A couple of days ago, I realised that S's passport had expired. I could not believe it was 10 years ago that we got the last one. It was a bit scary as, for the benefit of non-UK readers, our passport service has been extremely inefficient recently (probably because the Government cut their budget for staffing). We are due to go off on a foreign trip in our small motorhome in five weeks. Normally passports are issued within three weeks of an application but, to be reasonably confident that we would get her passport back in time for the holiday, there was a bit of a panic - which S was spared (one of the small compensations of living with dementia is that these crises seldom register).
I was able to complete and sign the application form on her behalf but there was the small problem of the new photo. Clearly a photo-booth would not work. In a booth on her own there would be little chance that a usable photo would be produced. We settled for a small photo shop not far from the house. Fortunately, my stepdaughter accompanied us, though she did have to cope with her own 6 month-old daughter, just to complicate the situation.
The shop was very small and there was a queue. We waited quite a while. Then as we were starting to try and get the photo done, more people came in. The female photographer was very nice and patient. Both S's daughter and I were trying to get her to open her eyes. S was in no way intentionally unco-operative. It was just that for some reason she would not open her eyes. I've mentioned before, I think, that much of the time her eyes are closed or half-closed. Usually, she will open them when asked. Anyway, it looked pretty hopeless and she also nodded her head up and down from time to time which certainly didn't help. Eventually, the photographer said she would deal with some of the customers (who were showing signs of impatience) and try again.
The second attempt was just as difficult but then somehow the photographer caught her with her eyes open. She looked at the picture before printing it out, made a few adjustments and said that it would be acceptable. Whew......
I wonder what people who can't get a good photo, for whatever reason (e.g. a tremor) do?
Anyway I took the photos and the form into the Post Office where they do a 'check and send' service, for a small fee. The clerk accepted it all and sent it off.
Now we wait.