Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The asylum beckons

It's been a deeply frustrating day which culminated in my laptop breaking down. Two of the keys have now stopped working, so I can’t write the letter n or the letter a without the help of a slave keyboard, which I had to go and buy in PC World in Camden. It’s astonishing how many words have a's and n's in them. My name for starters! One of each.

The good news is that our internet is now working again after just 3 weeks of being non-existent. I phoned Talk Talk again today, and ended up, again, in Manila, talking to a guy with one of those faux American accents they tend to speak with over there, who said; “I am looking at your notes. Can you tell me if you’re calling from your landline?” I hit the roof. “If you’re looking at your notes, you’ll see that I don’t have an effin’ landline. I haven’t had an effin’ landline for 3 effin' weeks... Put me through to your boss NOW!” I was so angry that the moment his boss came on the line (some 6 minutes of simmering-time later) I immediately demanded to speak to his boss. “He’s in a meeting” said the first boss. “Then drag him out (by his hair), or let me speak to someone in the UK who understands what’s going on here.” And then it started to pour out, like ectoplasm; “do not say another word to me until one of these two things is happening.” He started to say something; “not another word!” 5 minutes later I was talking to a lovely lady in Warrington. He’d put me through to completely the wrong office, but she seemed so genuinely horrified about what was happening to me, that she escalated the complaint herself, gave me her personal number, and sorted everything. I’m gonna name her, because she’s worth her weight in gold to Talk Talk. Cheryl Griffiths. She works in Retail and Support. She’s an effin’ angel.

I wish I could say the same for my computer, which I now realise has started to work again, having been completely unusable for most of the day. I have said, many times, whilst working on this project, that I’m just one computer crash away from an asylum. There was a moment of stress at about 4pm today, when I was trying to communicate to the phone engineer from BT, when I thought it was all over. I couldn’t speak. I simply couldn’t get words out. In my defence, I was not helped through the experience by the phone engineer repeatedly calling me David. Those who know me well will know that David is my actual christian name. Benjamin is my middle name, but no one's ever called me anything else... Unless I'm doing something official., that is. I'm David on bills, and on passports, and I was David in his notes... which was horrifically shortened to Dave, again and again and again. He was one of those people who likes to say a name repeatedly, like a form of polite tourettes. But my name isn't Dave. It's not even David. Another day like this and I’ll qualify for some kind of 100 meters dash at the Paralympics!

Pepys went to Trinity House 350 years ago and listened to some good music whilst discussing the difference between the navy fleet at the time and the fleet during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, which was as close to Pepys’ day as World War Two is to us. The defeat of the Armada was already a legend of magnificent proportions, however... As was the queen herself. Muchly deserved, I feel. What tickled Pepys’ fancy rather less, was having to hang out with the two Sir Williams, who he'd come to loathe. Special venom was reserved for the wife of Sir William Batten:

Lady Batten and her crew, at least half a score, come into the room, and I believe we shall pay size for it; but ‘tis very pleasant to see her in her hair under her hood, and how by little and little she would fain be a gallant; but, Lord! the company she keeps about her are like herself, that she may be known by them what she is.

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