...You wouldn't think it was possible to be this tired and yet to have accomplished so little in a day. It's 10.20 pm and all I've done so far is remove a heap of junk and not-junk off my desk and put it on the floor.
Bearing in mind I stupidly assumed I could actually get stuff done this week (you know, during a week when the girls are on holiday from school but I'm not officially "on holiday" till Wednesday night), the reality of what I've actually managed (the from-desk-to-floor heap) seems pathetically pathetic even to me.
On the other hand, I can see a corner of my desk (hey! It's blue! Who knew?) that I probably haven't seen since the last time I cleared my desk.
On the third hand (who's counting?), still on that blue corner of my desk, I have found some deeply unappealing things (hmm, anyone for a fingernail?), a LOT of dust (possibly composed almost 100% of crumbs of some kind or another) and a few things I thought (assumed) were lost forever.
And finally, my passport saga continues: despite the 1.60-Euro-a-minute-5-minute-minimum UK consulate passport helpline's "no, go right ahead, just write one cheque (for 190 Euros - gah)for both the passport fees and postage costs" and then further confirmation "yeah, go ahead and make the cheque payable to the British consulate in Paris", I got a message on my answering machine saying that the consulate hasn't accepted personal cheques in over a year, could I phone back and give my credit card details please.
So, I phoned back, at 11.50 am, and eventually got a snotty French switchboard cow telling me that what I'm requesting is impossible (though that in itself is supposedly impossible if you go by a saying the French are mighty fond of: "impossible n'est pas français"*), that I should phone the get-a-bank-loan-first helpline, bla, bla, bla, that the place is closed for lunch and that I should phone back after 2.30 pm. I duly phoned back at 4.30 pm, and eventually got the same snarky cow telling me the offices were closed for the day. I snapped back that Ms Consulate Lady's message said 5.30 was closing time... So Ms Snotty Switchboard grudgingly tried to put me through. I sat through more bars of Vivaldi's "Spring" than I care to remember and eventually got to speak to Ms Consulate Lady. I informed her of my gripes ("I just spent about 20 Euros last week on your crappy helpline only to be given information that isn't even goddamn true, and now your own Ms Snotty Switchboard is telling lies about opening hours too") and she was very nice and said she would DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM.
She took my credit card details, told me I'd probably get my passport (complete with hideous photo) around 7 January and then informed me that, with the pound Sterling plummeting against the Euro, the fees (originally in pounds, then converted to Euros) have gone DOWN and that I won't be debited 190 Euros after all, just a trifling 170 Euro or so.
So, despite a pretty snarky day all round, with not enough sleep, not nearly enough chocolate, two pretty grizzly girls all day, not getting anything done, having yet more work to contend with and having to deal with Ms Snotty Switchboard not once but twice, I duly give thanks to the wonder that is the British economy (what's left of it) and its plummeting currency.
May the Christmas spirit move you all in at least one of its mysterious ways.
* = Impossible is not French (attributed to Napoleon. A totally ridiculous saying, if you ask me, and even more totally unsuited to the French)