I now also realise that I should be a bit more literal when making sense of what people are saying. When the lady on the phone said "We'll send someone round to take a look at it" that is exactly what she meant. A man came round and looked at it. The mending bit took a bit longer.
I'm going to use this technique in dealing with members of the family:
"I'd really like to give you a hundred pounds"
"Gosh, thanks dad"
"No, I mean I would like to give you the money, but I don't have it....."