Recall the rainy, galely days of early October. Rain spatters the windows as we carefully collate papers: application form, signed and validated photographs, employment history, Postal Order for one hundred pounds. It all goes into a big envelope which Clare carefully weighs on the kitchen scales. A "Large" stamp is affixed and off the package goes, addressed to the Canadian Embassy.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks - Adrian waits for the email confirming his work permit. His friends get theirs but he hears nothing. The Embassy does not encourage phone enquiries; travel to his snowboarding instructor job at Sun Peaks is on indefinite hold.
Monday we get a package. Correction: it is the original package, returned to sender. According to the legend on the envelope, the Royal Mail determined there was 20 pence excess postage to pay on the package to which they added a one pound 'handling fee'. Naturally, the Embassy declined to pay. The papers have been in the Royal Mail system for two months now, wending their slow way back to us via Belfast and a mis-delivery to Wookey Hole.
We were of course mortified, taking some blame for this debacle. Adrian was more sanguine, immediately booking a flight to Calgary (the immigration staff like snowboarders there, he said), determined to negotiate his way in at the border. How confident are you, I asked. 80-90% came his reply, as he clutched a folder thick with the returned documents.
I got an email last night at midnight. Immigration - the granting of his precious work permit - had been easy, but getting the free WiFi at the airport pub to load had been a pig.