Marie Louise McConville: Red tape putting a dampener on holiday planning
Is it any wonder I'm so desperate for a holiday?
The experience of just trying to find out if we can go, how we go about it and what we need in order to abide by all the rules is, in itself, thoroughly exhausting.
Our much-longed for holiday to Jersey has been edging ever closer in recent times, having rolled over from last year, when we couldn't go due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We didn't want to get our hopes up too soon in case there was any issue but I don't mind admitting, the past week has been manic trying to get ready for this break.
I had hoped all the advice and regulations would be easy to follow - but it was not to be.
The problem started earlier this month when Northern Ireland was re-designated from a green zone to a red zone by Jersey.
Basically, this raised a multitude of questions.
Could we still go? What would be we need to bring with us? Would we have to isolate on arrival? Would we have to isolate on arriving home? And so on.
We started with the Jersey government website where we initially learned that we would have to get tested on arrival, isolate until the result and also, we would have to show proof we are all double jabbed. There was also reference to another possible test on day five.
We then moved to the NI Direct website and learned that as vaccination passports are not due until July 19 and after, we would have to apply for an interim certificate and it sounded like a pretty easy process.
Just fill in an online form, set up an NI Direct account and then pick up the certificate after showing proof of travel.
Of course, I lost count of how many times we attempted to complete the process before `Technical Error' constantly popped up on the screen.
Between myself and Darren, we tried numerous times with no luck and even called NI Direct, as there was obviously a problem with the website, but were told they could not help.
A few days later, Darren made progress only to find the interim certificates are only for international travel, although Guernsey was later added to the list, but not Jersey.
Eventually, we learned that our vaccination appointment cards, which bear the details of our vaccines, should be good enough proof.
It was then time to worry about isolation details as I really didn't want to be stuck in a hotel room with two young kids for too long but thankfully, a few days ago, Jersey declared that anyone arriving on the island, who is double jabbed, will be tested but will not have to isolate and no further test is needed.
I don't mind telling you, I am more than ready for this holiday.
I'm hoping by the time you're all reading this, I'll be sitting in the sunshine in St Helier relaxing and sipping something fizzy - wish me luck.
Former EastEnders star Jake Wood is reportedly in advanced talks to appear in the upcoming series of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
The 48-year-old actor, who played womanising Max Branning in Albert Square, has allegedly met with show bosses about entering the jungle.
The news comes after reports that ITV bosses have been given the green light for I'm A Celebrity to return to the Australian jungle later this year.
A source close to the popular reality TV show said: "The casting team have booked half of the camp mates already and have been bragging about some phenomenal names".
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After the loss of war, can there be hope for the future?
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I have five copies of The Surplus Girls by Polly Heron to give away.
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(Q) Who wrote The Surplus Girls?
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
The winners of the Fitzwilliam Hotel Afternoon Tea competition are Sinead Casey from Caledon and Glen Phillips from Belfast.