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Published: March 21st 2020
I am writing this blog from our lovely house in Spain, a country in lockdown because of COVID-19. These are my personal reflections and some of it may help people understand what it is like. Many of your are in similar situations and a large number of you are living in the UK which is doing its own thing.
If you had said to me that just about a month after leaving Mexico that we would be in lockdown in Spain then I would have said NEVER!
We got back from Mexico on 26th February and I scooted straight back to the UK for ten days, during which time got to have some great catch ups with friends, some quality family time and some serious abuela time with Finn.
As the news was emerging about the virus I remember thinking on 10th March, phew glad to be home in Spain. Last Friday we met a group of friends for a meal together just as the news was emerging that the restrictions in Spain might be tightened . Chris had a trip planned to the UK 17th to 24th March and with the prospect of being
in separate places amidst possible isolation Chris decided to cancel his trip. We got back to the village and had a glass of wine in the bar and news was emerging that Murcia was closing bars and restaurants. We wrongly assumed our little village would remain open.
Saturday morning brought the news that the bar and restaurant were both closed till further notice and that where possible we should stay in the house. By the end of Saturday there was a national directive that the whole of Spain would be on lockdown from 8am Monday.
So where are we now ? #MeQuedoEnCasa
This is the Spanish phrase, I'm staying in my house. For us it started last Saturday's so today is the beginning of day eight. It takes a bit of time to appreciate the rules but basically you can go out to get food, get medicines, attend hospital appointments and go to work.
However as with everything in Spain some of the rules seem hard to understand. If you do go out , for one of the allowed reasons, it is alone. So one person can do the shopping, following the rules about how many
allowed in the supermarket, keeping 1.5m apart. Only one person per car too, again if its the person you spend 24 hours a day with and he/she drives you to the supermarket and stays in the car, why not?
The good thing is you can just say outright, Keep your distance, no-one takes offence. On Saturday our usual fish man came and the “queue was four people in a square, each 1.5m apart and 1.5 metres from him. He was so tickled he took a photo! You are allowed to take your dog out, to do its business, but you can't go far but I could be fined for walking the same distance?
So how does it feel ? For us there are many positives. We live in a small quiet village, our house has stunning views and we have enough space to not get under each other's feet. We have a village shop and it is well stocked and the family who run it are doing an amazing job supplying us with fresh food. The van still comes round every morning with bread. We realise this is a very fortunate position to be in.
we been up to ? I must admit on the first day I felt completely at sea and just muddled through the day feeling frustrated that I couldn't go outside. I woke up on Sunday morning and thought two weeks of muddling wasn't an option so I spent half an hour planning, not a day by day plan but just a “Things to do" .
Things to do
Our house has 2 floors , on the ground floor there are 2 guest bedrooms, living room, dining room, utility room, bathroom, kitchen and corridor. Upstairs there is another bedroom, bathroom and living room. Its Saturday and I only have the kitchen and upstairs living room to do. Each room has had a thorough spring clean and all cupboards, drawers, wardrobes etc. sorted out. We spent half a day putting up pictures in the two guest bedroom after the decorating- last year. I am either lucky or sad, depending on your viewpoint, as I like housework and organising and tidying.
We have four terraces but no garden, a godsend usually but I would love to have somewhere outside to go and weed, potter, dig and plant.
The upstairs rear patio is a work in progress and Chris has ordered a BBQ on line. We might order the furniture too and finish it off.
Although at the minute it is hard to see beyond the lockdown it will end and life will develop a new normal. Given the global impact there will be airlines that go the journey and with less competition prices might rise. So we have been thinking about a big trip next year and we have a umber of ideas in the early stages. Chris is going to India in November/December and I am looking at options for a trip of my own.
Most people will have things , big and small, that they want to sort out and for me I have 11 years of photos from my travels that need a big sort out. Likewise with my blogs they are in different places and it is a good time to do it.
Some of you might remember that I am Secretary of our local walking group in Murcia and Jess, the president and I have both been travelling in early 2020. So there
are bits to catch up on and we have some time to think about the future. We can’t meet face to face but email and WhatsApp and phone calls will get us there.
About 6 years ago I started writing a book and I have two or three other rough ideas sketched out. I also have travel journals with a richness that is not always reflected in my blogs. I hope to make some progress with these over the coming weeks.
So what seems to have worked for us is to try and still have structure to the day. We get up have breakfast and put on our working clothes. We are usually working on different things and often one upstairs and the other down. We meet up for mid-morning tea or coffee and try to have that outside. Our upstairs front terrace has lovely comfy chairs and a coffee machine, a real godsend, it also has stunning views. We have lunch about two and then a bit more work in the afternoon. We try and shower and change for the evening and have a meal together about 7.30 pm. One of us walks to the shop each day to get what we need. I go to the van to have a chat with the neighbours at a distance.
I know the cleaning has helped keep me active this week nut as that will be finished today I have got a fitness app ready. I also have a fitball and bands from my Pilates class so will need to develop a routine.
As the weeks go on I know there are tougher times ahead, Spain is already thinking about extending the lockdown. I am desperate to go out and have a good walk but it might have to be up and down the terrace. There is always the chance one of us might be sick, although thankfully we don't have any long term conditions to worry about. The internet, social media both have there good and bad sides. Great for keeping in touch and sharing funny things but it can get to overload. So I am trying to limit how much news I watch and try and listen to music while I work .
I have found it hard watching some of the coverage, firstly the appalling behaviour of UK tourists on holiday in Spain as the lockdown was announced. I know it was their hard earned holiday but you have to respect the laws of the country. Secondly the scenes in the supermarkets in the UK, people just going crazy. Thirdly, the concept of social distancing as practised in the UK, no wonder they had to order places to close as people winged about not being able to go out. These are extraordinary times and everyone needs to embrace the need to contribute. It is Mother's day tomorrow in the UK and if people want to know what to do then the best thing is to stay at home. It is not just to protect your mother but many other people too. That shows more love than cards, chocolates or presents.
Till next time
PS The photos are a selection of my favourites
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