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The time came to renew my passport. What fun. A form which MUST be filled in with black ink. I was terrified the pen I used was a fading black, sort of grey ink and not black enough. I worry the form will be sent back, stamped – USE BLACK INK. It was an easy form to fill in, but I am rather annoyed with the Passport Office. My 10 year passport was renewed last year, but as I want my new married name on my passport, I must pay full price just to change my name. £79. What a rip off. I believe it is due to stringent identity checks, though I may be wrong. Any ideas readers?

I found two passport photos left over from last year’s passport renewal. So, I decided to send them in. Oops, I read that the photos must be taken within a month of an application. So I went to Asda to get my photos taken. Bad idea. I come out the booth in a rage. I have never looked so terrible. I remember how bad James Brown (may he rest his bad self in peace) looked in his last police mugshot and consider that I look worse.

I get my haircut on Saturday and feel great. I have been walking about ever since with a just-stepped-out-of-the-salon hair-flicking feeling. It’s still long enough to tie up, but short enough to have lots of layers and dry in five minutes. Yay! I am convinced my next round of photos will be better.

So yesterday I went back to Asda to get a new photo. This time I put on a war-mask of make-up. I put on more slap than a transvestite; because the lighting is similar to being on stage, photo booths don’t always show how much make-up you are wearing. This time I am attempting damage limitation. I enter the booth, lip gloss to the extreme, blue steel glare to the ready – and yes, it’s done. Not so bad this time. My hair doesn’t look as short as it really is, but never mind.

Over to the Post Office counter for the Check and Send service. The lady examines my photo. My eyes are too high. No, not that I have a strange shaped head, but the positioning of my head is outwith the allowed height. Urgh! I couldn’t even adjust the seat as it was a fixed bench.  A total of £8 wasted on passport photos and I didn’t even enjoy the experience. Remember how much fun it used to be when you got four different photos and they flashed so quickly? I wonder if any of those machines are left?

So, following some refund advice from the lovely ladies at customer service (the staff there are always so helpful and friendly) I had to drive to Byres Road to find a Snappy Snapx or Fotofarm or whatever they are called – this time the photo was fine, not very good, but it looks ok. I look rather fed-up of the whole situation.

I rushed all the way to my local Post Office and they got the form sorted before closing time.

But now I’m left with a total of fourteen passport photos and they are not bonny enough to offer to a friend or loved one as a wee reminder of how I look. It’s amazing that three photos taken in one week can look so different. I don’t think I can ever recapture the freshness of my passport photo, aged sixteen.

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