “Hey, Google – add fishfingers to the shopping list.”

Google (in a worryingly seductive man’s voice): “OK, I’ve added fishfingers to the shopping list. Is there anything else?”

My wife: “Do you want to add anything else?”

Me (slightly panic-stricken, in case I’ve forgotten something): “Er, no, I don’t think so.”

My Wife: “No, thank you, Google – that’s all.”

Google: “Ok. Goodbye.”

I can’t help thinking it was easier in the good old days when I just had to write down additions to the shopping list on a piece of paper.

Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before I’m forgiven, and Mrs Google starts talking to me again. In the meantime, while I’m coming to terms with being ignored by a computer, my human wife has started to have some surprising conversations that don’t involve me.

I heard her chatting away in the back garden the other day, so I went outside to see who’d come to visit. Our eldest, with our little granddaughter, perhaps?

“Who was that you were you talking to?” I asked.

“The fish,” she replied, matter-of-factly, before continuing to scatter fish-food into the garden pond.

We started out with nine goldfish and shubunkins, but we may now be down to five. That said, the survivors have grown into whoppers, and are clearly good conversationalists.

It made me wonder what anyone might carp on to fish about: The ambient temperature of the water? Whether the resident frog was causing any problems? Had they had to take evasive action from the heron lately? Had any more members of the fish family snuffed it? On reflection, I decided it was best not to ask.

A couple of days later, I heard my wife having another discussion downstairs. As far as I was aware, we didn’t have any visitors, and I knew it couldn’t be the fish because she was indoors.

“Who were you talking to?” I asked.

“My slippers,” she replied.

I think we’re on the slippery slope.


THERE’S a real sense of déjà vu in our house because our four-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, has discovered Pokemon characters.

One of her favourites is called Bulbasaur but, unfortunately, she calls it Vulvasore.

We’re trying to move her on to Pikachu.

NORA Fisher was teaching in Gateshead when the little ones were asked to draw someone they knew.

Geoffrey, aged seven, was asked: “Who are you going to draw?”

“Me Grandad,” he replied.

He drew a simple face, with eyes and a nose, but Mrs Fisher wondered why the mouth was detached to one side.

“Why’s the mouth over there?” she asked.                                                

“Cos, me Grandad keeps his teeth in a cup on the mantelpiece,” replied Geoffrey.

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