The end of the financial year has entailed a few calls to Inland Revenue of late and I've learnt not to try and multitask during the process. It turns out, running a tap while simultaneously trying to talk to a machine don't mix.

You see, the automated voice recognition doesn't recognise the sound of water running down the sink while you're trying to wash dishes and state your date of birth for ID purposes.

Nor does it tolerate your kids' ongoing inquisitive voices in the background.

My first attempt to phone was in the morning. Home alone, the house was