I got back from a few days at the parental abode late last night. As usual, I tried to do a lot in a short time. Here’s some of what did and didn’t happen.
- I succeeded in cycling from Birmingham New Street to Worcester, but it took much longer than I expected, thanks to the front brake being jiggered on the train to Birmingham.
- I didn’t succeed in giving formal notice of my marriage to the ever-wonderful Elly. Because we will marry in Worcestershire in December, we had been told that one of us needed to establish residence in England, then give notice between 6 months and 29 days before the wedding. (The other could give notice in Scotland.) But at my appointment to do this, I was now told the English notice must be given between 3 months and 29 days before the wedding. My choices were ‘change the ceremony date so it’s within 3 months of now’ or ‘come back and try again’. I’m not happy about this.
This took two appointments: one that had been arranged quite a while ago, and an extra impromptu one yesterday morning. This didn’t give me a lot of time to get back to Birmingham, and thence to Edinburgh.
- I succeeded giving an MSc student his viva voce exam via Skype. More importantly, the student passed.
- I responded to the DWP’s initial refusal to award my sister Personal Independence Payments. The initial decision gave her 0 points for each of the 12 daily living and mobility activities. I believe that she should have received points for at least 8 of these activities, and so should have been given both daily living and mobility payments. So I have asked DWP for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’, and sent them copies of the Power of Attorney documents so I can speak directly to them on her behalf. I’ve been warned that mandatory reconsiderations tend to go against claimants, and so we should be ready to go to tribunal.
- I got my parents’ house valued, as part of assessing my late father’s estate. I then saw my mother’s lawyer, so we could agree ways to protect her inherited assets.
- I did a lot of filing of my mother’s and sister’s accumulated documents.
- I contacted the Austrian Pensionversicherunganstalt, National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism to try to obtain details of all the payments my mother has received from them. They responded very quickly, but they can’t email me what I need to know – instead they must post hard copy! I’ve also scanned a lot of hard-copy documents, so I can try to understand them here. I need to learn a lot of new German vocab!
- I obtained my mother’s Unique Taxpayer Reference from HMRC. I’ll now be able to help her do online self-assessment for income tax. For the past few months I’ve been disappearing down electronic rabbit-holes trying to set this.
I also gave HMRC copies of my mother’s and sister’s Powers of Attorney, so I should be able to speak for them in future.
- I arranged for the burglar-alarm system in the parental abode to be replaced with a modern one from a new provider.
- My parents’ Mac Mini died as a result of the thunderstorm that killed their old burglar-alarm system, so I bought and installed a replacement. I’d just copied their data from an external hard disk back-up to my laptop when the external HD died too. So fortunate that it died after giving up its data!
- My sister and I tried to book a day’s leave for her for my and Elly’s wedding. I’m not sure they got the message.
- My main iPhone now no longer takes a charge, so he’s been put in for repair. I didn’t have my spare iPhone with me, so I’ve borrowed my dad’s 5S. It’s not as if he’ll be using it any time soon…
- I’ve ordered some things for Elly’s birthday.
- We all went out for a meal to celebrate my brother and sister’s birthday. (They are twins.) It was good to spend time with the other Ryans, and it was great to see my mum enjoy a few hours out of the house, but I missed my dad like stink. (I missed Elly being there too, but I knew she was safe in Edinburgh.)
During all this, I was in bits many times. My grandfather’s ID card and the record that he was a ‘full jew’ made me blub, many of my mother’s documents relating to Austria choked me up, and a photo of the family, including my sister-in-law and Elly, broke the dams. This was probably only a couple of years old, but my dad looked well and happy, and my mum looked energetic and much better than she does now.
I recall her being a strong, active person. Now she needs a lot of help to stagger 10 meters from restaurant chair to car, is in pain all the time, and has other needs I can’t mention here. We did have a few chats about her times in Vienna, coming to England, growing up here, her travels and other experiences. I recorded some of these (with her permission), and will type them up some time.
This might explain why being back at work feels like a relief – or would have done if an IT issue hadn’t wiped out any chance of working this afternoon!