Tuesday, 12 March 2013

It’s probably easier to be an illegal!

We received an email response to my last query regarding the pre-requisites for sitting the “Life in the UK” test which must be passed before applying for a visa to remain in the UK at the expiry of my current “spouse” visa.  I was directed to another branch of the UK Border Agency (UKBA). 

My first attempt to contact them resulted in a brief conversation with a UKBA employee who didn’t appear to have english as a first language,  That, combined with a poor line and my bad hearing proved to be a failure.  She was trying to tell me I need to apply online to book the test whilst I’m trying to explain I can’t book the test until I meet the pre-requisites (post code) which I don’t have.  I need to talk to someone who can resolve this issue.  She just kept telling me in broken english to book online!

Second attempt was to a number that didn’t connect.  Although I paid for it.  All the calls are to numbers that are 0845 or 0870 and my mobile plan “free minutes” won’t connect.  Obviously because you have to pay the UKBA to talk to them.  I tried calling them through skype but that didn’t work either.  Eventually I used Jan’s Australian phone……. success!  But it was a call from UK to Oz to UK and paid twice.  Oh… none of the numbers on the “Say No to 0870” worked!

This time I connected to one of those bl**dy multi-level menu services.  First I’m told there may be a long delay until I speak to someone (I’m paying by time).  After working my way down through three levels of multi-choice options to reach my destination the automatic voice informs me “All our operators are busy at the moment call back later!”  Followed by “This call will disconnect in 30 seconds!”  This is customer service?  And I’m paying for it!!  

At the end of the day I wasn’t able to speak to a human.  Another attempt tomorrow!  Hopefully a better result.

A recent trip to our friends at Screwfix resulted in the purchase of three components we are likely to require sometime in the future.  Today they were assembled.

Yes, it’s cheaper to make a shore power lead.

However there was a problem with the protective cap that fits over the face of the female socket.  It only rotates 180°.

The protective cap only opens this far and that’s not sufficient for our requirement.  Consequentially the cap, spring and hinge mechanism were disassembled and with the use of a hacksaw and metal file the body of the plug was modified and then reassembled to allow the cap to swing back to 270°.

The following photo shows why all this was necessary.

Without the modifications the female socket wouldn’t fit into the recessed shore-power housing in the cockpit.


Peter and Margaret said...

What a farce at the UKBA! It just about sums up the state of our country at the moment.

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

What happens if you only open the cap by 45 degrees - there should be enough depth in the boat socket to accomodate it and lock it in position.

Tom and Jan said...

For every problem there is a solution!

The plug didn't appear to fully go home! Oh.... welcome home! Can you now say fush and chups? :-)

Paul and Elaine said...

Hi Tom
The lid goes inside the socket to lock it in position, you release it with the little blue lever on the left.

No Direction said...

Your first picture shows how it works, the lid engages with the sprag, as Paul and Elaine say, thats what the little blue lever's for.:)

nicknorman said...

Yes, as the others said the flap on the plug goes into the socket!

Sean Wiltshire said...

Why not try Skype, and use prepay credit to contact UKBA, might be cheaper ?

Good Luck


Tom and Jan said...

I tried using Skype pre-paid but that doesn't help if there are no operators available and you're told to phone back by the "canned voice"!