Happy St George’s Day
Today was my first day back at work after a great week away with my lady. Being able to actually spend a full week with her is amazing, even though we have a house together, my working situation means we don’t get to spend as much time together as we should.
As is customary for our Easter holidays, we had decided to make the trip up to Scotland to visit relatives. This time however we decided instead of making one long 6 hour trek, we’d break it down into shorter journeys and spend a couple if nights in the lake district along the way. We settled on Kendal, partially due to it having a castle right in the town and partially due to the fact the it is fairly central and surrounded by lots of little, interesting places to visit.
Upon arriving in Kendal and having dropped off our bags where we were staying, we headed out on foot up to the castle ruins. They certainly did not disappoint, the ruins themselves are situated on a tall hill overlooking the town. From the top of the hill you could literally see for miles in every direction, you can definitely understand why this site was chosen for a castle, any invaders would be seen well in advance, no matter which direction they came from.
Finally got the full set after spending about £15 on Kinder Surprise eggs. It’s not that I’m a giant, hairy, overgrown child or anything.
I really can’t wait.
I get over a week of my man being at home next week. Hooray! Gigs..castles…beers and kilts. Cannot wait.
People seem to be giving me even more weird looks than usual just recently. It seems singing loudly about beards whilst walking back to your parents house after work is somewhat frowned upon… Who knew?
As I was walking into work today I found that I was contemplating the weekend that has just passed, more specifically the interview I experienced on Saturday morning. I feel a small amount of background information is required here, I have recently applied for my first passport and now, in the UK, in order to get your first passport you have to attend an interview to prove that you are who you say you are. A few weeks after sending my initial application I received a letter asking me to call and arrange an interview location, date and time. As I work fulltime I had little choice but to request a Saturday appointment and 8:30am Saturday 29th in Derby was the only realistic option available.
In all honesty the time and place didn’t seem particularly bad, it would give me and my partner the chance to make a morning of it and engage in a little retail therapy. So Saturday came round and me and my partner got ourselves up early and headed off to Derby. More or less from the time we arrived it was a somewhat surreal experience. To start with, despite the office being literally just off a main street in Derby town centre, the directions given to me by the passport service took me out of the town centre and round a fairly grimy, derelict part of town. We got to an open area surrounded by boarded up shops and run down houses, feeling a little lost we stopped to get our bearings and check on my partners phone that we were actually heading in the right direction. Almost as soon as we had stopped walking I was approached by a man asking if my beard was real, once he had convinced himself it was in fact real he shook my hand and congratulated me on my obviously miraculous and glorious beard. Oddly this distraction actually helped, while I was busy shaking hands and having my beard admired my partner spotted the building we were looking for. We entered the building expecting to see a reception are, or at least a receptionist, instead we were greeted by a spiral staircase and another door this time with a buzzer, stuck on the staircase was piece of A4 paper with an arrow, directing us upstairs. On the first floor was an identical scene, again with an arrow directing me up a floor. The second floor turned out to be our destination, here there was yet another identical scene, however, this time the paper was on the door and was directing us towards the buzzer. We approached the door and my partner pressed the buzzer, after a couple of minutes the door opening and a slightly creepy looking man in a security guard uniform poked his head around out but said nothing. Slightly taken aback by the situation I haltingly explained why we were there and handed over a letter I had been asked to take with me. The guard asked me if either of us had a mobile phone and refused to let us enter until he had seen that we had turned them off. Although the outside area gave the appearance of a small building, upon entering the main room it opened out into a large meeting room. At one end there was a bank of chairs set out in ‘U’ formation, obviously the waiting area. At the far end of the room, forming small cubicles, was a series of floor to ceiling dividers in front of a large glass wall with a single door in it. In each these cubicles was a desk which was exactly the same width as the distance between the dividers, essentially separating the room in two. On each desk was a computer and at each computer was a person, these were the people performing the interviews. As I was waiting I could occasionally hear the other interviews taking place and each sounded slightly odd. The interviewers were all of a type, a none descript man or woman, of smart appearance, who could have been any age from 30 to mid 50, all had a kind of fixed smile on their faces and all spoke with a forced joviality. I was called over for my interview and approached the cubicle that I had been assigned, it almost felt like I was entering a trap, the falseness was almost palpable in the air. As the interview progressed I was asked the obvious questions about where I worked, how’d I’d gotten there, did I drive etc. all the time the woman in front of me had a smile fixed to her face and the false joviality in her voice. I think it was this constant forced joviality the disturbed me the most it left me feeling very uneasy as if there was a wrongness about the whole affair. A feeling that stayed with me well after the interview was over, I still don’t know whether I’m being given a passport or not, all I want to do is go on holiday with my partner for a few days…
Over the last few years I have found that I tend to do my best thinking on my walk into work. Whilst this might, at first, seem like an odd time to be lost in thought, in reality it is not. By that point in the morning I have been awake and active for some time, I have generally showered, eaten a fairly healthy breakfast, of porridge and dried fruit, and drank at least one large glass of water or fruit juice. Bearing this in mind I am actually well primed for my working day, both mentally and physically. However being well prepared for work does not mean that I am actually ready to face spending yet another 10 hours surrounded by people I despise, doing a job I can barely stand. To help prepare myself for this, as soon as I step out of the door my body goes into auto pilot and my mind becomes lost in private imaginings and thoughts. Unfortunately this means that by the time my working day is over, and I’m back and my parents, I have completely forgotten any ideas that I may have had.
So it turns out I have to go for an interview, to prove who I am, in order to get a passport. Because apparently not only is knowing my full life history not enough, but neither is sending them my birth certificate, my parents birth certificates and my parents marriage certificate. Who knew it could be so hard to actually get out of England.