Thank goodness the travel rules have changed | Matt Mohan-Hickson

I must admit to having been selfishly awaiting the day that our current travel rules would be overhauled.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:27 am
An empty Gatwick Airport. Picture by Steve Robards

It is quite the reverse in fortunes, considering until July of this year, I hadn’t left the country for six years.

But now I find myself having to regularly make the journey from Fratton to London Gatwick Airport and then back again, which is not quite as exciting as the trip Bilbo Baggins undertook.

But it means that I am very accustomed to the quirks of modern travel.

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From passing through the empty south terminal at Gatwick Airport, a monumental reminder to the fact we are still living in a Covid curtailed world – despite how much has returned to normal.

Let alone having to deal with all the travel requirements for getting back into the UK.

It is a bit of a first world problem, I know. But still, the amount of money you have to fork out for tests has been a real anchor around my neck.

If I was not fully vaccinated, I would understand the caution – the same if I was travelling to a hotspot of Covid cases.

But I am going to Norway, a country that has handled this whole situation far better than we have – and even they are letting double jabbed travellers in from the UK without tests.

The price of tests rack up, it cost me over £160 for my lateral flow to get back into the UK and then a PCR test on top of that.

Add into the fact that getting PCR tests has been a bit like the wild west, with plenty of people finding themselves being scammed out of money by companies listed on the government’s website, it has just been quite a mess.

And it has looked like that from abroad as well. The man who checked me in at Bergen Airport queried why all the tests and paperwork was needed, when the rest of our society has reopened as normal.

To paraphrase his words: ‘I turn on the TV and see 70,000 people packed into football stadiums in the Premier League each week, but then you need all this to return to the UK.’

So the shake up to travel rules was the one I have been waiting for the most and thank God it has finally arrived. My bank account can breathe a sigh of relief.

What is up with the food shortages?

I am not sure what to make of all this talk about imminent food shortages.

It sounds ominous and I can’t see why anyone would overblow this – what could they possibly gain from it?

But equally I just can’t imagine shelves being empty for a sustained period of time.

Beyond of course the loo roll shortage of March 2020 and if we have to hunt around different stores for meat in the same way, it doesn’t bode well.

I don’t think it is something that I will properly be able to picture in my mind until it actually happens, which is perhaps the most first world sentence I have ever written.

It can’t help but feel like a dark winter is coming, with energy prices rising and the threat of Covid still around us, it would be the worst possible time to be hit by mass shortages.

Plus, given how dour last Christmas was, the thought that I couldn’t have a proper turkey dinner because there is none, is a grim thought indeed.

I wish they would explain what ‘carbon zero’ means

If a match between big London and top six rivals needed any more hyping up, they certainly found a way for the Chelsea vs Tottenham game over the weekend.

For days in advance and then throughout Saturday as well as Sunday, Sky triumphantly declared the match to be the first ‘carbon zero’ game.

Now, I am sure this is a really impressive feat and it must be good for the environment but I just wish they would actually explain what it means.

It is just buzzwords that are slapped on advertising and regurgitated from the mouths of commentators, but without being able to explain what it means it just feels very hollow.

Each time the advert appeared on the TV, I was just left wanting. How can I gauge how impressive an achievement this is, without having a clue what it means?

It would be like telling someone who had never heard of football about Messi winning four Ballon D’or trophies in a row. It sounds like a big achievement, but if you don’t explain what it means, they can’t truly appreciate it.