Thursday 1 April 2010

April Fool

It's been a hard enough first quarter, this year. We've just had our third bout of sickness and diarrhoea through the house since the turn of the year, Sharon has been really struggling with sinus trouble, Angus has had everything going since he started nursery, Rowan has a permanent cough and the snow won't go away. So we've been looking forward to the Easter holidays, a chance for some much needed rest and relaxation and a family trip to Mallorca.

But today, we became aware of the ongoing public sector dispute in Ireland which has meant, among other things, that passport applications have not been processed. Neither Sharon, Rowan nor Angus have passports: Sharon had sent hers and Rowan's to be renewed at the same time as she applied for one for Angus. Apparently there is a backlog of 50,000 applications to be processed. We don't even know if the paperwork is in London or Dublin. Sharon sent the applications to the Irish Embassy in London, unaware that they then forward them to Dublin. With no paperwork (current passports, birth certificates, etc.), we can't apply for UK passports instead, although we've discovered all this so late that there's no time to do that anyway (it takes a week for a new passport application to be processed and the first available appointment in Glasgow was next Wednesday).

As of today, the public sector workers have lifted their overtime ban, but it would seem to be too little too late to help us, especially with the Easter weekend due. Marie is going to go up to Dublin on Tuesday to see if there's anything she can do by being present in person at the passport office but reports on the length of queues and people chaining themselves to cubicles don't fill me with optimism. Unless the new passports arrive by next Friday, I'll likely have to travel with Sean and Finn, meeting Marie and Michael in Mallorca, and leaving Sharon, Rowan and Angus at home. Far from the ideal holiday we'd been looking forward to.

And today, with all the snow melting, Sharon discovered water running down the kitchen wall from a leak where frost-shattered tiles had cracked and slipped down the roof. Fortunately she was able to get that fixed at short notice.

April Fool? If only it was.

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