Happy Valley

Oh my god the passport has expired – will we ever get to Portugal?

Surrounded by anti-vaxxers, opinionated family, and her daughter asking about variants, Charlotte Cripps is looking forward to a holiday – until an obstacle worse than the Covid tests emerges

Wednesday 07 July 2021 21:30
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Mum, where’s Delta?” asks Lola. “Can I go to Lambda?” I don’t know what she’s talking about until she adds: “And where is Kent and Nepal?” She’s obviously been picking up on all the talk about variants, including one that sounds like she wants to go to drama school. Next, she will be asking me if Delta Plus is a super special country? Or if the B1351 is a motorway? Or if we can go to “South African Beta” on holiday?

I’m hopeless at geography, but maybe I should create a world map to teach Lola where all the variants originated from? I had been saving the moment to produce a fabulous spinning globe to show her and Liberty where they live in relation to the rest of the world, but I’m denied this moment because of Covid. So I get out the pens and paper and start on a map.

As I’m drawing Europe, I have a sudden flash in my mind saying “passports”. We are going to Portugal in three weeks – will I be able to remember how to unlock the safe? There I am worrying about how many Covid tests we have to get – pre-arrival in Portugal, pre-return to the UK, followed by day 2 and day 8, with a day 5 thrown in for early release – and will we have to quarantine for 10 days or will they have ditched it? It’s mayhem, but imagine if something went wrong and the safe didn’t open the night before. With the pandemic, it’s been so long since I last got the passports out of there.

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