Mrs Tin and I are not in Portugal.
This ought not be newsworthy. We are also not in Antarctica, Burkina Faso, or the express elevator in the United Nations Building. We are not in Bratislava, Medicine Hat, or the currently empty stadium of Accrington Stanley Football Club. The world, in fact, is made up almost entirely of places where we aren’t.
The thing about Portugal, though, is that it is where we should be.
This morning we should have got up at a ridiculous hour, since a holiday is not legally a holiday if it doesn’t so start. We should have checked that we had our passports, made our way to the car, checked that we had our passports, driven to Long-Term Parking, and checked that we had our passports. We should then have caught the courtesy bus to the terminal, where someone would have checked that we had our passports.
We should have gone on to catch a flight, been met at the airport, and should now be sitting in sun-loungers at our resort, wondering if two o’clock is too early for a beer.
We should be wearing shorts that scream “I’m on holiday”, whilst whispering apologetically “and my wearer is colour blind”.
We should be spending the coming week eating pasteis de nata, cozida à portuguesa, and dobrada, though perhaps not so much of the last one since it seems to be a tripe-and-bean stew. We should be drinking our way through the resort’s cellar of Vinho Tinto. Instead we’ll be eating sausage and chips and drinking our way through our fourth box of lockdown tea-bags.
While walking we should be staring in awe at lovely churches. Instead we’ll be glaring in ire at non-distancing joggers.
Because we will be out and walking around our home town, since I’m off anyway. Our company made those of us who had holidays booked take the days in any case, as otherwise all one thousand of us are going to try to be off during the same two weeks in September.
So here we are. No swimming pool. No local entertainers. No umbrella, neither shading us nor in our drink. Also no pub, no bookshop, no sport on telly.
And it’s just started to rain.