Life on Tapp: New travel restrictions have scuppered my plans for a weekend in Paris...
There was a point in the early autumn when things started to look rosier when there was genuine hope that normality might be on the horizon.
Blaise Tapp writes: By that stage, a significant proportion of the population had been vaccinated, the booster programme was being rolled out, high streets were getting busy again, and, perhaps most importantly to millions of us, the world began to look that little bit bigger again.
The red list was shrinking fast and it looked likely that I wouldn’t have to sell a kidney to stay in another caravan in exactly the kind of English seaside town that Morrissey once sang about. Sunnier climes looked to be back on the agenda again.
Like the vast majority of the population, I have not stepped away from these shores for well over two years but, until a week or so ago, I genuinely believed that this unwelcome run would come to an end.
Just over a month ago, spurred on by the misapprehension that the days of being cautious were behind us, I took the plunge and booked a weekend in Paris. Without Mrs Tapp.
This only received our house’s equivalent of Royal assent due to the fact that I had planned to travel to the world’s most romantic city next month with an old school chum to watch some of the world’s best footballers in action.
I had it all figured out; I booked a hotel, the type of place that middle age blokes use to sleep off the excesses of the night before, and had the travel sorted.
Back in the days before coronavirus (the new BC), I booked a crossing on Eurotunnel for a long since refunded family holiday on a very reasonably priced French campsite (take note greedy British holiday companies) and I now have to use it before the end of February.
Given the events of the past week or so when new restrictions have been placed on foreign travel due to the Omicron variant, it looks like I will lose the money.
As annoying as it is, saying goodbye to cash that I forgot about almost as soon as I shelled it out nearly two years ago, doesn’t bother me nearly as much as not being able to travel.
While I’m no Michael Palin, I do like to travel abroad and I miss it. If we are to eradicate memories of being scared to leave the house then it is important that we have the confidence to spread our wings again but, at the moment, many of us don’t.
I had already planned how I would stock up on decent French reds - half the price of the mediocre plonk I can pick up at my local offie - and gorge myself on French cheese and proper croissants.
In the grand scheme of things, being deterred from travelling abroad is a small price to pay if it means that we are spared a spike in hospitalisations or even deaths, but it is another hammer blow to a travel industry that has been decimated by 21 months of lockdowns, travel bans, and an ever-shifting government policy.
As long as hopping on a plane or crossing the Channel remains tricky for most of us with young families and work commitments, then it is less likely that many of us will be able to experience what passes for ‘normality’.
While we live in a great country, with stunningly diverse landscapes and some of the loveliest spots in the world, you really can’t beat the feeling that experiencing different cultures gives