Steve: How are plans for your working holiday coming along? Have you had problems getting a visa? I’ve heard it’s quite difficult.
Betty: Getting the visa was fine: it’s a two-year working holiday visa for all of Britain. I’d got all the information and knew what to do. The forms were a bit complicated to fill in but once I’d done it, things were pretty straightforward.
Steve: Aren’t you a bit nervous about doing such a big thing on your own? Have you been to Britain before?
Betty: Yes. I went with my parents to London when I was fifteen. It was then I made my mind up to go back if I could. The son of a friend of my dad’s had been to Manchester on a working holiday visa and I got all the info from him when we got home. I discussed it on and off for a couple of years with a school friend, Ivy, and we made plans to look into it when we both finished university.
Steve: That seems a good time to do something like that.
Betty: Exactly. There are age restrictions on this sort of visa, anyway.
Steve: How did you find a job?
Betty: Online. I got a job working in reception in a hotel, and Ivy got one working in a Japanese shop that has branches in London.
Steve: That all sounds so exciting. Where are you going to live?
Betty: Well, you see, this is where the whole plan has started to go pear-shaped!
Steve: What’s gone wrong? You are the most organised person in the whole world.
Betty: Thank you for the compliment. But sometimes things are beyond our control and that’s why our plans have gone a bit pear-shaped. But all is not lost yet.
Steve: What’s happened?
Betty: I suppose things were going too well! Something just had to go wrong. The two of us were going to stay with Ivy’s aunt in Pinner, just outside London. Her husband had died a few years ago, and they lived in a big house. Aunt Peggy had started to rent three of the bedrooms out to students a couple of years ago, and Ivy and I were going to rent two of these rooms.
Steve: That sounds ideal.
Betty: Quite so. Well, a month ago Aunt Peggy was rushed into hospital. She had had a heart attack. Fortunately they were able to treat her quickly, and she survived and is now back at home. But she has to have a lot of rest and next month she has to go back into hospital for surgery. So, she isn’t taking in either any students - or us - in the foreseeable future.
Steve: Oh, that’s dreadful. You had everything in place and now that’s happened.
Betty: Yes, so now we are both frantically searching online for accommodation. We’ve obviously got to find somewhere cheap, and that’s not easy in London. And we don’t know anyone there to help us or to go look at a place before we sign an agreement. At the moment, we’re looking for a place for the first month, and then we will look for somewhere else when we are there.
Steve: That sounds like a good plan. I wish you good luck. I’m sure everything will turn out okay in the end. After all, you’re working hard to solve the problem!