‘THAT’S us booked mum,” my daughter Jenna announced by text message.

“Booked?” I hadn’t heard of beauticians reopening but assumed she had booked us a wee relaxing treatment.

But no, she had booked us flights to Spain.

Now, to be honest, I was rather apprehensive, but excited at the same time because I had written off all thoughts of travelling abroad until next year.

“We might as well lockdown in the sunshine,” went her reasoning, and watching the rain battering against my living-room-now-office window, I had to agree that sitting by a pool at a villa was appealing and a much-needed change of scenery.

The first thing we came across at the airport was hand sanitisers and notices reminding us to wear a facemask at all times.

Blue arrows on the ground as far as the eye could see were everywhere.

Check-in was effortless, no queues and as everything is done electronically, I scanned my boarding pass and was through security in minutes.

The usual hustle and bustle in the airport bars and coffee shops was replaced by an eery silence and, other than WH Smith, everything was closed, so we found a few seats on our own to eat our packed lunch.

“Think this is the first time I’ve ever been in an airport and not had a glass of wine,” I thought I would state the obvious as Jenna handed me a bottle of fizzy water.

Finally, on-board we were reminded to keep our masks on and to press the overhead buzzer if we needed to use the toilet.

Half an hour up in the air and settling down with our Pringles and fizzy water, like meerkats, suddenly Jenna and I sat upright, eyes glistening and smiling through our masks.

“Refreshments, snacks anyone?” the drinks trolley appeared like a vision because we had been told there would be no service at all.

We didn’t venture far whilst in Spain and stuck to the rigid guidelines in local shops and bars.

Travelling home myself, at Alicante airport I was finally in one of the long tunnels queuing to board.

Like every other area in the airport, and for those who – even after all these months – still can’t work out what two metres looks like, there were clearly marked red lines on the ground showing where to stand in order to keep a safe distance. As well as the lines, regular tannoy messages sounded advising you to keep your distance.



Nothing ever is, because every time I moved forward to the vacant red line the couple behind me, who were like conjoined twins, appeared at my back.

I turned and glared and reckoned that even although most of my face was under a mask, my icy stare was enough, but no...

I shuffled to the next red line and sure enough, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle ... the female was like a parrot on my right shoulder.

“Should I cough and hope they will back off?” I thought for a second and realised that would

be irresponsible and I would probably be escorted to a cell somewhere and the idiots behind me would get on the plane even quicker.

Next red line and shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, there they were again breathing down my neck.

Now, I don’t know if it was the heat, the heavy bags, the claustrophobic feeling in the tunnel or the stuffy face mask but I had had enough and turned to the pair.

“Em, excuse me but could you keep your distance please?”

“Eh, distance?”

I was speaking English but knew that under her mask there was a vacant expression.

“I said, could you keep to the two-metre distance please?” (Even two feet would have done!).

They both glanced at each other.

“Whit’s the big deal hen?” She was mystified.

I pointed to the red lines and added: “You’re supposed to keep a distance from the person in front.”

I should have stopped there but...

“And to be honest you’ve been like a humph on my back ever since you joined the queue.”

Now I probably shouldn’t have compared her to a humph, but as a child my dad would come home from work and try to shake us kids off his back as we jumped all over him and he’d shout affectionately: “Get off, you’re worse than a humph.”

So, it just came out.

“Did you hear that Jim, she said I’m like a humph.”

Jim’s power of speech had suddenly vanished.

“Look, I’m sorry but....”

And before I could apologise, she added: “She thinks she’s that wee Nicola Sturgeon Jim, telling us whit to do.”

“You see the thing is...” I attempted to enlighten her that this was a global rule and not one dictated by Nicola Sturgeon, but...

“Well, Nicola disnae tell us whit to do in Spain.”

Spain or Scotland, I don’t imagine anyone in any country ever could!