About three weeks ago, my husband, (one part impulsive, nine parts saint) grew weary of the itchiness of my feet and more or less ordered me out of the country. This necessitated a number of key things to take place, most crucially the obtaining of a passport for the tadpole.
Tadpole being but six months old, you may think that these small humans are merely added on to your own passport, much as you add them on to your hip as you go about your business. But you would be both wrong and showing your age. Babies have their own passports, complete with passport photos and must be vouchsafed as being of good character.
Because I am older than I think, I didn't realise that ticking all these boxes would be hard to do in under ten days. However, with Churchillian determination (although with slightly less commitment to drink) I rang the passport office off the hook to get an appointment in London (and not Peterborough at 3 am or whatever ridiculous thing was suggested) and I did in fact manage to get a cancellation! Which was lucky really, as I had already booked and paid for the holiday.
However, I also had to find a photographer willing and able to take a photograph (no supportive parental hands are allowed in shot for wobbly, unable to support itself baby); persuade an upstanding member of the community to certify the likeness and finally, fill in a form of dizzying difficulty with instructions such as 'fill in box Y and not box L, except when L is before the information in box P, excepting if your parents were born between 1962 and 1985'. All this I managed in one stressful day with aid of a kind friend and a keycutter in possession of both a sanguine disposition and a camera in Bognor Regis.
We went to London Victoria on the train. The passport office is a stone's throw from the station and once there you are processed efficiently through the neat but miserable sausage machine that is Her Majesty's Passport Office. Our 'interview' took three minutes. There was an error. Breath was taken in. The error was allowed and breath was exhaled.
The shiny new passport, with my lovely girl looking like a boiled egg, arrived three days before the holiday. Next stop, viva Espana! (once the packing's done....)