"DON'T call us, we’ll call you," is a phrase that leaves a bitter taste when we consumers have to deal with the big money-making multinational companies.

Many of us still suffer shockwaves of frustration when we make telephone contact, mostly on costly 0845 numbers, with the much-in-the-news energy suppliers (cue Blondie’s Hanging on the Telephone).

The Inferno is a big fan of the BBC series "Watchdog" and the stalwart publication "Which?" – both do far more than politicians who seldom put themselves out to champion basic consumer rights.

Which? magazine’s latest survey revealed that many customers get earache when phoning the energy call centres.

It revealed one firm left existing customers on hold for 11 minutes when they rang with a problem...but surprise, surprise - sales calls were answered in just 90 seconds.

Which? made 384 calls to 16 different suppliers. They found 11 out of the 16 were, on average, slower to answer calls to customer service lines than their sales lines.

Bottom of the table were npower and Scottish Power - which had the 11-minute wait.

Which? concluded: “It’s time for energy suppliers to start prioritising existing customers, providing them with high quality customer service to help tackle the low levels of customer satisfaction and trust.”

For once, and I never thought I would, I see eye-to-eye with former Tory minister Anne Widdecombe who shrilled: “It is difficult to find an electricity supplier who has not been strongly criticised.”

Perhaps I should lay down some manure and generate my own.

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IN my on-going campaign to get cyclists off Wirral pavements, I am encouraged to read the views by irate Wirral Globe correspondents.

My anger at these selfish cyclists took a new turn - if you’ll pardon the pun - when I was walking home this week and a cyclist came up behind me and had the audacity to ring his bell to get ME to move out of the way.

As I turned in my tracks on the narrow pavement, I told him, in my best clench-fisted way (cue music from Rocky) that pavements were for pedestrians and he should be on the road. I said I would take a picture and name and shame him on my mobile to send to the police.

He rode off quickly into the sunset, decked in safety helmet and arm and leg pads as I shouted about on the spot fines – his bell still ringing in my ears.

If this invasion of the stupid cyclists continues, the council should give pedestrians safety helmets and limb protection pads.

MPs including Esther McVey and Boris Johnson encourage more bike-users, which is fine, but they should first educate them and start to take this matter of illegal pavement riding seriously before someone gets hurt.

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CONRATULATIONS to all the local am-dram groups who are breathing new life into our cherished television sitcoms. Many would give the professionals a run for their money.

Already this year we have seen the Port Sunlight players offer "The Vicar of Dibley"; Carlton Players in Birkenhead with "Blackadder 2" and Wallasey-based Claremount Players with their interpretation of "Blackadder Goes Forth."

The scripts are ideal for theatre companies with low budgets as they are well-written and allow quality talent to shine with minimum stage props.

Now the professionals are having a go – as New Brighton Pavilion welcomes a touring version of the hit series "Rising Damp." Who needs UK Gold?

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And finally...Wonderful monkey business has been going on in Chester Zoo with orangutans getting dental check-ups to help global veterinary research – I wonder if they go ape when they get the anaesthetic?

It seems they like it, according to primate keeper Kate Brice. Unlike me (if the tooth be told.)

The last time I went to my dentist – screaming in jaw-clutching, molar agony, I begged the receptionist: “Please, please treat me.”

Looking up from her computer, she sneered: “No, you can pay like everyone else.”