Saturday, 28 June 2008

A bit slapped out

That’s how I’m feeling right now. I’ve railed against the Post Office, the Pension Service, incompetent employees, arrogant and stupid sales assistants, unruly children, etc. etc. and I find myself without anyone to slap. Not that there aren’t things that are irritating me at the moment, but they’re a bit too personal to blog about.

So...I am opening these pages to you, dear readers. For a few days.

Be my guests – slap away!

Play nice, though. I can’t edit comments: if yours is too rude, inflammatory or libellous, I won’t be able to publish it at all.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Breathing more freely

I am pleased to report that I am indeed alive. It was confirmed by a nice woman at the French Consulate yesterday. I met my latest deadline on Sunday night, and first thing on Monday morning – since it’s only open until noon – I set off for the French Consulate. The process took all of five minutes and I was told that, although the Attestation d’existence says it should be filled in and signed by an official in the country of residence of the French national applying for a pension, in fact the form has to be processed by the French Consulate and no one else, and it would have been returned to me even if the Hammersmith town hall had agreed to do it. It’s a little game they’re playing: let’s see whether that person manages to guess where they should be going, hee hee!

Having to go to South Kensington in the morning nearly killed me, which would have been rather ironic, wouldn’t it, if I’d died trying to prove I was alive.

While I was in the area, I went to see the newly reopened Jewellery Gallery at the V&A. It’s out of this world – I was drooling. Once they’ve removed a beautiful silver Star of David, found in Spain in the 15th century and labelled simply and erroneously ‘Star Ornament’ (!), from the display entitled ‘The Islamic World’ – or given it its proper Jewish name – it will be perfect.

One more bugbear: if the V&A specify that large bags may not be taken into the gallery, they need to provide something for visitors to put their valuables in. Do they really expect people to leave behind their money, their keys, their precious Attestations d’existence? No way! I shouldn’t have had to beg the cloakroom attendant for one of those transparent bags they supply to people who use the library, nor should I have had to lie and say I’d travelled specially to see the exhibition that morning. Slap!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

...therefore I am?

So, because I’m no spring chicken and because I worked in France for a few years before moving to the UK, I'm entitled to a couple of peanuts from the French government. So far so nice.

Hmm... Yesterday, I received a form from the French pension service headed Attestation d’existence, which reads,
‘We the undersigned hereby certify that So-and-So [basically, me] is alive, having appeared before us today.’
I need to have it filled in by some petty official (officials are always petty), preferably in a big, imposing official building (it doesn’t actually say which one would be suitable). The British pension service believed the person who spoke to them on the phone a dozen times and who sent them a whole bumf was me. But, the French, you know, are much more suspicious, much less gullible. So I have to prove to them that I exist.

I think I do, but will the person behind the counter agree?

How easy will it be to prove my existence, I wonder. Harder than proving that of God, I fear.

Update (9/06/2008): As expected, I have been passed from pillar to post at the Hammersmith & Fulham town hall and the officials have been very petty. ‘We don’t do this kind of thing in this country!’ Er, could you go and tell the French, please? It would save a lot of aggro.

In the meantime, I have to traipse to the French Consulate: they said they would probably be able to find someone to fill in that form for me.

To be continued...