We appear to have arrived at what can only be described as ... Thursday.
Not quite true I suppose. It could be described as many many different things. The New Friday, for example, or perhaps "Just past the middle of the week". This particular Thursday could also be considered "Flaming Hot!" for that is what it is. Being a Brit of course the weather is at the forefront of my mind and is the beginnings of most conversation. While this might sound like a myth, or perhaps a nostalgic view of the english, surprisingly it is also true and a fact to boot.
In short it is a Thursday in the summer which would normaly mean cold and wet, but is in fact unusually and correctly both hot and dry. Nice.
Yesterday included a trip to a Starfleet office to spend some time with the Badman and prepare for our various handovers. The first of these will be taking place next Tuesday somewhere in the Southern part of England. The other's will be happening the following week somewhere in the Eastern part of America. So that's that stuff....
In preparation for the US piece I had to renew my US Travel Authorisation which nowadays is all done online (ETSA: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ ). Gone are the days of filling in a green card on the plane just before you land, and gone are the days of it being free. You pay 14 dollars (some of that money goes to promote US travel) to be permitted to enter the US and it's valid for two years. Interestingly, none of that happens the other way around. In the UK we derive no revenue from visitors at the border in this way. I note the Welsh do though ( http://www.severnbridge.co.uk/toll_prices.shtml ) ... :-)
What's more interesting though is the fact that the ETSA is only valid for two years and without a reminder you could easily show up at a US airport, only to have to fly home again. Be warned.
But hang about - it seems that everything relating to travel now has much short expiration dates attached to it, so if you're planning on leaving the front door of your house anytime soon - check these three just in case:
- Passport: Only valid for 10 years now. A "One day" renewal is about £130 quid.
- EHIC Card: Only valid for 5 years. The "European Health Insurance Card" covers EU citizens anywhere in the EU for state-managed hospital treatment. ( https://www.ehic.org.uk/ )
- Driving Licence: Only valid for 10 years. Since it changed to a photo card, you have to renew them every 10 years, or you can pay a £1000 fine. Your choice. It'll cost you 20 quid to update it.
It's all abit of a con. A nice way for government departments to make just a bit more money out of us - as if they didn't get enough already, but this is the world we live in. Feel free to write to your MP and see where that gets you. Let me know how it works out.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous