I am not prone to solipsism. (Yes, I did have to check that spelling!) The world most certainly does not centre on moi and if anything, I’d always rather someone else was the centre of attention, allowing me to sit quietly by and watch. But this week, events have conspired to be very much centred on yours truly and I can say with some relief that I’m glad it’s Friday. Not just any old Friday, either…
The individual events have ranged from a couple of consultations, a check up at the dentist (which was actually cancelled at last minute due to her illness) to the more usual meetings and training sessions. If I add here that one of the more enjoyable/fulfilling events of the week was the meeting where there was fruit, biscuits and a lighted candle in the centre of the table, you will know how dull/stressful the rest of it was!
Somewhere, in the middle of all the toing and froing, I needed to renew my passport. It has a few months left to run but it’s full.
I know 😎.
With a couple of adventures on the horizon, we identified “now” as a good time to deal with it, so a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Cirencester, I popped into ZippyPix (don’t you love the name?) and had a mug shot taken. I left quite a bit the poorer - these things don’t come cheap and I thought I might as well get some done for a visa at the same time. I will admit to being a bit smug when I came home with photos all done and ready, because my Hero had still to do his.
I scanned in my photographs and began to fill in the online renewal application.
Except that when I completed the online passport renewal form and uploaded my photograph, the error message “We can’t find the outline of your head” appeared. Hmm. I wasn’t the only one, either - an online search suggested this was a common issue. Maybe it was to do with the colour of my hair? I can’t change that! The colour of the background? Instructions are that it must be “light”.
I tried a different photograph; one I’d had taken for my Russian visa a couple of years ago. That didn’t work either. I tried photoshopping it and increasing the contrast - even though, the instructions say that photos must not be adjusted using software. It still didn’t work. How annoying!
What about the photo from my current passport? Also rejected. It seems the outline of my head was a real issue, but rather than dealing with it right then, I had run out of time. It would have to wait.
Even more annoying, when I returned later that afternoon, my Hero was sitting looking smug with the news that he’d completed his application form and yes, his photo was immediately accepted! What? (He’d used a copy of his Russian visa photo)
I looked for a photo where my hair was darker, but bearing in mind that it’s supposed to be taken within the last six months, I didn’t think this would do, sadly.
I had one last try with a variety of scanned images before giving up and deciding to try the advice about taking a phone picture. It was accepted first time.
(So sorry, Zippypix, that was money I didn’t need to have spent)
We both completed the application forms, added credit card numbers (it’s a dear do!) and packed up our old passports. With an eye on the clock, my Hero ran out to catch the post, only then noticing that my passport was going to Durham for renewal and his was going to Peterborough. Curious!
I’ve just had an email to say that mine has arrived safely. It might have been around the world a few times, to a variety of exotic places and had a few adventures, but this is the first time my passport has gone travelling on its own without me. I miss it already!