Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Another Long Day

This is a very late post because it has been a very long day.  Yet Waiouru didn’t move more than a foot on her mooring ropes.  At 8.20am the man from Enterprise Rentals arrived to collect us for the short journey to their office at Crewe.  They had the small van we had booked (a VW Caddy) and our first trip in it was a brief drive further up the road to Screwfix where we purchased two wheelbarrow tyres.  Then we headed to our Settlement Checking Service appointment in Manchester. 

The car gps guided us to the Manchester central car park (much sucking of gums when we saw the hourly rate) and the Garmin Oregon gps guided us to the Settlement Office.  We were there early so after confirming the location was correct there was time to have a coffee. 

The interview started 20 minutes early which turned out to be a bonus.  All my efforts in producing a well presented application in a folder was wasted when the official said he wasn’t interested in it.  After checking I had completed the application form correctly he made copies of our various supporting documents before placing the complete collection into a large envelope in no particular sequence.  The receiving officer will now have a jigsaw puzzle working out where everything goes.  The lack of an address did turn out to be an issue but the Checking Service doesn’t have a mandate to resolve that problem.  But I had submitted a letter of explanation which has accompanied the application.  The other problem was the bank statements.  They wanted statements for the last three months and we had a gap of a month.  It was suggested to us that we visit a local branch of each bank and obtain new statements.  A quick search in Google Maps showed there was a HSBC and Lloyds-TSB branch nearby.  The Checking Officer informed us he would hold the envelope for us whilst we obtained the statements.

The HSBC provided Jan with the statements (it’s her account) but they declined to certify them.  The next stop was the Lloyds-TSB branch around the corner.  It was in the process of being renovated with the exterior covered in scaffolding.  Inside there was a very large and empty foyer with a lone male sitting at a desk in one corner.  The desk was clear apart from a computer screen and keyboard.  I suggested Jan get in the queue for the tellers.  However she decided to approach the man sitting on his own.  Frankly, I didn’t know if he was staff or a customer.  As it turned out he was the branch manager and very happy to assist.  Whilst he was tapping away on the keyboard I made conversation (as you do).

Me.  “You’re having the building renovated?”

Him.  “Yes,  they’ve being at it for four months”.

Me.  “It’s a very old and impressive building.  What bank was in here before it became HSBC?”

Him.  “This is lloyds-TSB!”

<Jan looks at me as if I’m a complete idiot>

Me. <oops moment>  “Does this mean you won’t give us any money?”

I managed to move on from my error when I discovered his sister was living in NZ.  He’s the 3rd person we’ve met in the last two days with a relative in NZ.  I don’t understand why England isn’t depopulated and NZ overcrowded. Smile

Back at the Settlement Checking Service the bank statements were copied and the originals returned to us.  Not that we needed them!  The application will be in tonight’s post.  Using the Checking Service had two advantages.  Our documentation was checked to see it was all there and we had all our original documents returned (including passports).

The next step should be advice from the UKBA that they want to collect my biometric data.  Of course they previously collected it for the last visa.  But why not do it again and collect more money off us!  I believe it will be a retina and fingerprint scan. 

The Checking Officer informed me that the visa will not go into my passport.  If When my application is approved I will be issued with a biometric card containing my photo, biometric data and advice I have “Indefinite Leave to Remain” in the UK.  Effectively it will be an identity card.  Apparently I am required to carry the card and present it on demand.  I’ve no problem with that as I’ve previously been in a number of situations where carrying an ID card was mandatory.

Back at the car park Jan cried as she fed the payment machine.  Back to being poor!  Then we headed off to Recliners Direct showroom at Preston, Lancashire to purchase two replacement swivel/recliner chairs whilst we had the van.  They have a free delivery service but we don’t have an address!  The chairs were not available in the showroom so we had to make another 15 minute trip to the warehouse to collect them. 

Rather than head straight to Waiouru we made yet another detour to the Sainsbury’s in Nantwich.  There was plenty of room in the back of the van so we did a very large food shop before returning to Nantwich Canal Centre where we parked in their carpark.  Waiouru was moored some distance away and by the time I’d done six round trips to empty the van I was feeling rather stuffed.  However there’s no rest for the wicked and we immediately started assembling our new chairs.  The cardboard and plastic wrapping was taken to the CRT rubbish skip whilst Jan heated some soup for a late dinner. 

Now sitting in the new chair (very comfortable) typing this blog entry!


Derek and Dot said...

But no photo!

Tom and Jan said...

I know.... I was just too tired to get them into Photoshop, edit them, save to Picasa and then insert in the post! :-)