Writers getting back to “normal”?

Picture of EasyJet planeI have two live gigs booked for 2022 and today, I’m about to jet off to the UK for a writers’ retreat, family weekend, then a few days with my critique writing partner.

In previous years, I haven’t thought twice about going on the Internet, booking a plane, booking somewhere to stay, then rolling up to the airport on the given day. Simple!

Alas, no more. Now there is meticulous planning:

  • reading up on all the staying-safe-in-time-of-Covid travel regulations
  • checking requirements for leaving and re-entering your home country at this time
  • ditto for your destination country
  • booking Covid test package so you have the code number to fill in on your Passenger Locator Form (see below)
  • getting a kind friend to receive said test as it can only be sent to a UK address
  • strategies for keeping as safe as possible on public transport and checking the airline for exact type of mask required for the trip
  • fulfilling timed requirements like the dreaded Passenger Location Form (You can only do it 48 hours or less before you travel and you wouldn’t believe the detail they want.)
  • checking for the millionth time you have your EU vaccination certificate handy amongst PLF, boarding passes, passport, etc. and the gel bottle is full
  • as a UK national resident in France, making sure you have your residency card to show with passport on leaving and re-entering France or you get the dreaded stamp with 90 day limit in your passport. (Thank you, Brexit!)

Good fun, eh?

I had already booked a pre-trip PCR test here in France – it’s free even for travel as long as it’s a fortnight after your second Covid jab. The last thing I want to do is unwittingly transmit Covid to people I’m meeting. Mind you, France’s daily case/death figures at 5-6K/low double figures is significantly below those of the UK’s by many times.

But you cannot believe how excited I am at meeting close writing friends IN REAL LIFE!

Zoom, Messenger facebook, Twitter and Skype have been a lifeline over the past two years. Goodness knows how people didn’t lose their wits entirely in  plagues and epidemics in the past. But actually standing and sitting in the same room, eating talking and laughing together will be such a treat.

I experienced this when I went to the UK in August and saw my son, daughter-in-law and met my new (15 month old) grandson. I had a wonderful writing time with my critique writing partner for over a week. So I have an inkling of what lies ahead of me today for the next four days.

In 2022, I hope to meet up with tens, even hundreds of people. Let’s hope we’ll all be able to get back to something resembling ‘normal’. It will be tempered by climate considerations, but hopefully the anxiety that has been running in the background for the past two years about the epidemic will have diminished almost to zero. Crossing my fingers…


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers. Double Pursuit, the sequel, is now out!

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

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