It turns out that life has many uncertainties. Some things, like (oooooh let me see) telephone connections for example, are a lot less certain than one would think. Three weeks of staying at Morgan's house, and an unhealthy dash of poor attention to detail, resulted in the home phone being cut off. Temporarily. I paid the bill, I rang them up, I walked the fine line between being arch, snooty, obsequious and contrite, all the right things.
Except, and because this is my life we are examining here, the phone is still off. I assumed there was a problem with the reconnection issue, but it turns out there's a fault on the line. A coincidental fault. It stretches my credulity, but I'm prepared to take their word for it.