…and the angry buzzing of Dr Livingstone.
Five-sixths of the old Works Pension (laughably) went into the bankeroo yesterday, bringing the contents of my Piggly Bank up to adequate snuff, and after their kind capitulation of late I thought it high time to pay the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd for my Boat Licence. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Five attempts and immeasurable moments of wasted life later…
My Interwebnet comes via Mr Three. My Phobile Moan signal is supplied by Mr EE. My Piggery-Jokery Bank Bucket was Yorkshire but that nice Mr Virgin bought them out – although it must be said that the website address still shows as being the Clydesdale bank (which Yorkshire took over long before I opened an account with them and long, long before Virgin took Yorkshire over), so [insert popular Irish swear-word here] really knows. My debit card is solid “tart’s fingernail red” and would appeal to anyone in their early teens, so I suspect that I really do now bank with Mr Virgin.
My phobile moan goes into a “sleep” state after six milliseconds of inattention and requires a four-digit PIN number to wake it up. Even though there’s a phobile moan mast two hundred yards away on a clear line of sight in the field next the canal it also has to be propped up on a bag of coal in the open well-deck in order to get me anything other than ‘Emergency Calls Only’.
Mr Virgin Bank needs my eleven-digit “customer number” (Come in Number Six, there’s a big white balloon chasing you?), a selection of three details from my password… and a six-digit “passcode” sent via text message to my sleeping mobile phone which then has to be woken up a-top its coal sack with a four-digit PIN before I can check on the machinations of the pension industry, Justin Case, before I do anything rash (not being allowed an “over-draft” facility that might cover any errors or delays).
The WWT Ltd’s website was insistent that my password was incorrect. It wasn’t, I know this for certain. I had to follow their grammatically-incorrect ‘Forgot password?’ link to “change” my password – to exactly what I knew it already was – and this, they insisted, required my email to be verified… by their sending – via Mr Microsoft-on-behalf-of-C&RT-B2C – a “one-time” six-digit “passcode”. Why Messrs Bilious Gates’ Microsoft came into this I have no idea, and is beyond belief.
The WWT Ltd’s website was then insistent upon verifying my land address ‘…in case we need to send you something by post…’
What? A horse’s head for my pillow? The WTT Ltd website won’t let a chap so much as register without a land address, and I – like thousands of others – do not have one. It is ridiculously insistent, so six years ago I gave it an insistently ridiculous answer. I dread to think what has been ‘sent by post’ to
I do not have a land address
My boat is my home
The WWT Ltd website was happy, it indicated, with my Boat Safety Certificate numbers but was anxious for my six-digit insurance policy number and company details and concomitant dates.
Once past those – which I entered in Roman Numerals, just for fun and because there’s no validation coded into the fields on those pages – see thirteen-year old coder’s handbook – I was free to enter my sixteen-digit card number, four-digit expiry date and three-digit CVV Code.
Mr Virgin then popped up (acting on behalf of Mr Mastercard-Debit) and told me that he would need to send me a ‘one-time passcode’ via text message, and please to enter my eleven-digit phobile moan number into the ickle bickle box to facilitate this.
Then the WWT Ltd website simply stopped responding and showed me a grey box with a tiny image of a broken page in the middle of it. Being on a laptop I had to scroll up and down manually to take in its full, grey, glory.
Mr Virgin’s “passcode” didn’t arrive even though I’d entered my mobile phone number (and found the beast and remembered how to switch it on) – and even propped on a sack of coal on the open well deck two hundred yards away from a mobile phone mast Mr EE was back to ‘Emergency Calls Only’ for some reason. Possibly in league with the WWT Ltd., possibly in league with Mr The Devil – and possibly I have just committed a tautology right there.
Four times this happened in various combination and this is where Dr Livingstone made his repeated and enthusiastic contribution. Dr Livingstone I Presume is the name that I have given to a local wasp. Each day he’s explored every window, every porthole, in minute and painstaking detail. He’s found a tiny gap in the side-hatch doors and spends a happy hour or two each day angrily buzzing about between the steel doors and the internal glass. He’s explored the rear tonneau cover and discovered the gaps around the rear hatch. He’s big, he’s bold and he’s determined to come aboard.
Perhaps he works for C&RT?
While I was juggling the failures of C&RT Ltd’s website, Mr EE, Mr Three and Mr Virgin, and entering more numbers than it took to get Apollo 11 to the Moon, Dr Livingston [I Prsume] was taking every advantage of the open bow doors to explore. In out, in out, in out. The bow doors necessarily had to be open so that I could hear the “bong bong oink” of any text messages that were supposed to arrive, rush like a loon to the bow and wake up the phobile moan, navigate to the “txt msg” “app” and then rush like a loon back to the laptop.
Oh how we laughed. What jolly japes.
After the fourth failed attempt to pay the WWT Ltd for my boat licence I met Dr Livingstone at the bow doors and, I am ashamed to say, I engaged – in not some little desperation, it must be said – in Chemical Warfare. I shoved a can of RAID right up his buzzing little hairy aerosol, and he left in a distinct hurry.
The fifth run through re-visiting all of the WWT Ltd.’s interrogative web pages faltered and stumbled and showed me the now-familiar little “broken page” symbol… and then spontaneously refreshed itself, up popped Mr Virgin’s box for my mobile number and – praise be to all on Mount Olympus – Mr EE’s number was accepted and – oh, unbridled joy – after a long thirty seconds wait – I could hear the “bong bong oink” of a “txt msg” arriving on the well deck.
The “txt msg” (do normal people really use these things?) advised me that someone was trying to pay just under a thousand quidlings to the Watery Wellness Trust Ltd., and if this were not me to blah blah blah, or otherwise herewith a six-digit “one-time passcode” to enter on the website to authenticate the payment.
Dear Holy Mother of Hamsters in Peril, the ruddy “one-time passcode” worked and I was treated to a web page that the WWT Ltd probably are not called upon often to show – success. I was poorer, they were richer. They’re a “wellness” charity and I’m sick of them. Richer, poorer, sickness and health?
Does this mean that we’re married?
I want a divorce.
After a ten pregnant minutes an email popped into my email in-tray, advising me that my licence ‘had been processed’.
Same way that Kraft process cheese, I presume. Ought I to presume? Dr Livingstone would know, but he’s likely dying on his camp-bed in some hedgerow somewhere – or recovering, and plotting revenge.
The licence cost (for a 57′ boat for 12 Earth months) is £1.030.64. After gawd knows how much time spent wrestling with Mr WWT Ltd, his chauffeur’s thirteen-year old coding nephew, Mr EE, Mr Three, Mr Microsoft, Mr Virgin and Dr Livingstone, I had earned a 5% “online, prompt-payment” discount, reducing the Butcher’s Bill to £979.12.
Ye gods, did I ever earn that discount – and I refer here also to the four months and more of wrangling with some throbbing brain (see earlier posts) in re their consideration that I was not on a “bona fide navigation” (by their outwith-legal estimation and sub-par observations and reneging on a written “pandemic” agreement with regard to same)!
As the expensive new tag-line reads; Life’s Better By Water.
So, at long last, my ribbon-bedecked vellum licence, framed in rainforest mahogany will soon be arriving from the offices of The Watery Wellness Trust Ltd as reward. It is enshrined in the (ex-legal) “terms and conditions” that a “licenced” status on their computer system is insufficient, to remain on good terms with them I must also display printed paper versions of the licence, one to port and one to starboard. Will they be sending these printed versions to
I do not have a land address
My boat is my home
Cheapskate pilchards that they are, they don’t even try to send a printed version, just calling upon those living on boats to print their own and bung it in the proverbial window. Well, b’gered if I am going to fire up the inverter, dig out and re-fuel the laser printer, find fresh paper and be bothered with all of that when their rinky-dinky little ruggedised and networked iPiddly-Pads already indicate at a glance that I am fully licenced.
Instead I briefly identified as a printer and ran the thing off in Best Biro myself, then had it laminated at my favourite chandlery.
I am a bit wobbly and I’m never sure of what font I have engaged, but even the WWT Ltd must admit that I am a damned fine organic printer, and that all of the relevant numbers – dear gawds, the numbers – are there, on display.
Of course, the one-way glass is a bit of a disconvenience when trying to read the thing from the towpath… it is visible, but you do rather have to put your eyeball right up there among the cobwebs, and squint.
I do like to make taking the [stuff of micturition] mutual.
Perhaps when Dr Livingtsone was minutely inspecting the Cardinal’s windows and portholes he was in fact searching for the printed licence?
If only I had a larger can of RAID, one sufficient unto the Wellness Charity AND their I.T. Department AND all of the other minions of internetted infrastructure!
Whatever happened to the days of just bunging a cheque in the post?
With or without a wasp…
Ian H., and a freshly licenced Cardinal W.