Here I am, back and blogging again.
I've been putting together all the pieces of my yet-to-be updated website. My current version of Squarespace has become outdated and no longer works at 100% and so I'm forced to upgrade. This is not my most favourite thing to do and I have been switching between procrastinating and working.
An inefficient combination as it turns out.
I've been distracted by other things too. My very respectable, middle-class New Zealand friend was denied re-entry into the United Kingdom. She was fine in December but deemed at risk of over-staying when she returned from Italy in January. After 9 hours of questioning, an interview, and a search she was made to sign a report of events that was different when it came back to her. She was then held overnight and thrown on a plane and deported back to Belgium ... with her 10 year old daughter.
UK Immigration has her passport now. She's had to apply for a visa ... They've had it a fortnight. She can't travel without it and when she phoned them today, wanting to know if they were going to allow her back into the UK within their stated processing time, she learned they were on holiday.
Yesterday, when she phoned them to check on progress, she learned that she had to give them her credit card details so they could take 20 pounds for each call. The second call was to tell them that they had sent her a 'dont reply' email address as the address she needed to reply to. They didn't let her off the fee ... they also wanted her passport number. She had to remind them that they have her passport.
Seems like hell to me.
So New Zealanders, be cautious on entering the UK. You may get a nasty border guard because Tanya, as sure as hell, as done nothing to deserve this.
No children, she's not religious. Not a peace activist. Not hanging out with Edward Snowden. I know these are some of the standard (appalling) reasons for detaining people these days. She's a New Zealander, no criminal record, nothing ever done except owning and operating two very successful businesses. It seems an error of judgement has been made but someone had the power to make this error and cause her to lose quite some thousands of euro while she waits.
Her story is one that will be told in full by her, as it's long, complicated and rather rotten. So, currently she and Ruby are here while she fights to continue with her long-planned return to the UK.
Meanwhile she's also healing here, slowly. Her lungs were infected way back when we were in Roccasecca, Italy, in January. She is still ill. Her Eustachian tube is blocked now. She still has a cough. It's been an 'interesting' ongoing battle to recover as she didn't get a staph infection on top of the lung infection, like me, and didn't get the massive hit of antibiotics I took. She has become friends with both my doctor and my pharmacist here in Belgium. Lovely but not what you dream of on a holiday where the UK is your destination.
In other news ... I also had a most marvelous visit from Kim of Dragonlane blog fame. She makes the loveliest jewellery. I should know. I wear two of her pieces almost constantly. That too is a story for later, once I have her permission to post one of the photographs from the portrait session I did with her.
This is a post full of promises, isn't it :-)
Here's a photograph I was just given. It's me, in Italy, as we fled with our lungs full of stuff, trying to dry out and heal there in Rome.