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Without let or hindrance!
Just renewed my Passport. Astonishingly, commendably, it took only twelve days from date of posting my application to The British Embassy in Paris for me to receive a new Passport here in Brittany. Even though final processing is actually done now in England apparently; even for ‘ex-pat’ applicants like me. Mind you, I feel that at £176 a go compared to the £25 charge but three months that processing used to take, then improvement should only be expected.
I was a little sad to part with my old passport though. Particularly as I had forged it. Well I had forged my photo at least. Back in 2001 ‘digital’ passport photos were forbidden. I tried it on with Peterborough Passport Office but my application was rejected. The sods kept my application fee too and so I had to pay again to re-apply. Not to be outdone I made another digital copy of the same photo, again bubble-jet printed onto high quality, glossy, ‘photo’ paper but this time I printed the word KODAK a few times in pale grey in a diagonal pattern on the back. That fooled ‘em! I was everso chuffed. Especially as it had given me the opportunity to first remove a couple of my chins with PhotoShop.
“Why on earth would you bother to do all that?” Did I hear you ask?
Because I could. That’s why! OK?
My photo looked even less like me too soon afterwards. Memsahib, normally the epitome of Sherlock Holmes in scrupulously going through my pockets before lobbing my garb into the washing machine forgot on one occasion. She washed my shirt with my passport in the breast pocket. This had the effect of washing all the colour out of my face from under the plastic film that the Passport Office apply over the top. So I ended up with a grey face sporting a fluorescent beard!
Getting through Passport Control at Portsmouth has generally taken me much longer ever since. My 176 Quid contribution must have gone quite some way towards paying off Britain's National Debt though. I hope with that, along with the Passport Office finally moving into the 21st century and since accepting digital photos, including one that now looks something like me, then trips back to Bankrupt Blighty might be a tad less fraught in future.
“Hark. Is that ‘men in black’ that I hear approaching my front door?"
I’ve finished forging now
For the day anyway.