Indeed. Had HM not been celebrating her Diamond Jubilee on the weekend before my holiday was due to begin, I would not be here now sipping Billecart Salmon and watching the world go by on the via Veneto.
Despite the uncharacteristic BBC choice of B-grade celebs ingratiating themselves as commentators during the excruciatingly protracted Thames Pageant, I was to be overwhelmed in a profound way. I wondered when I had last been in London? Having long since given up employment and income which supported yearly overseas travel, I pondered when I too last walked along the Embankment. It was definitely prior to the over-hyped 9/11 (not the Porsche 911 you understand), which means it must have been in the year 2000. It was then that it struck me. How long does a passport last? Indeed, where was my passport?
So I am indebted to to the Beeb for the inanity of their commentary thereby enabling me to leave the Thames Pageant whilst it was in ‘full stroke’ and slip solidly into panic mode, much to The Duchess’s consternation having already settled in for a night of TV sitting on my lap. Dogs do not like a break in their routine, nor to be sent flying when one lurches. Having seen the Queen (love the hat by the way) and family members standing on the damp deck of their barge, I bade them a swift farewell as my hunt began.
Why do things wander off? All my former passports were in their proper place – the post-school innocent lad with huge hair, the better-looking-than-I-care to remember young man, the earnest lawyer business-vacationer and the ‘oh, I see why you are still single’ passports snap. Every previous passport except the Uncle Fester look-alike (sans lightbulb in mouth). I knew this was the last one because I had photocopied it for those many applications which require proof of identity. Could I have taken the ‘current’ one to a bank recently, perhaps in relation to some parish account? Surely not as I don’t do cheques. As I pondered an early morning flight to Canberra to expedite a replacement, I recalled there must be a scanned copy on my computer. Indeed there was and this confirmed that I had renewed my passport in 2005. At least the missing passport was current, if still misplaced.
Much searching was undertaken without success but under the sleepy gaze of The Duchess who could not comprehend the need to run from room to room displacing the content of every drawer, box and pocket. Finally I had to sleep and face this quest in the renewed light of day. And it was during the rather sleepless night that the Spirit led me to an epiphany. I saw the passport, sitting in the bottom of a ill-used credenza. I flew out of bed and into the study, wrenched open the credenza and there it was. My Uncle Fester passport, current to 2015.
Let the preparations begin!