As a UK citizen I used to feel fairly confident that I was well looked after and supported by my country, that if push came to shove I’d be ok. This last year living as a Brit in Italy I’ve realised how scarily vulnerable we are, basically the authorities paid to look after us don’t give a toss.
The occasions I’ve contacted the British Embassy in Rome for help they’ve been unable to assist or advise, basically said read the manual. Oddly I’d already checked the websites they suggest, that didn’t answer my questions which is why I contacted the embassy. I got the impression they prefer holding receptions and handing out Ferraro Roche chocolates to helping their citizens. God help us if we ever have a real crisis.
Now it seems our Italian covid passports won’t be recognised by England so we will need to quarantine for 10 days and take 2 tests if we return, unless of course we were italian football supporters attending the final of Euro 2020 in London, apparently 1000 are allowed to travel without these restrictions. We had Astra Zeneca vaccines, the same as most of the U.K, we have batch numbers and dates, why are they not valid, is anyone but us challenging this.
It continues to be impossible to get a covid test before we leave to present at the channel in the required language, English, Spanish or French or within the 72 hour time scale. We can travel throughout the EU with our Italian covid passports and in theory have a test in France. However finding information with limited language is difficult, we’d have to wait up to 48 hours for results and allow for that in our channel crossing reservation, that’s a long time to hang about. Information says we are responsible for ensuring our tests meet the required standards, that’s so annoying, how do we know the bloomin standards, why aren’t the testers regulated accordingly, shouldn’t all tests meet the standard. And if one of us tested positive what would we do, drive back to italy without stopping?
I’ve said before if we don’t get the car back by the end of this month we won’t have tax or MOT. Our insurers are aware of this and our inability to travel. I know we are not alone in this dilemma, we have friends who’ve had 4 flights cancelled and wasted hundreds of pounds on tests that have expired in an effort to get the car they left on the continent back to the U.K. for the same reason. They’ve contacted the vehicle registration authority, their MP, their insurance company and got no where.
I acknowledge there are much bigger problems in the world, these are the rants of a person fortunate enough to have a second home, but the difficulties we encounter highlight problems endemic throughout government and public authorities. Those in charge make the right noises, tell you what you want to hear but test the system and it’s not working.
So we wait, listen to the news and time ticks away. We stay positive, why wouldn’t we with sunshine and plenty of lovely outside space. We live well but it’s over a year since we arrived in Italy, we never imagined we’d stay so long. I wish we knew what to do, I wish I’d brought more tea bags I’ll never travel again without at least 5 million.