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Frustrations and moving on [Sep. 14th, 2017|05:30 pm]
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The good news: we are at the Plough Inn in Hathersage, have met and drunk tea with the family party that brought us here, and will later reconvene for dinner. It has been a frustrating couple of days, and I am very glad to be here, and ready to enjoy myself. Naturally, the first way I enjoy myself is to complain.

I have wasted a lot of time trying to be sensible and efficient. It is possible that the things I wasted time trying to do will work out, and I will end up being glad I did them, but we are not yet at that point, and I have steam to let off.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon failing to open a bank account. Yes, another. Whenever we are abroad, [personal profile] durham_rambler sings the praises of his Nationwide account, which allows him to spend foreign currency with a favourable exchange rate and no transaction fee. Congratulations, I am happy for him. But to qualify for this, he pays a monthly charge, which is worthwhile because it also gives him access to things like breakdown insurance for the car, and travel insurance for us both and so forth - and there's no point in my duplicating that. But I would like to be able to spend money abroad without [personal profile] durham_rambler elbowing me out of the way, insisting on putting everything on his card (I know. Silly of me) and suffering visible pain when I draw cash. So I looked at what Nationwide were offering, and found an account which would give me the good exchange rate, though there would be a transaction fee, and would give good interest on the (limited) balance. Last Saturday we called at the branch, and (you can't just open an account, of course, that would be too easy) made an appointment. [personal profile] durham_rambler, who is good at this stuff, remembered to check whether I needed to bring any paperwork with me, which I didn't. So yesterday afternoon I trotted into town, and saw the appropriate person, and she talked me through all the questions - until we got to the ones I couldn't answer (what is my gross annual income, how long have i had the bank account which I don't intend to close, how long have I been in my present job?). So I couldn't go any further, but the good news was, I could complete the job online.

Not straight away, though, because there was something else I wanted to do: I had a promotional code for online shopping at Sainsbury's, and it would be really convenient to order a number of staples for delivery on Monday. An hour later, I had found everything I wanted (I'm not very quick at this, and it was a first order from Sainsbury's - perhaps I should have let them import my list from Waitrose, but I didn't want to) reached checkout, struggled with all the are you sure you want to check out? don't you want one of these? or these? and tried to enter my promotional code, which didn't work. I summoned [personal profile] durham_rambler to the rescue, and it didn't work for him, either, and we couldn't find anything helpful in the 'help' (surprise!) but he e-mailed customer service.

Then we had dinner and went out and won the pub quiz, so the day wasn't completely wasted.

This morning, instead of setting off early, as I had hoped, I gathered the required information and used the online form to apply for a Nationwide account. At first it went very smoothly: the form was clear and straightforward, and I thought "I should just have done this in the first place!" But when I reached the final button, after I had downloaded both sets of T & Cs, I pressed 'complete' and it told me I had timed out. A call to the number provided established that this is a known issue with Firefox, that the person I was speaking to could see the application, and could see the attached credit reference, which he could delete, but no, he couldn't complete the application. Nor could he scrape the information from it to pass to the customer service person to whom he transferred me. She could, she said, fill in an application over the phone, if I answered all the questions for a third time - but now they would need additional identification, so I'd still need to make an appointment to take my passport in to the office... In which case, I thought, since I had other plans for today, I might as well see if I could pick up where I'd left off at my local branch.

On the plus side, by the time this was sorted out, an e-mail had arrived from Sainsbury's with a new promotional code, and this one did work - and there was still a delivery slot available on Monday.

What I should have done at this point was look at a map of Derbyshire and find a route to bring us here with some breaks for stopping and looking round: it's a mistake to rely on the satnav, because she does what she ia designed to do, and takes you to your destination with no messing about. So instead of a tour of the Peak District, we had motorway broken only by a detour into Bedale where we found a café at the station (on the volunteer run Wensleydale Railway) - so lunch was ham, egg and chips at the Whistle Stop Café - and then negotiating the edges of Sheffield. So one way and another, the travelling hopefully failed to surpass the arriving.

On the other hand, when we were almost here, I demanded at stop at an interesting-looking circular building which turned out to be The Round Building, David Mellor's cutlery works: there's a David Mellor-related design museum, with a lot of cutlery (some of which I could certainly covet) and outside, an arrangement of street furniture (a bench, a bus shelter, a postbox, some bollards) and why not? The shop had some lovely, expensive, ceramics, but what I bought was a lemon zester (silly birthday present and a problem if not solved at least reduced). So that was good.

Time for a chapter or so of my book before dinner.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.