Basically I am a British citizen. I was born British so you get the all the bits and pieces that go with it, one being a British state pension, because I actually worked in the country and earned money for two years before I decided to move over to Switzerland. I met Mr. Swiss and became a Swiss citizen, so now I have all the swiss bits and pieces as well: double nationality – great, although sometimes it can get confusing. I even have to prove to the British that I am still alive with a certificate now and again to make sure my pension does not arrive in a dark corner of a cemetery.
I have been on the telephone this afternoon for half an hour, or was it more. I made a mistake, although at the time it was a good idea. As my dad was still living in England I opened a british bank account for funds I might need in connection with dad. I had to go through the third degree to be able to open the account, but eventually they accepted me as a customer. My dad passed away two years ago. The account still exists but I used the money to pay for his funeral and transferred quite a lot to my Swiss bank account. I decided it was time to close this account and wrote a letter. Actually it was quite a good letter, with all the details they would need for the money transfer. Now I am not Paul Getty or Thomas Schmidheiny, and my little collection of pound notes would definitely not harm either the british or swiss economy, but there is a small remainder.
I phoned the bank in England and they said I should write a letter which I did. Today I got an e-mail telling me to call them to complete the closure of my account with some details. I called, I waited at least half an hour until I could speak to a human being and she told me that I should write a “fax” (fax?) with various information, which was more or less the same information I had already supplied in my letter. She said she does not have this letter. I told her to find it. Without this letter I would not have received an e-mail to complete the transaction. I was not annoyed, I had a death wish. Eventually I told her to give the money to a dog’s home somewhere if it was not possible to make a plain and simple transaction. The lady carried on and began to dictate a list of items I should supply in a new letter, which her bank actually already had. Perhaps it was a mistake because I did not sign my original letter in blood. Eventually I hung up, because we were getting nowhere. The only thing that was developing was my blood pressure.
So now I have money in England which will probably stay there for the next few thousand years. Ok, there is another way. I will draw it out in a money machine at a swiss bank until there is nothing left and the problem is solved.
I wrote another two letters. One to cash in my english premium bonds which my father invested for me, and to close a small joint savings account in my name and my father’s and here it is really only a matter of clearing up things, no big fortune. I wonder how this will develop.