Rockhopper, Lancs are inundated with work, people don't even expect a variation back in 5 weeks.
Yes, I did get an apology from the FEO about the anticipated time. Interestingly, he said that they had no problem in receiving and starting the process if the applicant was not yet a full member of their club. If the applicant was within, say, 2 months of gaining full membership, then the enquiry process would soon show if they had a 'good reason' or not for grant. All they wanted was a note on the Other Information page to state when you expect full membership.
The FEO went as far to say he wanted this message passed to all club secretaries and not just mine (within Lancs of course).