Today started ridiculously early. We have to get a letter from our UK motor insurers sent to Canada so that we can get our insurance for the motor-home. Until we know that that is sorted we will not release the money to buy it. If we can, we want to get it all sorted by 2:30pm UK time which is 9:30am in this part of Canada, as that will then enable us to pick up the motor-home tomorrow. We know its tight because of the time difference but we decided to give it a go anyway.
That meant an alarm call at 3.30am to get on the phone to our insurers. Bearing in mind they are a major clearing bank and their insurance is underwritten by one of the UK's main insurers the process was painful. Their staff are not allowed to make outbound calls or to send email or to send faxes to non UK numbers!! Added to that they have a multi level auto attendant and if you cannot remember which menu options you selected first time round you have no chance of getting back to the same person the next time you call.
Olly did his best and said that in three to five days he could send us a letter. I explained that we needed the letter today and that he could not send it to us as we have no address in Canada. He cannot send a fax to the broker in Canada so were were stumped until Stef remembered his efax number. All seemed OK but then he remembered that he cannot then forward his efaxes on to someone else unless they also have the software to read them. At 3:30 in the morning we were not at our sharpest thinking of other options. Thoughts went to home and solution. My sister Beccie gets to work early and works as a fund manager so an international fax should not be a problem. As expected, she saved the day but was probably a bit stunned to get a very groggy call from me that early.
The real hassle started when I tried to get back to Olly to ask him to send the fax to Beccie too. The first chap at the insurers was curt and could not put me through to customer services, could not tell me what number to call but eventually put me through. The next lady was also abrupt and could not understand my surprise that she could not find my motor policy. She finally said she was home insurance not motor. Aaarrrggghhh!!
Eventually, getting Olly, he had already done the letter for us and sending it to Beccie was no problem. This second call took sixteen minutes and, for the first time in two months, made me think about work. Having been responsible for a call centre at work I know what an impossible task they have to know the answers to all the questions people ask them. Even so I think my insurers put on a pretty poor show. I did not get back to sleep until about 5:00am.
The alarm went off again at 8:00. We want to make sure the insurance letter has come through and been accepted by the Canadian insurers in time to send the money through before the 9:30am Canadian time cut off. Our hotel has no internet access, printer or fax for us to use so at 9:00 we were waiting for the internet "cafe" to open - its is a coffee shop with a PC in the corner. Fortunately it is run by North Hatley's IT consultant and he let us use his office to print and fax our letter to the bank. The insurance has been confirmed but not in time to do the money transfer until tomorrow. It has been along and tortuous process but it looks like we will have our motor-home on Friday.
We decided to head back to Magog today and to spend the time at the lake. The town is busy but we got space at a local B&B. We have the "suite", really designed as a family room it has a double bedroom, lounge with a sofa bed and a big bathroom with a claw foot bath. The owners are from Provence and are tiny. The lady hardly speaks and the man is like a munchkin but they are friendly enough and the room is comfy and clean - and it is hot!!
Going via a depanneur (convenience store) to pick up bits for a picnic lunch, we headed round the bay to the beach at the other side. Here we spent a couple of hours just sitting and gazing out at the water. We were meant to be catching up on diaries (woefully behind again!) but both kept staring into space. Our uninterrupted lake view quickly got added colour - three local elderly ladies decided to set up camp in front of us with their very hot little terrier dog. The family to our right also encroached Stef's personal space as they moved to follow the sun.
Bob at work had bought me an inflatable beach ball globe as a leaving pressie. We blew it up and reminisced about the place we have been to. I have bought a marker pen so we can track our progress across the globe as we go and we update out trail. It started to cloud over and started to get very muggy. There were distant rumbles of thunder. We decided to head back into town and go for the boat cruise on the lake - abandoned when they wanted $57 (almost £30) for the privilege.
As we are both running short of clean clothes I persuaded Stef that as I had seen a launderette in town, perhaps we should go and do our washing rather than wasting the afternoon. We played dumb at the B&B asking if there was a launderette, hoping they would say we could use their washing machine. They did not! The launderette took us back to student days. Its amazing how complex a simple thing like washing clothes becomes when you use unfamiliar machines. I have not seen a top loading washing machine since we went to California in 2000, and stayed at beach apartments in Pajaro Dunes.
Most of our clothes are synthetic, wickables (quick drying) and we are wary about putting them in a tumble dryer. Before we had gone to the launderette I had done a quick reccie of our suite to assess whether I would be able to hang it all up to dry. We have clothes draped absolutely everywhere drying. I just hope they all dry in time for us to pack them in the morning.
We headed our for dinner about an hour or so later. As we sat on a terrace outside there were streaks of lightening off into the distance behind the clouds. The lightening got brighter and came closer and the pub moved everyone inside. For the next ten minutes we watched really heavy rain pour down outside. Lightening flashes continued for a while after the rain had stopped. The storm had not completely cleared the air. It was still muggy when we went for a post dinner stroll by the lake. Stef's testing of the water was short lived. It was nice and warm but the mossies were out in force. We ambled along the boat jetty and up a small observation tower, built in memory of the lakes equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. The lights of the town twinkled below us.
On our way back to our hotel we stopped at the pub we ate at two nights ago for a night cap. We had a friendly welcome from the waitress, unfortunately not matched by the flavour of the beer and wine. It was after midnight by the time we left.