Keep Watching The Ships!

Today, got up at 5.30am. Because I was worried that the alarm wouldn’t go off. Fed the barfy cats with a tablespoonfull of food each in response to their quizzical looks at the crack of dawn and off I headed into London. Destination: the US Embassy. Purpose: medical exam and visa collection.

First stop: St Albans City Station. Where the cost of a car park ticket has magically jumped from 3.20 to 4 in two days. Money-grubbing bastards. Does it annoy me more because it’s wrong or because I don’t have that much gall, I wonder? Well, at least they got rid of the gippos who were camped there the other day.

Medical involved having blood extracted for tests, chest X-ray, questionnaire about medical history (mine, not the profession as a whole), blood pressure, tapping my chest, poking light in my ears and eyes, opening my mouth and saying “Ahh!”. Yes, they did that. The doctor gives me a copy of the X-ray for immigration and the nurse gives me shots for mumps, measles, rubella and diptheria.

The nurse advises me to sit for a few minutes. Rest. That arm may sting later. This all costs 125 for the check-up plus 55 for the shots. I still have to find a Barclays Bank on the way to the interview stage to pay the 65 US Embassy fee. Ah, capitalism.

Visa bit at the embassy involved sitting around a lot and reading a book. It’s one of Mike’s. Decipher by Stel Pavlou, which ticks all the essential boxes on the ‘cracking yarn’ criteria checklist. Lots of action, lots of science, all conveyed with the necessary plausability that we want in a chunky novel.

When they called me up, they wanted various documents like my birth certificate and financial stuff, which I had. Then I sat again. Then I met someone else who asked a few questions. How did I meet Laura? How long have we known each other? Are the big Tweenies parents or teachers to the small Tweenies in that TV programme?

That’s not as bizarre as you might think, considering I’ve been working on CBBC children’s programming for the past year or so. And the immigration officer has a four year old. Then I read some more of Stel’s sci-fi while waiting for my medical results to come through. And…

And by 12.30, I had a visa–Fiance Visa, K1, good for one entry into the US to marry a US citizen within 90 days. Yay! My beloved. Somewhere, Beyond the sea, Somewhere, Waiting for me, My lover stands, On golden sands, And watches the ships… The wedding date is set for early January, in case you (dear reader) were wondering. And…

And now it’s time for a nap. Because tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow, I have no wings but I must fly. And later (later later later), I have to sell the car–cleaned, waxed and with the addition of new mats plus 10 hubcaps–to Jaffa, who is driving me to the airport. It is, as they say in so many parts of the world, a result.

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