Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Getting the Look right


The yokel-come-thatched cottage look (see earlier post) may become fashionable. I've launched the Look. Not that I've ever been a leading light in the fashion world before or, indeed, that I intend to show you yet, but I think my new passport photo could be a trend-setter for countrified hair style and colour. And I will be stuck with it for the next ten years, so it would be good to think that at least for a brief time, I was the It Girl....

I had a perfectly reasonable passport photo ready, one of a million taken by my friend Lynn minutes after I emerged from the hairdresser. I chose the one in which I looked almost normal.

Although looking, unsmiling, straight at the camera, and trying not to make faces and give instructions (Not so close! Is my nose shiny? Do I look gormless? A miseryguts?) made 'normal' an impossible dream. I never expect much of a passport photo anyway, except that it shouldn't prompt immediate arrest by unsmiling Immigration Officers and long hours of detention and questioning until I am rescued by someone who would vouch for me being that frightening yet harmless creature in the photograph.


Then I spent hours at my computer trying to format it into a printable size that conformed to the regulation 35-45cm - or was that mm? - demanded by the Passport Office. No luck. Slightly too narrow, and annoyingly, the only format offered by Picasa was for American requirements - 2" square. (Yes, I felt like complaining too; how US-centric of Google!)

I emailed me-looking-normal to Suzy, panicking slightly that prevarication and forgetfulness was leaving me very little time to acquire some form of picture ID for my already-booked flight to Bristol on July 5th (more of that later). The out of date passport  (remember how stupid I was last November? I think I'm even stupider now.) was now well over its 1-year out-of-datedness limit, and the thought of being stopped at Security was too much to bear.

Suzy fiddled about obligingly, and printed off a heap of the near-normal images, and off I dashed to the little Post Office where the rather dour Scottish postmaster checked my application form then declared the photos all wrong. Not the grim, unsmiling image of me with shiny nose, but the measurements between edge of photo and eyes, or some such pernicketiness. My eyes are the wrong width apart? The edges are too near my eyes? My eyes are beginning to reflect extreme harassment? Unacceptable, anyway.


So off I dashed again, to a place called Klick, parking illegally and throwing myself in the door asking what time they closed. Good - 5.30. It was now 5.10. Did they do passport photos while I wait? Yes. Sit there, look at the camera, wait for just long enough to hand over £5.99, and out of the machine comes the worst-ever photo of me.

My hair looked like it had never known conditioner or hairbrush, and that I had cut it myself in the dark. It had a strange greenish-yellow tinge. Old thatch.... My fringe looking surprisingly shorter - think Richard III - than even the hairdresser dares, I had a shiny nose, a moon face and an alarmed look that only grew worse as I gazed in horror at this image of myself.


There could have been a thought bubble: "Ten years of a photo like this in Government files/Watch List, and I still might not get my passport back in time for that flight to Bristol...."

Another dash, through heavy traffic, to the Post Office, arriving 2 minutes before closing time. Dour Scottish postmaster did the fast-tracking business, looked at the new photographs, assured me that my passport would arrive within 2 weeks - and as I paid the £80-something fee, he smiled, winked, and called me 'pet'.

It has to be bad when a photograph elicits the kindly sympathy of complete strangers.

Perhaps, once I get to Somerset, instead of joining a small group of like-minded incomers,  I can find myself a battered straw hat, put a stalk of straw in my mouth, and lounge about on farm gates, saying "Aaarrr..." to passers-by. I have the looks for it, and the ID to prove that it really is me.


PS July 5th is a day trip only - 7.30 a.m. flight out, 9 p.m. flight home, just to drive round the leafy lanes in a hired car and look at these little villages I'm only able to imagine. Well, you have to make a start somewhere, don't you?

17 comments:

the veg artist said...

Do you have to say "Ooohh" before "Aaarr", or is that just me being pedantic?

I'm so gald you remembered about the passport - I had been wondering! (Sorry, I have one of those "eyes in the back of my head brains".)

5th July trip sounds like a wonderful idea. Not cheap, hardly, but an investment. You have to get a feel for thses places, and the locals. (Not literally!!)

BumbleVee said...

Hahahah.... oh Rachel...how I love to come here for a laugh..! you are so funny.....

By the time I got to the poor Yoda cat look-a-like ... upon which I could definitely imagine you ... "looking at in horror"...... I just started laughing right out loud....

.... but, honestly, what a run around you had to do to get it right.... whew.... imgaine, not enough space between your eyes and the edge....sheeesh....what next? ..... who thinks up these rules?

Dragonfly Dreams said...

Rachel - You are SO hilarious! Thank you for the laughs across the pond! I will be waiting for word from you that your picture-perfect-passport has arrived...

Dragonfly Dreams said...

Rachel - You are so hilarious! Thank you for the laughs from across the pond. I will be waiting for word from you that your picture-perfect-passport has arrived!

Rattling On said...

I am completely unphotogenic even at the best of times. Hence the lack of photo ID on my blog.
If you want to alter the size of pictures on Picasa for saving onto a hard drive, press 'export' on the bottom of the slider thingy (you see from my terminology, I am a techie) when you have highlighted one picture; this allows you to resize the frame.(This is how you make thumbnail buttons for the sidebars of blogs etc,) I think it's the pixel density that is the important bit for a passport photo. You were right to get a 'proper' photo, as chances are a homemade one will be denied. Been there...

Poshyarns said...

I think it is practically the law to have a bad passport photograph. Now the trip? The trips sounds fast and thrilling.

moreidlethoughts said...

Must you now have a passport for travel within UK?

Lucille said...

Is that you looking through the letterbox? If so, speaking as someone who has had to resort to the ultimate in airbrushing ie silhouette only, you look about 22 and should show your face to the world. As for the trip, if you drive through Muchelney please wave to my friend Margaret.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm sure you look enchanting ! The Scottish P.O. chap sounds quite smitten .
Since I look both dyspeptic and ancient in mine , I'm unlikely to smite anyone , let alone be called "pet".

rachel said...

Answers:
VA: Yes, probably "Oo aarrr....". My return flight cost £51 - and EasyJet have a great website, unlike bl***y Ryanair - and the car hire was under £50. Worth it for a first look, I thought.

RO: Thanks, I shall try that. Am impressed by your know-how!

More...: You need photo ID - valid passport (or less than 1 year out of date!) or driving licence with scary photo. I had neither.

Lucille: That's me on the right hand of the front page. There's a horrible portrait in the attic..... Will certainly wave, and may say "Oo aarrr..."

S & S: Pet as in Pitiable, I think....

mountainear said...

Pah! Passports photographs! The devil's work. I look like an old crone in mine but as it only gets an outing once or twice year and is only looked at by jobs-worths I really can't get too excited.

You need a passport to fly to Bristol? Have I missed something else?

Pam said...

Last time I received that "pet" response was when I unwittingly had charcoal marks on my face from artwork. Looked like bruises as I went quite unawares on my way shopping.I either had my hand squeezed lovingly when receiving change,called love or dear,and wondered why the world was so nice to me. Found out when I came home! There always seems hassles around passports and photos doesn't there. Liked your funny post.

Von said...

Anyone with a great passport photo is an alien! Have a great trip!

Marie said...

You do make me laugh. I hope that your day out is wonderful! xxoo

Mac n' Janet said...

Never had much trouble with my passport picture, but when we moved here to Georgia they made me come back in to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles to have my driver's license picture retaken, and they'd taken the original. Nobody looks like their driver's license picture and I'm probably the only person in history who's had to have it retaken.

Sue said...

Hope the trip goes well and that you like it when you get there.

elizabethm said...

Fabulous photo and great idea to do a flying visit too. Hope it goes well.

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