Ah, the divine VAF1B.
I’ve spent my entire morning filling in three of them to apply for UK visas for my wife, my son and my daughter. Ten pages per application, with crippling repetition, bizarrely detailed requests for bizarre details and stupid questions galore.
In times of either peace or war have you ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement in, war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?
Seriously now, who – when applying for permission to enter the UK – is going to answer “Yes” to that one (and then provide full relevant detail in section 9)?
Certainly not my 10-month old daughter. And how can you commit war crimes in times of peace, anyway?
There was a worried look on the face of little Alex as I asked him question 6.14 though:
Have you engaged in any other activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character?
Especially after he had snatched the cuddly singing snake off his sister earlier in the day. I thought I’d better inform the UK Border Agency of that little incident, since they seem to want to know absolutely bloody everything:
When did you last visit the toilet and was it for number ones or number twos? (If number twos, please fully describe consistency of motion in section 9).
But despite even the most made-up of questions and the infinite detail to be provided, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs still holds the record for the stupidest form ever. Their BI-24 allows you to register your child’s birth, but in the answer space for “Country of Birth”, fails to provide enough spaces for you to write “South Africa”.
I hope heads rolled. Seriously.
Well, that was suitably depressing.
Same time, same place next year, I guess.
Think I’m still in shock, so more may follow, probably involving swear words and general anger.
My god, that Mike Dean is a complete twat.
Ooh look! It’s started already!
I was drawn to Brian Micklethwait’s blog archives in search of this staircase (don’t ask) and while there, started reading and stumbled upon these photographs taken in Bethnel Green last February.
As I have mentioned before, I enjoy Brian’s photography. It’s unpretentious, often imaginative, sometimes cheeky, occasionally rather clever. And then explained or narrated in much the same style.
Brian’s photographs are also mostly urban. And while many may appreciate beauty only in photographs of lakes and fields and mountains and trees, having lived in cities all my life, there’s something comforting for me about seeing wires, tower blocks, and cranes; industry and infrastructure, hustle and bustle.
In other news:
I recognise that the blog has been a little photo-heavy of late, but since the election, things have all gone a little quiet. Almost as if people are waiting for something to happen. It hasn’t. Yet.
There’s really only been the rather unexpected utterly bizarre behaviour of Helen Zille having a pop at JZ and the completely expected utterly bizarre behaviour of the ANC Youth League having a pop at Helen Zille, both of which have been done to death on the news sites and blogs over here.
So I didn’t bother.
I have always attempted to maintain a decent standard of writing on this blog and, if I’m completely honest, I notice that my standards drop when I’m writing about a subject that doesn’t interest my or that I don’t believe in. Thus, if I don’t find something worth writing about, I don’t write about it. All of which made sense when I started that sentence.
But, hey. Don’t worry. This is South Africa. Nothing ever stays normal for long.
Incoming from Reflex (thanks!), probably relating to this:
Was just wondering if you were going to pick up on this BBC news story…
Well, I would just like to make it absolutely and abundantly clear from the outset, that I am in no way condoning this foolish, irresponsible and annoying behaviour:
Police are investigating after carpet tacks were spread across roads bringing a major cycle race to a halt.
More than 3,500 people were taking part in the Etape Caledonia, over 81 miles around Pitlochry in Perthshire.
It is the only cycle event in Britain where all the roads travelled on are closed – which has angered some locals.
Tacks were strewn on a section of the race, bursting hundreds of tyres. Police said it was a reckless act and it was fortunate no-one was hurt.
I am appalled that something so disruptive should have happened to so many people in such a beautiful part of Scotland and I can only sympathise with those people who were so very inconvenienced. It is an absolute disgrace that this sort of thing should be allowed to happen and I really hope that it doesn’t occur again next year.
Just to clarify – I’m obviously referring to them shutting the roads for the cycle race, not for the nail strewage (which was obviously very naughty but extremely amusing).
Perhaps I can advise the Police to start their search for the saboteur at the local DVD rental store by asking if anyone has been regularly borrowing the box set of Wacky Races…
One part joy, two parts relief.
Well done, boys!
It’s tomorrow, and here’s the match report, featuring some sporting words from Preston manager Alan Irvine:
I can’t speak for previous play-offs and it wasn’t down to luck this time in any case.
Sheffield United were better than us in both games and deserved to go through overall.
Compare and contrast that with Didier Drogba…
Written on my Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 after one of the most nerve-wracking 45 minutes of my football-watching life.