Isle of Wight residents are 'dismayed' at news of 'necessary changes' to the telephone network to allow the installation of the island's hundredth line.
'I remember the trouble we had when we moved up to double-digit numbers,' said Wightcomm engineer Reg Cleaves. 'Having to add a zero in front of the other nine numbers really confused the residents and I had to go round to each one individually to explain that it wouldn't cause gout, or give their first-born son whooping cough. It's going to take me a lot longer to visit them all now that there are nearly a hundred of the buggers!'
Those forced to live with the unwelcome technological advancement are outraged. 'I don't even own a phone and I'm still outraged,' said one Ventnor shopper. 'Ich nicht Englisch sprechen,' said another angry-sounding bystander, later identified as 'a tourist'.
The mobile phone, introduced to the island in 2008, will be made available in its 'break-glass' bell jar in its central Newport location whilst the telephone upgrade takes place. 'Coverage is still a bit patchy, what with having to rely on Orange signals reaching us across the Solent,' said Reg. 'If anyone is really desperate they might have to nip over to Portsmouth on the ferry to get a couple of bars, assuming the phone still has some battery left after the past two years under glass.'
The main concern of phone users is related to the new numbering system itself. 'I've been speaking to my sister Dolly on her new-fangled two-digit number every morning for nearly fifteen years now,' said Gertrude Holmes from Ryde, 'and I think I'm really going to struggle with her number change. It was bad enough having to remember that she was 07, let alone this weird new 007 business - lord knows how I'm going to remember that!'
Reg believes that telephone owners will quickly get used to the new system. 'It won't take them more than a few months to get into it,' he said, 'and besides, if they really need to speak to someone, they can just give them a bell - and if they jingle it loudly enough they'll know to get their megaphones out just like the good old days.'