Friday, 7 May 2010

Bull, horns, nettle, horse, stable door

Well, my friends, yesterday was rubbish. I wrote 427 words, shouted a great deal at the dog, lay self-pityingly in the bath and stared down the barrel of a Tory government. On top of that I became obsessed with the strange green colour under my fingernails, which the internet tried to convince me was some kind of hideous bacterial fingernail infection, caused by my poor personal hygiene and likely to prove fatal. I would like to state for the record that I do NOT have a fingernail infection. No no no. Medical professionals have now assured me of this. I probably have very tenacious cake colouring in my nail beds, we reckon. I have painted my nails to cover it up. I never paint my nails, this is a clear sign of yesterday's prevalent shame levels.

So, let's reformulate that. The good news is that the bastard Tories don't have a real majority and that I am not about to expire from gangrenous fingers. Also, OPI "We'll Always Have Paris" looks quite nice on my gigantically long fingers with their radically trimmed claws (for fear of spreading the fictional bacteria). I feel slightly vampish, which can only have helped on my criminally overdue visit to the Commune this morning. The Commune is not a bunch of hippies in a tent playing bongos. Difficult as it is to imagine, it is WORSE. The Commune is the centre of Belgo-local administration, like the Town Hall, a dusty place, packed to the gills with lost souls pleading for a chance to contribute to the Belgian economy. As an immigrant, you are summoned there regularly to prove your fitness to live in Belgium by bringing them proof of your great grandfather's income, four of your baby teeth, all your qualifications certificates including your failed Grade 5 Clarinet and your Cycling Proficiency, a fragment of the True Cross, a phial of TinTin's blood, and €17 in 20 cent pieces, one each from the 27 member states of the European Union.

As a result of this, and of my own paranoid terror of administration, I have been a Commune refusenik for the past (sssh) six months. My situation has filled me with a nagging fear that officials would come and turn me out of my bed in the middle of the night demanding to see my Tufty Club membership card, though not quite enough fear to galvanise me into walking the 100 yards up the road to the Commune and turning myself in. In fact what actually happened was that they talked to the CFO about me. See? They Know Things. He said their tone was "glacial". The CFO does not go big on adjectives, so it put the fear of god into me, and I scurried along there this morning with my pitiful paper folder of ancient baby photos and documents from the police declaring me to be mentally incompetent to carry legal tender.

Guess what? It was FINE. Well, there was a little light tutting, and I'm not fully paperworked up yet, but there was no lecture, no 'more in sorrow than in anger' dissection of my defective brain chemistry, no gigantic fine. Next step is to wait for a policeman to come round to the house to check I live here (yes, this is standard practice), then some jiggery pokery with codes, but there is some possibility that by this summer I will once again be LEGAL.

On the strength of this I am heading off into town to try and replace my health insurance card (also inconnu au bataillon since November). Clearly, this is pure folly, but I am striking while the iron is at least lukewarm. Wish me godspeed.

19 comments:

AQ said...

Godspeed, my Waffle. May you and your lovely plummy nails strike gold.

Johnners said...

Such bravery! Am watching the BBC coverage of Nick Clegg's CAR - not him, just his car, driving about. I am really hoping they've got the wrong one and it's a pizza delivery. People are now clapping him for getting out of the car. This country gets more and more strange - can you explain it all with some fruit please? Ta.

Lisa-Marie said...

Check you out doing official stuff. It sounds a bit like the first passport interview thing.

I really fucking hope Gordon Brown hangs on. The thought of Tory rule again makes me want to cry ans shout at the same time.

awhirlinlondon said...

Congratulations! And for striking while the iron is... well. If you have a second round of "it wasn't quite so bad" wonder if you'll surge on and replace the driver's licence? am incredibly impressed.

Thank you for another gorgeous post. And yes. Sob. Tories. Nononononno.

AnonyGay said...

You confronted the commune without flying into a bureaucratically-induced rage? You are MADE of temerity, Waffle! I am tipping my be-sequined hat to you.

I assume if a hear a shriek from the general direction of the centre this afternoon that it is you blowing your lid at the insurer's....

Bryony said...

last night was not as bad as that barrel we were all staring down - no BNP for a start - will go paint my own nails a shade of red now.... (good on you for sorting the paperwork)

karen said...

Well done! And while you're on an administrative roll - do you have any idea where my birth certificate might be? I've booked flights from the Antipodes to London, but I don't have a passport yet, and that might be a problem if I don't get onto it soon ...

Jessica said...

Brave lady, you.

(and 427 words is still 427 more than before.)

Betty M said...

Ahh the Commune - Swiss ones are very special too. Glad you escaped alive.

I have had about 3 hours sleep due to election watching.David Dimbleby appears to have had none as he is still going strong on the BBC. At least it is not as bad as it could have been.

puncturedbicycle said...

Wow, that all sounds very efficient and official (efficial? officient?).

You have inspired me to revise my plan to wallow in the pestilential chaos of my home; I shall claw my way to the top of the pile of crap and attempt to sort it out. And then I will away to Tesco.

I will not miss subsisting on bits of old takeaway and defrosted mystery items. Will you miss your outlaw status?

Alison Cross said...

Glad to see that the green beneath your nails WAS a perfect match for the green of the dinosaur cake!

Cannot WAIT to find the current state of British Government illustrated by various fruit, veg - and possibly even lentils.

Ali x

Fat Controller said...

We have a 'Kommune' as well, but it is warm and cuddly by comparison and the bureaucracy actually works. I, too had to prove my worth and ancestry before being allowed the privilege of becoming a taxpayer. When I was called in for my final interview to be granted permanent resident status I got tut-tutted at for not having memorised my CPR number, the ten-digit code by which I am defined. It is a sign of Danishness that you know your CPR-number and those of your children, plus how many square-metres of property you own. I am proud to say I know none of these things.

screamish said...

uh??what is this paperwork stuff?? I thought you were UE nationality, so why all the paperwork?

god, I would hate it if a policeman was lurking ready to check I lived here, he'd have three cat fleas on his boots in two seconds and take one look at the three inch crust of kiddie biscuits on the carpet and grab his tasergun.

the secret code word is "fackeri". I like it.

katyboo1 said...

I may have my Tufty Club badge kicking about somewhere. If I find it I will send it to you so that you can provide evidence and continue to regale us with tales of Brussels.

London City Mum said...

Does a Blue Peter badge count at all? I bet my 'new' MP, spoilt useless "I am an environmentalist" f*cker Zac Billionaire Goldsmith does not have one.

Do you want him for Belgiana? I will pay you to take him off our hands. Seriously. At least he might up the stakes on the looks front (which is sadly why I suspect he was elected by the female dinky contingent in this part of London - pah).

LCM x

Jaywalker said...

Gah, LCM if you send me that foppish loser, I will unilaterally declare war on the UK on behalf of Belgiana. Pah indeed.

(is it wrong to find David Milliband strangely alluring?)

WrathofDawn said...

Godspeed, oh lovely Waffle!

wv - commist - which reminds me of offices where one must produce one's papers...

Margaret said...

The POLICE come to your HOUSE? Damn, I thought American Immigration was hardcore. But wait, aren't you an EU citizen? Aren't all the member countries like U.S. states now such that you can move from Belgium to Spain like they're New Jersey and Utah? Why do you need papers and home visits? Can you explain intra-EU migration policy using cosmetic gift-with-purchase items? That would help a *lot*.

jonathan said...

Jaywalker, you're not the only one to find David Milliband strangely alluring, there was an profile of him in the Guardian last week by a female journalist who had quite clearly fallen into the golden boy's spell as soon as setting eyes on him, with the result that the article read like the sort of interviews you used to read with Simon Le Bon in Smash Hits. Not that I'm complaining, you understand- if the Tories are really trying to woo us with Cameron and his strange upside-down face, then the least we can do is put up our own choice pin-up as an act of instant rebuttal. Power to the People!