Today I got the call. I can't.
I cannot apply for a ILR (the next level of visa) until 28 days before the one I have is due to expire. I called the Home Office, they said the same thing. So, yeah. I'm out.
I will take one good thing from this shitty day - when you see those gorgeous dancers and jugglers and stilt walkers and people bouncing around, I want you to remember - my fat ass was supposed to be there. I performed well enough to dance and shimmy and jazz handed my way next to them, and it is just through bureaucratic nonsense that I didn't get to be standing in that stadium. Sure, I may be watching it with the other 8000 people who applied and didn't get in, but I DID get in, and I can take comfort in that.
Cold comfort is still comfort.