Is it Prince Henry or Harry?  Is Ringo Star Mr Starr or Mr Richard Starkey (Starkey apparently, Ringo is just a stage name, he gets upset if you get it wrong)?  Cliff Richard is Harry Webb, Maureen Lipman is Mrs Rosenthal……

So, many moons ago, when I first met Alistair Beattie, I decided as a 50th birthday treat I’d take him to Venice.  We had a lovely time – until we got back to Blighty.  I fly through passport control at Heathrow, turn round, no Alistair.  ‘Oh you can’t go back that way madam’ says Mr You-can’t-do-that. I ignore him, I have pointy elbows. There he is, he can’t get back into the UK on his British passport. Woman is saying to him that his ticket is in the name of Alistair, I can’t see what’s wrong with that.  Except his passport is in the name of Alexander!  Who the heck is Alexander?!  Apparently it’s a Scottish thing, Alexander are often named Alistair – as was his father, grandfather and god knows how more generations before.  They must have got one heck of a deal on Cash’s school clothes name tapes in that family!  Woman is about to put him back on a plane to Italy, which I found quite exciting as I’d not quite seen all of the Doges Palace. Seems I can’t go, I am not being deported.

This upset me so, as I know it has worked for me before, I pull the ‘don’t mess with this woman’ act.  If he gets another trip to see the Doges Palace, so do I. I think I scared Mrs You-can’t-come-in-‘ere-with-that-name.  She clearly hasn’t spent 25 years working on the front line of a government department (as I had) and seen it all before. She calls her supervisor.  Supervisor arrives. ‘What is the issue here?’  Before Mrs You-can’t-come-in-‘ere-with-that-name has a chance to draw breathe I am on it, let’s cut to the chase, not many people scare me.  Alistair stands there whilst I point out the issue.  ‘Och, that’s nae a problem, she says in her best Scottish accent, ‘all Alexander’s are called Alistair north of th’ border’.  And soon after we are walking at a fast pace to get out of there before they change their mind.  A long conversation about names ensues.  What else do I not know about this man? 

Studying the menu at Cafe Florian in St Marks Square – studying menus is one of his favourite hobbies

Some months later we are about to marry:
Odd fact number 1 – my divorce was handled by Anne Summers – but she was more twin set and pearls than dildos and maid’s outfits.

Odd fact number 2 – the registrar who will marry us is called Kate Bush, no not that Kate Bush.  This one didn’t give a fig about Heathcliffe or Running Up That Hill, she was more concerned about getting the service over and her Sunday dinner out of the oven before it burned.  We did like Kate, great sense of humour, if a little hasty at leaving.  That’s what you get when you marry on a Sunday lunch time.

No many can say they were divorced by Anne Summers and married by Kate Bush.

So, says our new friend Kate, you will say ‘I take thee Alexander….’, and before she could get further the bride is in a fit of giggles.  The congregation will also be muttering ‘who the **** is Alexander?’ we point out.  So I married ‘Alistair, also known as Alexander’, just to stop the hysterical moments continuing, and even his parents have never called him Alexander unless in anger.  I always knew I was in trouble if my parents called me Susan.

So, cut to the chase.  When you sell or buy property you have to prove who you are, with passports, driving licences, copies of original bills and lots more – because the government deems us mere mortals are money launderers until proven innocent.  Maybe they should look a little closer to cabinet for money launderers and thieves?  Alexander has provided these all in the official name, for official papers.

So we were slightly surprised to find that when we purchased this house, despite the solicitor knowing who he really was, they seem to have registered it on legal documents in the name of Alistair. We were even more surprised, having had this explained to our now selling solicitor to get the questions from the buyers solicitor ‘who is Alexander?’ and ‘is Alistair dead?’ Not when he made me a cuppa 10 minutes ago, but then you can never be sure what has happened when a man has been quiet for 10 minutes.  Turns out he was on the phone, not dead, crisis averted.

There was an exhibition of statues near to where we stayed on honeymoon, in Compiègne

Ah, but not so quick there Mr. There’s a form for that.  And what do forms mean, no not prizes, money!  We managed to buy a house, get an envelope of papers from our solicitors, put them in a box file, untouched for 13 years, passed on to new solicitor and ta dah!  Half the forms you need to buy and sell have mysteriously vanished in that time.  Unless you are mortgage free you will not be aware of the list of forms there should be, until then we’d never been mortgage free and didn;t have a Scooby-doo what was missing.  Not all deeds look like deeds, other forms look like deeds and aren’t.  Forms I know, because I’ve read them, are in the box and vital are missing. Let’s not go there.  The current price of an indemnity policy for this and that is £240 + vat. And we needs them for everything including, probably, a missing unicorn! This could be adding another 4-figures to the bill. We just hope the extension to our solicitor’s house will be named the Beattie wing, in honour of the extensive fees we are paying.

Today’s little treat, is Alexander (still giggling, why can’t he be Xander, Alex, I actually prefer them to Alistair) gets to go to another solicitor in this fair town, there are 3, this house sale uses 2 of them and the other is providing a legally qualified person who will let him swear an oath that Alexander, Alistair, Alexander John and Alistair John are the one and same and not a reincarnation of some long lost rock band in return for a crisp £5 note.  They were very insistent on cash so presume this will be going in the Tea Fund box. And then we can take to our solicitor and wait the next email listing yet another 60 questions (most already answered) to cause loud screaming in this house. If vibes stay with a house, we will be leaving a few, mostly painful, ones.  And still we are not near exchanging contracts, thanks to the buyer’s solicitor.

I can’t swear this is an accurate picture of  the buyers solicitor, but we imagine they flay their arms around with their endless demands.  Or may be that is ours, with his his hands held up in horror.

Unless you are a solicitor, plumber, electrician, dentist or private doctor, you are in the wrong profession and will never reach your full earnings potential.  Take it from one who is getting to know.