Friday was glorious – cloudless and warm. We found an isolated beach on Google maps and went for it. The route there took us along 4 km of dirt track, some of it steep and some still wet, but what we found was idiillic.
We had the entire bay to ourselves, the entire afternoon. Unfortunately, on the steep descent we went over an olive branch, and this universal symbol of peace pierced a bit of trim under our van.
I don’t think it is terribly important. I can patch it up with gaffer tape until we get home, and then make a fibreglass repair. But it did make me anxious for the drive back: going downhill is easy – powering back up on a steep and loose wet surface is harder.
I need not have worried. The van performed flawlessly.
Saturday was wet again, and we were out of Marmite at breakfast. Clare’s back in England next week to see her father, and I tried to convince her to bring some back. The trouble is that it has to go in hold luggage, and Clare’s just taking cabin bags.
I had a flurry of emails to councillors and the heads of Children’s Services at Lewisham and Greenwich. An email arrived from the Admissions Manager at Greenwich. They have managed to reinstate our application for a school place for Ben, and will wait until after we return home for proof of address. This is exactly the position I had set out to them in an email SIX WEEKS EARLIER, on 10 January:
You appear to have no lawful authority to reject an application purely on the basis that a child is out of the country at the time that an application is made. What matters is where the child normally lives and where the child is living when they start school.
Of course, they are the school admissions specialists, and I am just a layman interpreting the regulations: no one likes a smart arse telling them their job. But this has been a farcical episode, highlighting the incompetence that exists in local government. It should not require councillors and senior managers to kick some sense into local bureaucrats. Anyway, here is the resolution offered.
Thank you for taking the time to contact Royal Greenwich. I am now writing in response to your complaint of 20 February 2018. As the Admissions Manager, your complaint has been passed to me in order to respond at stage 1 of Royal Borough of Greenwich’s complaints procedure. I have now looked into your application and propose the following solution.
We understand that Lewisham Council is now prepared to accept your application for Lewisham schools from a Royal Greenwich address. We have been able to re-instate your application into the primary admission 2018 process. The address that will be used is [our home address]. We have also advised the London Borough of Bromley of this as you have expressed a preference for a school in their local authority area.
We will provide you with an outcome of your application on National Offer Day, however you will be expected to provide evidence that you have returned to [our home] address before arrangements for your child’s admission to the given school for September are confirmed. As you return to [our home] address on 16 June 2018, please provide this evidence by Friday 29 June 2018. We are able to accept written confirmation that you have resumed liability for Council Tax. If you have not returned to Royal Greenwich, please provide confirmation of the return journey booked and evidence that your tenants have/will be vacating the Royal Greenwich property.
It seems that that is now sorted!
The more pressing issue of Marmite was sorted too. Clare found three small jars in a local supermarket and bought them all.
Relaxed we went to the local beach between rain showers and had a chilled final day in Koroni – an area of welcoming Greek people and malicious olive branches.