Friday, 31 March 2017

Texas Fever!

Next week I'm off to Texas to deliver a conference paper on Lewis Jones and the move away from explicit political engagement in post-1940 anglophone Welsh literature. No, I don't think talking about a Communist activist with a conviction for sedition will go down badly in the US. Why do you ask?

Anyway, cue Orange Juice, The Day I Went Down To Texas from their wonderful album Texas Fever.

A number of things make me think twice about this trip: flying per se, the sheer amount of carbon being burned, the Views I have about certain political developments in the US. The major stumbling block, however, is my university's website.

I'm going to a country whose healthcare system means that if I break a nail, I'll get a bill equivalent to my shoe allowance for the next decade. I need insurance. That's OK though, it's a work trip, so I'm covered. All I need is a form from the website.

1. Access university website. Search for insurance. No results.
2. Go to finance website. Click 'download insurance form' after clicking through four pages.
3. Error: 404. Cheery message: 'we're working on it'.
4. Phone Finance. Get passed on to someone 'who might know what to do'.
5. She does. She explains that the download doesn't work because we have a new insurer. Yes, the new one isn't mentioned on the website and yes, the old one still is, but hey.
6. Receive link to new provider's page. Fill it in, receive insurance certificate. Excellent. Covered.
7. Receive further email: actually I should only have filled in the old company's form on the website. Return to stage 3.
8. Email helpful person this and explain that I did get a certificate from the second company.
9. Receive one-word reply.

Am I insured? Who knows? This, mark you, is a year or so after an enormously expensive rebuilding of the university's website. Still it gives me the opportunity to reproduce this evergreen XKCD cartoon, which in hindsight looks relatively mild.

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