First of all, there’s the car. One of the electronic keys isn’t working properly – hence my getting stranded in a creepy hospital car park last weekend – and it could be an arm and a leg to fix it. Oh for a car with a normal good old fashioned key! Plus we need a new tyre– we’re running it on the spare after a puncture and it’s especially embarrassing given the spare is a ‘mini-me’ type tyre, a tiny toy town thing that you can’t do more than 50 miles per hour on. It sticks out like a sore thumb.
“Haven’t you got that fixed yet,” barked one of my neighbours at me the other day. “Like driving around on that funny tyre, do you?” He said. I could feel my cheeks turning crimson…and that of the poor Micra who no doubt has to put up with all the other cars making fun of him.
Helpfully a neighbour recommended a cheap tyre place, but given the Micra’s coming up for a service, plus the electronic key, I’m wondering if it might be easier to get everything done at once. Then again, the Nissan garage where I normally get it serviced isn’t cheap, so it may be time to look at frugal alternatives.
Then on Saturday the washing machine decided to behave like something out of The Exorcist. I absentmindedly put it on and then went upstairs. Two and a half hours later it dawned on me that it hadn’t finished its cycle, so I went to investigate. Steam, followed by smoke, was coming out of it, which is never a good sign. I wouldn’t mind but it’s only three years old. At least the clothes hadn’t caught fire although they were so hot I had to handle them with tongs. Looks like we will have to bite the bullet and get an engineer out to look at it.
Finally a letter arrived for me from the DVLA. Apparently its ten years since I got my first photo driving license and now they want me to renew it for £17.50. “It’s surprising just how much your appearance can change over 10 years,” the cheery letter read. What a cheek, I thought! I’m sure I don’t look any different than I did at the tender age of 22.
Then I found my photocard and took a good long look at it. Mmm…maybe they have a point. It’s still recognisably me, but definitely a more fresh faced, skinny and more optimistic-looking me. More to the point, if I don’t renew it I could face a £1000 fine. I suppose it’s obvious that you’ll have to put a new photo on these things eventually, but I had no idea that photo licenses had an expiry date at all. The old green paper driving license is valid until my 70th birthday. Now, I know you’ll argue that you have to renew your passport too and pay for that, so what’s the difference? But isn’t this just another government stealth tax? Don’t they make enough money from drivers through fuel duty and vehicle tax? Even the envelope to return it in isn’t pre-paid! Aarrgh!
Do you think paying to renew your driving license photo is fair? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
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