Life, photos but not the universe

I am trying

To acquire the necessary skills to do all official paperwork either online or via a series of automated phone messsages.  Since it seems that any minute it will no longer be possible to communicate with a real person about anything of that nature in any way – not by phone or on paper or in person.

Last week I managed to register myself with the NHS and then order a repeat prescription. Big prize for getting it right first time (too bad I couldn’t also get myself to the surgery in time to collect it before they closed for weekend).   Today’s test was to renew my car insurance by phone.  (I could have opted for the online version except that I needed to check a couple of details and maybe change something).

It was going swimmingly for a while, the automated lady asked me to say things and gave me examples and I said my bit very slowly and d i s t i n c t l y.  Then we got to my date of birth.  By then, at 3p/minute, I guess we’d spent quite a lot of my money on the call.  Forgetting that the automated lady doesn’t, in fact, understand English however convincingly she might speak it I said, firmly, O one, twelve, nineteen, fifty.   The phone made a hiccuping noise even as I realised I’d said the wrong thing.  So I tried again o, I mean zero one one two one—-.

Yes.  Wrong again.  The automated lady politely told me she would now transfer me to a real person.  The phone then informed me that it was helping quite a lot of people at the moment and asked me to hold on(referring to itself in the multiple person or possibly with the royal ‘we’). It made horrible muzac at me for several minutes and then I put it down because I didn’t feel like paying 3p a minute for horrible muzac.

It’s all ok though because for several days, the Insurance company have been ringing me on my mobile and telling me not to worry that I’ve missed the call because they’re going to ring again.  Which they did this morning, shortly after I’d given up on my attempt.  So me and the nice young man spent quite a long time (on their phone bill) sorting out a couple of discounts and changes and renewal was achieved satisfactorily.

I apologise to all the people who had to listen to horrible muzac while the nice young man was helping me.

Speaking of phones, our old phone has been behaving in a manner which suggest a terminal condition (and which cause the termination of a large number of phone calls).  So I bought a new one.  Then Barney spent a long time trying to follow instructions which sound simple but don’t produce the results described therein.  There is a gap in the information, which is both dense and detailed when it comes to the dangers of putting your ear to the wrong side of said phone  (deaf threats! And not something I imagine people do very often) but a little skimpy about the precise order in which things should be plugged into the mains or each other.  I think the missing bit is a crucial one about fully charging the battery before attempting to register the handset with its base.

Having whinged about having to do official stuff on line, I have to add that I can see that this is a good way to avoid using precious paper.  Even though it took me and Barney 45 minutes to complete the process of paying VAT online the other day.  (It had already taken me much longer than that to register him to be able to do so).  Anyway, a quick glance at the Beeb  weather site tells me that the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland  has now reached North Africa.  It seems possible that the volcano in Iceland may be achieving what fear of global warming has failed to do, ie, cutting down some of the air traffic which pollutes our equally precious atmosphere. *

Here in the chilly wilds of Berkshire, we are also cutting down on pollution.  (as you will know if you have been patient enough to follow my endless complaints about the dead boiler – now replaced with a super efficient one.  So I’m told).

Anyway last night, we went to see Joe Brown.   Remember him?  He is still very cocky (in a gentle way), very likeable, and a very very enjoyable musician and singer with an equally good band (including his son, Pete).  No extremes, no excesses, no gimmicks, nothing overtly flashy, just a couple of hours of  solid, understated talent and skill.  Reminds me why I liked Rock and Roll.  Yeah!  Lovely sunny stuff.

*yes, I do see that the cloud is contributing to atmospheric pollution at the same time.


May 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. “Still like that old time rock’n’ roll

    That kind of music just soothes the soul …”

    Know what ya mean!

    🙂 xxx

    Comment by linda | May 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. I reminisce about the days of old
    With that old time rock ‘n roll…..

    NOW ya got me hummin’! (and wonderin’ where I put the Seger CD…..)

    Whaddaya gonna do…… I wonder how folks who can’t operate or afford computers deal with the business world today!
    I remember swearing computers wouldn’t happen in my home. (don’t ask how many in this house today–I’d be embarassed…..)

    Ughhh…..and a new phone oughta happen in this house–himself and I stare at each other and try to guess who left the message, it’s so distorted on the playback. But–seriously, we’re considering not even having a landline. Cellphones go everywhere and offer a better package, even for international calls.
    AND you can leave ’em at home if’n ya wanna. LOL Which I wanna ALL THE TIME!
    Which sortakinda defeats the purpose of a cellphone but pleases me to no end.

    Ah for an hour just sittin’ on the bank and watching the dragonflies……..without a cellphone, computer OR automated voice messaging system!
    Pick me!! Pick me!!!

    And if the whole system breaks down we can always go back to letters in forked sticks : )
    I’ll come and join you on the bank Mel. Dragonflies are a fair swop for most messages : )

    Comment by Mel | May 29, 2010 | Reply

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