28 September 2014

Good morning and “Happy Autumn” to you all. We’ve had a pretty decent week of weather – the mornings have been quite autumnal with mist and heavy morning dew but we’ve generally maintained good temperatures with some lovely sunny afternoons. You can tell it’s Autumn, though – our Boston Ivy is exhibiting its finest crimson red foliage and it gets dark earlier and earlier. On Wednesday I had to put the outside light on for Penelope for her return from an evening of jumping about at the gym – it’s dark by 8.00 pm!

Boston Ivy

I had my “final” interview in relation to my UK passport application. Don’t worry – they weren’t separating me out specifically – it’s standard practice for any adult applying for his/her first UK passport to be summoned for an interview. And despite what you’re thinking, it’s not so that they can determine whether I am the right sort of person to be allowed to travel on a British passport – they’d already (surprisingly) determined that! It’s to do with ensuring that I am who I say I am and that I’m not masquerading as someone else.

And let me tell you – this was like the third degree! I was asked for my name, my date and place of birth, my mother’s middle name (oops! She doesn’t have one unless you consider her maiden name to now be her middle name), my father’s place of birth, my inside leg measurement and loads of other details. They had clearly done their homework – they asked about my bank accounts and credit card details – but I passed with (almost) flying colours. The one question which tripped me up momentarily was “who signed my passport photos?” You would think that would be pretty simple but, because of a glitch in the system, I had to send two sets of photos (on different occasions) and each set was signed by a different person. I know that Paul across the road signed the first set and Pete next door signed the second set. But, when they asked my mind went blank – I couldn’t remember Paul’s surname!! Still, I did eventually remember and they must have been satisfied with my various responses as I had a text message on Monday telling me that my passport had been sent for printing and then on Wednesday it arrived! I’m not too convinced by the photo but the passport itself is very nice.

As we were going to be in Warwick on last Saturday for this interview, we arranged to drop in to Nick and Lucy’s to squeeze Annabelle and go out to lunch to “celebrate” my successfully navigating the final hurdle in my passport saga. So, we ventured into Leamington and decided on Las Iguanas and very good it was too. Penny and I are both very fond of Mexican food and that’s what we had. It’s perhaps not quite as good as Wahaca but considerably closer – we’ll go again, I’m sure.

I’ve run across lots of “interesting” things this week. How about some iconic photographs posed in PlayDoh? (Click the link to the right of each image on the Guardian site to see the original photograph).

Bar Girl in a Brothel Bar Girl in a Brothel

Or, how about the ten best collective nouns as determined by someone from the Guardian? My personal favourite: A superfluity of nuns followed closely by A promise of tapsters. “. . . the oath of a lover is no stronger than the word of a tapster.” (As You Like It) (I had to look up what a Tapster was as well).

And finally, how about some Victorian inventions which did not change the world? I do think the Anti-Garrotting Cravat (1862) is a masterpiece of an idea but I guess garrotting died out and the need for such protection diminished? I also was partial (for personal reasons, obviously) to the moustache protector but for the life of me I can’t work out how it was intended to be used. Still, my moustache needs all the protection it can get!

Love to you all,

Greg