2 April 2010


We have booked flights to Valencia in Spain plus a budget hotel in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. All very well and good until this afternoon when I thought I would check in on-line... Flight reference number - fine. Name, date of birth - etched in my brain. Identity document? Passport of course. Now passport number... okay no problem. Unlike some disorganised dimbos, we have a document drawer in which we keep all things related to travel, including passports.

I get up from the grey swivel chair I am sitting on right now and mosey into the dining room. The little tomato plants under our french doors are bending to the light and the seed potatoes are at last starting to stir from their slumber. I scan down the little drawer labels - Pay, House, Bank and yes - that's the one - Travel. Whose passport is this? Ah yes - Shirley's. She recently had it renewed. And this one must be mine...but it's not - it's an expired passport with a front corner clipped off. I lift out the drawer, lift out everything, root around. At this moment, if I were a cartoon character, a big thought bubble would appear above my head with a giant question mark in it. Jumpin' Jehozafat! Where's my friggin' passport?!

For the next two hours, Shirley and I are like demented members of the South Yorkshire Police drug squad on a thorough search of our house. We rifle through drawers and papers. We're in the kitchen. We're under the coffee table and I'm up in the attic checking out the suitcase I took to South America last autumn. Oh woe is me! Where can it be?

I phone up the passport office in Liverpool, already visualising a mad dash over the Pennines for an emergency issue but the Irish guy at the end of the line tells me that their costly one day service is only available for passport renewals, not for lost passports. Holy smoke! And drat and double drat!

Tomorrow we'll search our upstairs rooms with a fine tooth comb. I'll need an angled mirror for the lavatory U-bend and perhaps a passport sniffer dog. As I prepare our evening meal - a traditional English chicken dopiaza with basmati rice, sag aloo and nan bread - I am reliving the last few months and wondering how the passport vanished. Who crept into our house and stole it?

It's while we are munching our vittles in full view of the tomato babies that I have a sudden brainwave. On a little shelf near our bed is a plastic wallet folder with various documents and leaflets from my autumn trip. I bound upstairs like a gazelle and sure enough, hidden among the papers, inside a brochure about a Chilean football team - Universitad Catolica - I find the treasured passport. Praise the Lord! Praise him I say! Twas lost but is found again.

Panic over. I spoon prune yoghurt into my mush while enjoying the latest episode of "EastEnders". Will Jack die? Won't he? Later I check in on-line. My pulse is no longer galloping like a thoroughbred on an Irish strand. Watch out Valencia! We're comin' to see ya after all! Yaaay!


  1. Don't worry, tt's happened to the best of us! And the worst too probably.
    A few years back we had tickets for the Monday 1pm train leaving for France and on Sunday night realised my wife's ID was out of date, so Monday morning there we were begging the red-tape officials for help ....

    Hope you enjoy Valencia, you'll be a mere 200 km away from us - check out the groovy science and art "thing", especially the building itself.
    And, keep this quiet, but between you and me, the Holy Grail is NOT in Rosslyn, Glastonbury, or Dan Brown's head, but actually in Valencia Cathedral! Ssshhhh!

  2. Ah that feeling of complete panic !
    Then the relief when you find it.
    Nothing else seems to make people more anxiousn than that elusive passport.....soon I will have 2 of the dam things to worry about !
    Enjoy your trip !

  3. BRIAN Come down to Valencia next Wednesday and we'll have a beer together. I can tell you in vivid detail what you have been missing in northern England.
    DAVID Dual nationality? British and, let me guess, NZ? Will you have to sing the NZ national anthem and dance naked in the hot springs of Rotorua? Traitor!

  4. YP, as my mother used to say (and probably still does)'Hiders are finders.'
    Enjoy Spain.

  5. Funny, isn't it, how these lost things are always found in the last place you look?

  6. Oh that panic feeling is so horrible is'nt it?. Valencia is great..had some lovely hours at the 'groovy science art' area of town...enjoy!

  7. I was just going to say, "Think about what you did with it when you got back from your autumn trip." Enjoy your holiday. :)

  8. Had a similar experience rooting around the flat for the paper driving licence for NZ.

    (we are there now, sitting here at 22:41 in Wellington at our friend's house while it's 10:41 in blighty and 17:41 in Bangers- it's an amazing world we live in idsn't it?...)

  9. LYNDA Is/was your mother Irish by any chance? With sayings like that she probably was.
    SAM It didn't seem funny as I was tearing my hair out - I can tell you.
    LIBBY Thanks for dropping by but I am not sure how science could ever be described as "groovy"!
    JENNY It's only a three day break but Shirley deserves this after working hard and supporting me through the winter of my indolence.
    LORD BOOTH of HILLSBOROUGH You are in NZ? I am soooooo jealous. That remains the number one place on my see-the-world list. And you are right - it is an amazing world so amazing that I am not familiar with the term "idsn't"! What do you do for a living?

  10. The reason "these lost things are always found in the last place you look", Sam, is simple: Once you have found them, you don't look anywhere else!

    ***mental picture of Ezio Pinza singing "Once you have found her, never let her go; once you have found her, neh- ver- let- her- goooooo"***

    And if your mental image IS Ezio Pinza, you either saw South Pacific on Broadway or you watched him sing it on Ed Sullivan's old television show or you wore out your 33-1/3 vinyl LP listening to him, because the guy who sang it in the movie was Rossano Brazzi, not Ezio Pinza (and the girl was Mitzi Gaynor, not Mary Martin).

    This has been another trip down show-biz memory lane with rhymeswithplague....

    Somebody told me I was supposed to be somber on the day between Good Friday and Easter, so why do I feel so giddy?

  11. wait till you've seen the building, you'll soon realise what groovy means!

    Thanks for the offer, YP - assuming it was an offer, as when a Yorkshireman says "we'll have a beer together", there's a grey line regarding who's paying!
    Unfortunately I'll be drilling English grammar rules into hungover Catalan students that day, 24 hours after seeing Barça stick 6 or 7 goals past Arsenal :)

    Hope you enjoy yourselves, and if you're stuck for conversation with the locals you could debate which parliament has more corrupt members, the British or the Valencian ....

  12. You've been out of the loop too long Puddo!

    idsn't = I does not

    meaning 'I don't not' in the present tense.

    You'll have to work the rest out for yourself with some close, analytical reading...

    NZ is wonderful :-p


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