My missus has for weeks now been having kittens about our visit to the Home Office of Immigration and Naturalization to acquire her 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' stamp in her passport.
Being from the other side of the pond and married to an Englishman (best thing she has ever done), Mrs K had to apply for her ILR after living here two years after we were married. This allows her freedom to come and go as she pleases from this country, without all the hassle everytime she re-enters the UK.
Are you still with me?
She has been persuading herself that we had not provided enough evidence (bank statements, utility bills or receipts) to convince immigration that she was a happily married and fine upstanding citizen who was not going to fleece the state for all she could get and that I could care and provide for her without any problems. Myself, I could not see any complications, but you know women.........
Arrived at Croydon with time to spare so we visited the local shopping centre. Isn't it amazing that wherever you go in this country, all the big centres are basically the same. Apart from one or two exceptions, the same stores have all mutated in these emporiums. You could be anywhere within the UK.
Re-fuelled on McDonalds. Why?
To cut a long story short. And it was a bloody long one let me tell you, we breezed through the initial interview, where the guy behind the glass barely looked at all our records that Mrs K had meticulously placed in order and labelled accordingly and as for taking the £500 required for the privilege, they nearly took me arm off when I offered my debit card.
The problems start now. Instead of waiting around an hour to be processed, we had to endure five, yes five hours sitting on the most uncomfortable seat that you can imagine. The designer of those seats was a sadist. Made of steel, they were slatted like a park bench, so after several hours of sitting on them, your arse resembled the local tram lines and it felt like the number six to Purley had run over it. They had a 'technical fault' and were very sorry but they insisted that everyone would be seen that day. It was like the league of bloody nations in that waiting room. I swear I was the only Englishman in there. We had a two o'clock appointment. Eventually, we were seen at around five o'clock. I cannot begin to think what time the people with four o'clock appointments left the building.
Needless to say, Mrs K. got her ILR and weren't we glad to get out of there.
And now we can get on with the rest of our lives.