The got goat . . .

In the Wild Goat Park as you drive through Galloway Forest, some two dozen denizens enjoy grain and vegetable handouts from passers-by

There are a few things that, as we say, ‘really get my goat.’ Our late father had such quirks, of which one in particular was doors left ajar. He had a morbid fear of squirrels which could create great havoc in attic spaces.

In our old home, we devised a variety of strategies to keep various pets separated. One of the best gambits was my installation of an automatic door closing system; simples, really, no recriminations, and no animals at each others’ throats. But I have been bedevilled for well over a month now by the inconvenience of accessing email from one of our long-term service providers. The challenge started with our move; we were supposed to have kept our addresses, and I presumed, our mail accessibility, with a reduced bill for email only, sans broadband.

My goat began to be needed, as we actually don’t say, when remote access suddenly stopped. Enquiry with the provider indicated that we’d been told incorrectly. To maintain service to our laptop or iPad client mailer, so that we could read communiqués as we’d always done, we needed to have availed ourselves of the Premium service. We could use the clunky web browser service, just not our client software. So we upgraded to Premium, fair enough. But there was no change: ‘Your user name and password are not recognised.’

Back and forth I went, between service provider and Apple Tech Support. Neither could offer any solution. It seemed to my faltering lay-mind that there was a blockage at the service provider end, but I could not persuade their call centre staff that this must be so. Yesterday morning, a slow Sunday, I thought I’d try again. It seemed like a lighter load at the other end too, as the call was answered quickly and the support folks were very cheerful and eager to help.

We went through the permutations again. No resolution. More experienced tech staff were interrogated: why don’t you try resetting your password, see what transpires then? No joy. Okay then, how about trying our own fancy client app? It doesn’t work on Mac laptops! But it might work on the iPhone, and sure enough, I could install it while the support hung on. We tried to login again: the diagnostic was different this time! Your Basic Plan does not support remote client access! Un huh.

Another interrogation of the database by the support staff revealed a previously unavailable file called ‘What to do if the customer has a Premium account but the service insists they are on a Basic Plan.’ A new form must be filled out by the tech support to request a toggle switch on our account to allow remote access. We would be cleared to go within three working days.

That was the metaphorical goat I’d been looking for, for weeks and weeks! Now that I’ve actually ‘got the goat’ (the saying comes from a long-standing practice of stabling a placid goat with an anxious horse, for its calming effect) I can let the anxiety subside. I was beginning to think that I should need a small herd of goats to assuage my frustration, but just now the emails from the last six weeks have come crashing in.

Now if I can only figure out how to retrieve all the many thousands of historical emails associated with that account that have disappeared somewhere in my laptop’s memory during this service hiatus.

That, sadly, may be a goat too far, until I can locate the hard drive where the computer’s time machine has stored things for me to retrieve.

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