Not long now!
This is the view if you are first onto the train at Eurotunnel.
Well, all is in place but we are on tenterhooks.
The PM has put Spain and the Beleriacs on the green list but left France on the amber. This means that the hordes of people desperate for a foreign holiday can now jet off to Spain, Majorca or Ibiza without having to quarantine on their way home - which was pretty impractical to do if all you have is a fortnight off work, not to mention the cost of all the PCR tests. We pensioners are better placed as ten days at home on our return is more or less what we have got used to.
This is good news for us. In the short term, France being on the amber list (with the quarantine, palaver and expense of testing on return) is diverting thousands of holidaymakers from France to elsewhere and might just mean that Macron keeps the border open.
With the Johnson variant running rife through the UK now (we might as well credit him with the Delta variant as his incompetence is why we got it), the leaders on the other side of the Channel Tunnel are getting twitchy about letting us in again. If they get too twitchy the best we could hope for is that they might insist on a quarantine period as well as the vaccination record and Covid tests. The worst case is that they close the borders to travellers from the UK but the prospect of fewer Brits travelling to or through France might calm things down. Putting France on the green list some time in September would be handy, so that we wouldn't have to fork out for all those tests and quarantine on our return.
For now, not knowing if we'll be able to go when we planned is just too much.
At a push we could make a run for it while we can, as long as we could rearrange the Covid tests and the AHC appointment for Hugo at a suitable time, both of which could be tricky. There might be a run on Eurotunnel bookings as everyone else does the same but we'll take any crossing at all. Anything. Anything not to spend the next two weeks worrying about whether things will change. We just want to get there and get all this stuff behind us for a while.
Daisy was making the most of her newly built perches.
They make jumping down from the barn roof less tricky and the view is great.
Vet appointment for Hugo booked, to get his Animal Health Certificate, timing critical as it has to be dated within a ten day slot before travelling - tick.
Covid tests appointments booked , timing very critical, as they have to be done within 48 hours before travelling - tick.
Documents printed out and compiled - Covid vaccination records, French Engagements sur l'honneur, Eurotunnel Declarations - tick.
Travel insurance policy to cover 90 days and amber listed countries organised - tick.
Care and support put in place for Dad while we're away - tick.
Order dog food to be delivered chez nous as we're not allowed to take any into France.
Rearrange UK house insurance to cover for 90 days' absence.
Print out travel insurance policy and put EHICs in travel folder.
Order number plates for the car and trailer for taking a different car.
Write an inventory of items we're taking with us, the max allowable value being 300€ each.
Amount of time taken so far in organising all the above, hours and hours. Days in fact. Much of it is over and above what was required PB and BC (pre-Brexit and before Covid).
It will be worth every second once we're there.
Well, fancy that!
Almost as soon as France pulled up the drawbridge, the EU let it down again.
Within the next few days France will be allowing visitors from the UK and the US into the country as long as they have proof of two vaccinations and a negative Covid test result within 48 hours of travelling.
The gates are open once more for us to go to France.
At a cost, of course.
We are getting organised to go as soon as we can. There is a lot to work out and get done before we go. The PCR tests can be done at a centre about forty minutes' drive from home at a cost of £120 each and we can get the return tests done (day 2 and day 8) in the UK for £175 each. That's nearly £600 worth of Covid testing in the UK, plus the cost of the test required in France before returning. I have no idea how much that one is or where or how we would get it but we should have plenty of time to work it out while we're there - unless France goes onto the "green list" during our stay, which would save a lot of money.
I'm sure that at £600+ per couple a lot of people will be put off travelling to France or any other country on the "amber list".
Daisy can travel at no extra cost on her French passport but we will need to get an AHC (animal health certificate) for Hugo. We have found a new local vet who offers them for £65, which is a bargain compared to the £150 quoted elsewhere. Once he's there we will get our French vet to issue him with a new French passport so that in future he won't require an AHC and both of them can then travel for free - or rather, for just the cost of their ticket as before!
Over the winter in the UK several home made nesting boxes appeared on the trees just over the fence behind our neighbours' garden. They are all slightly different but all painted a nice dark green. The neighbours have also built a hedgehog house (but we only get a glimpse of that from a bedroom window so have no idea how successful it has been).