memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Colour of eyes: hazel

Only a doting and fanciful mother could fill in a passport application for her son: Colour of eyes – hazel. One can understand what her thinking was: colour of eyes, well they’re not blue, not green nor are they grey or brown, I know – hazel. (i.e. mud)

My first passport was to go away to school in England when I was nine years old.

How vulnerable young Master Thomas looks with his unknowing eyes (colour: hazel)

Little does he know what lies in store for him …

We next find our hero embarking on his African adventure. Note the de rigueur well-thumbed look

And the Beatles haircut

The Algerian Immigration Authorities in those days had a neat system: entry to the country was free but you had to pay to get the hell out!

All that bureaucracy just to go on a couple of weeks leave.

Getting this work permit cost an arm and a leg too. It was the classic Catch 22 situation – you had to have une Carte de Residence to get your Permit de Travail but you couldn’t get a job until your were a resident in the country (or something like that).

Not an Arabic reader? All is explained when you open it up.

Notice how they had to rubber-stamp each page Take that! And that! And that! (And when they went home at the end of the day and their wives said to them after dinner: um … I’m tired … think I’ll get an early night … how about you, honey? they go no, you go on up, hon, I’ve still got a bit of rubber-stamping to get through … and wife flounces out of the room thinking wish he’d come up and rubber-stamp me for a change!

While I was flicking through this passport a bunch of Algerian banknotes fell out:

I like the gazelle

The desert dude is cool and I like the pink but the design is a tad tasteless, don’t you think?

Now this green one with the herd of goats trotting along has a certain retro-chic

and the back of it with that rather bizzare couple on that tractor thingy was one of the designer’s less happy attempts. So to sum up; quaint – yes, De La Roux – no.

I must gone through fairly hazy phase in my life because I failed to renew that passport, so the next one has a make-shift temporary air, a gotta-get-it-together-because-I-just-remembered-I-gonna-go-abroad-next-vacation look about it:

note the hippy look.

Next ‘ole hazel eyes finds himself in Lisbon:

I remember that photo; we were all advised to get about a dozen taken for work permits, metro passes etc; it was taken in a small booth half-way up the Rua d’Ouro on hot afternoon in October.

Then the new look, the EU look, the cheap and nasty look:

Welcome the age of cheap plastic, of easy money, welcome to the Euro-Zone.

Comments on: "Colour of eyes: hazel" (9)

  1. I love my passport, and this is why. Such a cool memento to keep and remind you of journeys and stages of life. I will be so sad if (likely when) they turn all of this digital and paper passports are done away with.


  2. What a unique and intriguing bit of vicarious travel! Loved the trip, Tom (or rather: Ol’ Hazel Eyes). Thank you! ~ Lily


  3. Whatever happened to that good looking guy I knew at school?
    Age creeps up on us all so quickly.
    And yet, I still feel the same age, mentally, as we were back then in the 60’s!
    Ah! the folly of old men!
    Thanks Tom, nice one!


  4. Gostei da viagem documentada…
    Já agora, actualmente o “paper work” dos novos professores diminuiu imenso ; não há docs. que vão para os serviços para serem “carimbados”–vão por mail..fotos? apenas 1…
    …será que o pessoal dos carimbos algerianos tambem aderiu à redução de carimbos?as suas esposas agradeciam…Eh!Eh!


  5. Growing up through passports – it’s an interesting journey!


  6. jamesboshell said:

    Just love these Tom, I’m going to look mine up now! How old were you when you started at St Ed’s? We’re you born a foreigner… an alien dude?


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