Holidays are one of the greatest luxuries. Time away from your own domestic life, allowing yourself to shuck off your daily routine and really revel in the things you want to do. For me that usually involves sleeping in, drinking at lunchtime and reading books back to back. It’s an added privilege if you are able to do this abroad. For me, it’s ideally somewhere in Europe. The heat, the late-night dinners, the trinket shops! Like many people, I didn’t go on holiday last year. It was fine, you can’t argue with a global pandemic. I didn’t Google flights or check out hotels to tease myself with the idea of an improbable trip. I knew there would be other years, and I wanted to be responsible. I hoped for summer 2021, a year when we would all let loose, crowd onto beaches, buy ill-advised rope bracelets that we think make us look boho and breezy but actually make us look 12.
It seems like it’s not to be. The green list is receding, the amber list is long. The red list is... glaring. Clever people made like politicians desperate for a good photo op and booked holidays in Cornwall early. I... did not. Last week, my husband and I Googled holiday cottages for rent and found a nice one next available in October. A sweet looking tree house was available in August, but I’m not sure the dog could handle a rope ladder.
I’ve been making peace with it. Pandemic rules and all that. It’s not a big deal, I can handle pretending my dining table is in a trattoria (top tip: light loads of candles and you could be anywhere). I can lather on sunscreen and let olfactory memories of European beaches waft over me. I can put a Panama hat on the dog if needs be. He’d wear it better than me, anyway.
That was until this week. This week I scrolled through a terrible gossip site and saw photos of Katy Perry snogging Orlando Bloom’s face off on a gondola in Venice. I saw Serena Williams in a bikini on the C?te d’Azur with her cute toddler. There was Kate Hudson in Greece by the pool. American celebs have hit Europe with a vengeance. Thanks to the speed of their vaccination programme they’ve been let loose and made straight for the hotels and villas just across the channel. It stings.