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Christmas Gift Guide
Phones

Orange relaxation line chills your ears

Orange wants to take you for a walk on the beach, a stroll through a squawking bird sanctuary or a roll in front of a crackling fire with its new free relaxation line

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Orange has launched a phone line where stressed out city-folk can dial a beach.

Orange customers can dial 347 for free from their mobile, and everyone else can call 0207 050 6888 and pay their normal network rate to get a choice of what Orange has chosen as Britain's soothingest sounds.

Press one for the sounds of a woodland forest, two for waves lapping on Brighton beach, three for the "traditional hubbub of an English village green", four for the calming crackle of a log fire, or five for birdsong.

The sounds were captured on the morning of 19 November at Brighton Beach, a nature reserve near Brighton, an aviary in Canterbury, a fire in someone's house, and a village green in an undisclosed South Coast location, somewhere in the early 1960s.

We think it's a great idea, now that the Christmas panic has set in and we're tempted to orphan ourselves over the next poorly played game of Monopoly. But in our tests, both on an Orange HTC Hero and a landline, the recordings were so rough it was more like listening to an attacking pack of velociraptors than a soothing clutch of spring robins.

Still, in a pinch, it makes a good fake number to call when you want to get out of a meeting, and doesn't charge like that grasping blighter the speaking clock.