Just when you think nothing can go wrong..............
My latest non-functioning boat, "Charleston" a Fairey Superswordsman, has now reached Southampton on it's travels from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Alderney CI. Ship arrived on time. I've got the relevant paperwork faxed off to my shipping agents in Southampton. The truck is booked for Monday morning to take her to Portland for onward shipment. The police have been notified in case an escort is needed. I've booked my tickets and made arrangements to stay with friends near Southampton on Sunday night. The previous owner has Fedex'ed the keys and bill of sale to me. What could go wrong? Then I get the phone call from the agent at 3 this afternoon, "Your boat hasn't cleared customs and it looks like you won't be able to pick it up on Monday either". "What's the problem?" , I ask. "Customs are short-staffed and they don't work weekends", is the reply. Gritting my teeth a little, I ask the shipping agent lady if she can contact customs and ask them, pretty please could they let me queue jump on account of having air tickets, truck, police escort, etc booked. She rings me back with a negative. Unlikely boat will clear customs even on monday. Begger, Damn and poo, I think to myself, "Could you really, really ask them sooooooooo nicely again". Shipping lady rings back "Sorry but you'll have to re-arrange for Tuesday" she says. "Can't do that, air tickets non-changeable and police need 48 hours notification of wide loads" I reply. "Nothing else we can do" she tells me. Flip, Heck, and Rowlocks, I think seeing substantial sums of my hard earned readies going up in smoke. Not willing to let that happen I decide I've got nowt to lose by phoning the Southampton Customs office myself. Much to my surprise and delight a very understanding and helpful Customs lady promises to mark it as "Urgent" and estimates it should clear by about 08.30 Monday. If it hasn't, ask the agent to give her a call and she'll chase it. Whoopee-doo, a government official who actually cares! I hope she's as good as her word cos I don't think my nerves will cope with any more last minute snags.
<hr width=100% size=1>One of these days I'll have a boat that WORKS
One of these days I'll have a boat that WORKS