by Anita Graafland

This issue of our newsletter finds me on my way back to Amsterdam after well over two months in Cornwall. I wasn’t nervous this time, of course, as I didn’t expect the Border Force to be particularly interested in why I was returning to my own country. Vaccination requirements made for much longer queues than I’ve been used to, and I was glad I allowed for plenty of time, as travellers on the Paris train had to be squeezed in before the Amsterdam departure just to be able to catch their train. Meanwhile I had occasion to chat to several people in the queue, among them two middle-aged Dutch ladies who had been on a three-day London visit. They shared their dismay and astonishment at the barrage of questions they’d had to answer when going through customs on the way to London. “They even asked us what exactly we were going to visit while we were there,” they commented. “It’s like we’re visiting the States!”

Yes, that’s exactly what it is now; like visiting the States. That’s the reality of Brexit in a nutshell. Meanwhile, I’m already getting nervous about my next trip. I’ll be driving my Dutch car, as I want to bring over our daughter’s favourite chair and take mine back to Amsterdam. Plus which, I’ll be winterising the caravan and will be taking back all sorts of cushions, towels and net curtains, plus some artwork. What will the Border Force in Dover think of that, I wonder? And should I bring over cheese and sambal for my friends in Cornwall, or am I running the risk of seeing it all confiscated? Hmm, perhaps not spend the usual hundreds of euros, let’s first test the waters.

I do wonder how long it’ll take before I’ll feel comfortable in this new Brexit order.