Maybe I'm just turning into a slightly grumpy old man, but I'm feeling a little peeved with the passport application process. As I've noted elsewhere, a number of major changes have taken part in my life over the last couple of years, and the two changes that are relevant to this story are my arriving in Brentwood from Ireland at the tail end of 2004 and the more recent arrival of my wee fella in Harold Wood Hospital on Good Friday.
In order to facilitate his visiting grandparents in foreign parts, he needs a passport. And the most wonderful woman in the world (aka my wife) was talking about going back to foreign parts with him in a few weeks.
This gives me a minor headache, as it appears that I need someone to countersign the passport form. This someone must be of standing within the community and have known me for two years. For added values, the someone must be a UK resident and be a UK or Irish citizen (this last one actually gets me my solution).
Of course, I know plenty of people who are "of standing" for a number of years but most of them are in Ireland and the ones who aren't are relations of mine. Luckily there's an old school friend who is Irish and counts, so he can sign the form, because otherwise I was going to have to ring up an old priest friend of my mothers to get the forms signed. The system clearly wasn't designed to facilitate the process for ex-pats who have only relatively recently returned home.
And I just described myself as an expat for the last 25 years of my life. A Thiarna déan trócaire.