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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mixed Bag

Finally! The packing is all but done. Tomorrow I'm flying to New England by way of Philadelphia! I always get myself into a kind of 'tizzy' -- worrying about the weather -- last year when I was Canaan, Connecticut was very cold. It would seem that this year it's about normal (whatever that is!). But I did see snow in the forecast for yesterday, so I'm taking my winter shoes. I've also packed a pair of sandals -- just in case! Anyway, I've more or less been driving myself crazy deciding what to take and not take.

At 11 a.m. sharp I logged on to the U.S. Air website and checked in and printed out my boarding passes. I also splurged and booked a 'choice' seat -- I really should try and discover why it is considered 'choice'. I have this great hope that it means I will have a bit more leg room. I've also decided to take my laptop, which is a bit heavy, but it is something to occupy my time when Mom is napping or watching 'her programs'. Her programs in particular are 'Jeopardy' and 'Wheel of Fortune'! I can not believe how long these shows have been on the air in America. With the same hosts. We are talking decades here...

The downside of going to America this year is that it's a Presidential election year. People outside of the United States can not appreciate how dreadful the onslaught is. The ad campaigns have already begun even before one of the candidates has been officially decided. The UK has a very good way of dealing with major elections. First of all no one can be quite sure when the next one will be -- though the present government has promised 5 years, which is the maximum period a government can sit. But what I like the most is the way Party Political Broadcasts work on television. Usually, it's at the evening news is cut short by 5 minutes. Maybe the next night it will be on behalf of another party.
While political advertising is banned, the Communications Act does require Channels 3, 4 and 5, and national analogue radio stations, to give airtime to political parties in the form of Party Political and Party Election Broadcasts. Under Ofcom rules, airtime is allocated to the major parties in each of the UK nations, and to other parties according to factors including how many seats they are contesting. The BBC carries PPBs and PEBs on a similar basis. Broadcasts are also awarded to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ organisations at the time of referendums.
And even if you turn the television off in the States, there is no respite. No siree Bob! As you try to prepare dinner and while you are trying to eat, the telephone starts to ring! And if you are silly enough to answer, it's not even a person on the other end of the line -- it's a recording and it's not a short recording either ... I was actually living in the States for the year 2008 -- it was horrendous. Oh, well, it's only April, I expect it will be bad, but not dire...

Finally, The Man has earned himself at least 5 gold stars on my behalf! As you know, I've been writing a series of blogs of the events leading up to my decision to become a UK citizen. One of the stumbling blocks for me has been the 'qualifying time'. My research on the Home Office website showed that even though I had lived in the UK for most of the last 30 years, I did not meet the requirements regarding the last three years.

The first rule is that on the date that the Home Office receives my application I must have been in the UK on that date 3 years before. In addition, during that 3 year period I cannot have been out of the country for more than 270 days. In addition, during the year immediately preceding my application I must not have been out of the country more than 90 days. These requirements have been problematic for me because of being in France for the summer and trips to the United States to see my mother. I even wrote to the Home Office explaining my situation, but the letter I got back indicated that there were no exceptions.

The Man, however, was not satisfied with this. And without saying anything he went to the website and found 'Exceptions'! So it would seem that the fact that I 'have established my home, family and a substantial of my estate here' will allow a great enough relaxation of the qualifying period for me to be able to make my application probably in October! And go to  France for a longer than expected period this summer (the icing on the cake!)

More from Stateside!

33 comments:

  1. THe politics gets nastier and starts earlier every election. Candidates are already positioning themselves for 2016!

    Cranky Old Man

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  2. Great news on the citizenship application front, Broad. Safe journey and have a wonderful time with your mother, despite its being election year. Please do wish her Happy Birthday from me. :-)

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    1. Ahhhh! Thanks Perpetua. Had a great journey -- if such things can be! All the plans were on time, my brother and my luggage were waiting at the end of it all! Can't ask for better than that!

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  3. The barrage of advertising is annoying, but doesn't bother me nearly as much as some clown, elected to a lower position for a four year term, deciding halfway through it to run for higher office, basically abdicating his post for half of his term in order to run for the other office. I would like a law making it illegal to campaign for any office while you hold a different one.

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    1. I don't entirely agree with you -- the exception being if you were up for re-election in the office you held, it would be permissible to run for the higher office... But lawmakers like to play it safe and hold on to one job in case they are not successful going for another!

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  4. I dread the commercial that will start up soon. It's so bad that I may not watch any local tv until next year! They could use their campaign funds for more important things, I would think.

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    1. Indeed, political commercials on radio and television should be banned as bad for the mental health of the electorate!

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  5. I do wish our political season was more like yours. You might find this year's weather much warmer than previous years, and summer might just be around the corner in most parts.
    I'm glad for you and your mom, for these visits. You both need them.

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    1. This weekend in Connecticut is supposed to be Spring-perfect! I may have chosen well in my packing decisions!

      I am so blessed to still have my mother and that she is so well and so much fun. She is really quite wonderful!

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  6. The sniping at each other has already stared Broad...it will only get worse...gag me with a spoon! The UK and Australia are much more civilized when it comes to elections. Do have a wonderful trip...hope the weather is gorgeous for you and your Mom's birthday a wonderful celebration. Smiles - Astrid

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    1. Tomorrow, Mom's birthday is supposed to be perfect! Should be a great day.

      I love that expression, 'gag me with a spoon!'

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  7. AW, you're on your way to visit Mom. Wish I could visit mine but yours will have to do. Give her a hug for me.
    Have a great time in the states. HOW fun. I love hearing what life is about living abroad.
    So write more of that!
    Blessings, Barb
    PS waiting to hear what you think of Vada Faith.

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    1. I'm reading your book, Barb! Started it on the plane and read more in the middle of the night. Am enjoying it very much, but will send you an e-mail when I finish!

      And thanks for your best wishes, too.

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  8. I hope you have a wonderful visit with your mom. And survive the election year antics.

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    1. So far a wonderful visit with my Mom. As for the antics, as Astrid said above, 'Gag me with a spoon'!

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  9. Broad,
    Have a wonderful trip and taking a laptop seems to be a good idea as you can keep us up to date on your travels.
    On the BA website you can log on to your booking 24 hours before travel and any 'premium' seats which haven't been paid for are up for grabs. These tend to have a bit more leg room and are easier to get if you are travelling alone.
    Great news on the citizenship front. Keep plugging away!

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    1. Unfortunately, BA, which is my favourite airline, no longer flies directly to the States from Manchester. I did opt for choice seating on US Airways and it was money well spent -- second seat from the exit door!

      Will be concentrating on the citizenship front as soon as I get back!

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  10. Have a safe trip back to the states and a great visit with your Mom! Glad to hear the application for citizenship can move forward.

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    1. Arrived safe and sound and every flight went like clockwork. Not enjoyable exactly, but as good as it gets in economy!

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  11. Have a safe journey and a lovely time in the US, despite the election fever! Hope that by the time you return, you'll qualify for true UK citizenship! Take care. Martine

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    1. Thanks, Martine! I still have some hoops to jump through on the citizenship front, but it should happen sooner than I expected.

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  12. have a great trip.... know exactly what you mean about election coverage. I found it hard to find any adverts telling you what people stood for, just what their opponents stood for, which was , of course, always completely evil. Hope you can ignore all that, and just have a wonderful time.

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    1. I'm trying hard to ignore it, but it ain't easy!

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  13. I hope your seat is comfortable! And I'm full of admiration for anyone who manages to pass that citizenship test, I certainly couldn't when I tried!

    Have a safe trip and I hope you manage to avoid most of the electioneers!

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    1. One of the positive things about being over 65 is that I am no longer required to take the test!

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  14. Well done The Man!
    Have a great trip and while the U.S. election barrage is on just console yourself that at least you are missing the French one....

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    1. I just realized that! That's going to be interesting -- especially from a distance!

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  15. Hmm, choice seating on an airline. More than thirteen inches of legroom? Bon Voyage Ms. Broad.

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  16. I hope you are having a great visit. And be glad you at least missed the Republican primaries. I have never seen so many dumb people wanting to run the world. I have wondered how things are done in Europe, so now I know about the UK at least. Sanity seems to prevail there.

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    1. There is still some sanity in the UK -- but there with each election certain familiar new world techniques seem to be creeping in.

      The Republican debates were very disturbing, indeed.

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