It was all going so well. Well, it was for about 40 hours. Then I got call from the friendly folks at Travcour (who are continuing to prove the value of their service) to tell me that the Azerbaijan embassy is going to take longer to processes my visa that expected, despite having paid for "express" processing, and that as such we'd still get the Turkmenistan visa sorted in time but the Uzbek visa, which all looked so good a couple of days ago, was, is, now is real danger of not being done in time.
Houston. We have a problem.
One (thankfully not too expensive) flight change later and I've moved my flight to Istanbul to Tuesday 23rd April (from Monday 22nd) to have one more day in London to get this sorted - I have quite literally bought more time.
I don't get to spend as long in Istanbul, but that is an acceptable cost - I need to have some time there if only to allow for any issues with the flights (snow in April anyone?) and/or when I arrive (lost luggage), so departing any later than the 23rd for a 25th departure from Istanbul is just asking for trouble.
I am talking to Dragoman about the option for getting the Uzbek visa whilst on the road, as that might be an option - presumably at the cost of losing (a small?) part of the trip (a few days stuck somewhere doing paperwork?) and/or spending even more money. Once I've got some ideas from Dragoman on what options I've got I can make a decision on if getting the visa in the UK is worth the risk.
If, dear reader, you happen to have friends who work in the embassies of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan and they are able to make visas appear in passports far quicker than the published time I'd love to hear from you, and then buy you and them a very large drink.
In related news... changing your flight bookings using a tablet which is wirelessly tethered to your phone whilst standing in some car park darkest Cornwall where there is fluctuating coverage, all whilst it is bitterly cold and blowing a hoolie, is interesting. Hurrah for technology.