The day wasn’t one of our best. It began well enough. After two nights on a Narbonne aire mains electricity supply, our battery bank managed a night without dropping below 12V, 50% according to my AGM battery voltage chart. We may have shortened the battery bank life already, but to avoid reducing it further we need to stay as far away from 50% discharge as possible. That means either reducing our onboard electrical use or increasing our battery bank capacity.
We haven’t resorted to reading by candlelight just yet. However, I don’t think we can reduce our usage much more. To avoid running the heating system electrical fan, we turn on the heating less frequently. Cynthia doesn’t mind. She appears to be immune to lower living temperatures. A decade of enduring searingly cold Vermont winters has finally paid off. I’m not so robust. I often resort to wearing a fleece hat indoors, sometimes a goose down jacket too.
Other than the heater fan, our home’s main electrical draw is my MacBook car charger. It plugs into a cigarette lighter socket beneath the table in the Hymer’s dining area and draws a battery draining 5.6 amps. I used to leave the charger plugged in all day. The batteries complained bitterly. We’ve reduced use to two hours a day. Maybe the leisure bank will jump for joy and start behaving.
The day’s frustrations began as I was about to fire up our Honda suitcase generator for a few hours of essential battery bank charging. We were alone on several acres of empty aire. As soon as I stepped outside to pull the generator out of the Hymer’s garage, a French motorhome squeezed into a gap an arm’s width away from us. Not being able to run the generator because of our new neighbour was an annoying but easy problem to resolve. We could start the engine and move somewhere else.
The day’s real bad news started with a ten-minute walk to Peyriac’s post office. A new postmaster has been holding parcels and letters fee free for the last two months. On my latest visit, he had been replaced by someone more familiar with post restante rules and charges. I had to make a second trip to the post office, this time with my wallet.
I wish I hadn’t bothered. Our post included several parcels and two letters, both of them containing bad news. One was an overdue demand for the Hymer’s road tax. That problem was resolved by making a quick online payment.
We don’t yet know how to deal with the contents of the second and far more important letter.
It was from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Cynthia applied on 13th December last year for a permit to stay long-term in the Netherlands. The document was to inform us that her application has been refused.
We spent half an hour with an official when we visited the IND’s office in Utrecht to submit the application. He took a thick wad of photocopied documents from us, added them to our completed application form, bid us a fond farewell, and told us that we would receive the application result sometime over the next six months.
We used our English correspondence address for the application. The IND official didn’t mention the need for a Dutch address, which is a shame because that’s why Cynthia has been refused. At least that’s what we think is the reason.
Even though the application was made on a form printed in English, as was our interview in Utrecht, the IND announced their decision in four pages of incomprehensible Dutch. Google Translate didn’t help much at all. The decision was written in the kind of governmental legal jargon which would have been just as difficult to understand if it had been written in English.
We hope to speak to our case handler today. We can make two appeals. Our first appeal will be for a strong man to go to their Utrecht office to squeeze the testicles of the official who allowed us to submit the application with an English address in the first place.