As I edge slowly closer to the day when all the tax I've paid over the years starts to get paid back to me ( that's the OAP pension by the way - and is itself taxed) I am beginning to realise that I have lived my entire life without realising quite how pernicious and intrusive this Government is.
It all kicked off when I claimed my winter fuel allowance.
Then my bus pass.
That triggered visits from council officials, entailed visits to doctors, tests on my perfectly healthy body ( its like the police - trap unsuspecting illegal parkers and let the thieves and drug dealers go free) - and forms.
I have now lost count of how many forms I have had to fill in, just to make sure the Government doesn't strike me off it's list of future dependants.
The idea is quite simple. They send a form, and at the bottom it says ( in small letters, natch) words to the effect of " If you don't send this back timeously ( is that 14 days? 7 days? A month?) you will lose your entitlement to xyz until you fill in another form asking for us to be very kind and send you a new form like this one again - oh, and its not back-dated."
I've just had to fill in a form to confirm my tax code.
Now bear in mind it's not me who sets the code - the Government sends out a form every now and then which has the code on it. I effectively have little or no input, and the code is the one applied to my tax affairs until they change it.
Even so, the form stipulates that I need to tell them what my tax code is and failure to do so blah blah blah.
It also has my tax reference and NI number on it, and my date of birth, all of which I have to write in as well.
I have no idea - apart from the Government employing bodies to send the forms out, and presumably check them before filing them away.
But I'm absolutely sure I'm not going to lose one penny of what I'm entitled to.
I have to go now as the post has arrived - with yet another form to confirm I'm still alive and they do have to pay the winter fuel allowance...
*... into the yellow leaf ( Macbeth)
At least it gives me something to do whilst waiting for the "upturn" we are assured is... er well er....well, the upturn.