Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sometimes the heart does what it wants, without asking the mind.

I stand in line at the driving licence counter. Under my arm a sheaf of utility bills ( originals and copies ) , receipts showing we've paid both our income tax and our tax d'habitation, bank statements to show we're not destitute and four newly taken passport photos without a trace of a smile.

The original application was rejected because the British licence had not been translated into French. The next attempt was rejected because the translation , although done by a court approved translator , had not been notarized. The third attempt was refused because we needed a formal letter , in French, from the British authorities to show that we hadn't had any recent points added to the licence. Approach number four was stymied by a unsmiling lady who informs me that "Monsieur. All the signatures must be within the box. Not, as you seem to think, nearly in ".

At last we get to the front of the queue.  '' Oui ? " says the woman behind the counter appraising me coldly. She looks at the file then disappears into a glass cubicle to talk to a colleague. I see them study the documents, slowly and carefully, as if forgery is an every day occurrence in the world of replacement licences. The second, more senior ice maiden, looks at me through the glass partition and purses her lips. The first ice maiden returns. '' Monsieur. It is required that the photocopies of your passport be enlarged and in colour if we are to process your application ". With that the conversation comes to an abrupt end. Angus thinks of asking why this new requirement hadn't been mentioned before. The ice maiden has however turned her back and walked away.

Sixth time lucky ?

Bob and Sophie continue to stand on guard against the red squirrels.


  1. Ooooh my blood is boiling......I hate being turned around and around and around with Government agencies....why can't they tell you everything that is needed the first time around.
    Hope there was a photocopying shop nearby so that you were able to comply with the new regulation and return to the ice maidens shortly afterwards.
    Thank goodness for your blog, you have everything written for future reference.
    Sixth time lucky?....Maybe Bob and Sophie should accompany you when you return.

  2. I'm thinking that Bob and Sophie now have a better chance at getting a squirrel than you and 'the font' do at getting your license the 6th time ....

  3. Good Lord! I've put off changing my driving license for ages, and this has put me off even more. Our friends went to La Maison des Services in the next town...I don't think they had as many problems as you! It sounds ridiculously bound up in red tape EVEN for France!!!

    1. Seems to vary by departement. Our prefecture is insistent on following every letter of the law ( and then some ) but the departement to the south ( Toulouse) is remarkably relaxed.

  4. In comparison, the DVLC in Swansea suddenly appears efficient and customer friendly...

  5. I'm impressed at your patience, I'd have given up after attempt number two !

  6. i have to say it at least this once . . . and sorry to say it really . . . but . . .
    there are some pretty amazing and just as beautiful american profonde places that have a MUCH friendlier attitude . . . less ridiculous red tape that says to me "you are not welcome in our country" . . . as if their surly mean attitude doesn't say it loudly enough . . .
    more efficient repairmen ~ that show up a little late maybe ~ but not constantly 3 months late . . .
    than all that you put up with in the ~ perhaps ... i'm beginning to think ... over rated france profonde. to each his own. i could not would not be so agreeable with it all. and i'm actually quite laid back!! LOL. and . . .
    p.s. absolutely adorable pictures of windblown puppies climbing trees!

  7. "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas."

    Could even the always optimistic font come up with something positive to say at this foiled fifth attempt? I too feel my blood boiling on your behalf at this absurd treatment. Did somebody do something dastardly to this departement and they are out to seek revenge? (Shades of our latest New Jersey brouhaha?)

  8. Luckily for my spouse, just about everyone in our part of the USA is charmed with his English accent (even the men). His license experiences have been "fantastic," and he has managed on two occasions to be merely "warned" by the stopping officer for his lack of attention to the local driving laws. You would not believe what he gets away with when we're in shops and restaurants.

  9. Is there any other office you can go to to have this done? Where I live, some offices are notoriously difficult, quite unhelpful and are known for
    their resistive attitudes because it
    means less work for them Others,
    not so much, almost helpful. Almost. What is it with government employees?
    What now?