There was a frisson of nervous anticipation last night, in the Fisher-Pazdro household. A brown envelope had arrived, late in the afternoon, marked with the seal of the Canadian High Commission. I had set the envelope aside, so that Rob and I could open it together, and taken the precaution of placing a bottle of bubbly in the refrigerator. Just in case.

Well, good news, and less good news.

First the good news. My application for permanent residence is now with the visa section. We have been instructed to pay the remaining balance on the application fee (normally we would complain about parting with more money, but this is a good sign, right?).

Now the less-good news: my police clearance and medical reports have passed their sell-by date; I will need, within 60 days, to submit a new police clearance certificate (how many crimes have I committed since the last one, I wonder) and submit myself to another – actually, to a third – set of medical exams. While this will make the doctor concerned very happy – I must be one of his more rewarding clients – it does strike me as inconvenient, to put it mildly, that the Canadian authorities in their wisdom have an average 17-month processing time, but insist that the medical and police forms one has to submit will only be valid for 12. Do the maths – does this seem smart, or reasonable?

Or so I grumbled. Well, said Rob, would you rather start the permanent residence application process over again, from the beginning?

So, today, I will be picking up the phone to the wealthy doctor who has been fortunate enough to be designated by the Canadian authorities as an approved service provider; and dropping by my friendly police station to seek proof, yet again, of my status as a respectable citizen and my innocence.

The bubbly, meanwhile, has gone back to the cupboard.