Part 1 – Switzerland to London
After 20 years I am leaving Switzerland, moving to the UK, Basel to Cornwall. This has been planned for a long time, before Christmas I gave in 3 months notice on my flat. My possessions have been sent to the new house over a week ago, leaving me living from a suitcase. Monday was house clearance and deep clean, Tuesday hand in the keys and hopefully get my deposit back, travel on Wednesday.
And then things happened, lock-down, everything closed, “necessary” travel only. Nothing I had planned for. The move was a juggernaut, it could not be stopped and it could not be speeded up.
Does moving home count as essential travel? I hope so, as otherwise I am homeless.
Monday night I got an e-mail, my flight on Wednesday was cancelled. Normally there are up to 4 Easyjet flights flights per day to assorted London airports, plus Manchester, plus multiple BA to Heathrow. People travel back and forth changing plans at less than a day’s notice. Not any longer, all Easyjet flights were now cancelled until one on Saturday. Not just Basel, also Zürich and Geneva to anywhere in the UK, all cancelled. I found a BA flight Thursday (one day later, nothing on Wednesday), so I bought that and added an extra night in the hotel.
Got a hotel in London overnight for an unbelievable £49!
Today I got to the airport, weird, empty. The videos showed 45 flights, all cancelled bar 2, luckily one was mine. Sitting in the departure lounge, I got an E-mail from Easyjet, the Saturday flight had been cancelled, I made the correct choice in buying another ticket from BA for today. The flight was very empty, about 20 people, one person every 3-4 rows of seats.
I spoke to an Australian in the departure lounge (from a suitable distance). He arrived beginning of March for an extended holiday. He was trying to get home, he had got a Qantas flight from Heathrow that evening. The flight time had been changed multiple times, he was now trying to get to Heathrow in time.
Heathrow was equally deserted, I walked straight up to an empty passport e-gate, nobody in front of me. Amazingly there were no health checks on arrival, nobody saying what the rules were, no leaflets. Just walked out as per normal, except very few people.
The tube was equally empty. Some stations have been closed. I was the only person on the platform at Piccadilly Circus station. The train had only 3 people in my carriage, including me.
London is empty. Normally you see a red bus stuck in a traffic jam. Now you see a red bus a long way away, with only one or two cars. People are crossing the road on a red light, because there are no cars and it is pointless to wait.
Tomorrow train to Cornwall. I have tickets and as of today it is running. When I get to the house I will have to unpack bedding, buy food. I also need to buy stuff for the house: fridge, washing machine, shower gel and other stuff you normally buy rarely. I had planned to get all that in the first few days, how do I get that with all the shops closed?
Part 2 might be a bit delayed, the house does not yet have internet.
P.S. Feels like I am in a bad disaster film ☺