for the George Mikes reference!
This may come as a total surprise to you but today is Black Friday. Yes! It crept up on us unawares without anyone mentioning it once. Indeed, they mentioned it not once but at least a dozen times – each. But this year's Black Friday has a very different feel to those in recent years, especially here in Britain where it is …
According to some nondescript store in Kensington High Street (Uniglo or something like that) it seems that "Black Friday" actually runs from Thursday 22nd November through to Wednesday 28th November. Quite how one day can last a week I am not sure but to me it is an indicator not to buy anything tagged "Black [whatever]" in the knowledge that it will be previously unsold, warehoused tat from 2 years ago.
No, I shall be British and wait for the proper sales that start on Boxing Day, when we all queue up in an orderly fashion, stampede into Harrod's and lay waste.to the china department, safe in the assumption that they buy in cheap and nasty china just for the occasion.
(Beer, 'cos it's Black Friday today)
Carphone warehouse (a long past its sell by date name) has had a "black tag" sale for ages.
Curiously it's usually empty, while there is often a queue at the mobile phone booth in Tesco. The same Mall has Vodafone, Three and Eir shops, mostly busier than CPW, but less busy than the Tesco booth.
Yet again Which? is warning that the deals are often bogus or for things you shouldn't buy. Perhaps Dabsy's timely warning should have been LAST week, though Cyber Monday (the worst day of the year to buy online) is not yet arrived.
"unfortunately Germany doesn't allow dual-nationality"
To be pedantic, lots of countries don't like dual nationality, and will make a big deal about you giving up your old nationality, but it's legally almost impossible for them to do so.
In general you can't ever not have a nationality, nor renounce your current one if it's your only one. There are some odd exceptions, but in general that's the case.
When you gain a new nationality, one of two situations occurs. If your current nation won't allow you to gain another one, then you gain the new one, then lose the old. Otherwise you keep both. You can then choose to give up one of them. You can also have one taken away by the nation it belongs too.
But at no point can nation A remove the nationality of nation B from anyone. Ever.
The Dutch are even more picky than the Germans, and they admit that, legally, if I'm granted citizenship that I cannot be made to renounce my current nationalities (British and NZ).
Actually getting nationality is slightly more tricky if you don't actually live in the country.
According to the draft agreement, anyone who has been in another EU country for 5+ years gets permanent residency (ie nationality less a few bits) immediately upon brexit. If less than 5, then keep current rights, get residency after 5.
I'm also 99% sure that if the Dabbs household moved to the ancestral home of Mme Dabbs, then Dabbsy gets to come with, and gets to live and work while accumulating the 5 years. Same for children. Exactly which blood relatives are something that is in the haggling details.
The actual agreements are well worth reading. The UK stays in the EU, follows EU rules, agrees to pay an appropriate contribution and the ECJ is the top court still. But no votes. Even knowing some of the finer haggling points, I don't actually see what the UK has gotten out of this, other than moving the deadline a couple of years down the road.
Oh, and for the fuckers who tried to pull this shit off, I don't think it's worked. The anti money laundering stuff is part of the deal, including full details of all beneficial ownership.
I think Germany want to see actual proof you've renounced your previous non-EU nationality before giving you German nationality.
So before Brexit you can have them both, after Brexit, Germany will want to see the letter from your caring sharing Home Office saying fuckity bye. However even so you can then go back to Home Office later and pay a lot of money and (hopefully) get it back again.
Meanwhile, e.g. Spain wants you to solemnly pinky promise you will renounce your previous nationality at the ceremony where you get your Spanish nationality, but doesn't do much more than that.
As for permanent residency, most EU countries allow the foreign partner to stay with their family whatever his of her income. The exception is, of course, the UK where high income threshold test is individual instead of per household and it doesn't matter if the partner is forced to leave as Skype apparently ticks the "right to family life" box.
"I don't actually see what the UK has gotten out of this"
It's Taken Back Control.
Yes, I know it's meaningless. It always was. But it was what a fraction of the nation voted for.
Now some of them have realised they won't actually done that come Brexit day.
What they haven't realised yet is that if they get a hard Brexit they still won't have taken back control. Half the world's map isn't coloured pink any more. The sun set on the empire long ago. There is no control to take back.
"Yes, I know it's meaningless. It always was. But it was what a fraction of the nation voted for."
It's a bigger fraction that has ever voted in anything than has voted for anything else in British history. If you want to diminish the voting majority by trying to disparage it as an insignificantly small fraction, no vote ever has tallied the numbers that Brexit has, and there are many elections that have had smaller majorities.
Agree or disagree with the outcome, campaigning or whatever you like, the legitimacy of the actual referendum vote itself is indisputable. 72.2% of voters turning out with over 33.5 million votes isn't too shabby for any vote. With a 3.8% majority in favour, it's a clearly legitimate majority also.
Well, what with all the insecurity around brexit, I am glad I could get Dutch citizenship (having a Dutch mother and being born and raised in the Netherlands), but much to my surprise I could simply keep my British citizenship (which I got automatically through having British father). In the past they did a lot of huffing and puffing about dual nationality, but now suddenly there wasn't a problem. I still have a good five years of validity on my UK passport, and given the price of these things, I was glad I didn't have to discard it and get a Dutch one instead (and yes, I have Scottish and Dutch ancestry).
If you are (un)lucky enough to be born in NI then you are at least guaranteed dual nationality - British and Irish citizenship.
Given brexit, there have been some surprising characters who have exercised this right who would otherwise denounce their Irish-ness...
(AC because it's a whole other can of worms)
"[...] but unfortunately Germany doesn't allow dual-nationality [...]"
When did that happen? Back in the early Noughties a young friend from Turkey (Turkish father, German mother) was saying that when he reached conscription age he was allowed to choose between Turkey or Germany for his military service. Presumably he chose Germany as he later went to university there.
I’m not sure how I feel about “nationality”. I was born and brought up as an Anglo-Scot and even though I suppose I’m a bit of a Francophile, I’d only be pretending if I acquired a French passport. It’s a bit like those annoying men and women you meet from time to time who evidently benefited from a comfortable middle-class upbringing but pretend to be working-class heroes.
I was in a Dutch bank some years ago. The branch was virtually empty, one customer being served at the single staffed counter position, and there was no queue. I stood generally in the vicinity of where a queue should be formed, having seen nobody around, let alone one with with a sort of "I am waiting my turn" cast to their general demeanour.
The customer being served finished, and as they walked off, I went the few steps to the counter, then...
.. apparently from nowhere, a random and somewhat angry Dutchman appeared and remonstrated with me, presumably for stealing his place in the queue. I am not sure how I was supposed know the queue was actually behind a curtain, or the large pot plant, or where ever the hell it was he had been hiding away, and not at the pole in the vicinity of the counter, where it seemed likely any queue should be formed, but hey. I didn't much see the point in arguing. It would have been tricky in any case, what with me not speaking any Dutch.
Presumably it was a spatially dispersed queue, where all parties have to to play a sort of Netherlandish version of hide-and-seek, and join the queue by first finding the last person in it, then remembering who and where they were, before hiding themselves so the next-comer can join in the fun.
This may only have been a uniquely Delft tradition though, and not typical of the Dutch at all. I don't recall it ever happening again, but then I did start checking more assiduously for any superficially nonchalant "I'm not waiting in a queue" body language that concealed a true, darker purpose.
> Perhaps you forgot to take a number?
Trouble is there are inevitably two buttons on the take-a-number machine.
I remember in somewhere Scandinavian the two buttons were labelled roughly “Homtyfomtybumfluff” and “Expedition”.
I asked the person behind me if she could possibly translate these for me and she said, “I’m sorry I don’t know the English for Homtyfomtybumfluff, but Expedition is Expedition”. Since I wasn’t going on an expedition, I pressed Homtyfumtybumfluff. Some sort of klaxon went off out the back and a new person with a different uniform appeared in a new window whose curtain was raised, and my number appeared above it. I walked up purposefully to ask for my “three stamps for postcards to Scotland please’” and found this was the counter for passport applications, driving licenses, gun permits and so on. I sheepishly returned to the back of the “expedition” queue.
...as the 25th is at the weekend, so they bring it forward for some reason...
...not that I've read any of the 3 million (it seems) special offer emails I've had this week.
(That said, I do have a couple of things I need to buy soonish, so I'll be playing the "what odds on those things not being in a sale" game later...)
It's a curious indictment of British pay that pay dates can vary so much. Currently I'm waiting until next Friday for my pay as I'm now paid on the last working day of each month. But historically I have been paid also on the last Friday of each month and on the 25th of each month. This can then cause issues with bills when you align them with one pay date to then change jobs and discover that all your bills now leave the bank the day before you get paid.
"I ended up making sure all the bills were timed for the first fortnight of the month for that very reason."
As a variation I used to get bank statements in the middle of the month so I could work out how bad the remainder was going to be and prioritise things accordingly.
(Current bank adopted the practice of sending statements whenever there was a full page to print. It's now abandoned that practice and apparently sends out a statement after some random fraction of a full page has been generated. What they never seem to have worked out is what every other bank I've used over several decades has accomplished: print monthly and shove as many pages as that requires into a single envelope. The wonders of modern banking IT.)
Strangest pay system I encountered was a big blue megacorp who paid you in advance for the month you're about to work.
It meant that when you join / they borg your employer you get an extra month's pay.
It also means that when you leave to go to a company with normal backpay, you had best had a month's wages saved up to live off.
I then went to a company that paid on the very last day of the month, however once they started pushing that out to the 1st-3rd of the next month (and presumably skimming the interest) I started looking to leave. They claimed they would pay for any fees relating to missed payments, what they wouldn't answer was how they would repair any damage to employee's credit records.
I'm now paid 25th-ly, or the nearest working day beforehand. Which is strange when it is about a week before the end of the month, most of my bills come out at the start of the month, I look at my wages and panic. But then remember I'm a few weeks off the next pay.
Once had a standing order to a company who didn't understand how bank holidays worked. It was due to go out on the 1st, but if that was a Saturday and there was a bank holiday (or two!) the money might not transfer until the Tuesday 4th or Wednesday 5th. Cue phone calls "Where's our money?" "When the bank sends it"
I generally dealt with the variability using two techniques that I called "budgeting" and "saving" that meant that I didn't run out of money at the end of the month.
One place I worked a colleague complained that being paid a week early at Christmas caused problems because the money had to last an extra week. I'm glad to say that all 3 of us in earshot had the same reaction.
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