On 20th November Ashley sent off all the paperwork to renew his passport, application form printed from the internet, old passport, proof of address, new photos, and the form for paying. This now goes to Liverpool (not Germany as it did for a few years). It was sent from the PTT (post office) via their courier service (EMS), which was pretty reasonably priced. It could be tracked on the PTT site to Istanbul, then on the Post Office site once in the UK, so we knew when it arrived.
A day later the Passport Office took the money. It cost slightly more than applying in the UK, the extra is for the courier back.
The day before yesterday we had a text from DHL. This resulted in a few emails and phone calls because there was apparently some issue with our address this was all swiftly resolved and yesterday a courier arrived…. We signed for the package, opened it eagerly thinking it must be the new passport. But no, it was the old one and a letter we had sent them as proof of address. This resulted in a phone call to the Passport Office to check what was going on. We learnt that they send two packages, one containing all the old material, and one containing just the new Passport. However they did provided us with a tracking number for the Passport and we quickly learnt the passport was at that time in Izmir.
Today it arrived. 15 days in total, from posting to the UK to back with us.