"The constituency office will be closed over Christmas and the New Year" the secretary reminded the hard-working local MP. "You should put a new message on your Voicemail, telling people when it will re-open". She obligingly exposed the entrails of the answering machine, and invited the local MP to record some suitable seasonal greeting, his mouth four inches from the microphone.
"This is the office" he began "of your local MP. Normally, it would close over the holidays, but my secretary has generously agreed to come in every day as usual and eagerly awaits your call. Forgotten when the dustman next comes to Tadley? Which chemist is open when? We have all the answers." At this point, he noticed that a manicured finger had depressed the stop button.
"I think we will have another try" she said. She bent over the machine and dictated an alternative message. "This is the office of the local MP. Normally, it would remain closed until after the holidays but,this year, because of his commitment to his constituents, your MP would like you to ring him at his ex-directory home number at whatever time of day or night you might need him. Want to know when Budgens is open over the New Year? When the swimming pool is open? The times of buses to Basingstoke, just ring 01256.." At this point, a male finger depressed the stop button.
They agreed to compromise; and they put in the tape they had carefully kept from last year, saying that the office would open after the New Year bank holiday.