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Blunt Instrument - by John Birmingham

'Ye gods, mad hound. Slow down'

The bounding dowager Sophie.

She is an old dog, this labrador of mine, cloudy of eye and infirm of gait but her glorious explosion of ill-advised energy was magnificent.

Unless it's a Nobel cause, I'm over ignoble calls

Cold-calling is the bane of this columnist's life.

Old-fashioned phone calls have been so weaponised — not just by scammers but also by slightly less dodgy operators cold-calling for charities, businesses and survey companies — that it feels like answering any unknown number is an invitation to a shakedown.