New passports

Here in Sweden, if you are a person with Swedish nationality, you go to the local police station to renew your passport. 350 kronor (about 30 quid) up front for 5 years, a machine takes your photo, and your fingerprints, and your signature. You get to see the photo and take another if you think you look like a hardened criminal (in my case I did) and you can smile as long as you don't show your teeth.

You get a receipt and can collect the new passport as soon as they SMS you to say it's ready, in about a week usually. Nice fast service! You even get to keep your old passport (my first Swedish one) for old time's sake.

The lady was friendly and helpful, there was no queue and on the wall behind was a stuffed lynx. My day was made already byt the reception, the lovely lynx was the cherry on the iceing of the cake of life.

None of these nice things happened at all when I renewed my British passport, 10 years at 160 quid a pop. Massive queues, indifferent officials, and a lot of trecking about London. And ginormous efforts to get it posted to my brother's address, production of gas bills and covering letters from said brother were required. Alternatively a postal treck to .... wait for it folks ..... Dusseldorf! Where all the expat Brits in Scandinavia have to turn to get new passports.

My two countries are so very different, both delightful in their own sweet ways. Sweden wins on passports, hands down.

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