Those familiar with previous posts,particularly those related to my attempts last year to get some sense out of Jobcentre plus, may by now have an idea how ludicrously complicated English bureaucracy has become since we left. This week, Red Haired Boffin has been trying to get an engineer from the power utility to come and turn off our gas supply so that renovations can proceed safely - especially removal of the old, lethal boiler. All this involves is for an engineer to turn up, check the old supply can be safely turned off (ie there are no leaks inside the house - which these days is done via a 5 minute sweep using an electronic nose, as well as good old eyes, nose and ears), then turn a valve 90 degrees and give me a certificate that new work can now safely proceed.
It has taken the RHB hours on the telephone, and involved one 'missed' appointment (when the engineer turned up uninvited - as we do not live there, and were not expecting him, we were not on-site ), two hours on the phone for me, more phone calls on hold being told how important our call is to npower, and finally an appointment has been arranged. However, you may sympathize, given my previous descriptions of the tangled web weaved by British bureacracy, with the tone of the e-mail I recieved from RHB, notifying me of the appointment she has finally managed to make:
Man is coming on Wednesday afternoon between 1 and 6pm to register the
meter in our name and take a meter reading. Your name should be on
that account. After that you can phone up and make an appointment to
have the meter changed over to normal. This takes at least 3 weeks.
However, the good news is that you can turn off the gas from the meter
- there is a handle that you turn. Ask the meter reading guy on
Wednesday. Although, Npower recommends a Corgi engineer to remove
Apparently, I cannot make an appointment for an engineer to come round
and change the meter over to normal because we are no longer classed
as newly moved in - because of the missed appointment on July 11.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck pig pig pig. Sorry
The true picture of RHB's experience is much more complicated than the short description above, but I find myself losing the will to live on her behalf when she calls to vent just before lunch. I try to cheer her up by replying with an account of my own experiences of the morning:
Thanks and well done.
I am filling in a driving licences form and I either need :
a. Someone who has known me for the last two years, in Hull, who is not a relative to sign that they have known me (HERE!) for the last two years
b. Take my old driving licence down to the local DVLA office, with a marriage certificate, to get someone who does not know me to sign that the photo I present them is me.
So it seems as if the qualifications for driving are:
a. You must be married
b. Government officials, who've known you for 5 minutes, must verify that you are who you say you are. They do this by looking at you."
For me, there is two days, which will probably transmute into a week, of bureaucracy ahead. I already know that the local Governement office that processes applications for student finance has lost my on-line forms - an achievement that we thought impossible, and I have not even started applying for my UK passport yet. It is going to be a long week, but I do realize that yesterday's post, a post which noted optimistically that I have nothing to complain about, is now redundant. Down the road lies dealing with the same company to get electricity and gas reconnected (apparently we cannot transfer accounts from this company - npower - until we get them to reconnect the supplies, as they own the meters), dealing with the local Planning and Building Regulations Office, and finally doing my tax forms for the last year. My tax forms are a source of anticipated dread already - in one tax year I have been 'uncategorisable', 'non-existent', 'unemployed(but not eligible)', workless', ' self employed', 'employed', 'semi-retired' and will shortly be a 'full time student'.