I had to think seriously about whether to write this post. As many of you already know, I’m back on my boat, back on the UK canals (sort of). I finally managed to book a flight that didn’t get cancelled, 5 times lucky it would seem. There’s been a bit of soul-searching, deciding whether to fly over to the UK or not. There’s lots of reasons <not to>, but in the end the reasons <to> go won out. I even splurged for business class (I blame Robbie).
The reason for my hesitation in writing about it is that I wasn’t sure how welcome I would be. With the rather vitriolic rhetoric coming from many Canadians toward US travelers (somewhat justified I must say), I thought maybe I’d get a bit of that over here. There’s sometimes a sort of a blending of Canada and the US in the minds of overseas people but I haven’t yet had any problems. Everyone has been very matter-of-fact and accepting, often asking how Canada was doing. It’s nice to tell them the truth and ease their minds.
In fact, Heathrow Airport is the only place I’ve seen anyone wearing masks. Once out of the London area, there’s been little sign of them. People are very serious and precise about physical distancing though, so that’s good. Face coverings are to be mandatory in shops soon so I’m sure they’ll become more common.
I’m now doing a 14 day quarantine on the boat (in the marina) as Canada wasn’t included on the ‘safe’ list of countries not requiring isolation upon entry. I’m not sure why, since our numbers are better than several countries that are on the list. I attribute it, at least in part, to our close geographic and social association with the US (we’re all ‘American’ to many over here, as I said). I have a bit of work I’d like to do on the boat before leaving, so it’s not a huge hardship. The chandlery is going to deliver supplies to me so I can get on with the jobs, and I’m allowed to walk the fields next to the marina for an hour a day. Having said that, the entry into the country was very strange at such a time. I collected my bags, put my passport into a machine, then just walked out. I didn’t see or talk to a single border or health official. I had previously filled out an online form giving my contact information, so I assume they can reference that to check up on me.
I’ve started writing the occasional article for an online magazine, you can read them at canalsonline.uk/author/doug-yelland/ . I’ll be adding more once I’m actually moving, or if something interesting happens.
I want to thank my good friends Phil and Angela for driving all the way to Heathrow to collect me, deliver me to the boat, and bring me a huge load of precious groceries! I can’t wait to be able to get out and cruise with them in August. What incredible people… I had a couple of offers of a ride, the people I’ve met on boats are truly amazing. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and help. It’s so good to be back…