Friday 30 May 2008


Hello and apologies for the long absence. Now that's out of the way.....

I found out today (OK, I ignored my own advice and waited until the last possible moment to apply) that after filling in the form online and then sending off a copy of my documents, I have to send in my actual passport--not a copy!--and driver's licence to Swansea, Wales, the only place in the entire U.K. that processes driving licences.

Apparently, in Britain, before you can even learn to drive, you must first apply for a "provisional licence," and the only place that handles that is in Wales. Wales! There is no local DMV in every metro area. I thought, worse comes to worst, I trot down to the DMV equivalent in Glasgow and take a driving test if I miss the deadline or get the paperwork fouled up. Wouldn't hurt, anyway--I could use some lessons in defensive driving on the wrong side of the road. But no! That is not how they do things over here. You have to stick your passport (or birth certificate, if you're a "native") into an envelope--or, as the nice Welshman on the phone told me, I can get a "special delivery" silver plastic one at the Post Office™ and that's supposed to be delivered in 24 hours. If I enclose another one for the folks in Swansea to send back, the whole process should take a week. But I feel like I'm entrusting the family jewels to the Royal Mail!

Well, I guess I won't be driving here. Ever. Or maybe. I don't know what to do. What if I need to leave the country the day after I send my passport in? What do you think I should do? Chance it? Road trip to Snowdonia? I guess I can always apply for a new passport at the embassy in London if mine gets lost in the mail....

Moral of story: Do not be like me. Be organized and do this sort of thing early, make sure you've gotten your affairs in order!

Oh, dear reader, I feel I've failed you! But perhaps not, if you take me as an example of what not to do.