'That will be seventy two pounds sir'.
"SEVENTY TWO POUNDS???"
'Yes sir. Seventy two pounds, plus of course, our administration and checking fee.'
I was in my local post office, having just taken a very po-faced photo of myself in the booth. I was not allowed to smile. My head was to remain within the oval and my eyes were to remain at the level indicated on the screen. The swivel seat was a bit small, unsteady and mildly uncomfortable.
Compared to the picture taken ten years ago this one looked, how shall we say, slightly more distinguished? The hair was the same length, perhaps with a few more 'highlights'? The beard also had the same highlights - it must have been an expensive make-over.
Very smiley picture
The renewal form had been completed on-line and was now being checked by the good lady behind the bullet proof glass. "When did the bullet proof glass arrive, then?" I wondered. But I let her continue her painstaking checking, applying a grid over my photograph to check that my face fitted their requirements. It's an odd shaped head and I must admit to being concerned at this point.
But, this time around, my head and form-filling had all passed muster and I meekly handed over four crisp twenty pound notes and received a few coppers in return.
I have had a pretty stressful time of late but now find myself in a more care-free frame of mind. I have finally washed out of my head the cause of the stress and am able to move on. There is still a lot for the lawyers to sort out but that is just process. Perhaps when my right ear exploded a month or so back I started on the mend! So - now that my ear is better, I can fly again.
The Challenge was a good break and I suppose, really, the start of the healing process of my up until then woefully miserable life. So now I need a cheap break somewhere to continue the healing. With the return of my updated passport in a few weeks time I will have the world at my feet - wether it's Pimlico (Burgundy), the Alps, the Pyrenees or the Yorkshire Dales, it doesn't matter.
But I am determined to have a bloody good time.