Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who wants to be a milliner?

The Goat’s recent silence on the InterTubes of late has been because of other rather more pressing engagements. One of these involved the Goat’s almost full passport. Others involved beer.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a British UAE resident has to send his applications for a replacement passport to Düsseldorf rather than the previous system that involved having it done at the local British Embassy. First pay £15 to PayPal to obtain permission to download the application form, then send off the form, old passport and nearly €300. “Up to” six weeks later, the new passport would arrive.

Unfortunately, having his residence visa cancelled upon termination of employment would give the Goat four weeks to leave the country. The potential for being trapped without a passport and incurring fines for illegally remaining in the UAE rather encouraged a holiday in Blighty.

So the Goat applied for a same-day appointment at Nanny Goat’s local passport office, picked up the application form for free from the local post office, and now has a new biometric passport. Huzzah! Visits to the in-laws in the USA without all that pesky form-filling to get a visa are now possible.

The Immigration and Passport Service has to be self-funding. It is, of course, completely unreasonable that the British taxpayer subsidises Mrs Trellis’ holiday from North Wales to Benidorm; arguably more so when the travel involves a tax-free job in Dubai. Thus a standard UK passport currently costs around £78. Same-day service by special appointment and a jumbo 48-page document is £140ish. As £78 apparently covers all the costs of the IPS, the Goat idly speculates as to the justification of nearly €300 for Brits abroad.

Travel costs didn’t count in the Goat’s case because he was going anyway.

Visiting family and friends, the Goat borrowed Nanny Goat’s car and gave it the sort of thrashing that the old rented Yaris received between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and achieved the same result: 40mpig, or 7l/100km for the rest of the planet. Poor little City Rover.

Thank you to Mr and Mrs Thrash, the Gnomad and Gnomadette, and the Lawful Goods of Cowplain for their hospitality, food and the opportunity for boating on the Thames.

The weather on the run up to Easter was gloriously sunny, even resulting in the Goat getting slightly sunburned in the open cockpit of the MV Jedi between Sunbury-upon-Thames and Windsor. Next time, wear some form of hat. A new record for possibly the slowest passage was caused by repeatedly having the river locks slammed shut in our faces because they were full of other boaters who had had the same idea involving sunny weather and messing about in boats. By the time we arrived, all mooring spots were taken and the Good Ship Jedi had to be rafted three out. This made getting small children ashore an entertaining experience; just as well they’re used to this sort of thing.

Incidentally, the Goat was appalled when his host produced a French flag. In England. On St George’s Day. And Bill Shakespeare’s birthday. There was some feeble excuse about it being an unused courtesy flag for a boat trip over the Channel that was postponed because of foul weather.

Moored in a very busy Windsor, it was noted that Her Maj., Mrs Liz Windsor was in residence up at the local castle. Witness the Royal Standard flying from the topmost tower. The Goat shared his speculation that, because of her grandson’s upcoming wedding, she might have actually been down the hat shop. (Although in Soviet Russia, as the ancient memes say, the hat shop comes to you.) Nanny Goat, who was in London on a coach trip at the time, reports that Her Maj.’s car was actually parked outside Westminster Abbey on Thursday while the monarch was inside doling out Maundy money.

Now back chez Nanny Goat, her offspring is bemoaning the fact that the display on his new mobile phone has died. A fully-functional phone, but no access to any menus, is worse than useless except for receiving voice calls. Imagine being unable to read all the texts that can be heard arriving. And it can’t even be backed up. The Goat has tried and failed to switch on Bluetooth by Braille, and suspects another new handset may be in order.



Anonymous said...

tmil is greatly relieved that the goat is once more "legal". She does not wish MmeCyn to be unsettled. tmil wishes she were in UK with the goat instead of in very, very hot Jacksonville. Safe trip home...btw seems a shame that the Goat and MmeCyn cannot synchronize their trips more effectively.

Grumpy Goat said...

My concerns about being fined for being unable to leave because my passport is in Germany are vindicated: This letter. And also this.

Martín said...

Goat's mood seems to be like the euro, going up =P
good for you, mate.


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