I don’t like Mondays and I hate the rest of the week

Welcome to Lynne Mortimer’s Grumpy Hour. Unlike Happy Hour, prices aren’t reduced, in fact they’re up. And so is VAT. What’s more, I’ve eaten all the Christmas chocolate.

I am definitely not my usual sunny self, ask my husband . . . don’t bother. I asked him and he said: “What sunny self is that, Lynne?” But it’s the same every February – the triple whammy of Valentine’s Day, my birthday and the car insurance renewal.

“Shop around,” the experts tell us airily, “you could save hundreds of pounds.”

Yes, but it won’t save you a nasty dose of lap-top finger.

As I navigated about 15 insurance sites offering instant quotations, I got sick and tired of entering the details of the three additional named drivers – my husband, daughter and son – who might, in extremis, need to use my little car.

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It is very tempting to add a few others . . .

Surname: Windsor.

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Forename: Charles.

Date of birth: November 14, 1948.

Relation to named driver: Ruler.

Occupation (select from list): Unskilled (heir apparent was not one of the options).

Claims made in last five years: Throne.

Answer not recognised, please re-enter number of insurance claims: None.

Convictions in last five years: None.

It’s nice to think that if His Royal Highness found himself stranded in my street after the Peter Andre concert in the park with no means of getting back to Highgrove I could lend him my Ford Ka. It’s quite roomy in the front, though the body guards might find it a bit of a squash in the back.

There are other drivers who might cost rather more to insure:

Surname: Noddy.

Forename: Little.

Date of Birth: June 1, 1949.

Relation to named driver: Childhood friend.

Occupation: Taxi driver.

Claims in last five years: 37.

Details: See attached. Reports written by Pc Plod the policeman and witness statements from the Skittle family, Big Ears and Tessie Bear.

Convictions in last five years: None (on each occasion Noddy promised not to do it again and ad hoc punishments were handed down by the local bobby. E.g: Shining Pc Plod’s shoes every day for a week; helping Big Ears keep his little house clean, etc).

I thought about adding Jeremy Clarkson, but resisted and carried on with the serious business of online form-filling, getting more and more irritable.

The lowest quote was a shade under �300 and the highest, although it did include a few attractive extras, was �828.49.

One comparison website (involving a moustachioed operatic tenor, but not meerkats) wouldn’t even take me past the personal details stage of form filling.

When I gave my title as “Miss” and my marital status as “married” it threw a complete wobbly. A red haze was placed over a section of the page: “Marital status does not correspond with title” it advised me.

It appears the Go Compare website does not recognise my right to retain my maiden name.

It brought out all my latent 1970 s feminism. It was all I could do to stop myself ripping off my bra and hurling it on to the fire. Three things stopped me. First, we don’t have a fire; second and third . . . well, I needed access to the keyboard.

Instead, consumed by righteous indignation, I shot off the following e-mail to their feedback address:

“I attempted to complete the quote application, but I could not be Miss Lynne Mortimer (my full name) and be married (I have been for nearly 33 years).

“The choice to use my maiden name and title was taken in 1978 and I would have thought that an insurance website might have caught up with this by 2011.

“As it is I have abandoned my attempt to get a quote from you.

“Yours in amazement”

The instantaneous acknowledgement informed me that they aim to respond within 48 hours. It’s good to talk.

I find it hard to believe I am the only married woman who kept her maiden name and refused to default to the unpronounceable affliction of the throat known as “Ms”. That is not a title it’s a speech impediment. If there must be a third way – although I don’t see why there should be – let’s have a word that doesn’t sound as if it’s stuck halfway down your windpipe.

So, at the tender (tender because I’m sensitive about it) age of nearly 56 my “conflicting” name and marital status mean that I am someone who cannot exist for the purposes of Go Compare car insurance quotations.

Go Compare can go jump.

And that was just February 1.


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