Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: "My friend tells me Geordies hate people from London"

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I've always been someone who, for the sake of justice, stands up for what they believe. To this end, over the years I've had significant victories in the name of various causes, including illegally imposed parking fines and unwanted replacement items secretly deposited in my kitchen during online supermarket deliveries.

But my speciality is outrage in the face of incompetent corporations. So it is that at 8.47am I find myself punching into my phone the number of our past energy provider, whom I note has been secreting funds from my bank account.

"Hello, Mrs Philby, my name is Karen, how can I help you today?" says the voice at the end of the line. Instantly I am on alert, because Karen is a Geordie, and as my Geordie friend, Jess, informs me, Geordies hate people from London. Thankfully, forewarned is forearmed, and so, without a second's hesitation, I steam ahead, cannily adopting just the slightest hint of a Northern lilt.

"Hai Karin," I say, breathing deeply. "I would like to start by expressing my concern at what I can only conceive is a plot by your company to steal money from myself and my family. Having departed as a customer of the business of which you are a representative six months ago, I am flabbergasted to discover that you have been taking – at regular intervals – a significant amount of money from me. £53.20 to be precise."

I'm very sorry to hear that Mrs Philby, Karen responds. Did you set up a payment plan when you left us? "Yes," I say. How much was that for? "£53.20," I say, adding quickly. "Well thanks for your time, Karen, if that even is your name – but may I just say that hating people from London is a form of RACISM. GOODBYE."