If you had of told me that when I left the UK on December 28th 2019 it would be 650 days before I make it back to see my family, I would have said you were nuts. But extraordinarily it was true and last week I stepped back on a plane back to the UK for the first time since the pandemic.
A few weeks before we had sat down to dinner as a family and discussed how we could get back to the UK. We agreed that my Wife would visit her family first, I would go the week after to visit mine and we would all go back together at Christmas. It was a little tough on the boys as they too were desperate to see our families but we thought as they had missed so much school in the past 18 months and they weren’t too keen on missing their football, this was the fairest way to do it.
As the travel restrictions had changed on October 4th, as a double vaccinated person, I only had to fill out a locator form on the way out and on the way back, plus book a day two test. Arriving at Palma airport it was strange going back to something that I used to do quite regularly. But it all passed off really easy without any dramas and the only difference I remember from before was the wearing of face masks on the plane.
On arrival at Luton I picked up a car which by the way had cost me more than the return flight. I think the car hire companies were reacting to the so called fuel shortage. I made my way through the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside to a pub that is a favourite for our family, The Rusty Gun. Situated just outside Hitchin The Rusty Gun is so named after two 12 bore shot guns were found and placed over the fireplace. The guns belonged to the notorious ‘Twin Foxes’ – Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert Fox who were identical twins. They were infamous poachers who lived in the area in the 1800s. The full story of these guns and their owners can be found in the pub by the fireplace. It’s famous for its good food and great ales and I can vouch for both. My Sister and I had decided that this was to be a surprise for my Mother also known as “The Duchess”. At 91 she’ll still give anyone a run for their money but was it a good idea for a surprise? Well as you can imagine there were a lot of tears, even a little from me, I’m not ashamed to say but whatever we’ve all gone through over the last 18 months, family counts for more than anything. It was great catching up and of course a promise that the next time won’t be so long and with all of us at Christmas. I also managed to see my Mother in law Janet in Bedfordshire and my good friends(who I count as family) Ian and Lesley and their family and friends in Cambridgeshire.
Having visited three different counties I didn’t see one queue or any petrol garages closed, so where were the fuel problems? Which leads me nicely on to the next so called shortage, toys for Christmas. I seriously believe this is the toy companies stoking the fire and trying to get us all to buy earlier. It’s a great marketing trick and we Brits fall for it every time. Next it will be turkeys, then Brussel Sprouts and probably Christmas trees. It’s a joke and I don’t know why we take it in.
Talking of toys though, with 70 sleeps to Christmas, online retailer Amazon have this week funnily enough released their top 10 most popular toys for the festive period. See I told you it was a marketing ploy!
They are in no particular order;
• Luigi Starter Course
• Pictionary Air Harry Potter
• Polly Pocket Rainbow Funland Theme Park
• L.O.L Surprise! Movie Making Studio
• Linkimals Dance n Grove Penguin
• Spidey and his Amazing Friends – Marvel Web-Quarters Playset
• Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turtle
• Batman 36 inch Transforming playset
• The Balloon Dino
• Paw Patroller 2.0
My two boys are past the toy stage so you’ll have to go and look these up.
Lastly going back to travel, they’ve just released that fully vaccinated international passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test from the 24th of October instead of the PCR version.
Those who have been vaccinated, and most under-18s, can take a lateral flow test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK.
The change will come into effect for those returning from half-term breaks, with Covid-19 tests available to book through private providers listed on the government’s website.
The Department of Health and Social Care said that the tests can be booked from the 22nd of October and passengers must upload a photo of their test to verify their results as soon as possible. Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test.
Positive news going forward for the travel industry.
Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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