Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kezia's Passport contd

My few regular readers may recall my post of 15 February this year regarding the renewal of Kezia's UK passport. The upshot was that I never heard back from the UK embassies in Angola nor South Africa.

The new UK ambassador to Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe recently visited to present his credentials. We met and decided it would be easiest if we apply direct to the UK domestic/internal passport service (the Home Office Identity and Passport Service). Yesterday I grabbed the bull by the horns, and as I relate from an email to my brother ...

"Try downloading the passport application form! I couldn't find it either on FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] or IPS [Identity and Passport Service] websites. IPS actually says "most domestic printers cannot print to the standard we require" wnatever that means. FCO wants us to apply through the embassy in Angola who will send it to South Africa who will then send it to the UK to print the passport and return by same route. IPS says it can require the applicant to attend an interview so has to be in the UK at time of application. So even if we put 10 Butterfield Sreet as UK residence, the fact she is not physically at 10 Butterfield Street, means we cannot apply directly to the IPS from Sao Tome.

You can ask the IPS online to send you a paper application form through the post - but obviously. given the above, it seems unlikely they would send it to STP!".

The bull's horns have slipped through my hands! I hope Her Majesty's Secretary of State will help out. I really need to read Kafka's ""The Castle" again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It is easy peasy to forecast the times and heights of the tides at any location in the world using computers. Online applications such as the UK's Admiralty EasyTide makeLink this a click away.

But it wasn't always so easy ...

Originally, it had to be done by compex manual mathematics but then William Thomson,, later Lord Kelvin (i.e. of the temperature unit), built a mechanical tide calculator in 1872.

This was crucial to the planning of D-Day, the Allied invasion of continental Europe in June 1944. The man in the photo above is Arthur Doodson of the Liverpool Tidal Institute who led the planning team. This article in Physics Today explains.

This takes me back to pre-calculator schooldays of slide-rules and Log Tables ...

Thanks to boingboing.