Can getting a new passport be that hard?

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Columnist Di Wade writes about the troubles she encountered renewing her passport.

It’s shocking the mental as well as physical ravages of time. I astonished myself recently by hearing of a colleague’s scenic drive to Sheffield and thinking, well that’s something I’ll never do. Which is true, but so what - after all these years of knowing it perfectly? Besides, why'd I want to go to Sheffield, which is no doubt lousy with Yorkshire types.

Di Wade

Di Wade

As for New Year, (likely as new as my disintegrating socks), I just couldn’t get motivated at all. Nor was Christmas at all bad, as I realised on describing it to someone on January 2: By the Blackpool monopoly, by which point no one could remember who was what, who owned what or who on earth had gone last, (while anyone landing on Coronation Street cued a rousing rendition of the theme to a soap none of us watches), his bewilderment suggested that not all families did this sort of thing.

It is true that New Year doesn't make everyday life any saner. My Christmas presents had included a possible aid to my hearing in noisy situations: Only, improbably called a Roger Pen, (and its accompaniment, Roger My Link, entertained my sister no end), it soon became clear that it could be nothing to write home about as the actual pen was missing. So, minus the replacement, apparently to have been sent hurtling up the M1 by the suppliers the day after Boxing Day, January 2 saw me shelling out for the original to be returned to them on January 3 which was eventually the 6th.

On January 14, I was back at the Post Office – not getting a passport renewal application completed: Discovering on going to get the forms, that they could fill these in, take the photos, dispatch the lot and everything, I was happy to go away, retrieve my passport from the attic and come back again: Initially….

Standing in the photo booth, lips tightly closed as instructed, I thought on my inability to breathe through my nose only after such a silent time had passed that my lungs felt ready to burst. Finally, the assistant spoke again, and feared my head was in the wrong place.

Resisting the urge to ask where it was supposed to be (on the end of my right big toe?), I took a deep breath and tried again. But it was no good. Apparently, the very precise technology might now be struggling with one of my eyes being higher up than the other, which was impossible. Torn between exclaiming at my dashed supermodel hopes, and nonchalantly enquiring what one was supposed to do in such a case, I took myself, in fits, to a photographer’s, the forms to my mum’s, and the application went off next day.

January 15: Decided to write a travel book: This'll likely be published when Blackpool are Premier League champions, but between volcanoes, icebergs, elephants, crocodiles and recalcitrant passport scanners, it could interest, and has in any case lent purpose to the “new” year.