There is much celebration at Piddock Place, because finally, Tony can travel Europe – and indeed the world, should he so choose – freely and without hindrance. After almost 4 months of trying, we finally have his passport. I collected it, in person, from Peterborough on Thursday.
Right to the end, it was a problem. Travelling from Daventry to Peterborough should have taken around 75 minutes, but it took over 2 hours due to roadworks. And when the satnav uttered those immortal words, ‘You have reached your destination on your right, ‘ there was no Passport Office anywhere in sight, just a Roayal Mail sorting office. I resisted the urge to give the satnav a flying lesson, and instead went inside and told the friendly guy behind the counter I thought my satnav was playing tricks on me.
Before I could say another word, he said ‘Are you looking for the Passport Office by any chance?’ I was about to tell him he was wasted there, and should be on the stage, earning money from his mind reading skills, and then he spoiled the effect by telling me it was always happening. Apparently the post code under the address of the Passport Office is a PO Box number – why I can only guess, but I presume it is some sort of security measure. Anyway, the guy behind the counter was able to furnish me with the right post code, and within minutes, I had Tony’s shiny new passport in my hot, sticky hand.
After more than 2 hours in the car, there was another pressing need, and that was when I find out just how difficult it is to spend a penny in the Passport Office. It involves a handbag search, swithching your mobile phone off, and being frisked. It took so long I feared the visit would be unnecessary, because another 10 seconds and there would have been a puddle on the floor. I wonder – would I have had my nose rubbed in it, like a naughty puppy? I mean, it wasn’t really my fault – I did ask to go in plenty of time!