Thursday, April 11, 2013

The house that makes you become mad...

We went several times to Italy and Spain and for those 2 countries, no need official documents for children. That’s Europe.

To go in England, yes ! 

We discovered this when we were reserving our travel billets ! 
Of course, it was march 13th, one month before our departure… 

I was hysterical because, I don’t know for other countries, but for France, administration can make you become mad… 
No, no… really ! 

Maybe you know our national little Gaul Asterix ?

In a cartoon, with his best friend Obelix, they must obtain an official document in “the house that makes you become mad”… 

So, they go into Office 1, but this is not here, they have to go to Office 2, not this 2, the other 2, which is closed because of holidays, then then find someone who tells them Office 3 at the opposite side of the building, and it’s not there either, just go to Office 4, to finally go back to Office 1 who gives them the right document … 

And little by little, Asterix and Obelix repeat :” The house that makes you become mad, the house that makes you become mad, the house …etc…”. 

So, when my husband told me we needed papers, I was convinced we would never see England ! 
It would never be ready on time. 

So, I call the city hall. They reply it would take one month to have identity card. 

I cry. 

A friend of my husband tells him to ask for passport, it would be faster. 
I call the city hall again. They tell me to go to the secondary city hall, because in the main city hall, I would need an appointment and there's no place for the two next months. 

I cry. 

I need birth certificate for my children. My mother tells me to do it on Internet ! 
I do it … At the end of the registration, a sentence asks you to print your registration and to SEND it to the city hall… 
When they’ll receive it, they’ll send you the birth certificate. 

I cry. 

So I take one hour off to go to the city hall's town where my children are born. 
I am alone, waiting to be received. Three women behind their desk tell each other their week end … 
After 10 minutes (and believe me, it’s a long time), I get up and go on a desk with guns in eyes. 
I ask for 2 birth certificate by child. 
The woman does not want. 
“You just need one, for passport.” 
Am I asking you if your socks goes with your shoes ?? I want TWO ! “NO,” she replies. 
I contain myself because I know I need her for documents. 

I cry to not beat her. 

Then, I come to the secondary city hall, which a kind of retirement home...
Sixty year’s old women who are looking hours every second ! 

They tell me my children MUST be there, with me, to make papers. But secondary city hall is open just during school time … 
08:45 am to 11:45 am and 13:45 pm to 16:45 pm … How can I do ?? 
“Madame, that’s just the way it is !” 

I cry and begin to have murders will … 

My children leave one hour before the end of school. We arrive at 11:15 am. Women are a little bit exasperated because “we close at 11:45 am, Madame !” 
Yes ? AND ? We’ve got 30 minutes ! 
“And it takes 20 minutes to make one passport and you’re asking for two !!!” … Now, I’m sure, I’m sleeping. It’s just a nightmare. I’m going to wake me up soon. Please, WAKE ME UP ! 
After a while, I say : 
“By the way, can we make identity card too, please …this way, we’ll be ok for years.” 
“Yes, of course. Do you have two other birth certificate ?”… 


“You have two of them into your hands, you’ve got my identity card, my family record book, can’t you just make photocopy mentioning :"certified copy of the original" ?” 
“Non, non, non ! We need original !” 

I do not cry anymore. I’m near to bazooka !
The day after, take one other hour off (thank you, boss !), go back to the city hall's town where children are born… 
Don’t knife them.
Take those two F… (sorry !) others birth certificates, leave without spilling their coffee on their brushed and false blond hairs, go back to the secondary city hall, throw the documents not on their face, but on their desk and cross fingers to have passport right on time … 

Ten days after, I receive an SMS : “passports are ready”. 
It’s Monday, I can have them today… By precaution, I call the secondary city hall to be sure they REALLY have them. 
“Yeeeees ! When we say “we have them”, it means we really have them, Madame !!” 
Absolutely relieved, I reply : 
“GREAT ! I’ll be there for 11:15 am ! 
“OK … Come with your children, don’t forget. 
“… WHAT ?... 
“Yeeeeees ! Your children must be with you when you’ll take back documents. 
“Yeeeeees, but that’s the way it is ! No derogation ! Goodbye !” 

This time, for sure, I'm going to kill them ! My children and my husband will visit me in prison, too bad, but I can't help it.

I wait for the wednesday afternoon, juggling with school and sportive activities of my children, we finally arrive at 3.30 pm.
There's ONE woman and her two children waiting. 
I want to be well educated. I go to the first desk and ask nicely :
"Hello, I just come to take two passports. They must be ready."
The woman replies with a voice who makes me think she takes me for a real fool.
"Yeeees ! But, oooh la, you see, there's someone just before you. Better for you to come back in one hour."
I yell :
"ONE HOUR ??? … Why ?
- Because she needs two passports and it's going to take 20 minutes for each of them ! 
- 20 + 20 = ONE HOUR ?? ….
- I just tell you "one hour" to be sure !"

This time, Ok … I feel some corsican blood in my veins, I'm going to let a bomb explode here ! 

I take my children, we go back home and come back in this F… (sorry again) secondary city hall 40 minutes later ! 
There's another woman, waiting. Not the same but she's here with two children too.

I open the door as a warrior ! This time, I'm going to take them by their permed hairs, smash their head on the desk, pull off their false nails with their vulgar french manicure and terrify them so much that they'll make their pooh in their old panties !

… I get into an office and the secretary tries to stop me :
"Madame, wait, this woman is waiting to be received, she was here before you…"

I look at her and all I'm feeling is written on my face. I open the mouth and articulate : "ARE-YOU-KIDDING ???".
At this moment, the secretary who told me to come back in one hour comes from her office running and tells to her friend :
"No, No, Suzanne ! This woman was here first. I told her to come back, but she was here at 3.30 pm !"
And the other :
"Ooooh, I'm sorry ! Ok, ok, I ddn't know, please sit down.
"NO ! 
"…As you want. We're going to try to be fast…
- YES… TRY …!

We had passports in 10 minutes. 
Leaving, I look at the woman who were waiting with his two boys and tells her, loud : 
"BON COURAGE ! And welcome in the house who makes you become mad !"
She smiles and sighs : 
"I know…"

Finally, we go to London ! After a hard fight ! We're warrior ! The victory is in our blood ! 
... Just hope there will be an inspector, in the train (yes, we'll go by train) who will ask us those passports ! 
If not, I'll be back to make them eat !! 



  1. Dear Axelle-Oh my. How absolutely exasperating. Wow. Better read an Asterix and have a pastise after that horrific experience. I trust your trip is more enjoyable. Regards-Jamie
    p.s. Asterix and Cleopatra. Hilarious!

    1. So yo know Asterix ? Asterix and Cleopatra have been made in film, by a famous french film maker. It was incredibly funny. It had a lot of success, here, in France.

    2. Dear Axelle-Ah yes. Asterix and Obelix. One of my all time most fun things to read. Layers and layers of right old good humor. And Tin Tin. Are you familiar with the Circumlocution Office from Dickens' Little Dorrit? Sounds like the english version of your experience. Thank you for including the photographs. Regards-Jamie

    3. I'm glad to see you liked Asterix and Obelix. Tintin is Belgian, but we like him too.
      I don't know at all the Circumlocution Office !! But I hope we're not the only country to have those kind of administration !! :)

  2. Oh my dear Axelle - I completely understand -- I have friends who have been through similar experiences. It is not so bad here in Switzerland, even though I am an American. Thankfully my husband can speak standard German. Still, it is so often at the whim of the person at the desk. I imagine you were ready to knock some heads together. I'm SO glad you were successful. You are a brave lady!! well done.

    Going to the government offices is the one time where I am completely silent and let my husband do all the talking. Which reminds me, my permit expires at the end of May - yikes, we have to go again!!!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Susan ! I'm happy and desperate on the same time, to know that it's not the same in other countries ! :D
      But Switzerland has got this good image, to be cool and tolerant and calm and organized... All french are not ! :)
      I tell you good luck for your permit and tell me if it go better than for us ! :D