Friday, January 07, 2011

New Year Frustrations

Well here we are once again, with a New Year upon us, and after the Christmas Festivities and the New Year frolicking, it is again time to face the realities of the year ahead.

Whilst Riga has been basking in snow, snow snow and more snow, indeed as I write this I am watching out of the window a serious dumping of more of the white stuff upon us, Riga has apperently had over 64cm of snow since Christmas, and I should know as I have seen to be doing nothing but did my little car out of the damn stuff !! - but the upside is that it looks pretty.

This year is a major milestone in my life - I will reach 65 years in April ( The 19th if you want to send presents !) - and so I will qualify for my UK Government pension, but first of course one needs to apply for same.

So to start the ball rolling I contacted the pension centre in Newcastle, who first delivered the bad news - one cannot get ones pension paid into a Latvian bank account - no explanation - just a fact. However I was advised that to start thing moving I should go on-line and make my application.

Now one would have thought that this would a relatively simple form to complete, as after all the gods of government have following my every move since I was 16 years old - but no !!! - the form wanted every detail of my life, complete job history since I was 16, including salary and tax paid - they even wanted my address here in Latvia - but as they had written the letter to me advising me of my forthcoming pension - did they not already know that ??

I tell you unless you have recorded every detail of your life this form is nearly impossible to complete, and then at the very end they tell me that I have to send my birth certificate - don't they believe me I was born ??

Anyhow after nearly two hours online the form was ready apart from one small detail - a bank account, clearly I needed a UK bank acount, but guess what I cannot open one as I am not a resident of the UK !!! - and without one I cannot submit my application - but where there is a will there is a way, and with a litttle assistance from my daughter A....... ( she who works at a UK bank) - the problem was solved, and the form submitted.

However as much as I can fill out the form online, her majesty's pension service cannot use e-mail to communicate only snail mail - so lord only knows if my four months notice will be enough - time will tell.

And so begins my new Year - smothered in snow and UK bureaucracy !!

Well that my first instance of grumpiness for 2011 - I am sure there will be more in the months to come - however grumpiness may have its upside, to quote the Daily Mail "Being grumpy could soon become a desirable quality, as new research has found short-tempered people are likely to be more advanced on the evolutionary scale."

This was after a study by That esteemed institution Harvard University - mind you apparently the research was carried out on monkeys - hmmmmm

Otherwise all is quitewell in Riga, the pubs - Kiwi Bar, Donnegans and Paddy Whelans all having a busy new Year, although the latter is just recovering from havings its kitchen burn down, just before Christmas.

So as I head off to once more "play" in the snow, may I wish all of you who read my meanderings a very Happy and Prosperous New Year


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