Monthly Archives: October 2010

An October Sunday on t’Moor

Lovely, lovely weekend.



The above title needs to be pronounced a la Alan Cumming in Goldeneye (by the way, if you’ve never seen him as Emcee in Cabaret, get thee to Youtube and bask in the freakiness. So good).

I recently had two MAJOR triumphs over bureaucracy and The System. I’m very proud of myself.

It’s a very long story (which I may at some point tell), but yesterday I ended up having to cancel my contract with 3. Mostly, to tell the short version, because they’re bad. Bad bad people. A series of events led to me spending AN HOUR on the phone to customer services, wandering up and down Briggate in Leeds, getting bad looks from rah girls I kept accidentally crab walking, and ogling all the unbelievably cute babies out and about today. Seriously, it was like an adorable baby and happy parent parade. Have you seen Father of the Bride 2? It was like Nina’s side of the road.

However, all this chubby cheeked joy could not detract from the misery of being passed around no less than 7 different customer service operators, all definitely in Mumbai, some definitely not able to speak much English other than the words on their scripts. There may have been more than 7 people, I lost count. I got put on hold a million times, where they played me Lady Gaga, Boston, and Diana Vickers. It was odd.

In the end, through an artful combination of righteous anger, calm rationality, deep disappointment and an absolute determination that I was in the right and would get my way, they agreed to terminate my contract free of charge. They were originally going to charge me over £300. I told the guys in Phones4U what I’d achieved and they offered me a job, ha.

The only worry is that they said someone would phone me within 24 hours to arrange the cancellation… I’m getting a bit nervous that it won’t happen. Well, if it doesn’t happen, I’m phoning them again, and then I’m emailing Watchdog. Lets see how 3 like them apples. Them Ann Robinson apples.

To reward myself for being so patient and kick-ass, I went to HMV and bought Muppets Treasure Island on DVD. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on a very fabulous Tim Curry as Long John Silver, and a really nice running joke about Fozzie and the man who lives in his finger. I’m not selling it very well, but trust me. Also, there’s a certain connotation in the way Miss Piggy says, “Why hello, Loooong John” that I didn’t get when I was younger, but changed my view of Piggy forever once I realised.

But I digress. That evening, having watched Aladdin with the girls (and ruined it for Katherine by pointing out that Aladdin looks like Ben Stiller and Jasmine looks like Janice from Friends) and feasted on an enormous red wine spaghetti bolognaise, I finally defeated the biggest bureaucracy monster currently menacing my innocent life- the Genuinely Terrifying and Torturous Rage-osaur. Also known as the GTTR, more commonly understood to mean the Graduate Teacher Training Registry.

So, I had worked pretty hard on my personal statement, and consulted one or two learned people three or four million times just to get it to the point where I felt it both represented me, and sold me, to universities. I waited eagerly for the applications to open online, because I wanted to get in there as early as possible- I’ve mentioned before the cut-throat nature of the selection process. Finally the day came, I logged on and… the form was so full of glitches that I couldn’t even fill it out. I couldn’t add my degree to the form because there was no option for people who are graduating this year! Bizarre, considering the majority of first time applicants are probably in their final year of uni.

I couldn’t add my reference to the form because it wouldn’t believe that I’d put her phone number into the required box. It wouldn’t let me add any GCSE’s to the form other than English and Maths. It was most frustrating. So, it’s been a good few weeks now, in which I’ve tried the form at least twice every day to see if it was working yet. I’ve spoken to their customer services a few times as well (although they’re so busy there were often occasions when they couldn’t even put me in the queue to be spoken to). Their reps were so much more friendly and helpful than 3’s, which is a credit to them. Well, not really. It’s not hard to be better than 3. But the GTTR staff were very polite and understanding, which I thought was brilliant considering how cahrazy busy it must be for them right now. I didn’t even have to use righteous anger or anything.

But I just find it so ridiculous that they don’t seem to have road-tested the form before sending it out to thousands of people. And every applicant was having different glitches, so they couldn’t even just change the whole thing. The amount of time it took for things to start working was unbelievable… I became pretty certain that their technicians who were working on the ‘essential maintenance’ actually consisted of Neil and Bob from IT, fiddling around a bit with the system during breaks from Call of Duty.

Anyway, yesterday I phoned customer services again and stated the final issues with my form (not being able to input my GCSEs). The lady took my ID number, promised to send it to Neil and Bob, and sent me on my merry way. Fast forward to 11.30 last night, I’m idly clicking away on GTTR on the off chance, all previous hope and butterflies having being extinguished by weeks of disappointment. I didn’t even cross my fingers when I clicked ‘Save’. But suddenly! My AQA double award Science GCSE (CC, I’m no Einstein) saved! It was on the form! RWAHAHAHAHA! I may in fact have actually said ‘RWAHAHAHAHA!’ to Jack down the phone, which he took as an excuse to say goodnight and leave his crazy girlfriend to apply for teacher training. Which she did.

And now I have finished the form, clicked some buttons, and am just waiting for my tutor to give a reference and then WHEEEEE, off it goes! To Southampton, Portsmouth, Bath and Bristol.

And now is the time to cross my fingers and be patient. Hmm, patience -not my strong point.  But keep that under your hat, because apparently patience is vital to be a teacher. Patience and a sense of humour. Maybe I can just deploy the sense of humour when the patience is wearing thin.