THE raucous brand Club 18 to 30 – or “Beaver Espana” as one of its own adverts referred to it – was finally laid to rest by owner Thomas Cook in 2018.
But could the summer of 2021 see the dawn of a new, age-restricted holiday company . . . Club 50 to 80?
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Requirements include possession of a “vaccine passport”, a fondness for being in bed with a cocoa by the 10pm curfew and a disinclination to share bodily fluids with someone you’ve only just met.
Meaning that, this year, Europe’s beaches could well resemble the cast of the movie Cocoon before they stumbled across the fountain of youth, while the nation’s largely unvaccinated young will have to make do with rambling in the Scottish Highlands in matching anoraks or enjoying tea and scones in one of Devon and Cornwall’s many quaint eateries usually frequented by the Club 50 to 80 brigade.
Yesterday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced plans for what is being described as a “Digital Green Pass” which, on paper, means that those who’ve had both their vaccines by June could be allowed to set foot on the hallowed sands of various continental hotspots.
However, like most official declarations these days, the reporting of it was peppered with heavy use of the words “could”, “might”, “perhaps” and “maybe”.
And the jury’s still out on European unanimity (no change there). Spain thinks it’s a great idea and Portugal feels the same way.
Greece continues to say it will welcome anyone, jabbed or not, who can present a negative Covid test, and fair-minded Belgium (that well-known summer holiday destination) says it doesn’t like the idea of a vaccine passport because it could lead to discrimination.
HEDGE MY BETS
Meanwhile, speaking of Belgium, our deputy chief medical officer Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jonathan Van-Tam, surely? — Ed) urges caution, saying there is still “great uncertainty” over whether any of us will get a foreign holiday this year.
Leaving those of us still trying to rearrange trips abroad feeling as confused as Adam and Eve on Mother’s Day.
In 2019, when the coronavirus was still but a glint in some pangolin’s eye, I booked a holiday to Costa Rica for last July to celebrate the end of the youngest’s GCSEs — which ended up being cancelled along with our flights.
But many of the accommodations (we’re travelling around) would offer only a date change, not a refund, so we moved the whole shebang to this month instead, naively assuming that the pandemic would be under control by now.
Our survey says: “Uh-uh.” So now we’ve moved it all again, to July this year. Which, given Boris’s road map has flagged June 21 as “end of lockdown”, means we just might make it.
But hang on. The PM also added the caveat of “at the earliest”, which means it could change at the last minute — and take my time-sensitive deposit money along with it.
So do I hedge my bets and hold my nerve for long-distance travel? Or postpone it yet again, dump my unvaccinated kids on a British beach and head off on a Club 50 to 80 holiday with The Bloke for some guaranteed sunshine on the Med?
Watch this space.
No appy ever after
DIFFICULT though it is to believe, the gorgeous Louise Redknapp says finding new love in her forties is “really hard”.
Having signed up to a dating app, she says she enjoyed a great online chat with a man who, a few days later, followed it up with a message asking what she was up to.
“I said, ‘Oh, I’m just going for a bike ride’. And that was the end of that. It’s been five months and no reply,” says Louise, 46.
Sadly, it bears out the theory of my single female friends who say that while they’re looking for love on dating apps, most (not all) of the men they encounter want no-strings-attached sex.
And bicycling just ain’t the kind of ride they’re looking for.
More waffle from Harry
THE personal details we didn’t know about the, er, intensely private couple Harry and Meghan before they invaded their own privacy continue to rack up.
Thanks to his incredibly low-key appearance with chat show host James Corden on an open-top tourist bus driving around the paparazzi hotbed of Hollywood, we now know that son Archie’s first word was “crocodile”, that Harry can’t rap (me neither), that he and Meghan went “from zero to 60” in the first two months of dating, that they watch TV quiz show Jeopardy in bed, that he’s watched The Crown and would like Damian Lewis to play him, that Prince Philip ends Zoom calls by closing his laptop lid and that The Queen bought her grandson a waffle maker for Christmas.
And all this is before we know what innermost thoughts they’ve divulged to Oprah Winfrey in the 90-minute special airing in the US this Sunday night, other than the dramatic trailer in which Meghan appears to have described her time in the UK as “unsurvivable”.
Sigh. Time will tell what made it so awful, but Harry’s unchallenged, sweeping generalisation to James Corden about the “toxic British Press” suggests that all the positive coverage about their engagement, wedding and the birth of Archie has been forgotten and they prefer to focus on the criticism levelled at them about the hypocrisy of preaching about climate change while hopping on private jets and driving gas-guzzling luxury motors.
As I have said many times before, one suspects they’ve made the mistake of conflating media coverage with the vile abuse dished out by online trolls.
Whatever. Meanwhile, Harry has also revealed that when Archie wakes up in the morning and claps eyes on his parents, the first thing he says is: “Waffle?”
Sounds like he’d make a good journalist.
YET again, this year’s GCSE and A-level exams have been scrapped in favour of teacher assessments.
Which is justifiable considering the amount of classroom time lost.
But what about next year’s examinations? Concessions will undoubtedly have to be made there too.
For even though the kids will (Covid-22 allowing) physically be at school during exam time, the majority of the work towards their GCSEs and A levels should have been done this year, when they’ve just spent the best part of a term at home.
WE spend an average of two minutes 42 seconds a day staring into the fridge deciding what to eat, says a new poll.
Sadly, in my case, I spend the remaining 23 hours, 57 minutes and 18 seconds scoffing the contents.
A will to win hearts
THE last will and testament of former racing driver Sir Stirling Moss runs to 16 pages because the 90-year-old spent time allocating money to friends and family for very specific purposes.
One was given £1,000 to “help towards her telephone bills”, while another was left the same amount so they could travel to Miami for a seafood dinner in their favourite restaurant.
Many years ago I spent a poignant afternoon taking notes for a dying friend as she allocated either money or treasured items to those close to her.
While her cleaner was gifted a life-changing amount to help her care for her disabled daughter, those with no need for money were given a particular item in her house they had often admired.
Their responses were heartwarming and each item was given pride of place as a reminder of a friend lost.
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If circumstances allow, it’s a wonderful and much appreciated gesture.
Financially, the mementos may be of little value but emotionally, they’re priceless.
RIP Johnny the charmer
ACTOR Johnny Briggs, aka Corrie’s Mike Baldwin, has passed away at 85 after a long illness.
I remember interviewing him on the set of the old Rover’s Return in the mid-Eighties, when Corrie was enjoying record ratings, I still had collagen and he looked his usual, timeless self.
Here we are enjoying a pint of “beer”, aka watered-down apple juice.
RIP Johnny the charmer. You’ll be missed.
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