Friday, November 16, 2007


It's hard to believe, but ...

Yesterday I received a form from our UK Pensions Service, asking for details about my late husband's foreign pension, which is a small retirement benefit he received for having worked for three years in Belgium, and which I have now inherited.

I had received exactly the same form five months ago, and filled it in as best I could, guessing or approximating where I could not be sure of being accurate. Now they wanted it all again, and I wondered if it was because my previous answers were not adequate. If that was so, they had not taken the trouble to tell me.

So I copied the answers I had given before, until I came to the point of the most blatant guesswork ... when I suddenly remembered something: the previous day I had been going through some of my husband's papers, when I had found a file of correspondence that he himself had had with the Pension Service when he first retired in 1982.

"Could it be?" I asked myself, "Is it possible that 25 years ago he had to fill in the same form?" And do you know, it was!!! There was this form at the back of the file, with the same number on the bottom. It has been redesigned by now of course, enlarged from 4 pages to 10, and dumbed down somewhat. No that is unfair: what I mean is, simplified and clarified.

And he had understood the form, of course, and he knew the answers, which I can now copy into my form. The magic paper had been in my house when I had filled in the form five months ago, but I hadn't got down to the sorting at that point.

Don't you just love it when a happy happenstance happens?

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