Set a whole day aside.

Try to appreciate that even though you, your relatives, your neighbours, your colleagues and numerous other people, know who you are, and your address, plenty of other people don’t.

Take medication to reduce your blood pressure. This is a wise preventative measure – even if you do not suffer from hypertension.

Carefully read the forms you have been sent by the bank or whoever requires proof of your identity. Then read them again and make a list of everything they require.  Pay particular attention to List A – Documents which identify you, and List B – Documents which confirm your address.  Decide of the 19 options offered, which two you will provide.

Find the selected items and double-check that they match the requirements.

Complete the form and double-check that you have signed all the boxes that require your signature. (Please note the need for lots of double-checking.)

If relevant, phone Companies House and ask them if you can have a copy of the most recent Current Appointments Report to prove that you are a Director of your own company.  Wait in a queue listening to ghastly music.  Pay to have the form faxed through to you.

Read the list of people who are authorised to certify your identity.  Decide which of the following you will trouble: a lawyer, banker, accountant, regulated mortgage broker, doctor, minister of religion, post master or mistress/sub postmaster or mistress, teacher, police officer or British Embassy official.

Let out a whoop of joy when you realise that this can be done at your local post office and rush off there with all the bits and pieces.

Wait in a queue and keep calm when you are told you will have to go to the main post office in the High Street (inevitably a place where parking is impossible).

Go to the main post office and wait in a very long queue.  When you eventually get to a window, try really hard to remain polite when the member of staff tells you that they are not authorised to sign.  Point out that they should be proud to be on the approved list alongside doctors and lawyers.  Remain assertive and insist on seeing the Branch Manager.

Wait while the Branch Manager flicks through all your precious documents looking increasingly doubtful.  When, at last, she confirms that she can, even will, sign, try not to burst into tears when you realise that, in your excitement, you have forgotten to photocopy your passport and utility bill and that it is verified photocopies you need to supply, not the originals.

Go home and photocopy them and return to the post office to stand in an even longer queue.

Meet up with the Branch Manager again and get her to verify that she has seen your original documents by signing the photocopies.  In your moment of triumph, try not to be abusive when she says she can’t verify that your wife’s passport photograph is ‘a good likeness’ unless you produce your wife in person.

Go back home and break the news to your wife that she will have to present herself at the post office.

After half and hour or so, take the call from your wife, on her mobile in the post office, explaining that the utility bill has your name on it, not hers and that she will wait in the post office while you bring a copy of her personal bank statement.  Express astonishment that she has a personal account, with money squirreled away that you knew nothing about.  Worry that your wife may be a money launderer. Find the statement and remember to photocopy it.

Return to the post office, looking cheerful – as if this is your first visit or that it is entirely normal for you to visit post offices four times in the space of one day.

Keep very calm when your wife tells you that, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to get a teacher to sign the forms.

Put everything the bank needs in the envelope provided and wait for them to tell you that they can’t activate your account because something isn’t quite right.

Regain your sense of humour and tell everyone why, suddenly, you are in favour of identity cards.

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