Living the Dream – 44. Contrarian

Contrarian

Winetasting. Supper. Up early for golf, back home for a swim, record a podcast, then out for grilled meat.

That’s more like it, truly living the dream. Nothing contrarian about that.

I wrote last week about expats and the collective consciousness. Often this group-think leads to the tiniest bit of hysteria.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have heard about Brexit: The process by which the UK is (maybe) leaving the EU. Fear not, I’m not going to get into the politics of Brexit, only the local logistics.

Drivers Licences

All EU countries issue a European driving licence. A licence from one member state is valid in all member states. The current practice for expats in Cyprus, is to drive on the UK licence until it expires. When it does, there are two options. If maintaining a UK address, then simply apply for a new licence at that address through the UK system. If you are not, then hand in your UK licence to the Cypriot authorities, who will issue you with the Cypriot flavour of the EU licence. No worries, no stress.

In a post-Brexit world, UK licences will no longer be valid in the EU. We are advised that we have a short window before the exit process completes, and we should hand in our UK licences for Cypriot ones.

Response

Several expats of my acquaintance have bristled at this:

“I’m not giving up my UK licence! They’ll make me redo a test to get one back.”

“I’m going to report my UK licence as lost and have a replacement issued. Then, I’ll hand in the old one in return for a Cypriot licence. That way, I’ll have both.”

Reality

Now, call me an old cynic if you will, but some observations.

  1. The Cypriot authorities have no desire to manage a rush of driving licence applications. Frankly, they would rather go to lunch. The obvious thing to do would be for the EU and the UK agree to honour each other’s licences (as they currently do), but politically, this may be troublesome as the EU may want to demonstrate how difficult life can be outside the family. A believable response to this is “do nothing.”
  2. I find it difficult to imagine that Senior Cypriot law enforcers are going to brief their colleagues: “Right you lot. Enough of this catching criminals nonsense. I want you to get out there and stop every car that is being driven by what looks like a UK citizen. Those UK licence-carrying individuals are Public Enemy #1.”
  3. One way to rile bureaucrats is to actively undermine their beloved systems. The replacement licence ruse looks doomed to me, the Cypriot licence will be issued on the back of an invalid UK one, and that’s not going to end well.

Solution

With regards to the driving licence, I’m adopting a contrarian approach. I’m doing nothing. I suspect that my licence will go from perfectly valid, to invalid, to illegal and back to legal again. It might not, of course, but I suspect I may avoid jail time, in any event.

If age brings experience, and then wisdom, then it has taught me that sometimes, the best course is to do nothing.

 

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Living the Dream – 8. Hassle Hurricane

In six weeks or so, we will be waking up in Cyprus. As my home. Oh, how I anticipate that day! Right now however, we are in the midst of a hassle hurricane.

Hassle

Each day, I wake to long to-do lists, endless dependencies and unforeseen complications. There’s a skip on the drive, bundles of paperwork to complete and the small matter of valuing every single thing that we own still outstanding. The garage needs partitioning, the fridge ‘un-plumbing’, the list goes on.

There are plenty of people who offer to take away this hassle. At a price. More than once, my legendary patience and laid-back approach to life has been tested by ambitious quotes.

“How much?!” I have spluttered.

Fortunately, I married a very smart woman, who has calmly sourced alternative solutions, leaving me snorting and shouting ineffectively into the wind.

Ultimately, the sheer volume of tasks can be stress-inducing and overwhelming. Often, changing one arrangement has a knock-on effect requiring several other things to be adjusted.

Solution

Staying on top of these hassles requires a notebook. That might sound silly, but it isn’t: Writing lists asserts control over the tasks, ticking them off creates a feeling of progress. Referring to the book calms any mounting nerves and anxieties.

For those of geeky disposition (like me), the notebook is a Great Barrier Reef by Dingbats, from my store, Nero’s Notes. I got the pencil from there too, and it is a Palomino Forest Choice.

Have no illusion, the notebook completes no tasks and lowers no prices, the hassle hurricane remains. However – using the notebook helps me plan my days and navigate the bureaucratic nonsense, arrangements and dependencies. Suddenly, I can spy glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. Some lists are completed, some can only be completed nearer to departure date.