The joys of travel are greatly overstated, even in normal times. During the pandemic, as we all know, it’s been a nightmare, mainly because of ever-changing and very crude rules and regulations.

At last, there are important relaxations on the way, and in this supposedly better time my wife and youngest son have chosen to travel to UK to visit friends after many months away. As I write, however, Storm Eunice threatens to scupper their plans and they may be going nowhere further than Nice Airport, despite the good intentions of EasyJet.

If the wind subsides in England, they’ll be off.

After a few days in UK they will head for Hungary, but that leg is overshadowed by the very strong likelihood of an invasion of Ukraine. Of course, any upset to their travel plans will be as nothing to the carnage and loss of life to be expected just one country further to the east, if the killer in the Kremlin makes the move I am convinced he will.

However, after such a long period it would seem churlish not to make a great effort to go back home, despite the challenges.
Mrs Daniels and Luke haven’t been to see their close family for almost three years, so, assuming all hell hasn’t broken loose and ATC systems aren’t down all over Europe, the visit will be a much-needed balm on the pain of separation. Three years ago Luke was a middle teenager, now he looks like a more civilised type of bouncer, if such a creature exists. My wife remains unchanged, as beautiful and as young as always.

Once they get to Budapest, fingers crossed, they will need to take a three and a half hour journey in a minibus to their final destination, which for security reasons I am forbidden to identify. The enterprising local transport operator calls its service Izijet, and if Sir Stelios is reading this no doubt he will sue them for breach of copyright, or “passing off,” of pretending to be EasyJet. I don’t know if their buses are painted a hideous orange.

Here in Western Europe we have all enjoyed several long decades of peace following the multiple almost unspeakable tragedies of the Second World War. Now, we are on the very brink of another huge conflict, starting on the fertile plains of Ukraine, now snow-covered, and historically the bread basket of Europe.

Here, Putin’s predecessor and apparent mentor, Josef Stalin, starved several million Ukrainians in the horror known as the Holodomor, one more crime against humanity in a conflict that saw so many.

In the second half of February we all carry on as normal. But what else can we do? We plan our family trips, visits to friends, but there is a huge shadow over Europe and the turbulence from the east is heading our way very soon.

FILE PHOTO: EasyJet, the real thing