Moving house isn't to be taken lightly. After all, it's reckoned to be among the most stressful life events. But once the mortgage is arranged, the removals van's gone, the kettle has been found and the beds have been made your trouble's only just beginning.
Because then, dear reader, you've got to notify people of your change of address.
I thought that'd be easy. My dream scenario involved logging on, entering my password, maybe answering an obscure security question or three and then, down to business.
I logged in. I entered my password. I answered security question after security question. I phoned the helpline. I waited, stood on one leg, drew the entrails of a frog and donated virgin's blood but STILL they couldn't 'compete my request at this time...' Perhaps there's an 'r' in the month or the moon's on the wane or the blood isn't pure enough.
Here, in no particular order, and so that you may be duly prepared should you ever be fool enough to relocate, is a catalogue of just some - some - of our woes.
First, the bank. On the face of it, this was simple. My wife went into the branch, spoke face-to-face to the cashier, and all was (apparently) well. Until a week or so later when I went in to the branch on a different matter and found MY details were unchanged.
'Your wife can't change your details for you sir,' the cashier said. 'You have to do that for yourself.'
'But it's a joint account,' I said. 'Look - here's my name on the statement you've just sent to us.'
'I'm afraid each account holder has to request the change in person...'
Well, I suppose you can never be too careful.
In the meantime, our change of address notification was grinding it's way through the labyrinthine world of... the M&S storecard.
We thought we'd got that sorted. Phone call, change of details, Bob's your uncle and the credit card statement arrives on the mat. But the vouchers don't. They go to the old address and are re-directed.
'Hello? You clearly have our new address as we've got our statement...'
'Yes, sorry. But the voucher mailing is prepared three months in advance.'
I decide to shop on Amazon instead. What can possibly go wrong? I log in to Amazon. Click mouse. Click order... then realise, of course, I need to update the delivery address. No problem. Click 'pay'. Hit problem.
The address on your chosen billing method does not match the delivery address.
Ok, update everything. Click.
Your order has been placed.
Except it hasn't. Because in spite of updating everything from the colour of my socks to the state of my sex life Amazon subsequently cancels the order on the grounds that the 'chosen payment method is invalid'. It helpfully supplies me with a button I can click to change the payment method but that just takes me to a customer helpline which takes me to a recorded message which tells me to click the button I've just clicked to be told to ring the helpline.
Hair is now at the point of being ripped from head.
Surely the good ol' Post Office can sort it out. After all that's what they do isn't it, addresses?
We have a Post Office credit card simply to use abroad as it charges no fee. I might as well have moved abroad - and to some ISIS-ridden war-torn hotspot - for all the trouble it has taken appraising the privatised Post Office of our new address.
'You need your magic number,' we were told. 'No magic number? We can send you a new one - to the old address.'
Ok, ok... just Do it!
Magic number letter comes, is redirected. Isn't magic number letter. No magic number, no reference to magic number. Just a letter telling us how to update our address.
Goes into garden and SCREAMS!
Phone number on non-magic-number letter. 'Have you got your magic number?'
'Ok, you don't need it anyway. But I'm afraid we'll have to send the form you've got to fill in with your new address to your old address for security reasons...'
JUST... DO.... IT.
'Ok, that's sent. Is there anything else I can help you with today?'
At this point, dear reader, I exercise the utmost, the uttermost, the ultimate self-restraint and refrain from telling the girl on the phone in what other myriad ways she might indeed be able to help me. It takes hereculean effort. But I manage.
And then the next day, the promised letter is delivered.
To our new address.