HOLIDAYS: If you book one this year, you do so at your own risk.

Recently, I wrote here that I risked being awarded an OBE. That’s not an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, but the dubious honour of being “overtaken by events”. I was writing then about Covid-19 that carries that risk in spades.

But this week I risk another OBE, mentioning the fraught subject of holidays – after UK ministers got themselves in a right summer holiday tangle not so long ago.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said don’t book anything. But his colleague, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, previously told everyone about the “Great British Summer” and that he’d even booked his own holiday to Cornwall.

So what’s the answer? One former minister tried to translate what they meant, suggesting: “Bottom line on holidaygate: travel abroad this year is not impossible. Holidays within the UK *are* likely by the summer, but the government can’t make a hard and fast statement to this effect at this stage. If you book, you do so at your own risk.”

As for Boris Johnson’s recent press conference, there will be no firm review before May as to when international travel can restart.

So, everything crystal clear now?

Incidentally, during the recent UK cold spell, an igloo was listed on a leading property website for a cool £250,000. The advert, which was later removed, said the “one bedroom house” was on the fictional “North Pole Road” in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. According to the listing, it would be a “great first home” but buyers had to “be quick” as the property “won’t be for sale long” and was “showing signs of damp”.

Well, in normal times I might have popped along to Clacton-on-Sea to check it out, but not at the moment. Obviously, I could have Googled it, but I thought I’d opt for getting a life. By the way, you never hear the expression ‘I must get out more’ these days. I wonder why?

But right now, going on holiday is illegal anyway. Another one of those extraordinary sentences a few years ago I’d never have imagined writing…

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available online as eBook (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, paperback & audiobook.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity  

Nora Johnson’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Nora Johnson

Nora is the author of popular psychological suspense and crime thrillers and a freelance journalist.


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