Thanks to COVID, we've not seen our family in the UK since November 2019 nor visited our French family since December 2018. The separation is now having an adverse effect on our mental well-being as we are not getting any younger. Time waits for no man (or woman). Our latest grandson, born last November, is a smiley baby and his older brother, now two, refuses to have any social interaction with us via the mobile phone and just shouts 'No!' A visit is long overdue.
Every time we pluck up the courage to commit to the journey a new COVID wave hits either Portugal, France or the UK but never at the same time. There is always some new variant, new lockdown restrictions, self-isolation rules, tests upon tests, and politicians have made more U-turns than I have fingers and toes.
Years ago we could just jump in the car and go or take a plane. Not any more. Thanks to Brexit we need certain paperwork so we can re-enter Portugal as residents without getting our passport stamped. Because again thanks to BREXIT UK residents can only stay here for three months in six. We also need vaccination certificates and negative PCR certificates. PCR only last forty-eight hours so we need to cross the French border before they expire.
There is also reams of other paperwork we require. But I leave that to the boss. It's enough I have to gather up all the wires, chargers, laptop, iPad, keyboard and charger ... oh, and I've just remembered I need a mouse! Adds mouse to list. AND UK plug adapter. Can't plug European plugs in UK sockets. And corkscrew and glasses. Paints, writing books and pens. Pebbles and glue ... teabags. Must have our morning cup of tea. Kettle. The list goes on.
What about clothes? Decisions... decisions. The UK is usually wet and cold when we visit. we need winter clothes. France is wet at the moment but a heatwave is promised. Travelling across the centre of Spain apparently, the temperatures will hit 50C! Thank GOD for air conditioning.
Mr Pip says: the kitchen sink will also fit in the tardis.
I am resisting the temptation to check the news and latest COVID updates. Nope. What I don't know I can't stress about.
The hotels have SAFE CLEAN certificates.
I am in headless chicken mode.