I have already confessed to a loss of focus in recent weeks and, in truth, this had been a problem for some time, entirely unconnected to Ros. However, inspired by the need to be there for her, I've been working on getting things in order, a task which has been made unexpectedly more difficult by technology.
Since moving home, I've had broadband difficulties, in that I haven't had it. I fully accepted that, by moving house, there would be a loss of service, and took what I thought were the necessary steps with AOL to facilitate the changeover. After a few weeks, Ros made the point that I should have received an e-mail telling me that I now had my services back, so I called AOL to find out what was happening.
I was told that there was a tag on the line, and that my request for renewed broadband services had lapsed. Understandably, I was somewhat disappointed that they had not seen fit to tell me that such a problem existed, especially considering that they provide me with an e-mail address. However, being a pragmatic soul, I asked what would be required to progress matters, to be told that I needed to call BT and ask them to remove the tag, evidently put there by a former user of the line.
So, fortified by a sense of progress, albeit delayed, I rang BT, or at least tried to. A number of attempts to speak to someone (anyone?) foundered on the rocks of their apparent inability to sufficiently staff their helplines, but eventually I reached someone who, clearly irritiated by the fact that I had actually scaled each of the barriers placed before me, told me that AOL were wholly wrong, and that they (AOL) would have to ring BT Wholesale to seek the removal of the tag.
A decidedly unimpressed bureaucrat then rang AOL, who promised that they would ring BT Wholesale after the Bank Holiday weekend (by this time, it was 6 p.m. on the Friday evening, and BT Wholesale had clearly gone home to harass old ladies or whatever) but that I would have to ring them on the Tuesday morning to remind them to do so.
I'd had a lovely weekend in Shropshire with Ros, and returned to the 'real world' on the Tuesday morning, newly invigorated, so I rang AOL who, keeping me on the line, rang BT Wholesale, who in turn generously told them that they wouldn't talk to the service provider and insisted on talking to me. Another phone call to make, and a slightly less invigorated bureaucrat rang a special BT line, expecting the worst.
But lo, I found a very polite young man at the other end of the line, who explained what the issue was, and what needed to be done (it's apparently very technical and I couldn't possibly explain it to you). He couldn't do it himself, but would e-mail his technical team, indicating the urgency of the matter (by this time, I'd gone thirty-nine days without broadband).
I asked if he could copy me in on the e-mail, only to be told that he'd done that in the past, and been strongly discouraged from doing so by management, a sad indictment of modern day customer service, if ever I saw one. However, he assured me that the matter would be progressed quickly, and suggested that I call back on Thursday to check on progress. I then rang AOL, explained the position, and was told that they would put a rotating order on record, that would be reviewed every forty-eight hours and, if the line was now open, the order for services would be placed.
On Thursday, I rang BT, only to be told that the order status was inconclusive. The equally helpful young man said that he would have the matter looked into, and that I might want to call again on Monday to be reassured.
Another idyllic weekend passed in deepest Suffolk, and I returned to the fray this morning. Miracle of miracles, BT confirmed that the tag was gone, AOL advised that they have now placed the order, which now includes faster broadband (6MB, whatever that means and please don't try to explain, it makes my head hurt...), free evening and weekend telephone calls (which might yet prove very useful indeed) and a bunch of other stuff. With any luck, I should have broadband up just in time to go to Brighton where, naturally, it won't be of any use at all...
Technology, isn't it marvellous?