WILL green Croatia turn amber this week? Will any amber destinations turn green?
Much is being made of these traffic light restrictions and, consequently, much confusion and anxiety is being caused.
So much so, that five of the people we usually holiday with each year pulled out because they were either scared to travel or “couldn’t face the queues”.
But The Bloke and I decided to put on our tin hats and head to Gatwick for a week on the gloriously sunny Balearic isle of “amber” Ibiza.
And let me tell you — it was an absolute doddle.
In fact, having been there many times over the years, it was the easiest journey I can remember.
As we’re both double jabbed, all we had to do was fill out a passenger locator form for entry to Spain, which took about five minutes each, and our currently unvaccinated youngest (17) had to do a PCR test at our local chemist (£79) within 48 hours of travelling.
We took an early-morning flight and, after someone checked our paperwork, waltzed straight up to the automatic bag drop machine and sailed through security in less than ten minutes.
Upon landing, Ibiza Airport was virtually empty and we were on our sun loungers by 10am.
For the return journey, we had to do a lateral flow test within 72 hours of flying and the chemist next to our hotel did them for £25 each.
We sat having a cocktail in the bar next door and, 15 minutes later, our “negative” results were emailed to us.
Then, having filled out the UK passenger locator form while sunbathing, we headed back to Ibiza Airport where, after queuing for around 20 minutes at check-in, our paperwork was scanned and we flew home on schedule to find our “Day 2” PCR test packages had arrived (Randox £48 each).
We all agreed it was the most stress-free holiday we’ve ever had, largely because passenger numbers are down.
But economically, this isn’t sustainable for the beleaguered travel industry.
So, if you’ve always enjoyed a week in Spain, or wherever, this is a clarion call for you to ignore the noise, face your fears and confront the new normal.
Yes, there’s extra cost involved for testing and, with the UK’s weather now improving, you might have decided to stay put for now.
But trust me, when it starts raining again, you’re double jabbed, and Sajid Javid fulfils his promise of driving down test prices, then the cost (for me, it came to £73 in total) is worth it for a restorative week away in the sun after such a challenging year.
You're never too old
NICOLE KIDMAN says when she hit 40, film bosses told her she was “too old” to make movies.
“I was frustrated, as so many women are, at the idea of being told, ‘Well, that’s it. Now you’re in your 40s, we’re not interested as much in your storytelling or your ideas’,” says the 54-year-old actress.
Thankfully, she ignored them and ploughed on.
But given there are over two billion women aged 40 and over in the world, it’s pretty pitiful – not to mention commercially suicidal – how woefully under-represented women “of a certain age” are on the big and small screen.
IT has been suggested that Boris Johnson deliberately puts his watch forward by 15 minutes to try to avoid being habitually late.
But if you can be on time knowing that it’s set a quarter of an hour ahead, why can’t you just be on time when it’s set correctly?
Undies make me grimace
AFTER “Milliam’s” wholly predictable victory, this year’s Love Island contestants are about to emerge from the villa to capitalise on their new- found fame.
And who better to show them the way than entertaining Maura “fanny flutters” Higgins (vintage 2019 series), who has just launched her own underwear range with Ann Summers?
Here she is in one of her favourite designs – a zip-up bodysuit.
Presumably it’s my age, but my first thought was that it’s very much an outfit for those whose nether regions are hairless.
If not, it could be more than flutters you’ll be experiencing.
TRACEY EMIN says she nearly didn’t sell her “unmade bed” art piece to collector Charles Saatchi because he “put Thatcher in power” with “that ad about ‘Labour isn’t working’.
But his cheque for £150,000 changed her mind.
As Groucho Marx once said: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others.”
Andy's an odd choice
THE Queen has reportedly “let it be known” that she wishes her scandal-hit son Prince Andrew to remain as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
A senior military source said: “It is a very difficult situation. You can’t have a colonel who can’t do public duties.”
Curious, isn’t it, that Her Majesty’s impeccable sense of duty doesn’t usually allow emotion or family ties to cloud her judgment (just ask Prince Harry) but her second son appears to be her achilles heel.
If true, it bolsters the theory that “Randy Andy” is her favourite child.
WHY are GP surgeries still closed for routine, face-to-face appointments?
If we can get a haircut, our teeth done, our feet treated or manicured, is it too much to ask that we can actually see a doctor?
UK has to do its bit
THE news that an Afghan national banned from Britain on a “no-fly” list was able to board one of our rescue planes will no doubt enrage those arguing that this country should turn its back on the people of Afghanistan.
But one mistake made in chaos (and later solved) should not deter us from playing our part in this humanitarian crisis.
If you need persuading, take one look at the photos of the desperate families fleeing their homeland and ask yourself this: What if that was me and my loved ones?
You’d do anything to get them to safety, and the only reason you don’t have to is that you’re fortunate enough to live in a democratic country.
But that said, we must exert full pressure on other major nations to do their bit too.
Meanwhile, seeing the desperation etched on the faces of those who aided the UK trying to flee by the Taliban’s August 31 deadline, one wonders why the hell we didn’t see this coming and start a calmer, more measured evacuation much earlier?
A-list, be like Cruise
HE may be a Hollywood A-lister but Tom Cruise showed no airs and graces when he popped in for a curry at Birmingham’s well-known Indian restaurant Asha’s last week.
General manager Nouman Farooqui says: “When he arrived he said he loved the atmosphere and asked to be part of the restaurant, rather than be given special treatment.
“We gave him a table with five others . . . and the other diners didn’t recognise him.”
Proof, if needed, that globally famous people can largely go unnoticed in public provided they blend in to the back-ground by acting normally.
But if they swan about in ridiculously oversized sunglasses, wear “look at me” outfits, are flanked by man mountains and have an entourage of sycophants, everyone within a five-mile radius is going to stop in their tracks and say: “Who’s that?”
And it’s not a mission impossible to work that out.
Jab grab turn-off
ON Monday, my 17-year-old decided to do her bit for the country’s herd immunity and get jabbed.
She checked the Government website for the nearest “grab-a-jab” centre (the initiative aimed at her age group) and top of the recommended list was London’s Battersea Arts Centre.
But when she got there, a notice said: “Sorry, we’re not doing walk-ins.”
The alternative was in Roehampton which would easily be a two-hour round trip plus the waiting time.
She came home and will make the trip another day.
While jab venues for over-18s remain plentiful, it seems that getting one when you’re 16 to 18 is a little harder.
Which, given that many of that age group remain “vaccine hesitant”, doesn’t help to persuade them, does it?
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