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...


  1. That' officialdom the world over for you! Can't you just take the form and your passport(s) to the Embassy, or is that too much information for them to make you privy to?
    Talking of pensions, at least you are now entitled to your UK one. I've just this minute discovered that I'm going to have to wait until I'm 63 and 3 months before getting mine, when I expected to receive it when I reached 60.

  2. Just pass them on to us. We can all tell them that you are you, Bela!

  3. S, I'm sure the French Consulate would do it for me, but it's miles away, I have a deadline at the end of the week and the French people want the form back asap (although, they've made me wait several months for a sign of life from them) so I'm gonna try the Hammersmith & Fulham town hall first. I have a feeling they're gonna think I'm crazy, but I'm phoning them first thing tomorrow (Monday).

    Oh, you poor thing! I know someone who's going to have to wait until she's 67... For my part, I haven't quite got used to the wonder of seeing a small sum of money appear in my bank account every week. I still go, 'Oh, look, someone sent me money! How nice of them!' LOL! It's only been a few weeks; I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually.

    ROTFL! Shall I, IIWQ? Actually, they don't know from Bela, do they?

  4. Bela, not only are you getting a small income into your bank, but you can now look forward to insultingly small increases every once in a while.

  5. S, I was going to mention that! LOL! Such an insult!

  6. lady jane grey10/06/2008, 17:09

    Hm, they would PROBABLY find somebody... - and what if not ?!
    Why they always make a form or questionnair without being sure that there IS somebody who's going to confirm / fill in / stamp / whatever. I know what are you talking about : I live in a country where I'm a foreigner and have to deal with similar Kafkaesque situations all the time. A BIG SLAP !!! PLS keep us updated (and keep quiet, relax).

  7. Red tape strikes again!
    I guess the French are like us: they want to reeeeeally make sure someone else takes the blame if anything is amiss!


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