You Might Have Heard a PIN drop – had it not been for the Cacophony from the “One-Time” PASSCODES and CVV Numbers…

…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.

Yeah, right.

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.

[Ugh.]

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
SW1A 1AA.

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.

The incredibly crowded “visitor” moorings of Calveley, May 2021.

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
SW1A 1AA.

?

Nope.

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…

Chin-chin.

Ian H., and a freshly licenced Cardinal W.

Watery Wellness Trust Ltd Totem Pole

25 Comments

  1. Usually when you’ve gone through (maybe not quite such an elongated kerfuffle as yours) all that and you finally achieve Geronimo, up pops a survey to fill in – How did we do? – whereby they ask a ‘brief’ ten pages of questions about the process and there’s never the opportunity to tell them exactly what a load of %^&$£*&! they are! I still have a book of cheques, can you still use them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly don’t know if they’re still legal tender or not. Perhaps the bank charges a tenner a pop or something for processing one. I miss the days when you could nip into a local branch of a bank that wasn’t your own (they never asked why, even if they were next door) and cash a cheque three days before your pay went in. My first bank was Williams & Glyns, and they used fountain pens and ledgers, I kid you not. Do banks still have “branches” these days?

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      1. I remember the ink pen entries in the little bank book at Trustee Savings Bank (I think all banks are branches of Barclay’s now). Alas, my bank branch disappeared years ago when they told us it would improve the whole banking experience. Now you get a message pop up every time you go into your account asking you if ‘Doris’ can help, unfortunately it isn’t a real person, it’s an electronic robotic waste of time. I remember Roger, my bank manager whom we shared a mince pie and a sherry with at Christmas. Alas most of my bank managers died young, must have been stressful or poor quality sherry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Cheap sherry will do that to you every time. I remember my local vicar used to test it at Christmas with litmus paper before he’d drink it. Mind you, he was a mince-pie prodder too.

          I loathe having been “sold on” to Mr Virgin. Everything about the account – about his eacvh and every business – screams to me of being deemed ‘Suitable for eight to thirteen year-olds’. I just want a bank that banks, not something with an AI interface that keeps offering me two-for-one tickets to some screeching modern “pop” “star” concert. Ugh.

          Mind you, I can remember the days when banks kept your money but paid a positive rate of interest for the privilege… not this 0% or less that is so fashionable with the minnellials or whatever they are these days.

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  2. OMG! I’m laughing but I totally sympathize – what a carry on! I have two computers at home – a cell phone and a landline – and there have been times when I’ve had to have all 4 going at once just to accomplish something similar. As you say – whatever happened to just dropping a cheque in the mail!
    Hope you aren’t too exhausted by it all!
    PS – I HATE wasps and thoroughly approve of the actions taken!

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    1. Tis crazy, innit? Technollogee is supposed to simplify tasks, and indeed we can now do lots of things at home that we hitherto had to wander into a High Street to accomplish… but my goodness me, what baggage has been strapped to the tasks, and the simpler processes have been complicated along with all of the rest.

      We use technology in strange ways – were we to design the ‘lift’ afresh doubtless the doors would close and the high-rise building around the lift would be raised and lowered on cables – but all controlled by some throbbing electronic brain and two tiny, temperamental raised-dimple “control” “buttons” (Hold and press both A and B for Floor 1, to reach floor 2 press button A for two seconds and press button B intermittently for three…] All decorated with blue LEDs of course. ;-(

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  3. I’m firmly in the camp that believes you should only aim to do two Things a day, lest your ambitions turn to dust. You’ve paid your Dues and, I expect, subsequently had a Good Lie Down. That’s my definition of a well-rounded day ticked off!

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    1. That’s a damned good philosophy, it involves both industry and leisure and gives a high probability of ending each day on a positive note (and a recliner with footstool). 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Back in The Time That Technology Forgot…little phones that could be carried in the pocket had not even appeared in Nokia’s Dream and those folk who lived and worked on boats and sometimes needed to telephone to conduct some business simply tied up the boat, walked a short stretch (ok, it was a little inconvenient in inclement weather) to a wondrous thing called a Public Phone Box. For 4 olden-time coins, they could call a number and conduct their business. In relative comfort, protected from inclement weather. There was no shortage of such boxes, either as the nasty men had not yet made it from Hell to Westminster…

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    1. When phobile moans first crept into human life I thought them such benign, useful things (if a tad heavy at first). Had I been but brighter than I am I might have seen the danger. The human species evolved, such as we have, constantly looking up – we’re now de-evolving, constantly looking down.

      Telephone calls, both Bakelite and Kiosk, used to be made when we had something to say to one another. Now we all communicate all of the time, and yet have nothing to say.

      Tis sad.

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  5. If you and the Wellness Trust are married ‘for better or worse’ (probably worse), then Congratulations. But you can’t get a divorce now. You have a pregnant 10 minutes to consider.
    Btw, your wasp was probably a Mrs Queen Wasp looking for a place to build her nest and raise thousands of little wasplings, judging by the fact that you said it was large and the time of year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In that case I feel no shame or guilt in unleashing the power of biocides upon her! Why on earth Father Nature could not have filled the ecological gap that wasps occupy with benign and totally friendly tiny flying teddybears is beyond me. When the Revolution comes, and it will, and I am crowned Lord High He-Who (Must Be Obeyed), as I shall, I will re-design Nature and things will be different then, you’ll see. 😉 Tofu will grow on the trees pre-marinated and boxed, vegetarian sausages will rain from the sky, and oranges will be pre-chilled and pre-squished in the carton, with chewy bits. Spiders will do housework, such as dusting and cleaning the lav.

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      1. That sounds like a plan. I’ll definitely vote for you. If spiders could help keep the house clean instead of building dust gatherers, that’d be great.

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  6. I would have thrown laptop and phone into the canal, poured vodka down my throat until my rage turned to numbness. I have no tolerance for internet snafus. Particularly when I suspect incompetence is at the root of it. Still you have killed the bear and/or wasp and can rest satisfied in having completed a pointless ly difficult task.

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    1. I reckon that all of the websites involved are cr*ap and trying to get them all to work together in one monumental transaction simply multiplied the cr*ap. As Ken Dodd once sang; Crappiness, crappiness, I thank the Lard that I’ve been bless, with more than my share of crapp-i-ness… 😉

      The C&RT website is especially woeful, as is their approach to “the social media” – all very juvenile and mis-targetted, made worse by being mixed up with multiple bought-in externally supplied modules. Still, tis done and although it was a close-run thing, I didn’t – as far as I am yet aware – burst any blood vessels. I’d like to line a few responsible folk up though against a pock-marked wall, and give them a blindfold and a last cigarette…

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  7. With all that going on I’m surprised your reaction to the good doctor was only chemical and not nuclear.
    We recently wanted to transfer some monies and the bank decided that – in the interests of security – it would need to speak to my husband on the dog and bone, for our own security, of course. As there is not a video link on the ‘phone for all their representative knew he could have been speaking to a reincatnation of Ivan the Terrible, especually after asking what we intended to do with the monies concerned. On receiving the reply that, whatever the earlier intention, it was now to be earmarked for making a machine to disembowel those responsible for internet security he bleated that customers were not allowed to abuse bank staff, which upped the ante to Genghis Khan mode. No doubt our debit cards will sponaneously combust shortly.

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    1. Banks and Co do seem to be rather reluctant to allow the owners of money in their care to actually access and use it these days. I have on a couple of occasions challenged banksters on the telephone and put them through a similar set of “security” questions before I will answer theirs… they don’t like it, they really don’t like it. Which just makes it all the more fun! 😉

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  8. Crikey your eminence I don’t know about you but I’m absolutely shattered after all that.
    Back on vlockie duties as of Monday so may catch up with you for an eyeball eyeball.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really ought to have been about five clicks and one entry of the old card number but somehow it rarely is that easy… Still tis done and tis good that tis done. I have earned a second litre of coffee today. 🙂

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  9. HM Royal barge Britannia now is it? Legal too. Best you rename the Cardinal before her maj. gets wind and your old Cardinal goes the same way as his namesake. Only saying!

    LX

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    1. An easy mis-identifification, since the Cardinal and I do indeed make a very stately progression around our preferrred territory. The only things slower than us on the canals are the moorhens… but they have an excuse in that they lay eggs whereas I simply lay waste to all that I see… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank’ee most kindly – I see what you did there & also with the horses’ ah-sizz! Degas never did have much luck with the geegees.

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