Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every week for Huddersfield Hub.
So Spain stays on the amber list and things look stable, much to the delight of traders throughout a country which relies so heavily on British tourists.
Oh, how I would love to be writing about blue skies, a dead calm Med, and the ever expanding gorgeous board walk (50C on Wednesday!) but we are locked in a strange situation in Huddersfield.
We decided after about a year’s trying and lots of flight cancellations to give it a go and come over to see family and friends.
We hastily booked an EasyJet flight for Saturday the 31st and as per the rules obtained the 10-second negative Antigen test, costing us 90 euros.
Knowing the document checks were likely to be lengthy, we set off four hours ahead and with the irksome four-page Passenger Locator Forms in hand along with proof of vaccinations, and details of our two tests (Day 2 and Day 8) – costing £172.
There were just two desks for check-in for two flights, and the queues grew enormously until they went outside!
This was not surprising with the amount of doc checking for each passenger. More checks at security, later with police and – of course – as we actually boarded.
We had found out after booking flights that the UK Gov decision to let in EU and US fully vaccinated visitors could arrive WITHOUT ISOLATING from 4am Monday August 2nd. But not those prior to that date!
This meant we had to isolate for 10 days without leaving the house, make no contact with others and ensure we did the tests.
This ridiculous situation was indeed very frustrating. As had we had time, we could have tried to book later flights but we had made too many arrangements with tests, commitments etc.
As I write on day 6 of our holiday, the tests have not arrived and so begins a mammoth e-mail and telephone challenge with Randox test suppliers, EasyJet, knowledgeable folks on the Costa and finally NHS Track and Trace.
We actually had one Track and Trace call each; mine was made by a muffled telesales gent with a strong Swahili accent who emphasised the £1,000 fine for leaving the property or not completing the tests.
We are stranded – confined to barracks, and no tests to complete. We like to think we are seasoned travellers but this trip was lacking in fun. We are awaiting confirmation that we CAN NOW BE FREE OF QUARANTINE.
Back on the Costa del Sol, the number of Covid 19 cases was actually beginning to fall. In Fuengirola there were 795 cases in 1 million and Marbella 916.
But this has not stopped the Regional Government from imposing the need for digital certificates for those entering night-time venues and closure times reduced.
The police are having a field day stopping and fining cars without updated MOT certificates, even with an appointment.
During the lockdown periods, police were very lenient as the test centres were often closed but now only trips en route to centre or garage for repairs are accepted.
Close to where we live in La Cala there has been an influx of looky looky men setting up their wares in front of shops who have struggled through the pandemic. Lookies pay no tax, are not licensed and sell counterfeit goods.
Finally, there was some sad news this week as my old friend Jake Manglewurzel passed away. I’ve known Jake for 40 years.
Beneath his outrageous, sometimes crazy eccentric behaviour, was I believe an intelligent and sensitive person who would help anyone if he could.
Jake frequently came to Crow Lane and would sit for hours watching us training gymnastics in that tiny school hall, and, although he never took part, he was keen to learn exactly what we were trying to perform.
On our trips back to Huddersfield I often met up with him and we would share many memories about happenings in the past and give some strong views on his thoughts for the future, particularly of a political nature.
Our last meeting was at his personal monument near the side of the Civic Centre where he camped out. He was grateful for the food and sandwiches we frequently took for him. I was quite surprised when he asked me to give a eulogy at his funeral if I was in town.
If I can be there I would like to attend his funeral. Our thoughts, of course, are with his family at this sad time.