I don’t think we have a thread that deals with these scenarios - you know, the ones where for a moment the world ends, your stomach sinks down to your feet and, generally the world feels like it’s just sticking it’s finger up and laughing at you. Well GWJ, today (technically yesterday now) I did just that.
You see, at 6am today (it’s about 1.30am here now) Mrs Sorb, Mini-Sorb and I, along with Mrs Sorb’s family are supposed to be getting on a plane to go on a weeks holiday on a very nice Island in the Mediterranean. My FiL pays for it all, we just cover the flights and it’s much need family break after a long and difficult year. Mrs Sorb’s grandmother passed away, my FiL having a bad scare with his health and just generally being very busy.
So while I was just checking through the last of our paperwork late on Thursday, I found myself just checking that our Passports were still in date. Guess what? Mine and Mrs Sorb’s were fine. Mini-Sorb’s had expired back in August.
This caused a lot of swearing. (Very loud vocal swearing). Cue Mrs Sorb coming to find out what all the commotion is. I tell her. She joins in with the loud vocal swearing, then we calm down a little. first we try denial - ‘ oh we’ll just go, they probably won’t notice’ - which didn’t last very long because we’re not daft and we were mostly in shock. then came the gut punch realisation that we had monumentally screwed up and were going to have to explain to Mini-Sorb that the holiday she’s been waiting to go on for weeks - we probably weren’t going to be able to go.
Didn’t sleep a lot, spent the night mostly reading the government website (this is in the UK) about emergency passport issuing, Exactly what we’d have to do (spend a lot of money for starters) to get a application in and then reading websites of other people’s experiences, none of which were particularly optimistic. While the UK government will do a 1 day turn around for an adult passport, they don’t for a child’s. Apparently that’s because they regard anyone taking a child out of the country at short notice probably means they are abducting them from the other parent. So you are supposed to wait a week. Knobs.
So yesterday morning Mini-Sorb woke up and immediately told us how excited she was about the holiday. Have you ever broken your child’s heart? I don’t recommend it. It’s one of the most hideously awful experiences of my life. There was a lot of crying. By everyone. Once we calmed her down I made an appointment at our ‘local’ passport office (about an hours drive away) paying a lot of money for the privilege, and the went and got an application form from our local post office. That part was easy. Then we went to get some New passport photos taken of mini-sorb. The UK government is very picky about passport photos (gotta be exactly right) but thankfully, a local photo shop does them properly for a fee. So we went there and got the photos done. Not cheap, could have been worse.
Then I filled out the application form. The application form itself is 4 pages. The information booklet telling you how to fill it out is 40 pages long. While I was doing that, Mrs Sorb took us to a friends house where they could counter-sign one of the photos (they have to be verified as actually being of Mini-Sorb, by someone who is a friend (known us for at least 2 years) but not a relative and also have a accepted profession) The friend signed the photo, signed the application form, gave us a coffee
(they are good friends!) and then we went to my in-laws to get all the other travel documents we’d need, and Mrs Sorb’s grandmother’s death certificate because that was our excuse - so much going on with that it’s the reason we forgot to check and renew the passport before it expired.
Then we drove the hours drive to the passport office. Got there in good time, killed an hour having some very nice cakes in a local cafe, then went to the appointment. The guy only wanted to speak to Mrs Sorb (I was really only there to show nobody was abducting mini-sorb, we just wanted to go on holiday!) but she did a fantastic job of explaining it all and writing a short paragraph on all the circumstances. We’d filled in the forms perfectly, the photos were accepted with no issues, a death in the family is one of the of accepted criteria for getting a child’s passport expedited.
Then he had to ask his manager. Who I will now call Karen. Karen listened to his explanation, took a look at the forms, glanced at the death certificate and said ‘She died in May. That’s been more than enough time for them to get their act together. Tell them they’ll have to wait.”
I called her something incredibly rude under my breath at that point (there was a very large security guard stood not very far away) and then had to deal with mini-sorbs floods of tears again. However the guy who was helping us did say that the passport should get processed tomorrow, and with any luck, we might get it on Monday. So now I’m looking at hideously expensive flights out on Tuesday so we at least get a few days out there.
The moral of this tale is, I’d you’re going on holiday, check your passports at least a month before you go!