The one thing you can be sure of is that, should you have the temerity to set yourself up as any kind of expert, fate will come along and kick you in the ****s!
Yesterday, filled with confidence and knowledge (ha ha), I took myself off up to the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices to legalise (Apostil) a new client's general power of attorney .
The usual security man was on duty and I greeted him cheerfully. I was not so cheerful when he told me that the whole operation had been moved to Milton Keynes on 8 August.
I had almost decided to return home and do it the next day when, at Charing X underground station there was an announcement that there were no trains running to Paddington on the Bakerloo Line because of a broken down train somewhere south of the Thames. The only option was to take the Northern Line. This took me to Euston from whence the trains go to Milton Keynes!
I decided that fate had taken a hand and that I was doomed to go there that day.
The new set-up is much better and quicker. On going into the building, you show your document and they give you a number just as before. Then take the lift to the 3rd floor and take a seat (on one of the metal and very uncomfortable chairs).
When your number is called, go to the relevant window - there are now many more of these than before. The person behind the window does all the checking on his or her PC and prints off the Apostil. This then goes through a two-stage check before you get it back at the collection window. The process took about 50 minutes which was much quicker than at the old office ... but then there were fewer people around!
If you go by train. the Office is a £4.00 taxi ride from Milton Keynes Central Station and my taxi driver told me that this was his most numerous fare.
The Legalisation Office is now at 437 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 2AH and the phone number is 01908 295 111.
I suppose what really galled me was that, only the previous day, I had been 15 miles away in Leighton Buzzard meeting up with another forum member to collect some urgent documents and could easily have done it with no problems at all!
Ah well ... such is life!