Sunday, 11 July 2021

You are on your own

My happy Passion flower brightening a ranty post

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.


  1. Oh dear - you sound to be in the middle of a real dilemma - as a resident always in the UK it is interesting to read that it is not all plain sailing. Sorry you are having such problems - Ilkley must be very tempting and seem so very far away.

  2. Personally I have never subscribed to the concept that if other people are having a worse time of things my problems are irrelevant. They are very relevant to me as yours are to you.
    If it's any help you could stop over chez nous on your way back. I believe that for a modest charge you can get the right kind of test in the village here and we're a six hour drive from Calais, in the middle of France.

    1. I meant to add that thankfully teabags are one of the few things we can still bring legally into France post Brexit.

    2. Jean, that is so kind of you, thanks. We would probably prefer to be nearer Calais for a late morning crossing and be able to get back to Yorkshire the same day. Besides you might get lumbered with us if things didn’t work out and Mr FF would start doing building works whether you wanted them or not. xx

    3. Haha, in that case you must definitely stop over en route! We have beaucoup de building work that needs doing!
      We usually do the whole trip, Derbyshire to here, in one go. On a good run it takes twelve hours, this time it took fourteen. Yorkshire is obviously an hour or two further away, which would be hard going in one trip. Bon courage!!

    4. This is one of the many articles on the web explaining how to get a covid test in France:

  3. What a dilemma! Hope you can work things out. People all over the world are still trying to get home (I read in the newspaper today that over 3,000 Australians are still stranded abroad). Surely things will get easier as vaccines become more commonplace.

  4. That sounds a total nightmare. I don't understand why your vaccines wouldn't be accepted. It's all bonkers and a sure way to increase your blood pressure. Hope you manage to find a solution sooner rather than later. xx

  5. Good luck wading through that quagmire! Countries are not applying "the rules" consistently (but then why should they, each country has it's own particular set of circumstances after all). Could I suggest you apply for a Dominic Cummings/Michael Gove/Matt Hancock or now a Boris Johnson visa to travel, which means that the covid rules don't apply to you? Just trying to be helpful (but seriously, good luck)!