Back Open For Business

Christopher Fowler
You never know if it's real or a robot, do you? I've been out of the country for the past week, and as this happened at short notice I wrote a couple of articles in advance. But I didn't pack my laptop. I hadn't expected to end up chasing turtles off the coast of West Africa, but opportunity is not a lengthy visitor. What happened: The government announced the opening of a couple of corridors out of the UK so we seized one and got out - regular readers will know it had been a somewhat stressful year. For decades Gran Canaria had a reputation like Majorca's - a cheap destination for the bucket and spade brigade. Then, as the Greek islands had before, the government wised up to a better, more eco-friendly kind of tourism. Inside the island are barely visited volcanic villages, nature reserves and UNESCO-protected world heritage sites, and its capital Las Palmas is a gourmand's delight. Upon our arrival the corridor closed again, lockdown was announced and all flights were cancelled. We had to return earlier than expected but Easyjet were terrific at informing me of all changes and made it easy to get back. I stayed in a virtually deserted hotel, under strict protection rules. Meanwhile I posted articles by phone but I couldn't add photographs and had to make use of my old image bank. Now I'm back, rejuvenated, working on a new book, ready for a week of hospital checks and a new UK lockdown. If you want the real lowdown on Covid watch Alex Gibney's startling 'Totally Under Control: Trump & Covid-19', which shows how Korea sorted out the pandemic by trusting the science, and how Trump's very deliberate lies resulted in so many needless deaths. The UK has nothing to crow about as our Test & Trace system is still badly flawed, sending out false positives or failing to register at all. I felt safer travelling on a powerfully ventilated Airbus to a tropical island than I did staying in my transit-hub London neighbourhood. Back to business as usual!
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Brian Evans (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 11:00

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Welcome home Mr F!

mike (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 12:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You're looking better for your break!

Barbara Boucke (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 16:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's great that you had some time for a little R and R chasing turtles (that must have been an interesting experience) and eating wonderful meals. The handling of the virus here in the US was beyond appalling, but there is hope once again although the anti-maskers will still prove a challenge.

Helen Martin (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 17:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Glad you got away for a bit. Any change is good but chasing turtles? Hope you're feeling as good as you look.

Liz Thompson (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 17:44

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've always enjoyed the holidays I've had in the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura). All very different places, but interesting to tour or wander round. Glad you had a good time, even if it was cut short.

Roger (not verified) Sun, 08/11/2020 - 19:49

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

But what did you do with the turtles when you caught them?
Glad you're better - good luck with the hospital tests. Covid-19 and the response has confirmed my belief that most people in England are both ignorant and deranged.

Andrew Holme (not verified) Mon, 09/11/2020 - 07:49

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Yes. Chasing turtles and eating wonderful meals. I hope the two activities were not connected.

Jan (not verified) Mon, 09/11/2020 - 08:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

You look like you've been chasing turtles!

In fact there's something in your expression th a reminds me a bit of E.T.! .... Yes very E.T. Like..

Hope all goes OK this week

Jo W (not verified) Mon, 09/11/2020 - 08:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Looking good, Chris. I hope all the hospital visits go well and you get a clear result.

Ed DesCamp (not verified) Wed, 11/11/2020 - 06:40

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Glad to see that great smile, Chris, and I wish you a very healthy rest of the year.

John Griffin (not verified) Thu, 12/11/2020 - 13:06

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Had the same conversation at the weekend Roger - most people seem to be either wilfully or chemically ignorant, with some definitely deranged or sociopathically malign (like my local MP who is both). I often feel we have slipped into a parallel hypernormal universe where reason counts for nothing. What next? Witchfinding?

Helen Martin (not verified) Thu, 12/11/2020 - 22:53

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

No, John, next will be the casting out of demons.
I feel sorry for the businessmen who are terrified at the prospect of bankruptcy, poverty, and homelessness (there are a number of businesses securing their finances with a home mortgage). It is all very well saying that lockdowns, business restrictions and all are a matter of life and death but that should be said by someone who faces the result, not by a government bureaucrat who is relatively safe in their job. It is a matter of life and death and the proper response is that we'll do whatever it takes to shut infection down, but spare a thought for the desperate shop owner who sees his/her livelihood going down the drain. I am relatively reluctant to comment because my house is paid for and I am in receipt of a moderate pension, as is my husband, so we can shut ourselves away with little risk. We are trying to use local businesses for shopping on those occasions when we go out. We've discovered a grain mill in Vancouver that stone grinds, there's a creperie a few blocks away, and so on but I know there is a lot of pain out there.