Sunday Musings In August

Tomorrow should be the last day of the current heatwave. High temperatures since Thursday have meant going out much earlier with Ollie. Despite that, he is still feeling the heat, and his fur is moulting like mad. Other than his walk and a break to eat his dinner, he is sleeping away the rest of the days, too hot to be bothered to do anything.


Not unlike my dog, I have also had no energy to do anything in the excessive heat and bright sunshine. It has been too hot to contemplate gardening outside, or to do much housework inside.


Regular readers will know that I finally received my renewed driving licence, which is now valid until 2025. I should have been jumping for joy after the 7-month ordeal of trying to renew it. But the DVLA put me through so much stress, I doubt I will ever forgive them for it.


Next week on Wednesday, my fingers will be crossed yet again, as my 15 year-old car has to get through the annual government roadworthiness check, and have a full service. Every year I get the sinking feeling that they will find something (expensively) wrong with it, and we need it for our short holiday coming up in September.


I will also be watching the live-stream of my Aunt’s funeral on Monday. I am unable to attend, as it is being held in West London. That is too far for a comfortable day trip in potentially heavy traffic, and it would mean leaving Ollie for too long on his own. (Julie will be at work.)


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful Sunday.



When the postman came to the house earlier, Julie handed me a letter from the DVLA.

It contained something that felt like hard plastic…

I ripped it open…

Pulled out the form…

And attached to that form was…


It has been renewed until August 2025, so I didn’t lose the seven months I waited for it to arrive.

I was going to take a photo of it to show everyone, but then I remembered that someone could steal the image, clone my licence, and pretend to be me.

So I am using a Gif of Victor Meldrew instead, to show how flabbergasted I am that it is finally here.

Fingers And Toes Crossed

I am just back from Fakenham, and have taken the second visual fields test required by the DVLA. According to the technician, I got a ‘perfect score’. She also told me that due to ‘administrative errors’ at the DVLA, I am one of many who have been required to re-take this test.

(Perhaps it was not personal after all.)

Despite the perfect score, it is still up to the DVLA whether or not they issue my renewed licence. And according to the optician, they have a backlog of ‘many months’ still outstanding.

So it is ‘wait and see time’. (No pun intended.)

Guaranteed To Spoil Your Mood

So I wake up after a decent sleep. It’s a sunny day, and not too hot. I am in a pretty good mood, all things considered.

An hour or so later, the post arrives.

A letter from Specsavers telling me that the DVLA have rejected my visual fields eye test. This despite passing it to the required standard, as confirmed by the opthalmologist on the day. And that was on the 17th of June, so they have taken their good time about it.

Now I have to make another appointment, take another trip to Fakenham, and sit the test all over again.

After a fit of rage involving many four-letter words, I telephone the optician in Fakenham. They are too busy to take my call, so I have to leave a message.

Regular readers will know that I first applied to renew my driving licence in February, seven months to the day I have received this letter. Since then, I have had to involve my member of parliament, the police in Norfolk, and have complied with every single thing the DVLA have asked me to do to get my renewed licence, including the June trip to take three separate eye tests they demanded.

And now this.

If I was paranoid, I would believe they are determined not to issue my licence at all, and are just repeating the test hoping to fail me and ensure that I can never drive again.

In that case, I must be paranoid.

Talk about ruin your day…

The First Sunday Musings In July

Well, the small heatwave of June changed to cloudy and humid conditions with greatly reduced temperatures. There has still been almost no rain, little more than light showers. But I am not complaining about that, as we get more than our fair share of rain at other times.


Ollie has started to lose some fur in small patches, triggered by the heat, and his constant dips in the river. I am hoping this will not mean another trip to the Vet, but at least he has found his appetite again, and is eating heartily.


As I approach the seventh month since my application, I have still not received my renewed driving licence. This despite involving my member of parliament, the police, my hospital consultant, and passing the DVLA eye test last month. I am continuing to drive though, as I refuse to be imprisoned in Beetley by their incompetence.


The summer season brings the annual television woes, as Wimbledon Tennis (and football later) dominates programming. This is the time of year to be grateful that we have a PVR, access to Netflix, and the ability to access ‘catch-up’ TV via a streaming box.


Prices continue to rise, despite the obscene profits enjoyed by the big oil companies, online retailers like Amazon, and the five major supermarkets. On Monday, the cheapest unleaded fuel in this area was £2 a litre, which is £10 a gallon. (Diesel for my car was almost £1 more a gallon) We are being taken for fools by this government and their rich cronies, but short of armed revolution, I can see no way out of the downward spiral of Britain.


The world is going crazy, and working people are paying the price for billionaires to get richer. But try to forget that, and enjoy your Sunday.


My Driving Licence Saga: The Eye Test

As regular readers will know, I had to have an eye test yesterday. It was a special one, organised by the driver’s licencing agency. I had to pass it, or never be allowed to drive again. As the application to renew my licence has dragged on since the first week of February, my stress levels were reaching an all-time high as I got in my car to drive the ten miles to Fakenham, north of Beetley.

On the hottest day of the year so far, with 33C (91.5F) showing as the outside temperature, I arrived almost thirty minutes early, to make certain I didn’t miss it. At least the car park was almost empty in the town, and free for the first two hours.

When I decided to show up ten minutes early at the designated optician’s shop, I could see they were busy. No less than six female staff appeared to be run off their feet with a constant stream of customers. When I showed the official letter, the lady perused it and said, “Sorry, we have no trace of this appointment”.

I actually surprised myself by keeping my temper as I carefully explained that one of their members of staff had telephoned me over ten days ago to tell me that was the only appointment they had available in June, and I had accepted it. I added that I thought it was her, as I recognised her voice. She went off to check on her computer, and sat shaking her head.

“Sorry, it quite obviously was not entered onto the appointment calendar”.
(Translated by my brain as ‘Computer says no!’)

At this point, it was fortunate that the shop had air conditioning, otherwise my brain was liable to overheat and run out of my ears.

As I sat holding my head, incredulous at the complete and utter incompetence I was faced with, the nice lady saved the day.
“Let me ring head office. I need a log-on to use the machine, and that is usually the appointment number. They might be able to give me an emergency code”.

She rang them, and they gave her the code. Fifteen minutes later, thirty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment time, I was taken into a cubilcle smaller that the smallest toilet stall on earth, and sat in front of the ‘Visual Fields Analyser’. This invloves staring at a red (or orange) dot inside a screen, as various small white lights flash on and off randomly, anywhere in your field of view. Each time you see a light, you have to ‘click’ a button you are given to hold in your hand.

Before starting the sequence, the lady warned me. “Be careful, the button is very sensitive”. Then we ran through the long sequence of the moving red light and small white lights. When that was over, she shook her head. “You failed by a factor of nine. I think you held the button too long and registered some clicks twice. Shall we try again?”

The second try was better. I was aware of the sensitivity of the button, and I stroked it tenderly, as if caressing the lips of a lover, digitally.
She beamed at my success. “Yes, you are within the allowed parameters!”

But there was more.

“Now you have to see the specialist Optometrist, upstairs, I will show you up.”

I had been there almost an hour now. Upstairs, I was away from the airconditioning in the shop below, waiting on an uncomfortable chair while said Optometrist dealt with a schoolgirl who had an eye infection caused by contact lens fluid.

(I could hear every word of the private consultation though the door of his room.)

After asking the teenage girl far too many unnecessary additional questions, then having a protracted and rather pointless chat with her dad about nothing relevant, the Optometrist called me into his small room, and was full of smiles as he apologised for the delay.

The test that followed was a classic and basic ‘Eye Test’.

I had to look at 6 rows of increasingly small letters of the alphabet on a screen behind his head.
Once with one eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with the other eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with both eyes uncovered, no glasses on.
Then repeat, whilst wearing my glasses.
I had to achieve a perfect score of 6 on each line, each time.

Fortunately, he was writing my score down where I could see it, and I saw a complete row of 6/6.
The test was finally over. I had passed! I asked the cheerful man if that meant I would now get my licence renewed. He smiled again.

“Well I am afraid that is up to the DVLA. We send them the test results, but the final decision is up to them. You can go now”.

My Driving Licence: More DVLA Nonsense

I have finally received a letter from the DVLA about my driving licence renewal. After four months, they have come to a decision.

After contacting the hospital they are still insisting on sending me to ‘Specsavers’, a High Street optician shop, for a ‘definitive test’. Not only that, but my local branch of that shop just three miles south of here does not have the suitable equipment, so I have to go to Fakenham which is eleven miles away, or Norwich, which is almost twenty miles away.

As far as the DVLA is concerned, the state of the art testing equipment in Norwich Hospital Eye Clinic is not good enough for their purposes. Instead they believe that a small High Street shop has better equipment for their purposes.

If I fail this one-off test for any reason, my driving licence will be permanently revoked, with no appeal.

Is it any wonder I am so fed up?

My Driving Licence: An Update

As this seems to be the only thing on my mind at the moment, I thought I would update you with this week’s progress.

Yesterday, I posted the 10-page (5 pages, double sided) form back to the DVLA. This consisted of various medical information about myself, and also full details about my hospital consultant and family doctor.

One page was for me to give permission for the DVLA to approach the hospital consultant, and my own doctor. I had to give also permission for the DVLA to have access to my medical records if both doctors agreed. Just as well there is nothing too embarrasing on there!

Once this goes before their own ‘Driver’s Medical Committee’, the DVLA will then decide whether or not they want to send me for that threatened ‘Independent Eye Test’. One small encouraging paragraph stated, ‘This may not be necessary if your doctors are happy for you to continue to drive with your condition’.
(That condition is Glaucoma, by the way. Almost 500,000 people in the UK have that.)

Now I have to play the waiting game, which could take weeks.

This morning, I received an email reply from my Member of Parliament. This informed me that the DVLA would be sending me out paperwork to complete.

A bit late, but at least he tried…

My Driving Licence: A Positive Update

The DVLA has still not been in touch, and my licence has not arrived. I have not heard back from my Member of Parliament as yet, so yesterday I decided to email the Norfolk Police and ask for their advice. They replied last night, a great service from our local police force.

It seems I can drive until my new licence arrives, as long as I meet the following conditions.

You have the support of your doctor to continue driving
you had a valid licence
you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence
your application is less than a year old
your last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons
you’re not currently disqualified
you weren’t disqualified as a high risk offender on or after 1 June 2013″

I do meet all those conditions, so as of today I am going to drive again. I have a printout of the email to keep in the car, and a note of my DVLA application reference.

Just a pity that I didn’t think to ask the police on the 17th of March.

If anyone who is affected by the DVLA delays reads this, I suggest you do the same thing, and then you will be able to drive legally.


Britain’s Driving Licence Fiasco

As most of you know, I am currently unable to drive, as my expired driving licence has not been renewed by the DVLA. (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency) This is impacting my daily life, and that of millions of other drivers all across Britain. My friend Antony sent me this video, which was filmed secretly by an undercover reporter for The Times Newspaper. Although mainly of interest to readers in the UK, the sheer scale of the bungling and laziness at the DVLA is staggering to watch on film. I have written to my member of parliament referencing this film, which has been seen by the Minister of Transport. But nothing has been done since he watched it.