Friday, 27 November 2009

Afternoon Tea, Stiff Upper Lip, Cricket et cetera

Olga's ceremony went smoothly on Wednesday afternoon.
There were 16 new citizens, "swearers" sitting on the left side of the room, "affirmers" on the right.  Nationalities represented included India, Pakistan, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Thailand as well as Russia (one other girl was Russian, and looked it, it's strange how I can spot them now!)
The affirmers stood up, each one individually had to say the "I, " bit, then as a group they repeated the affirmation with the Registrar. Then it was time to receive their certificate from the Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Colonel Tim May, and have their photo taken (the attached one is my photo). Olga suffered from the Armstrong problem of being the first one alphabetically called up to get her certificate!
At the end everyone stood for the National Anthem (music only, no singing), and there was just time for a good old British sexist wisecrack from the Colonel (something like "a lovely way to meet such a lot of very attractive women").
And that was that. We went to the pub for a pint of bitter then to nursery to pick Lara up.
Here is Olga receiving her certificate from the Colonel: 

And looking nervous beforehand:

So the next step is to apply for her British passport. The photos have been taken, and the form should be sent off today, so let's see how long the whole process will take.  People applying for their first adult passports now have to have an interview, but the "Applying for your Passport" guide suggests that passports should still be issued within three weeks, although it could take upto six weeks. The plan is to have her passport in time to go to Russia in the second half of January, so she can use the British one to get back into the UK upon her return, although it's not the end of the world if it has arrived before she leaves.
A few other things she needs to work on would be her intimate knowledge of cricket fielding positions and the LBW law, bitter drinking (although she's already quite good at this) and advanced Francophobia, starting with learning this quote from Blackadder off by heart:
Mrs Miggins: Bonjour, monsieur.
Edmund: What?
M: Bonjour, monsieur -- it's French.
E: So is eating frogs, cruelty to geese and urinating in the street, but that's no reason to inflict it on the rest of us.
E: Doesn't anyone know? We hate the French! We fight wars against them! Did all those men die in vain on the field at Agincourt? Was the man who burned Joan of Arc simply wasting good matches?
Of course I'm not advocating Francophobia, I like France. Their Champagne is lovely. As soon as Olga and Jackson get their passports, I'm sure we'll be off there for a weekend trip. It's just the French that I don't have a great deal of time for!

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