It had to come. Failure to act would mean the end of an era. Failure would mean loss of income, loss of a lifetime interest and a loss of mobility. On 21 November this year I will have reached my seventieth year on this planet and the day before I will lose my drivers’ licence for good unless I renew it. Here in the UK all drivers must renew their licences every three years once they reach the ripe old age of seventy. Naturally the application must be submitted long before that date but no sooner than three months before. For me that date came on Monday so I set about renewing my licence online. The process was surprisingly easy though it would have been easier had I known what references were required beforehand. They ask for your drivers number which is on your licence. They also ask for my National Insurance number and Passport number as well as the usual personal information. I was fortunate to know where that information was to be found, the passport and NI numbers that is. A declaration has to be read and ticked as appropriate to declare an ability to continue to drive by indicating a bill of good health and eyesight. Failure to declare any ailments which might affect safe driving is met with a hefty fine or imprisonment or even both. I should receive the replacement licence within two weeks.but in the meantime I have to cut into two pieces my old licence and post them off to the DVLA. That’s it, no fees and no complications. At the very least I shall be able to continue to drive for the next three years or until my time really is up! By that time I shall have been driving for 51 years.
PS. I wrote this post a couple of days ago and on Thursday morning I received my new driver’s licence card. Now that is what I call service!
The first three months of my year is all about spending. It is all to do with my business transport, my van. First off is the annual fee for emergency breakdown service with the AA (Automobile Association) who offer different levels of cover. I pay the fee automatically by a direct debit but I am always wary of the fact that one year the subscription wasn’t debited from my account and I hadn’t noticed so I make sure each year that it has in fact been paid. Because the fee wasn’t paid, or taken, my membership lapsed for they thought I had cancelled. Most companies would follow-up on that you might expect but this time they didn’t. It wasn’t a problem until I needed their services and realised I wasn’t covered. I paid for the service and then had to reapply for membership. That was about twelve years ago. My next outgoing payments are the road fund license fee, the insurance and the MOT test which are all due before the end of February.
At the moment of writing this I have yet to receive the insurance proposal notification but I have already arranged payments for the road fund license and the MOT test. I have set up a direct debit to be automatically paid each year for the road fund license fee so I will no longer have to sort that out each year either by making a one-off payment through the Internet or by queuing at a Post Office. I have paid in advance using the Internet for my MOT test which the van will get on the 20th of this month. My little van is now seven years old having been first registered in March 2008 so this will be its fourth test. I hope there are no problems for that will mean more spending but if that is necessary then that is how it will be. In those seven years the van has only clocked up a mere 23,000 miles but it is usually only used for my business needs, rarely for anything else. That distance represents a rough mileage of only 3500 a year! No wonder my insurance premium is quite low! The van runs on diesel fuel and for diesel engines that mileage means it is barely ‘run-in’. With the implementation of new methods by the Government for collecting fees and the necessity for displaying tax disks mo longer necessary it makes the system far easier and robust. Payment evasion has become more difficult for those who try to avoid it. Checks are automatically carried out to ensure every vehicle that uses the roads are insured, taxed and tested were it is necessary. Police these days are equipped for checking on these things if you drive by a check point or are ‘seen’ by equipment in their vehicles. I will be a happy bunny if I get to March with no problems to sort out.
Despite my recent illness and problems with a puffed up face (E said I looked like Desperate Dan for those familiar with English comics, I was simply missing the stubble she said!) we went out for a meal on Monday and enjoyed a really good afternoon. The swelling to my face had subsided somewhat as the steroids took effect so I didn’t look all that bad and to be perfectly honest not many folk noticed . Today, Tuesday, as I write this, I have received a notification from the DVLA letting me know that my vehicle will need its tax disc renewing should I wish to continue driving it. This time around it will be £210. I have been able to arrange payment over the Internet having first transferring some cash from a deposit account to a current account in order to make the payment using my debit card details. All done from my armchair. I started using the Internet more often last year for carrying out financial dealings and find it a much more relaxed way of doing things. One of my pet hates is to stand around in a queue of people waiting to carry out some transaction or another as to me it is an immense waste of time and sometimes inconvenient having to make a trip into town just for the purpose of doing so. I have been doing a lot of sitting down lately but only because I haven’t been too well. It is nice to know that I can still keep things ticking along from my armchair by using the Internet. I am getting a little restless though and I am keen to continue with all the household tasks I have set myself for the year but I won’t continue with any of it until I am feeling better. For the moment I am doing it all sitting down.