Tag Archives: basingstoke

Naturalisation and a long overdue update

So it turns out that I have now officially been in the country for 10 years. I thought I had come in September 2005, but after going through some paperwork it appears that I didn’t come until early October.

And why does this matter? Because I am applying for British Naturalisation. Being European AND being married to a British citizen, I only have to prove my residence for the last 5 years, but in the paperwork they ask you to go back as far as 10 years (or since entrance in the country).

My husband’s family believe that the UK is going to vote to leave the EU in the referendum next year, and they think that I may be in some sort of trouble (no idea what, but it’s better not to argue with them). So they have funded the whole process (which is not cheap at all) and here I am, filling in forms, gathering paperwork and photocopying things.

It is actually a very straight forward process and if you’ve been in the country legally for the last 5 years, working and being a good citizen, it should be no problem to get it. You need to list all your jobs and addresses for the last 5 years, prove that you were actually working here (P60s, letters from employers, etc), demonstrate your level of English by doing a Life in the UK test and a speaking exam (which I haven’t done since I have a BA (Hons) degree from the University of Portsmouth). You also need two referees who have known you for more than three years and one of them has to be a person of certain standing (like a doctor, lawyer, etc. I’ve gone for a local councillor)

I have just finished filling in the form, I only need a couple of photocopies and then next month I have an appointment with the “Nationality Checking Service“, where they check your application form and certify the originals against the photocopies before sending all the paperwork to the Home Office. And then, time to wait, I suppose…

Once they grant me the naturalisation (well, I hope they do!) then I can apply for a British Passport. Remember a few years ago, before I got married, I was wondering whether to change my name or not? Well, now would be the perfect time to officially change my surname if that’s what I wanted to do. However, I found my peace with my name as it is and I don’t think I’ll ever change it now.

 

In other updates, life with the twins is always a challenge. They are growing so quickly that you don’t have time to sit down and just watch them develop. If you blink, you miss it! They still go to nursery three days a week, and on Wednesdays my in-laws come to visit them, so that gives me almost a day where I can do my own stuff undisturbed. Yesterday, for example, I left the house at 9:30 and didn’t return until 4 in the afternoon! It was a first, I tell you.

I still enjoy crafting as much as I did when I started 5 years ago. But I won’t talk about this right now, as I have another blog entry in mind to talk about crafts and scrapbooking.

A positive experience

There’s a lot of controversy going on about the NHS these days in the UK. There have been so many complaints about incompetent doctors and uncaring nurses that you always see something in the news that make you shiver about it.

However, I have always defended the NHS. In so many years in the UK, I’ve never had a complaint to make. Not that I’ve needed medical services that often, but when I have the service has always been correct. All my GPs, from the very early ones in Portsmouth to the latest ones in Basingstoke have always treated me correctly, with respect, as a person and not as a number.

I had to go through minor surgery earlier this week. Due to the nature of the operation I was worried and stressed. It was my first ever operation of any kind. I’ve been lucky in the past and I’ve never needed medical services going beyond something that can be sorted on a quick A&E visit. So I think it was quite understandable that I was nervous.

From the moment I arrived in hospital until the moment I was discharged the treatment and manner of the staff was fantastic. Reassuring, caring and professional. At no point I felt like I was being looked down on, or even treated with contempt, like I’ve heard so many times on the national news. On contrary, everybody seemed very interested on my name (having an “exotic” surname can be an advantage in certain circumstances), where I came from, and everybody seemed to have friends living somewhere near Málaga.
I really feel sad for all those people who have actually been on the other side of the coin and experienced the worse side of the NHS care. Doctors and nurses probably deal with hundreds of people a day and I would bet that at times it is difficult to just show that you care, because, let’s be honest, they can’t care about every single person on that ward at once! No excuse, I know.. but let’s try to be on their side for once..

So here’s my little contribution, my little piece of praise towards the NHS and especially the gynaecology department at Basingstoke’s Hospital. You were all great and I deeply appreciated it. Many thanks.

Spitting distance

I haven’t been in much of a mood for updating the blog lately. I suppose I have been half lazy / half busy. With Jon’s new job, I kind of promised myself to be a bit more “housewifey”, ie, prepare lunch in the mornings, have dinner ready in the evenings, keep up with the washing up and ironing, etc. A very good idea only if I already didn’t have to work full time and commute for 2 hours every day. So, the result is that, although I am trying and kind of succeeding, I am also a bit tired in the evenings to do anything that requires from me anything more than sitting in front of the telly or lying down in bed…

Well, after this rumble, I just want to talk about something nice and pretty. I don’t want to write about anything that has to be thought about first. No clever discussions in here today, sir.

And what is that something nice and pretty? Well, something that is just a stone’s throw away from our house: The lovely countryside in Basingstoke’s outskirts.

I live just there, where the star is in this picture below. And as you can see, to the left of the picture everything is green. Fields and fields for miles and miles, with tiny lovely traditional villages on the way…

Basingstoke countryside

We went for a walk just a couple of weeks back (when the weather was lovely for it) and both Jon and I were humbled at the beauty that lives just at our doorstep. We have woods to the north of our estate and fields to both east and west (and kind of south too, but you’d have to skip the town first).

And we are going to enjoy all this beauty that seems to be there just for us. Definitely. Spring, here we come.

Lovely picture that I took the other day

Okay, this is cheating, because I took this photo in the spring of last year, but you can get an idea..

Basingstoke – The Road system

We’ve been living in Basingstoke for about a week and a half now. We have been working in the house, painting walls, coving, buying and building furniture, sorting out the mess we brought from the old house, etc. So we haven’t had that much time to explore the town we live in.

However, we DO know all the DIY shops and other stores in a 3 mile radius around us. We are so lucky to have: Wickes, B&Q, Homebase, Screwfix, Harveys, Maplin, Halfords, Staples, Comet, Argos, Dreams, Toys R us, Mothercare…. and that’s before going anywhere near the town centre!

Since we have been doing lots of DIY, going to the DIY shops two and even three times a day was something quite normal for the last few days. Something that I am very impressed about Basingstoke so far is the road system. Unlike Coventry’s Ringway, Basingstoke’s Ringway actually makes sense and is easy to use. It goes round town but in almost straight lines and with enough roundabouts to make it easy to turn around if you take the wrong exit.

Road System in Basingstoke

It only took me a couple of days to learn my way in and out our estate, and I found the fastest route to all the important shops pretty quickly (Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Lidl and Sainsbury’s within 10 minutes drive).

Since we live in the “outskirts” and have to take the car almost for everything, having a good road system is heaven sent.

I haven’t ventured myself into the town centre (apart from Festival Place) just yet. We’ll see if it turns out to be as easy as the rest!

“Buying a new house” – Compromises

The ball has started rolling and sooner than what we thought, we will be leaving our beloved house in Byfleet.

We have been here three years and a bit, and in this time we have learnt to love it but we have also had enough time to tire of its faults. It was our home, but a home that needed improvement.

When moving house on a budget, everybody knows that at some point you have to compromise. But however many things we have compromised on, this new house in Basingstoke is still so worth it.

Our House in Basingstoke

What won’t I miss from Willowside? I won’t miss the noisy neighbours, I won’t miss the parking issues. I will definetely not miss the small kitchen and all the storage problems. I won’t miss the pebbled entrance, or the tiny-freezing-cold loo. I will easily forget about the electric heaters, the noisy pump and the non-mixer tap in the bathroom sink.

But there are also a few things that I am certainly going to miss. I will miss the proximity to work. I will miss looking out of the bedroom window from the bed and seeing all the trees full of birds and squirrels. I will miss the quiet and tranquility of my road after 9pm – no noise!. I will miss the fireplace. I will miss the village green and all the local amenities.

But when putting both lists on a balance, the new house has got so many more advantages that I will soon stop missing anything about the old house (except the short journey to work, I suppose). I wonder if I’ll still think the same after we’ve moved in!