Smokescreen

13 Feb

My attempts to protect my anonymity and privacy came back to bite me on the bum last week!

Following the advice of the police and other agencies, I have deliberately created a smokescreen around myself, with friends kind enough to allow me to divert some items of post to them, I had an anonymous listing with the electoral register and I am using the name that I eventually wish to be known as.

I have not been in a position to change my name officially but I  have been using my new name as far as possible. Once you change your name by deed poll, you are legally bound to immediately alter your passport and driving licence -and as I have had several flights booked for several months, and plane tickets must match your passport I have been stuck in what I thought was just a mildly inconvenient loop.

Then last week a friend who would have had no inkling that my name is not really my name, sent me a parcel  which arrived when  I was in work – the said parcel was duly placed on a shelf in the local sorting office and a little red and white card was popped through my letterbox to advise me to collect at my earliest convenience, accompanied of course by ID.

Waiting in the queue I was admiring my collection of visas and idly thumbing through my passport when it suddenly dawned on me that the name in my passport differed to that on the parcel.  The man at the desk was sympathetic but adamant. The two names must match.  Alternatively, the parcel could be redelivered.

Problems!:

  • I was to deliver the parcel to a reunion of a group of friends  the following day on behalf of the sender who was unable to attend.
  • There was no guarantee that the parcel would be re-delivered before I had to set off
  • I was not able to request delivery to an alternative address
  • I had no official documentation in my new name, and what semi-official letters I had, were sent to a different postal address

In desperation I trawled through my phone to find something, anything which would prove that I was me.  My Facebook page didn’t cut it with the very nice man behind the desk, nor did the my email address which to confuse matters was in yet another name but  I finally found a letter within an email addressed to the new me.  The very nice man scratched his head, and informed me that whilst it wasn’t proper procedure he would at least go and get the parcel. It was tantalisingly withing my reach but I had one more test to pass.  What was the sender’s name and where did she live?

My mind went blank.  I obviously knew my friend’s first name but for the life of me I couldn’t remember her surname and as for where she lived – I could only narrow it down to ‘somewhere the other side of London’ – Bedford rang a bit of a bell.

The very nice man chuckled and decided to put me out of my misery.  He must have liked me or felt very sorry for me, because he slid the parcel over the desk as he advised me that I was several counties adrift.

I attend a GP’s surgery in a different county to the one in which I currently live, and I recently had to return a cheque for alteration which was sent to me in my new name, but enough is enough and I need to get myself organised.  I now have a note penciled in my diary in 6 weeks time to remind me to change my name by deed poll and then to send off my application for a replacement passport.

This story had a happy ending.  The parcel duly accompanied me to the reunion and the contents – Turkish delight – were happily devoured; but it is another example of how the fall out from domestic abuse can continue to affect the survivor in the most mundane of ways.

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3 Responses to “Smokescreen”

  1. Terri Nixon February 13, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Cor blimey, what a palaver! Glad it had a happy ending though … and yum, Turkish Delight! As you say, just goes to show how it can rumble on and on. Still, there is light!

  2. Elaine Perry February 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    I just don’t know how you cope with everything but thank god you do xxx

  3. Annie Hidden February 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree with Elaine x

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