A Visa to Visit

If you want a job done, then ask a busy man! It all feels a bit like that today. Away in Kiev, there was always something to do, we were always busy and yet still I found time to write. The quality may have dropped just a little with all the pressure, but everything got done.

Now I am back home. The case has been unpacked. The mail has all been opened and whatever required an answer has been answered and now I can concentrate again on my writing but it so difficult to get going again.

Somehow you feel that while you are away for a week everything will have changed and that the news channels need to be scoured and searched. Of course, nothing is any different. The world has gone on its way and just because I wasn’t watching it hasn’t taken a 90 degree turn into oblivion. Even the winter Olympics aren’t much of an attraction except for the curling which is fascinating for a totally inexplicable reason.

Neither President Trump or Prime Minister May thought to do something unexpected and make a wonderful surprise for Gerry when he came back to the UK.

Brexit was again in the news and produced one of the more comical prospects of a Brexit dream team (not my description) of Johnson. Gove and Rees-Mogg. As an idea, there is little more ludicrous and so in the way of modern politics, we can assume that it will happen, and I will have to report the news of about Prime Minister Johnson.

Immigration control is at the heart of many of the Brexiteers and with my thoughts, invariably, still in Kiev it is an issue.  I don’t need a visa to enter Ukraine, but Sasha needs one to enter the UK although she can get into the Schengen area without one. We can meet easily in Paris but not London. These thoughts took me back to my conversation with the vet who sat next to me on the return flight.

We sat in silence for all but the last fifteen minutes of the journey. We were both working. It was a conversation started as much out of politeness but as Sasha would tell you I do have a problem not talking to strangers.

After the normal small chat, I was saying that Sasha and I had started working on her visa to the UK to travel and come and visit both me and her sister who also lives in the UK. It was at that point that my fellow traveller’s eyes rolled a little and she started to tell me about the UK immigration control in Kiev.

My new friend told me how difficult it was to get her visa. Even though she was by now already married it was not easy for her. They had to produce ‘evidence’, which in her case were all the letters they had shared (still retained and never returned), to prove that they had a proper relationship.

The questioning was intrusive. She is a few years older than her husband and at one time she was taken aside and asked why she would want to marry a man younger than herself. What was her true motive? Taken aback all she could say was the very obvious, ‘because I love him.’

With perseverance, answering every question, waiting two years, finally they married, and she now has a family and a British passport.

It makes me think, hopefully, of the day when Sasha and I go through this process and the preparations I could make now. We have many hundreds of thousands of words in the letters we share and maybe I should start to collect them all together into one book in yearly volumes. I quite like the idea of arriving at immigration and landing on their desks five volumes of beautifully bound volumes of correspondence.

Of course, when a couple are separated by 3000 miles and meet nothing like as often than they want, the letters cover a wide range of topics. There is the usual mix of relationship administration fixing and planning for trips. Then there is the day to day news to be reported. There are words of love reminding each other that our love is real and permanent and finally there are the naughty and erotic passages.

I am starting to enjoy the thought of immigration officers reading all we have written. I might even take out all the R rated sections into their own volumes!!

However, the bigger issue is that getting entry into the UK is not the easy path that some seem to think that it is.

Brexiteers take note. There is a misconception that anyone who wants to come here can just wander in. It is far from the truth. Even a visitor visa requires all sorts of machinations.

Once the rules are set our immigration officials do their very best to make sure they are followed. In fact, they go further. They positively discourage entry to the UK.