Today, we had meeting at the social security number place. And found out why there are so many cars in the car park.

First we met the receptionist, whose job it was to check a short list and ask us to sit down in the design-filled but otherwise empty open-plan space (think Jobcentre Plus with more style and no people). Oh, and to take photocopies of our passports.

About a minute later, a lovely woman invited me into one of several numbered offices, asked a few questions, keyed a few things into a computer, printed a few things out and told me she’d arranged a meeting with a consultant (heart sinks) in a few minutes (heart re-floats).

She then showed me into a different seating area, where a corporate video about the service we were enjoying played on a loop, and where I briefly saw Her Outdoors, fresh from a simultaneous appointment, before…

Another lovely woman whisked me into another room. More questions, more shaking of the head in response our current predicament, more tapping on the computer, more print-outs (including a couple of seasonal jobs in wine shops that sound quite tasty) and that was that.

We’re on the system. Or in it.

I don’t think anyone really knows what happens next. There are just too many people in too many departments to know for sure. The last lovely woman said something about coming back in July, but probably to another office and I probably wouldn’t be seeing her again. The whole experience was beautifully inefficient.

In other news, we’re meeting the new mayor tomorrow. At three.