New passport arrived today. Wow, that was quick!
They said to allow for three to four weeks, but I'm fairly sure I sent the application off this year… so it only took them about one week!
The machine-readable page is no longer part of the back cover, but is a page immediately before that, which kind of sucks; it's rather warped due to the plastic lamination, which probably wouldn't have happened on the (stiffer) back page. But eh: can't be helped.
The new one has my signature digitally scanned onto that last page; by the looks of it, the picture is also a scan rather than the physical photograph I sent in.
I'm also glad that they were satisfied with the documentation I submitted and didn't balk at the dates, for example, or require me to submit more documents.
Meh—now I have to remember a new passport number, though. I knew the old one by heart (seven-oh-one-one-seven-five-two-nine-fi