Despite money now mainly existing as a series of computer bytes, transferring credit ratings between countries is as impossible as if all transactions were engraved on decaying manuscripts too fragile to be moved. Decaying manuscripts ... with a radioactive coating that requires them to be buried sixty feet under in their country of origin.... in a lead vault surrounded by plague-carrying rats.... and six people whose role model is Sarah Palin.

Despite my hopes that Canada might be able to look slightly south to over the border where my carefully built up credit rating was sitting, I was disappointed. Not only did they refuse to acknowledge my USA record, but they would not give me a low-limit credit card or even a debit card that worked as a visa. My proof of employment and qualifications meant nothing; perhaps they too had read the Government's plans for funding science in the next five years. I should have mentioned I had work experience in a Chinese Take-away.

Resignedly, I applied for a secured credit card, whereby I agreed for the bank to hold a sum of money from my account equal to my credit limit for the (evidently likely) case that I did not pay off the card. This credit card arrived at the bank at the end of November but, due to my bank failing at the insurmountable task of changing my phone number, I did not hear about it until they mailed me .... after I had left for a month in Europe. By the time I returned in January, I was told the card had been destroyed and I would have to re-order. This I did and two weeks later (no, they still had not managed the number change, I called them) I went down and picked up the card. Huraah! Now I can start building my credit history again. At least I could ... if I could activate my card.

"I'm sorry, the card number you have given us isn't on the system."


Did they give me a visa just to shut me up but had no intention of really letting me borrow money? Had they, perhaps, seen plans for the Government's ten year funding in Astrophysics? Maybe they discovered that I had occasionally mixed up orders at the Chinese takeaway and really there was no hope for me on the job market at all? Or was it that news of my accidental goal against my own team last hockey game (SO not my fault - the puck bounced off my skate) had reached this far and it was their way of driving me from the country in disgrace?

After a shuffle around customer service the truth eventually materialised:

"Ah, the card you have is the one that was cancelled last year."

".... the one that was sent back to you and destroyed?"

".... yes."

Apparently, my bank does have my new one, they just didn't check for the second envelope when looking on Saturday. If they cancel this one before I get down there, I shall be mad.