Thursday, 22 March 2018

Passports. Shouting. And gipsies!

A lot of fuss was made some time ago about the importance of returning to blue passports for the UK, as of the colour of the passport really mattered - an extra-special form of patriotism. Well, today I came across this bit of news in the Guardian:-

“The post-Brexit blue passport will not be produced by the British firm that makes the current burgundy version, with sources suggesting the contract will be awarded to a Franco-Dutch firm instead.
Changing the colour is regarded by some Brexiters as a powerful symbol of Britain’s restored sovereignty. But the British firm De La Rue has lost out on the contract to make them, its chief executive confirmed on Thursday morning.
It is understood that Gemalto, which is listed on the French and Dutch stock exchanges, won the race for the £490m printing job.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, the chief executive of De La Rue, Martin Sutherland, challenged the prime minister or the home secretary to “come to my factory and explain my dedicated workforce why they think this is a sensible decision to offshore the manufacture of a British icon”.”

So much for leaving the EU in order to regain control of our country and set about putting the “great” back into Great Britain. I wonder if the Brexiteers see the irony!

My sister had passport problems yesterday. Not serious ones but enough to get her a little agitated: not a good thing for a lady who takes medication for her heart. After queuing to go through passport control we finally got to the machines that read your passports. We entered adjacent booths. I went through without problem, but then I have done this umpteen times since I had my new passport while she has only used her new passport once before. As I saw her putting her passport into the scanner I noticed she still the passport in her pastel coloured passport holder. (She’s the kind of person who has a passport holder.) The official standing there, presumably to help people, started yelling instructions to her. I stopped to try to tell her to take the passport out of the holder and try again.

The official turned his attention on me, yelling out an instruction to go to the left, not to stop, not to wait for anyone, basically not to do anything he did not like. Another lady was trying to wait for her husband, who was having the same problem as my sister. She too was yelled at. We were none of us impressed!

My sister had already been yelled at by Manchester airport officials when she stood in the queue for security on our outward journey. I know they have to keep things moving but a little understanding for those who do not travel very frequently would not go amiss!

All three sisters were shouted at on Tuesday morning when we stopped for coffee in the centre of El Puerto de Santa MarĂ­a after our hunt-the-t-shirt expedition. We sat there quietly enjoying the sunshine when a gipsy-looking woman approached brandishing a set of sheets and pillowcases. Perhaps one of us would like to buy this off her for €20, she suggested. So my Spanish sister told her she had only recently bought new bedding. So what about the other two, the gipsy asked sweetly. We then told her we were visiting and had no plans to take orange sheets home in our handluggage.

She moved on to flattering us about how “guapas” we all three were and offered to read our palms. She said that she saw a beautiful future for me. When my Spanish sister interrupted to say I was not interested, our new gipsy friend snarled at her that she was to allow me to speak for myself. Returning to sweetness and light she told me I was about to meet the man of my life. I told her that that had already happened long since and, no, I did not want to find out what else the future held. So she turned to my English sister. My Spanish sister and I made out that our ender sister was the village idiot who spoke no Spanish and did not carry money with her.

This last prompted a begging whine. She had five grandchildren, the gipsy fortune teller informed us, and had no food to give them, could we not give her a little something. We fished in our purses for change to encourage her to leave  - but not the non-Spanish speaking sister who had, of course, not understood any of this - whereupon the gipsy suggested that my sister might like to give her “that five euro note” she could see in her purse. So we gave her some small change and at last she went off to pester someone else!

And we got no thanks. Indeed she proceed to insult us for being mean!

So it goes!

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