Right then. A couple of things I need to get off my chest before I explode!
1) You know how I’m afraid (scared witless) of flying? Well I’m flying to the States less than two months from now.
2) I’m representing my country doing something.
3) Never and I mean NEVER lose your passport.
I’ll start at the start. Her Majesty and I have been invited to be the other half of team GB in the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships in January. They’re being held in Breckenridge which is on Colorado (up a mountain kinda west of Denver). This involves me flying out there which is in no small part terrifying me; as anybody who knows me knows, I stepped off the plane back from Vancouver 15 years ago with no intention to ever set foot on a plane again. Aside from a very impressive Russian cargo jet at an air show a few years later, that’s pretty much been the case.
Brekenridge is 10,000ft above sea level and about -2 on average when we’re there. Great for snow carving but not exactly shorts and t shirt weather. We’ve just started buying gear for our time there and I can safely say, the gift of a pair of snow trousers from Her Majesty was both thoughtful and as it happens practical under the circumstances.
The third thing on my list is one I’d like to make sure everyone inwardly digests. I’d like to write about it in block capitals because that’s what I was writing in for a few days getting the paperwork together. Never lose you passport. I’ll say it again: NEVER LOSE YOUR PASSPORT. Got it? Good.
Losing your passport is not something that bothers a person who’s decided not to fly anywhere ever again. It doesn’t come up as an issue when travelling around the UK, it doesn’t really affect you at all. When you go to renew your expired, lost passport however… Well, that’s different.
To get your first passport, you need the form, two photos, somebody to vouch for you and a birth certificate. To complete the paperwork for a lost/stolen passport, you need Form LS01 (which you’ll not pick up in the first place then need to leg it back to the post office to get). Its a straightforward contract with Satan affair you sign in blood. Next comes the application. You now need details of the passport you lost (difficult as you lost it), both your parents’ passport, birth and marriage details, again a sponsor to sign your form and OK your photos, then the usual details. You know how easy it is to renew a passport you’re still in possession of? Stand on a log, lose your footing. Done!
All is now well and my passport will be with me soon (hopefully before I need to travel or I’m sunk). The preflight panic attacks are coming along nicely and building in intensity so I’ll nip back over to my GP and see if they can give me the same meds I had last time. Only about 50 more bits of kit to pick up and that’s it.
Also, I’m trying to blag getting a GoPro camera (this one), Her Majesty kind of knows but hasn’t registered that it’s yet another camera I’ll own… 😀