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Monday, 1 February 2010

Days of Pearly Spencer


What can I say about today? I was so full of anticipation for the day ahead that I awoke at 5:00 am and couldn’t get back to sleep again.

So I baked some bread – Hovis. Fed the cats: that surprised them. They usually don’t see a smidgen of food before 8 and then it’s Lesley, my wife, who serves up the haute cuisine kat nosh. Such was my joy to greet this waking day that I placed “tuna pate with squid and clams” with a side dish of Go Cat before their pussinesses.

So what was so good about today? Well, first I was going to get my photograph taken and then I would dash along to the Post Office to apply for my “Freedom Pass”. Actually, once it’s written down it doesn’t sound that special, but take it from me it was.

Having my photograph taken is for me worst that having a tooth pulled, my hair cut, or my foreskin stapled to the tail of an enraged bull that had just been castrated. I always look ugly, stupid, ugly and stupid or in an advanced state of rigor mortis. That's why I have such a silly picture on my blogslot.

The mug shot on my current “Freedom Pass” makes me look like Barney Rubble without brains. And I was such a beautiful baby and small child. Why, after the age of 5, did I lose my looks? After 40 -45 you expect that but not before I’d learnt to kiss the girls. I simply made them cry.

I’ve let my hair grow and it’s now back to the style that had been with me for 30 years. My wife said it made me look 20 years younger; so I went to the photo shop with more confidence than usual.

It got better. The photographer was a lovely young woman who spent most of her time giggling. I’d said I thought I ought to sit on the baby chair and she agreed saying that all men were babies at heart and after rejecting a pose of me with a thumb in my mouth she rapidly fired off four which captured my essence: “the little boy behind the elder statesman.” Gleefully paying my £4.99 (price point practice gone mad!), I couldn’t wait to hand over my new photo to the cashier at the Post Office counter.

Along with my old "Freedom Pass", Council Tax demand and the filled out form I waited with anticipation in the queue, a smile playing across my boyish face. I didn’t notice that the queue was a mile long, or the mugging and three stabbings that occurred while I waited. And the cashier was so friendly; all smiles and “good morning"s. He was gushing with praise at my ability to have the application already filled out and signed, with the correct date and he returned the proffered documentation (Council tax and old card) with so much pleasure that I thought nothing could go wrong. And you know what, nothing did. How weird and wonderful is that?

I can’t wait to get my new card with that fresh faced youth beaming from out of it. I should explain. They’ve introduced a new system. I can track the progress of my application by going to the “Freedom Pass” website and typing in my unique reference number. Bit like the Post office system for tracking that precious package from Mom they’ve lost. No, I’m going to be positive: the system is first rate. First, they do the applications alphabetically, and second it’s done centrally so my forms, photo and details go off to some large processing centre run, no doubt, by those nice people who administer London's Congestion Charge. What can go wrong?

Humm. Well at least I’ve still got three new photographs of a lovelier me.

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