My brand new passport clattered onto the doormat the other morning. I was delighted to see it. Not that I am actually planning any trips to foreign isles, you understand, but passports are one’s main proof of identity,
aren’t they? When it comes to proving who you are, the passport beats your driving licence, utility bill, and senior bus pass (if you are lucky enough to have one) hands down.
I was just a little bit disappointed that my passport didn’t look as, well, blue as I had expected. It’s a very dark blue, more like black to be honest. But, hey, it arrived just 26 days after I submitted my on-line application so I have
to count myself among the Very Satisfied, should anyone choose to ask.
My main issue is with my photograph. It truly is most dreadful. Considering the passport
is proof of identity, I’m sure nobody would recognise me. Or, rather, correction: I sincerely hope nobody would recognise me…
I had my photo taken
in Tesco’s. I hadn’t intended to face the camera on that particular morning, just to ask if they were in the business of passport photographs. When the sales assistant said, yes indeed, and they had been super busy that day so far, it seemed a
bit foolish to go away and come back again. Though it might have given me some time to attend to my Crowning Glory (which was looking less than Glorious) and to practise my “look” in the bathroom mirror. I remember ten years ago, it took three
attempts to get a photo I was half happy with - ten years on, at £10.99 a time, it was going to have to be One Take Only.
As you know, for the purposes
of passports you are not allowed to smile and must remove your specs, if worn. I never think I look like myself without my glasses. Plus a smile changes one’s whole face for the better. Still, law-abiding creature that I am, I did as I was told and faced
the camera, spec-less and unsmiling. It couldn’t be that bad, I told myself, as I waited for my photos to slide out from the machine. Oh, dear me, it really, really could…
The sales assistant said, kindly, that nobody would see it except for airport border control. Which should have been reassuring except that I couldn’t help imagining the scene where I present my passport to be checked and am
asked if I am flying by broom-stick…
It is a phenomenon I have reported on before - that there are some fortunate folk who always look as if they are smiling,
even when they are not. They have smiley faces, lucky things. Then there are the rest of us.
I am, however, somewhat comforted to learn that Her Maj, like me,
has a face which looks completely different when she smiles. It’s why she often appears a trifle glum when the camera catches her unawares. As she has been arguably the most photographed woman in the world over nine decades, she has doubtless come to
terms with this - just as I must reconcile myself to my new identity, courtesy of my passport.
There is one thing I can do for Her Maj. As regular readers may
remember, I am knitting her for the Jubilee. She doesn’t know about this, and, if she did, would probably not be bothered. When your face has appeared on billions of coins, stamps and celebratory mugs and tea towels, you aren’t going to stress
over much, I would imagine, about a Woolly Representation. Today I had to sew on her nose and stitch her eyes and mouth which was, you can imagine, an enormous responsibility, especially as I am not too good at facial features.
I have therefore stitched an absolutely enormous grin on her woolly face. She looks as if she is observing all the preparations going on across the country to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee with undisguised
hilarity. I still have to knit her arms, her hair and her handbag, plus as many corgis as I have time for, but she will be Guest of Honour at our family party on Sunday.
Fortunately everybody there will know me - as Jaqui, or Mum or Nanna or Nanny or Nanni. I answer to almost anything - call me what you like, my dear Mum used to say, as long as it’s not too late for dinner. Nobody will need me to prove my identity
by producing my passport.
It will be smiles all the way.