This sort of thing drives me barmy...
Betty's picked up a call from Maudie's 'phone. It's Julia wanting T.Aldous. Rather than waiting for Betty to get him she tells her:
"I won't hang on. Can you ask him to ring me on my mobile 'phone. I'm at Catty and need to speak to him in the next five minutes."
So far, so bad. Unfortunately it turns out that T.Aldous is gone.
"I didn't even see him go out," says Betty who's got plenty enough work to do without acting as Checkpoint Charlie. "What shall I do? I don't know her mobile 'phone number so I can't ring her to tell her he's not in."
"All you can do is make a note of the message and stick it on his door so that he'll see it when he comes back."
Oh no. This isn't all Betty can do. She spends the next ten minutes ringing round libraries trying to get hold of anyone who might know Julia's mobile 'phone number. In the end she gets hold of Doreen, who promises to ring Julia to let her know he's not in.
It's a good job Noreen's at home waiting for the gas man. She's got even less patience for this type of nonsense than I have. Unfortunately, this behaviour's been countenanced (and even encouraged) for so long that it's not worth the tears before bedtime involved in trying to challenge it.