I could have kissed the postman this morning.
Actually, I couldn’t. Firstly I was in a state of partial deshabille when I heard the clunk, meow, clatter of the post arriving through my letterbox and landing on the cat, who was just attempting to leave by the cat flap as it arrived, and secondly the postman was on his bike and off cycling up the street at a frantic rate of knots before you could say “Jack Robinson”, as though he knew the danger that awaited him should he delay.
In these days of ultra-efficiency and electronic gadgetry, you’d have thought I’d be safe from this anxiety. Six months ago I decided to tax my car for only six months instead of the usual twelve as I was rather short of available funds. What I had failed to take into account was my original reason for deciding to tax my car annually in October. Yes, my insurance ran out just two days before my new tax disc was due. This meant that, without the evidence that I had indeed agreed to renew my insurance for the year, the post office and the internet application thingy were both unwilling to grant me a tax disc until after 29th. OK, stressful and tense waiting ensued (including several phone calls to the DVLA through about twenty “pick a number, any number” automated options – you know, the ones where none of the options actually apply to your situation and when you finally get through them all they inform you that your call is immensely valuable to them but they aren’t going to answer it because they’re too busy talking to other people or drinking coffee)
29th – all systems go? Should be on the automated database now. After all, it’s all paid up and settled. Pah. Fat chance. And you are only allowed to check the database once every twenty four hours, apparently. Can I renew my tax disc? Can I heck as like!
30th? Anything in the post? Not a sausage. Not that a sausage would have helped. No. The kind man at the DVLA informed me not to worry, I was just not allowed to use the automated system beyond 31st abd if my insurance documents didn’t arrive through the post the following day, I was not allowed to use my car or even park it on the road until they did. I had fourteen days grace’, he said, for the documents to arrive and for me to get it taxed, but not fourteen days’ grace actually using the thing, despite me spending a fortnight trying frantically to tax it. For those who don’t know, untaxed cars can be taken away without warning and crushed!
But I am saved by the bell. Or rather by the clunk-meow-clatter. I have my insurance documents. Only one small problem. I have someone coming round for an hour’s tutoring in a minute. I am due at work by 1pm. I am not allowed to use the car, so I will have to make my way to the post office on foot and pray that they don’t close for an early lunch because otherwise it’s Easter Weekend and I’m stranded!
I think I’ll tax it for six months, don’t you, and move my annual renewal to October.