What an exciting life I lead. This morning I rose at a reasonable time, showered, checked out job vacancies  – I have already applied for my first one – had a quick read of the Irish Times digital edition, scanned the Irish Examiner online and had breakfast in between. There was just enough time to read a quick chapter of my current book, Stefan Zweig’s absorbing The World of Yesterday, before Trish returned home and we headed to the city.

I had an appointment with Social Welfare about signing on for Jobseekers Benefit at 3.20pm, but first we had to get a long Baptismal Cert for myself. Quite why I hadn’t got a copy somewhere in my files beats me, but there was nothing for it but to get one now. Imagine my surprise when I was asked for €1 – it would have been €20 except I needed it to claim social welfare and had the letter to prove it.

Job done, we decided to finally apply for an E111 form. In all our years of travelling abroad we never bothered to get one. Unfortunately, the office was closed for lunch, but we decided to try out Curran’s for a bite to eat. It’s a while since I’ve been in Curran’s but I’d highly recommend it. Great service and tasty food. Just as we were getting up to leave I was approached by a gentleman who asked if I was Pat Hickey’s son. Turns out he knew my dad. When  I made polite enquiries about how he was enjoying retirement, he introduced himself as the owner, Leo Linehan. Sorry about that!

Suitably refreshed, we went back to the HSE offices for the E111 form, completed it and, still with some time to kill before my Social Welfare meeting, strolled around the city centre for a few minutes and while we were there I realised I had missed a call. It was the woman at the HSE office querying my address. I rang back and left details on the answering machine, but since we were going back in that direction we called in to her and resolved the issue.

i was a mass of business at the Social Welfare office – passport, driving licence, a recent electricity bill, P45, appointment sheet, completed application form, came tumbling out of the large envelope I brought with me. This time there was a little more privacy afforded me in chatting to the official  – a very pleasant person, as were all the other public sector workers I have interacted with over the past week or so – with partitions on either side of me. I could also sit this time, which was a relief! In minutes the process was completed without a hitch and I should be able to collect my first Jobseekers Benefit this Friday. Fingers crossed.

Now, it’s time to read another chapter of Mr Zweig’s opus.