Returning from dropping Becca at the station en route to London for the weekend, I felt as though I either needed to lie down in a darkened room – or raid the drinks fridge!  (Not exactly a wine cellar but might still count as one of the 40 traits which, apparently, determine whether or not one is considered posh!  To be continued.).   I did neither.  However, deprived of travel for so long, I had almost forgotten what it was like to witness Becca’s manic approach to packing.  Help!  Haphazard, last minute, seriously pressured …  All of these.  The fact that it would not be within the realms of possibility to lay her entire acres of wardrobe on a bed continues to do little to deter as she seems hellbent on giving it a go.  Moreover, with half an hour remaining until departure, she proceeds to try on various items in a bid to ascertain which is the most suitable.  Nothing is packed, not a strategy in place as make-up and toiletries, too, lie strewn on the bed.  The thing is, that is just her; always has been, always will be.  A government health warning should proceed any foray into her handbag, alone!  How does she do it?  Well, after years of experience, I am only too aware – she pays no heed to time, ensuring no mistaken glances at either clock or watch.  Don’t be silly, that would just instil panic!  Backup, then, is welcome but, regardless, somehow she always seems to make that elusive train or flight and, what’s more, on arrival, she knows exactly where everything is.  It’s called a miracle.  Meanwhile, any poor witnesses?  Well, as I said, it’s called a drinks fridge!

Travel is at the forefront of the news today as this coming Monday, one is permitted to travel abroad.  Mind you, it is debatable just who will have us as the aftermath of Brexit continues to irk.  Even more debatable, though, is who among us – if any – will successfully negotiate the stringent preparation required before setting foot in an airport?  It’s almost enough to …  No, not quite but I did always say I would return to Millport one day.  Seriously, for those of sufficient memory dating back to holidays of old, let me tell you those days are gone!  In fact, in the words of Marvin Hamlisch in The Way We Were, ‘Can it be that it was all so simple then?  Or has time re-written every line?’  The answer is ‘Yes!’.  

The following is the checklist: 1.  Passenger Locator Form – to enable re-entry.  One required for each family member.  Can take up to an hour to fill in!  2.  One must provide proof of a booked PCR test on return to this country.  3.  One must present a Fit-to-Fly Certificate as proof, for the country of one’s destination, that one is COVID negative on arrival.  This certificate is dependent on a negative PCR Test – costing in the realms of £120 – taken within 72 hours of departure.  Please note that that is two PCR Tests required, totalling approximately £240 per person travelling.  Genius!  Oh, hang on, though, the Indian variant is coming threatening our path to freedom.  Perhaps there is no Get Out of Jail Free card after all …

Travel is a necessity.  Over the past year and a half, I have mourned our trips to Rome, Christmas in St Wolfgang and Wimbledon!  Offering freedom, escapism, variety, a release from the monotony – and problems of everyday life – travel recharges the batteries, instilling energy and an often much-needed new lease of life.  Without it?  One can sink; sink into the land of the dull, magnifying trivia into insurmountable problems, deprived of change, drained of energy.  Help!  It sounds awful.  I need to book somewhere fast!  I remember my mother – Mummy (another trait!) – used to say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’.  Then, again, it might not have been her.

Now that I think about it, I do find it interesting – and extremely character-revealing – one’s approach to packing for that obviously much-needed trip.  Me?  I plan for every possibility whether it be climate or world-changing events – or, I used to when we were allowed.  I remember flying to Cape Town when the children were six and two … courtesy of Air Namibia.  I was prepared for anything – this was 1995 – and thus I had my own pharmacy, a toy bag and a little downie for Manny, amongst so much more!  One could do that in the good old days.  Anyway, sorted.  Or not.  5pm, Edinburgh to London; London to … Frankfurt?  No.  That can’t be right.  It was, though, and we sat on the tarmac for two hours as the previously empty plane had been over-booked.  The two-year-old had to be wakened to land and never slept again and the six-year-old ended up with her head in a sick bag, pleading to go home between the sobs, as we sat on the ground in what appeared to be a Nissen hut in Windhoek at 7am!  Character-building?  To be quite frank, it nearly brought the divorce forward seventeen years!

Packing is not something I enjoy – in fact, I dread it – but I do consider myself rather good at it, honing the skill over the years.  Admittedly, I always take too much on the clothes front but I have everything else covered.  Preparing for our summer holiday to Austria, when the children were little, I used to line the cases up in the hall the night before, filling mine last.  In the early hours of the morning, exhausted, I used to chuck in my entire wardrobe – just in case (how clever!) – and, inevitably, my case would have a Heavy tag on it by the time we reached London.  Oh, well ..

How elusive is that capsule wardrobe?  Those few classic pieces which can be mixed and matched to provide multiple outfits for any occasion?  It can’t be that difficult, surely?  A navy blazer, white and navy jeans/trousers, an assortment of linen tops, taupe pumps, pearls, over-sized sunglasses and a Liberty scarf or two … would take one anywhere!!  Forget the drinks fridge, that is definitely worthy of posh!!   As I said, to be continued.

For now, I must sign off and post this.  It is Saturday, after all.  Distracted by phone calls last night, I was, then, left fighting with a roll of cling film until the early hours.  Worse, unlike me, I was forced to throw in the towel!  Actually, I wish I hadn’t mentioned it …  High spot of my day so far, though?  Noel Gallagher chatting to Claudia on Radio 2.  Move over Jusin Currie!

I’m not interested in making money.  It’s just that, with my talent, I’m cursed with it!’

Noel Gallagher

Humour.  Makes the world go round …

This is Trish, signing off.