Life with Portishead mum and author HEIDI LOUGHLIN

Heidi 4

Heidi 4 - Credit: Archant

Like many others, we had our summer holiday thrown out the window due to Covid-19 which was a shame, but small fry given the situation.

When the travel ban started to lift we kept a close eye on things but seemingly having missed the boat on a UK trip (everything was sold out or astronomically expensive for a trip to cold waters in the rain), I was determined that we would sun ourselves on distant shores. Quality breaks with my family is fairly high on my priority list these days.

We originally had a trip booked for Turkey, but reviews suggested facemasks around the pool and allocated swimming times and this was just not for me. So, we postponed that holiday and managed to book a trip to Majorca - in the middle of nowhere, staying in our own villa with a pool. Perfect. Six days later, Spain was added to the quarantine list and that trip was cancelled. We then settled on Rhodes, Greece and left for the airport five days later. Facemasks had to be worn from the moment before we entered the airport until we arrived at our hotel room in resort. The kids were exempt although they were happy to wear them on and off as we had bought Minecraft ones and they thought they were cool. We could only remove the masks to eat or drink and it’s fair to say I underestimated the restriction on air intake with a pair of re-fashioned pants strapped to my face. It wasn’t easy but understandably necessary. Everyone on the plane complied and I heard no complaints. There were some contradictions in the Covid-cautions though, for example, on the flight we were constantly reminded about social distancing (only two people can wait for a toilet at one time and they reduced the number of toilets from six to two) yet we were then herded like cattle into a one hour queue to clear customs on arrival, shoulder to shoulder with the general public. Once in the resort where the sun was beaming down, the slush puppies began to flow and the pool was a cooling tonic; it was almost like the coronavirus was a bad dream that hadn’t quite been forgotten. There were faint reminders around the hotel of the global pandemic - you couldn’t sit at the swim-up bar, you were required to wear facemasks and gloves at the buffet (something which I hope continues post-Covid) and the sun loungers were spaced out. All in all, we were on a beautiful holiday that felt remarkably like any package trip from yonder years.

Was I wrong to go abroad during a pandemic? Fundamentally, every decision you make has a consequence. We made an adult decision to go abroad because we wanted a holiday. We risked being quarantined upon our return to the UK. We accepted the risk and could only blame ourselves if it didn’t pan out. The Covid-19 cases in Greece were half that of the UK at the time of booking. I felt that if we gelled and masked-up when in close contact with others, then we would be doing exactly what we do in the UK. Being considered to be in the high risk category, was I concerned I would catch the virus by going on holiday? My adult risk assessment said that I would be just as likely to get Covid-19 by popping to the local supermarket.

While foreign travel is not for everyone at this time (why do something that makes you uncomfortable?), I was relaxed about going away, we had a wonderful time and we returned home healthy and well rested ready for the start of the new school year.

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