Not Looking Good For ‘The Captain’

I’ve been absent. I know. It’s been intentional.

To be perfectly frank I’ve been so p—ed off I haven’t felt like writing here.

For over six years now, we’ve been on the often tortuous visa journey of making it ‘legal’ for my husband of almost ten years to be ‘allowed’ to stay with me in the country of my birth for longer than six months.

I’ve posted many times previously about the complexities and costs of this process to date, and realise we’re ‘fortunate’ to even have the ability to apply. We’ve heard many stories of families torn apart who aren’t able to fulfil the requirements made by a certain Mrs May in 2012 – which have exponentially increased since then. I’ve read about people being ‘sent back’ recently too, with tragic consequences. Oh yes, thank you, it’s certainly feeling like a ‘hostile’ environment 🙁 To all of you reading who ‘complain’ about ‘immigrants’, be careful what you wish for!

Barry’s final application for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ was submitted at the end of January. Foolishly we chose not to pay the extra £700 on top of the £2,400 to ‘Fast Track’ the application, despite previously fully intending to (as the goal posts had changed – AGAIN!), in order to be sure we could travel abroad this year in the run up to celebrating my 60th birthday in September. There was also the £1,300 solicitors fees (it’s rather complex living on a narrowboat!). The first two applications were successfully returned within six weeks. Strangely we imagined the same would happen, or maybe a little longer.

But no.

Four months later and we’re still waiting. The process can take up to six months. SIX MONTHS!!! Seriously. We gambled on that being unlikely. Surely it can’t take that long? It’s a simple process. Seems we were wrong. Possibly EU applications to stay in UK have taken precedence, and the Set (M) applications are a lower priority. Who knows the answer 🙁

Sadly there’s nothing we can do but wait.

A Solo French Trip

It’s looking likely I’ll be travelling to France alone on Tuesday 4th June.

Firstly to stay with French family friends, in Cabourg, who I haven’t seen for many years. Nearby the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings are being held on 6th June. Barry would absolutely adore to be present for them. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but it’s worth stating again, Barry’s father fought FOR BRITAIN in the Second World War that will be commemorated then. I hear that Mrs May will be present in Normandy to ‘celebrate’. Hmmm, not sure I will be …

Mum and Odile at the back, Sandra, Vivien, Katherine and Linda at the front. With two rather scary dolls from France for Sandra and Katherine! Circa around 1966

I’ll stay until Friday 7th June, when I’ll travel the breadth of France alone (to make up for it I’ve booked a First Class ticket for a mere £30 more!) from Caen to Strasbourg, via Paris, to meet Tony and Kerry Fox from Gisborne. We’ve got a week on the  Canal de la Marne au Rhin (Alsace Lorraine) and Barry is the nominated ‘Captain’. Last year Tony and Kerry asked us to come with them, as they wanted Barry’s boating expertise.

Basically we’ve got five days next week for Barry’s Indefinite Leave to Remain visa to be returned to him in order for him to join us. The chances of it arriving on Monday are slim. But if it comes by Friday 7th he could potentially fly to Strasbourg and join us.

Otherwise it’s looking likely that the Captain will be Sandra Walsh instead!

After the canals we’re heading by train to Venice. So IF it comes anytime after 7th June, he still ‘could’ find a way to join us.


Yes I know. I hear you. We ‘should’ve’ just paid the extra money. Because it’ll cost us more anyway now IF it comes back after 4th June and before 16th June (when we travel to Venice).

Yes I know. I hear you. We ‘shouldn’t’ have booked any holidays abroad unless we have Barry’s visa. That’s what they advise.

So. To anyone in a similar predicament – don’t try and beat the system. They have you over a barrel, and once in the ‘system’ you’re helpless. Just pay to Fast Track as friends of ours did and got their decision within a week 🙁

Au revoir! I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything … And if anyone has any influential friends in high places now is the time to call in a favour!

Cross your appendages for Barry please 😉

9 thoughts on “Not Looking Good For ‘The Captain’

  1. So sorry to hear that Barry’s visa still hasn’t come through and the trouble it’s causing. I’m increasingly feeling ashamed of being a UK citizen given the way we now treat anyone that can’t show that they were actually born here (and we don’t even treat all of those properly.
    I’m glad to see that you don’t confuse your situation with “illegal immigrants and benefit claimants” (aka refugees) but wouldn’t expect anything else of you. You are, however, totally entitled to feel p****d off.

  2. My god – this is so unfair to torture you both this way and I feel so frustrated for you.No wonder you have not blogged Sandra, because I would feel the same in your situation. Other foreigners have entered this country illegally and some get asylum and then they claim befits to support them from the system that we pay tax for. The whole system need a bloody good shakeup and the people who control this need to be out on the dole to learn what they doing to others.

    • It’s a sad and sorry state this country. It feels like all humanity has been lost under the current government. 😰

  3. Oh dear Sandra – what a sorry tale. I have everything crossed and wish I had a few friends in high places tucked away, but sadly no such luck. I cannot believe how long all this is taking and how much you are having to pay. Enjoy your time away and I hope Barry is able to join you before you head to Venice, if not before. Jennie

    • Thank you Jenny. I know it’s not life threatening, and doing my best to re-frame, but boy it’s upsetting! I’ll do my best to find ways to enjoy solo travelling. I used to do it lots before I met Barry. Que sera sera 😕

      • Of course there are worse things out there, Sandra, but when bad stuff happens to you, you are entitled to feel p****d off! I know I would. Also you should not have to be considering solo travel – you have been married for years and this whole situation is beyond my comprehension. As Ray said we have a lot of illegal immigrants and it is not as though Barry is after anything from the State. Mad, mad world.

        On a brighter note – I can now see your photos, or rather Barry’s which lightens up my world a lot. I am not sure why the sudden change, but I am not complaining. Jennie

        • Thank you Jennie. Though Asylum seekers have my sympathy. Their plight is unimaginable and incomparable.

          Great that you can see Barry’s photos! Hopefully you’ll see some of the French canals next month. Though they may be Kerry’s (a fellow professional photographer from Gisborne) rather than Barry’s!!

          • I look forward to them Sandra, and yes I do agree there are some people in dire need of refuge and deserve all the help they can get.

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