It’s been a while and I owe a gazillion blog posts by now. Literally a gazillion. We’ve been to Oman, we’ve been all sick, I’ve been working … it’s endless.
A few weeks back I took a day trip to London. Which sounds way more exciting and adventurous than it actually is – because London is just over an hour’s flight from here and it’s incredibly cheap to get to. You can do it in a day with no problems.
My good friend Karen from the days at the furniture store (Hi KK! ) moved there last year, and after a couple of months of “WE SHOULD TOTALLY CATCH UP!!” … we actually did. So much fun to see her again and we literally just wandered around, had a cheeky Nandos (after the pub we went to said it’d take over an hour for food service), and I stocked up on cold and flu tablets (because no matter what the Dutch medical system thinks … paracetamol is NOT a wonder drug.) We also popped into a Remembrance Day service run by the Australian Embassy and managed a bit of K-Rudd stalking. Pretty awesome day to say the least – and probably one I’ll repeat soon!
But this leads me into the story of the pounds. You see, the UK changed it’s banknotes a while back, and when preparing for this day of awesomeness, I discovered our stash of pounds were no longer legal tender. Boo. I did a little online research and discovered that I could return them to the Bank of England for a reimbursement – so I dutifully filled out the form as a foreigner, and posted it across to the address along with the expired notes. I actually fully expected that this would be the last I’d ever see of my 30 pounds, either because they’d be declared invalid, or perhaps stolen in the mail. Still, I optimistically filled out the paperwork, included my bank’s SWIFT code and my own IBAN and after posting, waited with a bit of skepticism.
However, imagine my joy today when I got a letter from the Bank of England! They’d accepted my cash, and were happy to tell me that I’d get the full 30 pounds back!
And … here’s your cheque!
MY FUCKING WHAT?
Out of the envelope flutters a white cheque, with green embossing made out to me (and also, only payable to me) for 30 pounds.
Is this a joke?
Oh, there’s more to the letter. I have to deposit this cheque, in person within 6 months.
A bloody cheque. Who uses them these days? They were being phased out when I worked in banking 10 years ago!
But no, there’s more.
I can cash it! In person! In one branch in London. But I have to email them a copy of the cheque 2 days in advance of my visit, and request them to have the cash ready.
Let’s not go into the fact it’s going to cost me more to fly to London, catch public transport to the city centre, navigate through the city than 30 pounds.
Seriously. Who thinks up this crap?