For the last 10 years, this little blue number has been with me every step of the way. Together we've crossed borders and schlepped through airports; we've taken planes, trains, boats, tuk-tuks and cable cars. It's allowed its pages to be stamped by immigration officers in Japan, Paris, Dubai, Fiji and every point inbetween. Some stamps, like the gaudy Chinese one, almost swallow a whole page. Others are barely legible. There's my UK work visa (one page and 800 quid's worth), and the mysterious one I think may be Macau (but could just as easily be New Caledonia).
Sadly, though, our journeys together are now over because it expires in May, smack bang in the middle of our jaunt to San Francisco. So two weeks ago, I filled out endless paperwork, posed for possibly the ugliest passport photo in the history of womankind and took out a mortgage to pay for my new passport.
Since the courier missed me twice (yes, CourierPost, some of us do have jobs that necessitate being outside the home between 8.00am and 5.30pm), today I whizzed out of work to pick up this flash black electronic document. This one only has a five year shelf life which is probably a good thing, given I will want to burn my photo way before then.