A Biblical kind of title seems appropriate as I have skived off church this morning - one of the rare Sundays when I am not down for any jobs on the rota (I hope! - sorry if I missed something) and so I stayed in bed...
After a more substantial breakfast this morning (cereal AND toast) I felt strong enough to start work on my tax return....
I'm not sure how well a toga would suit George Osborne. Perhaps they should issue them to all workers in HMRC; a badge of honour for they work they are doing to fill the country's coffers in our time of economic need. I'll suggest this to He-knows-who-he-is-if-he-is-reading-this. (As a responsible citizen, I'm not actually going to reveal his real name - it would only add to the drain on the exchequer in having to provide him with round-the-clock police protection, and it's not really his fault anyway - he doesn't Make the rules, he is just the Enforcer of the consequences of living in a democratic society where one lot of politicians spend all the country's money and get voted out, and the next lot have to claw it back somehow without upsetting the people who could afford to pay lots of taxes but have worked out how not to).
He-knows-who-he-is-if-he-is-reading-this could have a red border round his toga, to signify his expertise in all things VAT. I haven't asked him about hot and cold custard tarts and pasties because, as I said earlier, it's not his fault, and he is a really, really nice guy and I like him. Then the ones in charge of benefits could have blue stripes, and the ones who deal with tax relief for planting trees and eco-efficiencies and other suchlike could have green stripes. I've just about reached the end of my knowledge of the tax system. Oh, of course, purple for pensions. I was given the opportunity to read the reply from a tax official to a query about some pension thingy, and it was two sides of A4 of such eloquent, technical, dense, interwoven clauses and subclauses and adverbial phrases and tenses and pronouns and any other bits of grammar that could be incorporated into the long, convoluted sentences, that it should have been set a the main the entrance exam for all potential candidates for any vacancies in the Plain English Society.
"Explain what this letter is about, and rewrite it so the average well-educated adult with a first degree in Accountancy, a Masters in Semantics, and a Doctorate in Quantum Physics can understand it and act appropriately upon the information therein".
Where was I? Oh yes. Embarking upon the long, slow process of gathering together all the bits of information that will gradually coalesce into my tax return. I've now got the kind of brain-ache that only another cup of strong, fully-caffeinated coffee will resolve.
Thinking about it, I don't think togas would be such a good idea. I have a feeling that ther are made of pure wool, which would be a great benefit to the Chinese woolen industry (I can't believe for one minute that the government would do something so out-of-character as to place the order with a British farmers, spinners and weavers), so the dry-cleaning charges would probably bankrupt the nation within days.