On Wednesday we spent the day in Banbury (it poured with rain and was no weather to be boating) shopping, attending to various business matters and collecting our post which included a letter for Joy from DVLA. I had received my new licence some weeks ago but despite Joy having verified her identity with her ‘digital’ passport on line, DVLA had returned her application saying she hadn’t enclosed her passport, a phone call to Swansea assured her if she simply wrote a note on her application form giving them permission to check her passport number all would be well (wasn’t that what she did on line???) So imagine her frustration when this letter said that they suspected that the address she had given was an accommodation address; another phone call to Wales to advise them that yes, of course this was an accommodation address, because the post man doesn’t deliver to moving boats. “Ah well” Taffy said “Then you must send your mooring permit” “We don’t have one! We are Continuous Cruisers” “You must have one” so went the exchange until Joy got cross and demanded to speak to his manager. Joy explained the situation again and that her bank, pension service, Royal Mail and phone provider were all happy to use this address and so it was agreed to fax a couple of documents from these organisations and they would send the licence out that day and true to their word the licence arrived next morning.
Another frustrating conversation was also had with our ex-bank trying to close an old account. Isn’t it the limit when organisations will only give 0845 numbers to contact them and far from being local rate, cost about 30p+ per minute from mobile phones, even 0800 numbers aren’t free. SAYNOTO0870.COM usually comes up trumps with alternative geographical numbers but on this occasion we struggled until finding 0800 Buster on Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert site and then realising we could use SMS Listo’s access number service for the 0845 numbers for considerably less. They are a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Provider) and you can also call direct from your PC if your broadband is good enough. We already have an account with them as they offer 90 days of ‘free’ calls to Australia for a subscription of £10.40 and you can use your balance after that at less than 2p a minute to Oz or 2.8p/min for 0845 numbers. Oh well… Enough ‘Grumpy Old Git’ writing for today!
After collecting Joy’s licence Thursday morning we headed off for Lower Heyford and arrived through light drizzle at about 6:15 and moored up just short of Heyford Wharf, however lack of phone, internet AND TV signal prompted a move to the 48 hour moorings just after Bridge 206 & the water point. We couldn’t have been there 10 minutes when we were greeted by our friend Andy, who was doing some painting on Acorn No5, who asked if I could fit a shower pump for the owner, and later we met David who owns Oxfordshire Narrowboats at the wharf who asked if I could look at a misbehaving battery charger for him, what it is to be in demand :-[
We picked up our car Thursday night from the friends who had been looking after it and went to The Barley Mow for a meal, then on to church, which is nearby, for a social evening/quiz night. It was Ian, the minister’s, birthday and we made up a team with him, his lovely (and surprisingly competitive!) wife Erika and Mike from Zimbabwe, couldn’t have been a bad combination because we came second.
Today we have reversed down to the wharf for a pump-out and a catch up with the staff, fixed their battery charger and found ourselves a 14 day mooring down by the next bridge which is very peaceful (or at least it was until we started our generator to so we could do some washing) we have good internet, phone & allegedly good TV signals too. Catty was pleased to be allowed out to roam and showed her appreciation by bringing in a young sparrow, we explained that as Wrens we couldn’t approve of that and made her give it up whereupon it escaped frightened but apparently unharmed.