Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pass The Port Seamus

Magistrates are well used to countersigning documents and witnessing signatures; it's part of the job, and a lot of people don't realise that a JP will often do for free (outside the courthouse, naturally) something that a professional will charge for. I was asked to assist with a couple of applications for children's passports at the weekend - so far, so normal, but these were Irish passports, the father being a Cork man. The forms were a nightmare, asking for the same information to be re-entered time and again, and the accompanying instructions had the feel of having been translated from Gaelic into Serbo-Croat, then back into English by a Mongolian. The whole job took ages, and at the last we read that official stamps were required from the countersignatory, so I shall have to take the forms to court with me on my next sitting and get someone to stamp them. I remember from my youthful reading of the Colditz books as well as the other POW yarns that officialdom in most countries bows down before a really impressive rubber stamp. Sadly my court's stamps are desperately unimpressive - no royal ciphers, no fancy bits. It's a bit of a let down really.

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