Passport Interview

As part of my trip to Hungary this year, which I will eventually make its own post about, I needed a passport and, having previously never had one before, I needed to go for an interview.

At 10:15 on 29/03/2014, I had a passport interview in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England – United Kingdom.

I’ll begin with a little background, as some folks get confused otherwise. To start with, I was born in England from English parents and, as such, I have British/English citizenship. I am eighteen years old and I have never been outside of the UK. I have never, EVER held a British Passport at any point in my life. As a result of this lackofpassportconundrum, I was required to have an interview in order to make sure that I was who I said I was. That is the part that seems to be confusing. People will literally ask me: “Why have you never had a passport before?” And to this I turn around and say: “Because I’ve always been on holiday to Cornwall!” For some bizarre reason, the idea of going on holiday to a destination, wait get this, WITHIN YOUR OWN COUNTRY,, seems to be absolutely mind-blowing.

Anyway, the interview. Prior to turning up on Saturday, I had been online and had a look around to see if I could find out what sort of questions that I was likely to be asked. Wow, was I surprised. There were lists everywhere. Lists of questions, questions of questions. You name it, it was probably there. Needless to say, I was pretty worried that I would turn up, be asked the name of my great-grandfather’s pet hamster (I don’t even know if he had one) only for me to get it wrong (definitely a trick question) and be accused of impersonating myself.

Surprise, surprise. It was nothing like what I had expected. On meeting the interviewer (a very polite and friendly woman), she asked me how I got there (mode of transport, where I had come from stuff like that), she the asked me why I thought they held interviews like the one she was doing. I mumbled an explanation that it was something to do with identity fraud, she told me that I was right and went on to explain why they held interviews for people who had never held a passport before. Then she asked me to repeat my full name and then to spell it out. Next was my address. She explained that this was to ensure that my details were all correct for printing onto the passport and also for posting it to my house. The interviewer asked why I wanted a passport and I answered that it was so I could go on a trip to Hungary in July, as part of a Scouting event. She then asked me personal details such as my mother’s name, what sort of house I lived in, where was the closest shop, if I had any siblings, my father’s name – that sort of stuff. Next she asked about my education, what I was studying at college, where I wanted to go next. Then she asked about my trip to Hungary – EXPLORER BELT 2014 – and my involvement in Scouting and what I was currently doing within Scouting. The half an hour, more like 25 minutes, flew by and, before you knew it, I was there saying goodbye and she was telling me that I would receive my passport in the post during the next 8-10 working days.

That’s this little update and, if anyone stumbled across this looking for passport interview clues, hope this helps!

jcooleac

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New Year

This is a little late but… what the hell.

Better late than never.

This year I’m hoping to blog/write more and develop my online whatsitdodahthing – whatever. If anyone has any advice on that, go ahead. I will, at some point, be learning to drive – all sane people get off the roads now! Then, in July, I will be taking part in a trip to Hungary for 14 days with a bunch of Explorer and Network Scouts.

JC 

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Silent Blade

The misty fog brought the rain clouds low; effectively blocking off any light from the waxing moon, whilst the rain would ensure the townsfolk stayed in their houses, and out of the way. It was a suitable night for an assassination.

None of this concerned the assassin as he darted in and out of the shadowy fog, unnoticed. He paused briefly in the shadows of a doorway as a wagon rolled past; hooves and wheels churning up the muddy track like butter on milking day. He snuck past the loud, raucous inn, where he could hear a piano being played, badly. There was also the screeching laughter of serving-women; coaxing the last bit of coin out of already inebriated customers. One such guest was the town’s reeve, but that did not concern the assassin either. He soon reached the gate that marked the boundary of the estate belonging to the town’s reeve. His target for the night.

Using a lock pick, he crouched down and began to work at the lock on the cast-iron gates. Tweaking it here, a slight turn there. A small twist to the left, a little nudge down… Click. The iron gates swung open, silently. That was a relief, now there would not be any watchmen drawn by the squeal of gates opening. On a night like this, they would likely be in the guard house; keeping as warm and as dry as they could. Good. It made his job easier.

Moving quickly and quietly, he flitted amongst the shadows of the trees. Ducking beneath bushes and hiding behind walls, he soon made it to the red-brick walls of the reeve’s home. Back flat, he skirted round the edge of the house; crouching to avoid lit windows as required. He turned a corner, and came face-to-face with a guard on patrol, whose green eyes widened in fear. Leaping forward, knife in hand, he placed his hand over the guard’s mouth, to silence any cry, the stiletto blade easily pierced the thin man’s throat. The assassin sheaved the dagger at his waist and dragged the dead man into the undergrowth. Making sure the body was concealed, the assassin moved on. When he was directly beneath the reeve’s bedroom window, he paused and retrieved a grappling hook from the leather satchel at his back. Swinging the hook, he threw it up to the roof where it clunked into place amongst the tiles. The assassin then gave the rope a sharp tug, in order to make sure it could sustain his weight. He started to climb the rope; pulling with his arms and pushing with his legs. To anyone below him, the assassin must have looked like a rat climbing a pipe. Well, he was a murderous rat, as the shire-reeve would find out. He soon reached the reeve’s window which was wide open; a cleaning maid must have forgotten to shut it. Not his problem. Tucking and rolling into the room, a study on closer appearance, the assassin made a brief check of his surroundings. Good. It was empty. The assassin blew out the candles that lit the room, and hid behind the door so that he was concealed from sight. Now he would wait.

It was not long before the lord returned from his night of drinking at the inn; he stumbled up the stairs noisily, making enough noise to wake the dead. The reeve paused outside the door, the assassin heard keys jangle and the sound of a key being inserted into a keyhole. The door opened and the reeve left it open. His mistake. He cursed that the candles were out; muttering that the “good for nothing whore” he paid to look after his house would get it in the morning. The assassin scowled behind his mask of darkness, he liked this man less and less. There was the sound of a match being struck and the room was lit. The assassin silently drew his longsword, and nudged the door shut. The sound of the door being shut caught the reeve’s attention. The sword pointing at his chest sobered him up.
“Who are-” The assassin raised the sword to his neck and gestured for him to be quiet.
“Silence!” He hissed, “I’ll do the talking or you’ll die sooner than we’d both like,” he whispered, his voice dripping the threat of death. “You’ve made enemies with your laws, you know that?” He asked the trembling man, who looked nothing like a reeve now.
“I h-h-h-had to,” he stammered, “Lady Anor ordered me to do it. She said the assassin scum were getting too powerful and must be stopped.” He gasped. The assassin looked at the man coldly.
“She said no such thing,” the assassin snapped. “Lady Anor is more scared of us than you are. Now tell me who told you to outlaw my organisation!” He was angry with the man and did not have the time to talk with his sort. The assassin pushed the tip of the blade harder into the reeve’s neck drawing blood.

“Alright! It was…” The reeve paused, thinking hard, “It was Lord Devkar, I swear!”
“Lord Devkar, who in the Four Seasons is he? You had better not be lying to me!” He was getting impatient and this name was strange to him. The assassin had never heard of such a man.
“I swear it was Lord Devkar! On my life I swear it!” The man begged.
“Your life is forfeit now, anyway,” the assassin spoke coldly. He applied force to the well-honed tip of his longsword and pushed it sharply into the man’s throat. The reeve crumpled to the floor, blood gushing from his throat like a burst dam.
“Sir, are you alright in there?” A thundering voice, presumably the reeve’s manservant, was accompanied by an urgent knock on the door. When there was no answer, the voice at the door began ramming the door.

Finally the door gave way and a burly, bald-headed man burst into the room. He looked around and saw his master sat in his desk-chair, the window open behind him; curtains blowing in the wind as if he was enjoying the night-time breeze. But the jagged hole in his throat, was seeping blood into his shirt.
“Assassin!” He roared, alerting the household. He dashed to the window and momentarily glimpsed a dark figure running off into the foggy night. While alarms sounded and guards hurried about the grounds in an attempt to capture the assassin, the manservant noticed a blood-stained note on the desk. It read:

We are strong.
You hope to defeat us Lord Devkar?
Think again, we are unstoppable.
In night or day, we are the Silent Blades.
You can’t find us. We find you.
And when we do?
YOU DIE.

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Quick Update

Just in case anybody was wondering.

There wasn’t a massive flood that I got washed away in.

Actually I did pretty good in my A/S results; an A, three B’s and a C.

I have not posted recently because I have been busy writing summer essays for college, a little bit of my own writing and I also went down to Devon to visit some family. The family visit was pretty great, but the essays? Not so much. Thick, dull law essays. One thing I managed to do in the essay was mention Star Wars, so I was happy with that.

I may post some writing openings that I started; just for the hell of it. Then again, I may not. I’ll see how I feel.  

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Results, rain and prophetic omens

Tomorrow is the 15th August. To those that don’t know; it is Results Day for college students in the U.K.

On a completely unrelated note, it is also raining.

Or is it unrelated?

What if it’s actually some kind of prophetic omen that my results, and perhaps everyone else’s, are going to be apocalyptically bad? Maybe it’s actually prophecising that the results of tomorrow are going to create some form of apocalyptic flood to wash away the shame of thousands of college students’ results and perhaps human civilisation too?!
*Insert “mad dash to check to tomorrow’s weather forecast” here* Turns out the weather tomorrow isn’t all that bad, so you can pack away your survival pack; “there’s good weather on the horizon,” or however the saying goes.

Anyway, that’s about all I had to say on college results and the possiblity of prophetic weather. I’ll probably be posting the outcome, either jubilantly or heavy-heartedly, or I’ll be off getting shit-faced, or we all will have been washed away in the flood that I tried warning you about.

THE END IS NIGH, NAYSAYERS! *MAD CACKLING LAUGHTER*

flash flood

Something I found to help us all sleep well.

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A Grace of Dawn

This my first flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig’s blog. You had to use a random title generator and this is what I got.

A Grace of Dawn

The world was in darkness.

The parasites had stopped the sun, feasting on the bright energy of the orb in the sky. That was when the four survivors appeared out of the desert. Three of them were struggling to carry a stretcher on which a fourth man was dying. The woman carrying the front of the stretcher noticed the young man staring at them from his cabin.

“Help us!” She cried, “Please!” She begged. The young man thought for a moment. He would help. He hurried across the dusty ground to where they had halted. He spoke to the woman:

“We must move quickly, it isn’t safe in the darkness.”

“We know,” she replied darkly.

With that, they desperately hurried towards the cabin and once inside, the young man barred the door to keep out the darkness.

“Put him down by the fireplace,” he told them.

“Thank you stranger,” the woman said, looking at him, “you didn’t have to help us, why?”

“You came from where the creatures went and you needed help,” he told her, nodding at the fireplace where the other two men were fighting to save the dying man, “who are you people?”

“That’s a long story,” she said, “and none of it joyful.”

The woman was named Alera, the two men were Karn and Mort and the dying man was Enzo. They had been eight at the start, Rahar, Strickland, Dern and Hattie Enzo, the dying man, had been their leader and their job had been to go into the parasites’ cavern and restart the sun.

“A fool’s hope,” Karn spoke gruffly, the first time since they had arrived, “we didn’t have a chance.” Mort grunted in agreement.

“A convict’s chance,” Alera berated him, “don’t forget that. You see, we were prisoners slated for execution and we were offered a way out: if we completed a task, then our crimes would be forgiven.” She spoke almost proudly, as if not ashamed that she had been sentenced to death, “but you haven’t told us your name stranger, what is it?”

“Daven,” the young man replied shortly.

“Well Daven, we were halfway into the parasites’ cavern, flaming torches lighting our path, when we reached three tunnels. That was when everything began to go wrong. Enzo, Karn and Strickland were all for going down the middle tunnel, Dern and Mort wanted to take the left one, whilst Rahar and me wanted to go right. Hattie didn’t seem to care much. The argument got louder and louder, and that was our mistake.” Alera paused briefly, looking over at Karn and Mort still struggling to save the dying Enzo. “Our arguing attracted the parasites. They came from the tunnel behind us; obviously we had missed a turning. They flew out of the tunnel screaming like the marauders you get out here.” Daven knew all about marauders, they had killed his mother and father.

“Their teeth and claws were razor-sharp. Hattie didn’t stand a chance. She was stood at the back of our group, and they devoured her. Alive. I can still hear her screams now. Chaos broke out. We ran down the tunnels we’d wanted. Rahar and me ran down the right-hand tunnel, we hadn’t got far when a parasite sprang from a crevice; biting and clawing. The parasite was screaming and Rahar was screaming. I did the only thing I could think of. I thrust the torch into the monster’s face and it screamed, this time in agony; shrivelling into a sizzling pool on the floor and I held Rahar as she died. I picked up the torch and carried on running where I came to a junction where I met Mort.” She looked over at the fireplace, “how’s Enzo doing?” She asked dreading the response.

“Better than he should be, considering…” Karn replied, pausing to pick up another bandage and place over a wound on Enzo’s arm. “He’s dying though, there ain’t nothing we can do to stop that now.” He sighed.

“He was a good man,” Mort added gruffly, “he shouldn’t have done it!”

“All too true Mort, all too true,” Alera agreed sadly, “when I met Mort, he told me what had happened. He and Dern had run down the left tunnel and Dern was grabbed from above. Mort heard a shuffling behind him; he turned around and saw a crippled parasite on the floor. Waving the torch, it recoiled in fear and Mort shoved the torch into the parasite and it bubbled and died. He ran on down the tunnel where he met me. We agreed to keep on running. The mission and that,” she paused, spat and continued. “We reached a control room where we found Enzo, Karn and Strickland.” She gestured at Karn and Enzo. “Strickland was guarding the door while Enzo and Karn were looking at a generator in the centre of the room. We heard Karn telling Enzo that he couldn’t do it, that he would die. Enzo told him there wasn’t a choice, that this would be the only chance to stop the parasites. Just then the parasites broke through the door that Strickland was guarding. They engulfed him and whilst our attention was drawn, Enzo leapt into the generator. All hell broke loose. The parasites fled, Mort and Karn pulled Enzo out of the generator and we fled too; the ceiling was collapsing. We followed the parasites out of the cavern and into the night, where they flew off. Beaten. And we made our way here.” She stopped, looking over at Enzo, who had begun coughing.

“Beaten,” he coughed, “but not defeated. Until they are, we are not free of their evil. They must be stopped.” He spoke, looking at Daven. “You must destroy these monsters. Will you swear it?

“On my life, I swear to defeat the parasites.” But Enzo did not hear it, he was dead.

Walking with his new companions, Daven felt the grace of dawn touch his face. The grace of dawn would light their path.

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