I hate form filling. The old-fashioned way on paper was bad enough - using a correcting fluid if you made a mistake, but an old one set like concrete, and was hard to write over once dry. Now comes the digital age – and although it’s easier to make corrections - just do it before hitting ‘send’.

Passport Application

I renewed my UK passport online, and there were so many instructions right at the beginning of the process.

I should have read more carefully, because I then feared losing everything if I went back to check. I took my own photo, being the cheap and cheerful option - it had to be at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall; at least 50KB and no more than 10MB, and the head size from the chin to the top had to be between 29 mm and 34 mm.
I was already digitally challenged. They say photo booth pictures are the right size, but not knowing where one was, I battled on. It was a nightmare to get right - I don’t remember how many tries it took, but it kept being rejected - too much shadow, not the ‘right’ white background, white surface uneven, the subject blinked, too close, too far, etc. It would definitely have taken less time to drive to a photoshop – and less frustrating – to get it done there. I remember in the old days, you had to get the reverse of two actual photos countersigned to confirm it was a true likeness by someone in authority – policeman, doctor, lawyer, or ‘someone you know professionally’. Tricky, as there wasn’t much space to write ‘I confirm this is a true likeness of……’ and still leave enough space for a signature and title.

Online Surveys

Another hate – have you ever completed an online survey? I have, thinking it would be helpful, but have then regretted it, being faced with page after page of questions, with options for answers: dislike, dislike a little bit, dislike a little bit more than a little bit, dislike a lot, absolutely hate with a passion, like, like a bit, love unreservedly……well, you get my drift. And the age choices are another thing that annoys me - my choice is unfortunately always the last one, but I am so tempted to tick the ‘20-30’ box, just out of devilment - some poor analyst somewhere will be scratching his head as I probably wouldn’t fit their criteria for, I dunno – bingo cruises or wrinkle remover or whatever.

CV or not CV

Another pet hate – preparing a CV. Writing a CV is an art itself - too much information and the employer starts losing interest (they’re mostly not really interested in the early stuff), and if you don’t put enough information in, they won’t know what the heck you actually do, or even can do. And I hate the application forms in which you have to answer something like, ‘Where do you see yourself in 30 years’ time?’ (tempting to say ‘where you’re sitting’), or ‘What can you bring to the table that will benefit this company?’ or worse – ‘List your strengths and weaknesses’ (as if you would REALLY fall for that one).

Credits: envato elements; Author: leungchopan;

Return to Seller

I have noticed there is a fair bit of form-filling if you return something to a shop, I mean, is all that necessary? Surely you don’t really need to say why - so what’s the reasoning for all that other stuff? I am returning it, give me one in the right colour/size/price, or give me my money back – simple.

There’s no pleasing some people!

A friend recently applied for something online and had to supply copies of everything from the kitchen sink up, but she had used a phone photo – still arguably a copy – for one item, and her passport copy wasn’t a colour one, so the whole thing was rejected, and she had to start again.

‘Filling out’ or ‘filling up’ a form?

They are generally both correct and have the same meaning – but I would say ‘filling out’ is the result of ‘filling up’ too often!


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan