Saturday, May 09, 2015

Nearly on my way……nearly

I leave for my journey along the Camino de Santiago on Monday afternoon and this post was going to be about my packing for the Camino; what I had decided to take, and the fascinating topic of pack weight.

Instead it will be about my passport.

On Wednesday, I had a preliminary pack of my rucksack. I then unpacked it and decided to give the pack a quick rinse through in the washing machine. It was grubby and sweaty from the last few weeks training.

On Thursday, I went to do a re-pack having culled a few items, and made the horrifying discover that not only had I washed my pack but also my Euros, and worse still my passport. The money could be easily dried but the passport was beyond hope. The picture of me was no more.

Breaking out in a cold sweat of utter panic, I quickly googled “What to do if you wash your passport….” I rang up the passport office. They confirmed that the passport was unusable, and that for a replacement passport I would have to report to the Peterborough passport office first thing in the morning (Friday).

However, for a replacement passport they could only guarantee a 7-day service. I’m leaving on Monday afternoon, flying from Luton at 06:00 on Tuesday. Hmm….more panic.

I rushed up to the post office to grab a passport application. The post office had actually closed but out of the kindness of their hearts, they pushed an application out through the letterbox!

I have never been more careful to stay within the boxes on a form!

Armed with form and some very glum-looking photos from Waitrose, I now had to locate someone to countersign the form that evening. Fortunately, some friends of ours are a minister and a teacher, so off I went to pay them a call.

I had discovered the ex-passport at 17:00. At 21:00, I finally sat down and tried to relax.

I was up early on Friday for my 08:00 appointment in Peterborough. I was seen promptly and spoke with a very nice man and his supervisor. I explained the situation – imminent travel, my 50th birthday, a pilgrimage. I threatened to cry. Believe me, it would not have been difficult. I offered them copious chocolate. All to no avail. Much as they wanted to help they were unable to work out of the process. The paperwork is all done there but the passports are actually issued from elsewhere.

However, the supervisor did say that they weren’t busy at present and were getting passports out on the day of application. Although she couldn’t guarantee anything, she was hopeful that I might get the new passport by Monday.

Having donated £103 to the passport office, I drove home.

I am hoping that my new passport might arrive today. If not, I still have Monday. After that…….well, some emergency flight re-arrangements will be in order.

However, I have been amazingly calm since. I have done all that I can do. I sorted out the paperwork as quickly as I could and had the first available appointment at the passport office. The situation is now out of my control, and worrying won’t change it. I am optimistic and my glass is three quarters full!

Comments form the Camino forum:

“Rich, trust in the Camino - It WILL work out!”

“Hang in there - it will work out as it should”

“Just one of the trials we have to face. But once you're on your way...the Camino will definitely provide. Buen Camino!”

Yes indeed, buen Camino


Adam Firth said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Firth said... [Reply to comment]

Hi. Praying the passport arrives and you can get on your way without a hitch. I will be following your camino adventures with interest as it's something I'd love to do when the opportunity arises 😊

Richard Lendon said... [Reply to comment]

@Adam Firth
Thanks Adam - it arrived yesterday morning and I was very relieved to put it mildly

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