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My deadline had passed.

“If your deadline has passed, call the registrar.”

I did.

“Oh we can’t do that over the phone - you have to come in person.”

Why?

“You need to show us the death certificate.”

But you issued it, I have just proved who I am surely you can just log into the system and reset the expiry date.

“Sorry. No. We have to issue a new number and that can only be in person.”

I am now 200 miles away is that the only way.

“Oh no you can go to any registrar.”

We work out where my nearest registrar is - and I am given their phone number.

I call and am welcomed to the 24 hour hotline. A brief musical interlude after being informed that I am next in line to have my query answered … which immediately cuts across to the recorded message, sorry there is no one available to answer your call.

I try one more time about and hour later. Same result.

I wait another 2 hours and call again. Same result.

Time to try Plan B … edgy … in person visit, with no appointment.

The old town hall now has a brand new red glass and brick structure that is easily ten times the size of the original right beside it. It is here that all public questions and issues are handled.

I walk past the door that is ‘staff only’, around the corner to the front door. The door opens automatically and as I walk into the ‘half house airlock’. A sprightly young man leaps towards me to let me know that the closed door in front of me won’t open and move to the door to the left.

I follow the instructions and am faced with a large reception capable of handling 3 receptionists. There is one on duty dealing with a couple. I wait behind the couple.

Five minutes later, the same sprightly gentleman pops over to inform me that the queue starts there … pointing at a small piece of crumpled paper stuck to the wall to the side of the reception.

I move to ‘the line’ … once again I am first.

As I get there and turn around the couple is animated conversation with the receptionist and around 3 minutes later the receptionist tells the couple … this is the phone number you need. Thanks and pleasantries exchanges and I was duly summoned.

I explained my quandary.

Death … need extension … system reset … told to come here ….

I was met with a blank look

“When was the death?”

Middle of last month.

“Well you should have reported the death at the time.”

I did, but now I need to move the information through the system — but to do that …

“So you have reported the death?”

Yes, I just need to …

“Well if you have reported the death, we can’t do anything else … you now have to …”

Yes, I know, can I speak to somebody in the deaths department

Turns out the deaths department is not in the red glass and brick building … it’s in the other one I walked by. The original town hall …

I moved away - thanking profusely and back to the original building.

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