Monday 30th October 2006

As I have noted before the Belgian people are lovely, probably the most friendly in Europe but I have not observed that there administrative systems are particularly efficient, with one possible exception, The Post Office. You can get a speeding fine, in fact it is rare not to, and on receiving the bill you can make the mistake of paying it through your online banking straight into the account they list on the back of the fine. Three months later you can receive a reminder, with an increased charge due to your ‘non-payment’ and be told that your mistake was in trying to pay it direct and not going into the Post Office. They do not list The Post Office on the back of the fine as the only effective payment method, but apparently it is the only way they can manage to tie it up and know you have paid. So what exactly did they think I was paying money into their bank account for, a police bribe? Then of course are the times you make the mistake of ordering something from a country outside of Europe or for that matter receiving a gift from someone who is outside of Europe. Once again there they are without a moment’s hesitation, the Post Office, holding on to your parcel until you go and hand over the tax to them. It wouldn’t’ be so bad if it was the nice man we normally go and see but he isn’t strictly speaking the Post Office for our area, he is just the nicest and you can park outside. We have to go to a Post Office 5miles away where, and you really aren’t going to believe this, they don’t even let dogs inside. How can I go and pay the tax on my parcel when they won’t let me in? Just to make it even harder you have to show your ID card to get your parcel and my mistress has real difficulty in pretending to be me, I said she would be better going in on ‘all fours’ but she didn’t seem keen.