Saturday, July 04, 2009


Who would have though it would be so hard to arrange passports. We got our Australian Citizenship last year and are entitled to get Australian passports. I collected the forms from the Post Office just before Byron lost his job last July. The last 12 months have been challenging financially and although we feel we have our feet on solid ground again I cannot honestly say that any month there has been a spare $1000 sitting in the bank account to pay for passports. We are now on a countdown to our first get-on-a-plane-and-escape-from-it-all holiday in about 7 years and the issue of passports cannot be swept under the carpet. We thought we might still travel on our UK/Ireland documents but on Thursday night we realised that the three kids UK passports had expired in February! AARRRGGHHHH!!! And so began a stressful couple of days....

Thursday night, out came the old half filled in forms and we set to work completing them. We had to get all the forms and photos witnessed by an Australian Citizen - We invited Kel around for tea and sweet talked him into being our guarantor. Kel obliged. After Kel went home we found six more boxes we hadn't noticed that he needed to sign. Stress levels started creeping up.

Bright and early Friday morning, dropped kids to school, detoured to Kel's house, obtained Kel's signature x 6, head off to Post Office. Stress levels stable.

Queue in Post Office. Lovely lady looks through forms. Hesitates. Asks when we got the forms? They are out of date. Entire 30 pages of carefully written info is useless. Collect new blank forms. Stress levels: clenched fists, fixed fake smile as I politely thank her and leave Post Office.

Get home and start 3 hours of form filling. Stress levels creeping up as I write my name and phone number about a trillion times between the 5 applications. Try to peel passport photos off first application. Realise they are stuck fast. Face goes red and I start muttering swear words under my breath. Thank God kids are all safely out of earshot in school.

Need cup of tea. Open tea bag box to find it is empty. Had forgotten to buy tea-bags this morning. Get out Mumbai Organic tea leaves and tell them they have a lot to achieve. Thank my lucky stars that we had two spare passport photos of each person. Ring Kel ask if I can come around for re-signing session. Drive to Kel's house. Put pen in his hand and point to about 300 boxes where his signature is required.

Head back to post office optimistically. Queue. Smile politely at Post Office lady. She smiles and starts to go through all the new forms. Hesitates. Asks me if we have alternative Birth Certs as Gareth's doesn't have enough information. Grit Teeth, smile politely, turn and leave post office. Mutter more swear words under breath. Shock poor old lady at bus stop as I get in car and slam door. Return home to flood ravaged messy house and spend the next hour searching for Gareth's long Birth Certificate. Stress levels increasing. Steam now starting to escape from my ears.

Find Gareth's Birth Cert. Return to Post Office. Queue. Nice lady now on first name terms. Goes through forms. Smiles. Says they are looking 95% perfect but can't complete until Byron re-signs a box on each child's form. My fake smile is now looking less convincing and more I-am-going-to-jump-off-a-cliff. Turn sharply and leave Post Office. Ring Byron and arrange to meet him just before the Post Office closes for the weekend.

4.30pm. Meet Byron at Post Office. He signs all forms. Queue. Nice lady on first name and middle names and date of birth terms with all 5 members of our family. Finally signs the last page on each application and announces cheerfully that we owe $962. Stress levels peak and then start to subside. Call in to local shop for box of tea-bags.

Return home, kettle on, take deep breath and count to 10. Smell delicious dinner smalls wafting from slow cooker. Pour BIG glass of red wine.

Repeat the following mantra over and over...

Only 28 days till we are chilling on a beach,

Only 28 days till we are chilling on a beach,

Only 28 days till we are chilling on a beach....

4 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Oh my God, how your head didn't explode I'll never know!!
    That sounds like a small fortune for the passports, how much would that be in euro roughly??

  2. About 550 Euro! Ouch!

  3. Well, although you had an ordeal, it is better than a friend of mine who was recently on her way to New Zealand with her husband who had to present a paper for two days at a conference.

    As they travelled down from Newcastle to Sydney she was entertaining their 18 month old daughter by showing her a picture of her daddy in the passport. She was shocked and stunned to find out that they would actually not be going to New Zealand because the passport was out of date and so they couldn't travel.

    Count your blessings Gina. As least you realised prior to it being too late! And ... it will be a long time before you have to renew them again.


  4. Very true Monica!

    Another member of my family "who-will-remain-nameless-but-recently-returned-from-Mumbai" has had the same situation while queuing to check in on a flight to a friends wedding in Ireland!

    He realised his Australian Visa had expired and if he flew out of the country he would not be let back in. A couple of stressful days and a new visa later and he managed to get ona new flight and made it to the church (barely) in time!