So, not news I know, but naturally I have to share my tale of licensing woe. Although actually it's not a tale of woe, because although there have been cock-ups and chaos, everyone I have spoken to at BW has been ever so nice and helpful, and this time, they promise, they really will sort it out...
It started when I went to Fradley to fill in - and pay for - a licence application form. Apparently, in the commodious setting of the visitor centre/ice cream emporium I wrote my bank card number down wrong. Six weeks later, I got a phone call to tell me this, and to take the number down again. That's fine, said the nice young man, the post's just about to go, I'll print off your licence and pop it in the post right now.
A couple of days ago, a long, heavy envelope arrived from BW. Uh-oh, I thought. That feels like new plates... Just what I didn't want. Chertsey already has an index number - 70453 - one of the first to be issued when they were first introduced in the early eighties. 519333 might be a perfectly nice number, but I don't want it, thank you very much. The trouble is, Chertsey was last licensed in 1983, so there's no record of it on BW's computer - although I've talked to other people in similar situations, and they have been successful in getting their old number reissued, so I was hopeful. This isn't the cock-up, by the way; no, this is all quite understandable, if disappointing.
It was when I looked at the licence 'discs' they had sent that I realised something wasn't quite right - they had no craft name on them, no index number, and stated 'no permanent mooring'. If they hadn't been just about as dear as a licence could be, I might have made a tidy profit with them. So I got on the phone straight away (fortunately I had a direct number for the nice young man who'd phoned me up previously) and although he wasn't there, his nice young colleague has promised to sort everything out, and to arrange to reissue the old index number as well. So... watch this space.