Travel to Spain. | MORELL

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Last week, I received a release from the Spanish Tourist Office informing me that as of 6, April, unvaccinated British holidaymakers would be eligible to travel to Spain with proof of a negative PCR test. As many UK based tourists contact me for information, I shared this news with them. By mid-afternoon, the statement was updated with a slight amendment but by late evening, a fully blown U-turn press release was issued, insisting that the previous statement was completely erroneous and that unvaccinated UK citizens would NOT now be allowed into Spain. One heck of a cock-up!

I wasn’t alone in scrambling to tell my readers, many of whom were understandably livid. British national newspapers were seething at the news too and rightly suggested that Britons were being penalised for leaving the EU. What other reason was there for why all other Europeans could visit Spain with just a negative PCR test but not those visiting from the UK? Twitter was in a stormy mood.

Aside from creating a momentous PR blunder like no other, Spain is seriously in danger of losing the goodwill of British visitors who will simply vote with their feet. Fuelled by an angry media, the only notices Britons have been getting about Spain recently are all negative. The message is simple: Britons must go to the back of the queue and if they don’t have a jab, they’re not welcome here! So, as I am deeply frustrated by all this, I have been sending irate emails to all my contacts in Spanish tourism asking them to step up to the mark. We cannot afford to lose the footfall of the British public. Change the rules please, before it’s too late!

Daft Daffs
The St Blaise Council in Cornwall has been digging up daffodils in local parks, concerned that children may start gorging on them and get ill. For centuries, plants both harmless and harmful, have adorned natural recreational areas for young children and the vast majority of youngsters have survived (to best of my knowledge!). Where would one draw the line, anyway? It is surely for parents and teachers to educate children about the dangers of eating plants or indeed wild mushrooms and fungi? As a young child, I’d roam our local forest with chums and we adored picking toadstools and the like but never ate them. Why? Simply because we knew not to eat anything in the woods that we hadn’t eaten at home. We’d suck on honeysuckle and munch on berries but we knew what to eat and not. The only exception applies surely to animals? Many pets might not know that a plant is harmful and do themselves a mischief, especially young kittens and pups. The problem is knowing what’s dangerous on one’s land. Sometimes, the most innocuous looking plant or flower can turn out to be deadly.

Cakeage Scandal
For years, the hospitality sector has made more than a buck charging for corkage on champagne and wine at events. Often, you’ll organise a do and ask the restaurant or hotel if you can provide your own booze. Oh indeed, they’ll say pleasantly, it’ll cost £20 per bottle for the privilege. I have many friends in the industry so I get it. The best mark-ups are on alcohol so by bringing your own, you shoot down their profit margin. Having organised countless charity events in London in my erstwhile life, I’d always try to get champagne sponsored and then would engage in tough negotiations re corkage with the venues. Often I’d know the hotelier in question and could get the price right down but it was always an emotional battle. However, now there’s a new charge in town and that is on celebratory cakes. Apparently in London, you can be charged as much as £10 per head for providing your own festive cake which seems a bit mean-spirited. I could understand a token charge for robbing the venue of its dessert menu profit but £10 per person is absurdly steep. Given how tough the last two years have been on the industry, I don’t feel this is an intelligent way to increase footfall. Surely a venue could offer to make a fabulous dessert at a cost-effective price that would persuade the guests not to make and bring their own?

Inexorable Covid Measures
Ah, said I, to a doctor friend, how marvellous that Covid is coming to an end. What? Are you mad? was the reply. Of course, it isn’t! Much as there’s little risk now, he said, the industry was too huge to dismantle. Aside from millionaires having been created with sales of masks, covid tests, surgical gloves and sanitary gel, there were the PCR and antigen tests that made a fortune for clinics and hospitals worldwide and last but not least, the billionaire vaccine producers. Listen up, he said, there are loads of new Covid vaccines about to sprog. Do you think they’re just going to let Covid wither on the vine after all this investment? ‘Course not, you dope! Nope. Covid is here to stay. He told me that we, the punters, would be given a reprieve to get a little Vit D & A, and then we’d be back to hardhats and bunkers, so enjoy your summer before lockdown part 2/3/4 and booster mark 4/5/6 and onwards. Isn’t life grand?

Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available from Come In, La Savina & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.