Welcome to the July edition of the newsletter. We are slightly late getting it out this month as we were waiting to see what BoJo had to tell us in the latest "next slide please" press conference. The news seems to be quite positive as it looks highly likely that most restrictions in the UK will come to an end as planned on the 19th of this month.
Even as I write, the news is changing as today it has been announced that double-jabbed people will no longer have to self-isolate after 16th August.
We were also promised a further announcement at the end of this week (around 9th July) on whether there will be any further easing of restrictions on European travel. We await this with baited breath as there is a real chance that we may be able to to get our Autumn tours out this year. More on this and the green light system shortly.
It's great to see that normal life is resuming, with groups and crowds allowed again. It's been great watching Wimbledon, The Tour de France and the Euros with crowds back. However, I am under strict instructions from Wendy (half Scottish) not to mention anything about football. So I won't.
A little bit of bad news is that the NEC Show has been cancelled in October - a bit more on that later.
Thanks to everyone who got in touch with regards to the NHS app. Please note that it is the NHS app that you need - NOT the test and trace app. The NHS app is effectively your COVID Pass for European travel and you will need it if you want to travel abroad, certainly this year and probably for the foreseeable future. If you haven't got it yet, we would highly recommend downloading it. In summary - get jabbed and get the app.
Travel prospects for the Autumn 2021
We are still hopeful that some or all of our Autumn tours will be able to go. We are also planning some additional tours to France in September and October and more details on these will be made available in forthcoming editions of the newsletter.
The first thing to mention is that there is a bit of a misconception that Europe does not want us to travel there this year. This is simply not true. For example, France are welcoming British visitors and Germany have recently announced a relaxing of rules for Brits, despite the recent 2-0 drubbing (oops, I have mentioned football). The problem at the moment is that most European countries are on the UK amber list, which means that we have to quarantine for 10 days on our return. This is an imposition made by our government - not the European ones.
However, this is likely to change in the next few weeks as the UK government have hinted that they will be getting rid of the 10 day quarantine for amber countries. If this happens, it really opens things up.
Travel will not be as easy as usual, but it will become possible for double-jabbed Brits who can prove that they have been vaccinated (via the NHS app) and who are prepared to take and pay for PCR test prior to departure and on their return. The number of test required depends on whether countries are on the green or amber lists. Incidentally the price of tests is coming down and France are even offering free tests for UK tourist!
So an ideal situation for us would be that we are Green for go by the UK government and Green for go by the country we are visiting. Even if we are Amber/Amber then travel is still possible. Obviously the more borders we have to cross, the more complicated things get. Hence, our plans for some extra French tours where we only have to cross one border.
So the situation remains fluid. If you are booked on a tour we have already been in touch and will continue to keep you informed. Please keep an eye on the newsletter as this is where we will make all future announcements.
Travel prospect for 2022
A happy bi-product of being closed down for the best part of two seasons is that the demand for tours next year is very positive.
Thanks to everyone who has either transferred or booked already for next year. We have published the current schedule on the website although it is already clear that we will be offering extra tours next year to meet demand. Our regular customers will know that we have been very flexible in meeting people's wishes for 2022.
We would remind everyone that our COVID guarantee will continue into next year. In simple terms, it means if we cancel the tours you get a full refund (within 7 days) and if you choose not to travel, you can defer to another tour (subject to availability). Where you move across to another year, you will only pay this year's prices. Please see our website for full terms and conditions.
NEC October Show cancelled
We received an email from the NCC this week informing us that the big motorhome show has been cancelled again this October. The NCC (the show organisers) blame a "cocktail of concerns" from exhibitors about the viability of the show.
Covid is obviously the main factor, although it is not the crowds that seem to be the primary concern. There seems to be more an issue relating to the supply chain and availability of motorhomes. As you are probably aware, motorhome dealers have been having a bit of a bonanza over the last year or so with increased demand and therefore, shortage of stock.
As it costs them tens of thousands of pounds to exhibit at the NEC, there would seem little point in them doing it if they are already selling out of motorhomes. This is shame for the smaller businesses that also support the show and for the 100,000+ people who attend every year.
However, the show will be back in 2022 (we have already booked our slot) and we are really looking forward to going again. As far as we know the February Show will be on and also, Warner's continue with most of their outdoor shows. We will be at their Norfolk Show next month so hope to see you there.
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
Crazy Simple Fish Pie
> 400g undyed smoked fish. Skin off.
> 2 bunches of Spring onions.
> 250g baby spinach.
> 150g Cheddar cheese.
> 4 sheets of filo pastry.
> Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. In a bowl, cover the fish with boiling kettle water. Put aside to soak while you trim and roughly chop the spring onions, placing them into a 30cm non-stick oven proof frying pan on a high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir for 2 mins, then pile the spinach on top, let it wilt down and turn the heat off.
> Spoon 100ml of the soaking water over the spinach, then drain the fish, break up the pieces and sit them evenly around the pan. Finely grate over most of the cheese and season well with black pepper. Quickly layer the filo on top, tucking it in around the fish and up the sides of the pan, tearing the last sheet on top in a nutty fashion. Grate over the last bit of cheese, drizzle with 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil, and bake for 15 to 17 mins, or until golden and crisp, Easy as Pie. Enjoy.
This month's tips are about motorhome insurance. We know that we cover this one quite a bit - but things do change rapidly as the insurance industry reacts to the changing market.
There are a number of new policies available now that cover two important aspects. The first is that it it possible to buy an extension to your policy to get covered to travel to countries where the FCDO is advising against 'all but essential travel". It used to be that if the FCDO gave this advice then you insurance is invalid. However, this is no longer the case with some policies.
Second, is that you can get cover for COVID and this includes cover if you (or someone you live with) tests positive prior to travelling and cannot travel.
We are not insurance experts and we never give recommendations on particular companies. Experience has taught us to read the small print carefully and make sure you go with a recognised insurance company and not one of these web-only companies that you have never heard of.
Keep in touch
Please feel free to contact us at any time. When we are away, calls will bounce to our mobiles at no expense to yourself.