At the End of the Day

It’s been a beautiful day here today: a day for drying washing, cutting grass, weeding rockeries, putting one’s face up to the sun, and chucking old growth onto the fire-pit. Tonight we had a sunset of warm pink and diluted blue that ended in a full-on Turneresque blaze on the horizon.

Sadly, it was also yet another day of telephone-yelling. And as always, the recipients were financial institutions, legal eagles and government bureaucrats.

Last year, my UK furniture went into store until such time as the main house here was ready to receive it. During the storage, the removal company had a fire….in which I lost two beds and two sofas, plus lots of bedding. In May 2014 I filled in the removers’ insurance company form, and being a generally honest sort of chap allowed for wear and tear in claiming a very modest £1200.

From May until October, I heard nothing. So I asked what was going on. It’s taken from then until now to finally get the loss adjuster to ring me and ask further questions. He only did this because, earlier in the day, I’d rung the removal company and suggested they tell their insurers that unless I had a cheque by next week, I’d be issuing a winding-up order. The loss-adjuster has tonight promised I’ll get the cheque next week.

‘ Loss-adjuster’ is a wonderful term, is it not? It suggests his job is to haggle about the loss in the insurance company’s favour. Twas every thus.

For a bloke lucky to be born erudite – and of an age confident enough to threaten bullies in a way likely to be effective – this kind of bollocks is second nature. But it isn’t to old ladies, struggling lower-end families, and commercially naïve government departments.

The second task of the day was to get an avocat to supply my vexatious plumber’s lawyer with photocopies of the quotation – and cheques of that amount made out to his braindead client. Thus, said client doesn’t stand a chance of winning his case: and said lawyer can forget the wriggle-out excuse of “I was falsely briefed by my client”.

The entire business model of legal professions across the globe is based upon the idea of getting people to argue about everything into infinity, and then claim they were only trying to ensure the triumph of justice. But as a British barrister of my acquaintance is fond of remarking “any correlation between the practice of Law and the triumph of justice is entirely coincidental”.

The final chore was to have another crack at being able to join the French Health Service (CPAM). Earlier on Moving Abroad: having renounced his right to use NHS facilities, our hero gave his British forms to the local health centre, since when all of them have gone missing. The CPAM’s English speaking helpine is very good at being variously accusatory, sympathetic, and promising to ring one back. They don’t ring back. The gp at my Health Centre is being less than cooperative about explaining WTF she might have done with the forms, and now she has fallen ill.

The general view is that I need to go right back to Go. Neither the Brits nor the French are willing to accept even a scintilla of responsibility for any of this cock-up; yet it is the citizen victim who is expected to start all over again. Such is the bureaucratic mindset.

If that doesn’t make your blood boil, think on this: it is illegal in France not to have either private or State health insurance. As a result of my law-abiding attempts to be legal, the functionaries in Britain and France have conspired through incompetence to render me illegal. I wonder, what chance might I have of making that the basis of my defence in the event of a prosecution?

Yes, that’s what I think too. But fear not, for there – on hand to help – would be the legal profession: they would, I do not doubt, relish the chance to turn the entire circus into a fascinating dissertation – one day to be written up in various legal journals…to the lawyer’s career advantage – but at the client’s expense.

Earlier at The Slog: An exclusive glimpse into the future of Syriza’s Game Plan

8 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. When you are suffering from impotent rage in the face of bureaucracy and broken promises/endless queueing, I wonder if the French are as good at shrugging their shoulders as the Spanish are? Anyway, my sympathies. Do not let them grind you down.


  2. Well what d’ you expect John , starting a new life in a Latin country at your age and setting up what appears to be a self built mansion from scratch . Should have settled for a one bedder in Bloomsbury . UCH nearby and very good A&E department open 24/7 and now called The Urgent Treatment Centre . If you go in at 4 am they see you virtually straight away assuming its not a weekend when the nightclub detritus fetch up with their various self induced excesses of the night.

    And …. you don’ t even need your NHS number , although it helps if you can furnish the name of a gp.


  3. @ Carrochio
    Just being able to use the NHS is not nearly enough of an incentive to want to return to live in what’s euphemistically still called Great Britain. And my experience of UCH, indeed several other ‘renowned’ London hospitals, appears to be the opposite of yours – only wild horses could drag me into any of them again.


  4. A colleague has just paid £220 for the privilege of renewing – for the third time – her SIA licence (required to work in the security industry). Her application was rejected as “we have found that you spent six or more consecutive months abroad during the last five years”. She has done nothing of the sort. They advised that if she didn’t provide a CRB certificate from the country concerned (er, which country would that be then?) within the next couple of weeks her application will be void and her payment forfeited. And no licence, no work.

    The SIA (a New Labour quango) defend the high cost of the licence because of the rigorous background checks that need to be made. Hilarious, isn’t it?


  5. Has she been in Scotland? CRB checking is devolved and if she has been living in Scotland will also need a Scottish CRB for that period as well as an England & Wales one. What makes it even more ridiculous is that if a firm directly employs it’s own ‘in-house’ security, they don’t need SIA licences. Those are only needed if the security comes from a third party


  6. Good morning John from a sunny Brittany, the CPAM ah yes, our French GP explianed the horrendous delays thus.
    ‘You see the Carte Vital are made in India and then transported to France by wheelbarrow on foot’!
    ‘You see’ he continued ‘we use the FFF system here’ which he translated as the F**king French Forms.
    He lived in Canada for many years so views France quite differently.
    I envy you your lovely skys, there were chemtrailing here yesterday and transformed a lovely clear sky to grey haze in 4 hours.
    5 or 6 six planes constantly criss crossing the sky.
    Bon weekend, Mick.


  7. Pingback: John Ward – The Friday Gold Massacre : Will Gold Be Worth $500 An Oz By APRIL 10th? – 7 March 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  8. Evening from Bavaria. Contrasted to France the German health system is okay. Our town has pretty good docs and meds. However Father in Law went into a Munich place a fortnight ago and that was shite.


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