Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The milk of human kindness, OR, Grant is yet again a victim of his own efficiency

So when last I wrote, dastardly foreign types (NOT EVEN COLONIALS!) had stolen our bag, and the police thought we had our own and Buckley's of ever getting it back.

However, as it happened, the very next day a kindly gentleman found the bag and some of its contents (spare camera battery and PASSPORT but not phone and glasses). He called the Australian High Commission and told them he had found the passport and was handing it in to the police. Please take a moment to think kind thoughts about this guy.

Then NOTE that his kindly efforts to spare us administrative torture were in vain, because:
  1. Australian High Commission didn't bother even taking a stab at trying to contact us, even though they could at least have traced us to Jen's address. In fact, we only found out they knew when we went in this morning in person (losing two hours of Grant's handsome hourly rate) and they basically said "oh, that was the one that was getting handed in. Now fork over the cash";
  2. The gentleman's call and apparently the handing in of the goods happened BEFORE I called the police to add the passport to the list but after our initial crime complaint, but the police didn't call me when it was handed in OR today despite having clearly cross-referenced it to the crime report (the one was stuck to the other); and
  3. because of (1) and (2), GRANT HAD ALREADY CANCELLED THE PASSPORT which meant that HE STILL HAD TO PAY FOR A NEW ONE. But he's very efficient, and in fact he was only doing exactly what the High Commission says to do (ie cancel missing passports immediately to avoid identity theft, although how they steal your ID using a photo passport I have no idea) from which you can deduce that the High Commission is HUGE on financially punishing people for following instructions.
There shall be a strongly worded letter, you mark my words, at least as soon as I can find some form of actual contact address hidden in the bowels of their website. As an aside, I think their conduct means they do not deserve Anzac Day off, but they're getting it anyway.

Today, Grant called the British Home Office to get the other side of the bad news, namely visa replacement fees. They said £160 for 4-14 weeks processing JUST TO TRANSFER THEIR EXISTING RECORDED VISA TO THE NEW PASSPORT or £500 for immediate processing. At this point I like to imagine Grant went red in the face, but probably he just stayed his usual polite self. Grant then mentioned that he still had the original, and the response went something
like "oh well, just carry both the passports then. Not a bother."

Note well, Australian High Commission: British Home Office (a) answers phone using actual humans; and (b) does not attempt to profiteer off misfortune of others. I think there is something in that for all of us.

But on the plus side, they keys weren't left with the bag so we did the right thing in changing the locks.

Other news of the weekend: we walked a jetlagged Rohan and Narelle mercilessly around our 'hood, incl. Portobello Markets, every park we could find, Kensington High Street and the west end of the city. Grant will no doubt post pix soon. It was actually a really lovely weekend with a really stinking awful ending. Today Ral and I headed into the National Portrait Gallery, spent five seconds in the National Gallery, and had a wee stroll around the river, before heading home to our respective housewifely duties. Now I am going to do something very exciting, like buy stamps.

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