Arrival in Jersey

It’s hard to clearly research what will happen when we try to cross borders at the moment. All I’ve done is go to the place where I was born. I made it, but it’s been pretty weird.

The alarm pushed me up at 5 for last minute snuggles and goodbye to the cat before a swift shot to Portsmouth. I was getting on to the Commodore Clipper, which is an incredibly slow boat that goes to Guernsey first. I arrived at the booth. “Have you got your negative test?” Fuck.

I knew I had to get a PCR test on arrival. I didn’t know I’d have to get a test to get on the boat first. Turns out lateral flow is fine. That’s the antibody test. They were giving them away at ASDA so I grabbed a pack after a frantic drive.

All the people in the booth needed in order to let me on the boat was a text message from the NHS. In order to get that message I needed to input the number of an existing test and tell them that my result was negative.

You could just choose to open the test, look at the number, input it and say it was negative. I’m glad that they trust us to do it properly and don’t insist somebody gets paid to test us every time. Things are so much harder than they ever were these days – we are so closely monitored and corralled that I’m glad there’s still space to completely flout the rules even if I’m not advocating it. And I’m pleased and surprised that the test I picked up at ASDA was free as well. I thought by now that we’d be skinned at every opportunity. Seems our data is enough. With a text message on my phone, I returned to the booth and was waved through. I could’ve forwarded that message to myself and altered the date. So many ways to mess with it, although it’s likely pretty easy to get fined.

Before arriving in Jersey I had to fill in a form with all my travel history and lots of stuff about how I promise not to tell fibs or I’ll be fined. I then got issued a QR code. Leaving the boat I was met by a young woman with a mask who carefully issued me with a PCR test in a bag. Then I had a conversation with a guy about the contents of my car. Then I met a third person in a full hazmat suit who really wasn’t much good at swabbing but kind of rubbed the thing in my nose and mouth before packing it up to go to a lab. The result will define my freedom but might take a while. I have to take 2 more tests – most likely self applied and collected by courier.

Meanwhile I’m in this little old fashioned hotel room. I’m knackered after such an early start and long trip. I’m in one of a pair of twin beds, looking around this little room that will be my world for a few days. Here we go. Eventually I’ll be loose in Jersey. For now, patience.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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