Last week I described the tangled web of bureaucracy involved in preparations for travel in these plague-ridden times. I’d ploughed through the covid vaccination pass instructions, overcome the troubling and confusing business of ordering tests and ascertained the whereabouts of the mysterious ‘drop boxes’. I’d purchased our tests for return. I’d written a timetable for us to ensure we do the correct things in the right order on the appropriate days leading up to departure and on our return. I was not feeling confident or smug, but I was feeling I’d done as much as I was able to get us prepared.
The plague feels like it’s lasted a long time, now. Does anyone elase out there long for the days when, if we wished to step beyond the confines of our own, squidgy little island we could just bag a passport and go? It’s bad enough for Husband and me, that we also have to be mindful of carting along the correct medications and in the right quantities [as contingency, you understand] as we get older and more decrepit.
This is all before we even begin to think about packing anything. Normally, at this time of year we’d be jetting off somewhere hot, for winter sun, a chance to loll about on a lounger sipping something cool and delicious. It’s always tricky packing for an extreme temperature change and we’ve come adrift before on our return, freezing to death on a frosty station, waiting for a train to come. This time, because we’re travelling to a notoriously cold place we’ll be all prepared, or at least I do hope so!
News today [Tuesday] has it that the return-from-abroad tests are being dropped. I begin to feel incensed that I’ve bought them, until I see they’re to be dropped from the day we return. We’ll still need to do pre-flight PCR tests and find out about the pre-return ‘passenger locator forms’.
Owing to changes to our flights by that highly-rated, luxurious airline, Easyjet, we’ve had to jiggle the dates of our trip. Easyjet saw fit to change our return flights to a different airport from our departure one. I wonder which operative thought this would be a good idea? Fly from Gatwick, London and return to Luton, many miles away…Suppose we’d opted to drive to airport?
Our flights on Monday morning are indecently early, at 8.00am, meaning Sunday trains, a hotel stay and a rude awakening, which provokes a frisson of anxiety. The time window for the PCR fit-to-fly tests is 72 hours, but 48 hours needs to be reserved for the results to come back to us. I’ve worked out that if we do the tests, register them and drop them off at the fabled ‘drop-off’ box nearest to us we should just about get the results before we depart for the airport- provided everything goes as the company, Randox, suggests. Hmmm…
For now, though I’m turning my attention towards all things warn and cosy. My Peruvian hat with flaps has arrived, I have my fleecy lined walking trousers and sufficient thermal layers for the ascent of Everest [no, we’re not going there!]. If we don’t get off the ground, one thing is guaranteed- I’ll be warm enough for the journey home!