Lock Down Hell (still going on) – week 4

Days 23-29 (Week 4).

Monday 6 April 2020- Day 23.

Easter week and the start of week 4. What does that mean?

Well thankfully Hubby’s Easter Bunny costume won’t be making an appearance this year to scare the natives. But we can crack open the Easter eggs. Actually the kids have already made a big dent in theirs over the weekend. I am now considering doing an Easter egg hunt (but with the added twist of no actual eggs) – reckon that’ll keep them occupied for hours (insert evil laugh).

In reality Easter is all a bit of a wash out this year. Semana Santa is one of the biggest tourism earners for Spain but this year the country is expected to see over €30bn in losses. A disaster economically for a country which relies so heavily on tourism via such events.

To depress you further I read an article today that said it’s doubtful kids will go back to school now until September. I can’t quite process that information without twitching coupled with the urge to just go to bed and cry. And once lock down is over, normal service will not be suddenly resumed. It’ll be a gradual process. Like a drip feed of methadone. Which we may all require by the time this is over.

Basically it’ll be akin to Susan’s post detox diet. If she re-introduces cake and G&Ts immediately she’ll be 2 stone heavier and drunk as a skunk by next Tuesday. Ration the booze and filter it with a smoothie, tofu and a slice of rye she might just avoid alcohol poisoning and hit her weight target by Christmas.

So big crowds will be off limits, a probable clamp down on large scale events, cinema, group activities or competitions….but we might be able to go out and exercise with social distancing in place whilst the kids could be let out of their cages and released back into the wild.

Stand well back when that happens. If there’s one thing kids have no understanding of it’s personal boundaries. And a giant bunny with a dry cough will be the least of your worries when a stampede of post apocalypse children emerge.


Tuesday 7 April 2020 – Day 24

Spain Coronavirus cases: 140,510. Deaths: 13,798. Recovered: 43,208

A quick trip out this morning to stock up on a few supplies as Thursday and Friday are bank holidays here. You heard it here first. Shops will be shut. There’ll be a stampede tomorrow.

Heard a man coughing in the detergent isle. Now he was probably reacting to the odor of bleach but either way everyone shot each other nervous glances and scuttled away. I wonder when restrictions are lifted such paranoia will continue. Will we all be neurotic about cleanliness and germs. Maybe we’ll all carry disinfectant spray guns and aim fire at anyone we think is unclean before they come too close.

“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers..”

Ten points for guessing what Carter and I watched last night .

This all time classic was after Carter and the kids took over the kitchen with a full on home economics class and pizza workshop. Sol just looked like he was making glue. But the end result was edible.
Part of the conversation included:

Luna: “oh cool Pete, you’ve put Italian music on too!”
Carter: “Yes because that’s where pizzas come from.”
Sol: “But we don’t know that though do we.”

Home schooling needs some attention next week.

Meanwhile bartering is back in fashion. Swapping produce is the new currency and I managed to trade some avos and oranges earlier for a bag of grout for the swimming pool. With the builders merchants shut at the moment it’s frustrating having jobs that need doing but no access to materials to do them with.

I’m not advocating black market operations here, but DIY materials are like face masks. Unobtainable. And a damn sight more valuable under the present circumstances than hard currency. So I have a small boy going for a large tub of emulsion if anyone wants to trade?


Wednesday 8 April 2020 – Day 25

Serious post alert.

Now I know I’m light-hearted in these posts – it’s a coping mechanism – that or I’d be a dribbling mess, well more of a dribbling mess. But I, like most of you: a) know people with the virus or suspected symptoms and b) have friends or family who work for the NHS.
I have heard first-hand how bloody awful it is in the hospitals and I can’t watch video reports without crying. I don’t know how the staff mentally and physically cope with such a huge pressure and demand on their somewhat undervalued and underpaid abilities.

Thankfully in Spain, due to the very strict restrictions put into place, the graphs seemed to have peaked and are now heading downwards in terms of number of cases and deaths. So, today’s official head count in Spain stands at 141,942 cases and just over 14,000 deaths. Scary figures but there are only (when I say only you know what I mean) 5,000 new cases per day compared to 8,000 in its peak. We are getting there…

So the message is: If you want results; if you want to give hospital staff a fighting chance to get on top of the patient overload and if you want the death rate to drop, then you need to take this seriously and STAY THE HELL AT HOME. Yes, go and exercise outside for an hour (UK folks), or go shopping or walk your dog, but don’t hang out with your mates at the park. Don’t meet up with friends for dog walks and don’t invite people over for lunch. It’s not a holiday.

Lock down is a shit state of affairs – but it’s a damn sight easier and safer than being a key worker at the moment and it’s a damn sight easier and safer than being hooked up to a ventilator facing the grim reaper. Sort it out and stay at home.

Public announcement over. Back to lock down antics in Casa Carter. I’m not sure what happened yesterday afternoon but we went on a baking spree from chocolate nests to mini cheesecakes to… sing along …. “One a penny. Two a penny. Hot Cross Buns.”

Although quite frankly I won’t be bothering making those again. They emerged more like rock buns. So Jamie, thanking you kindly for the recipe but having lost 2 hours of my life I won’t get back, trying to make dough rise, I’ve put this recipe in the ’”Far. Too. Much. Faff. For. Little. Reward” pile.


Thursday 9 April 2020- Day 26

Today’s thought pattern is about adaptation. How circumstances and situations enable us, or force us, to make changes and adjust to our new environment.
There are those who make the transformation to their altered circumstances easily. It’s like an inbuilt survival mechanism to respond to a situation as it unveils.

It is heart-warming and amazing to see companies reinvent themselves to help beat the Coronavirus crisis. From Sue sat at home making face masks from off cut material to Decathlon donating their stock of face snorkel masks for hospital use. Then there’s car manufacturer Seat who has developed a respirator with a wiper engine which is now being used in the hospitals. And the 350 hotels in the country now operating under the guise of ‘hotel-health’ providing a safe comfortable haven for nurses and doctors or freeing up beds in hospitals and containing the transmission of the virus. They’ve also donated left over food, and materials such as gloves and hygiene products. Stories about constructive and helpful acts is what keeps me afloat during these times.

And then there are others who don’t transpose well. Take Carter for example. Please take Carter.

This is what I had to witness during a Zoom chat with some girlfriends yesterday. Apologies to those who can never un-see this image. Easter will soon be over and normal service will be resumed.

Meanwhile for local people here, there is a fabulous lady on the coast called Kara. I have worked with her in the past doing the Christmas collections for the orphanages. She is now out every day with a team of helpers delivering food parcels to those in need. And there are lots.

If you have any spare cash and can donate there’s a link whilst Bancosol are taking cash donations to help food banks locally) and if you know of any families or individuals inland who are in desperate need of food then let me know. Some families have absolutely nothing. Not here to judge why. No-one should be hungry.


Friday 10 April 2020 – Day 27

Friday feeling today. And the sun is shining 

I am so loving the story of wild boars spotted venturing into the Spanish villages and the deer seen on the Ojen road down to Marbella. And the goats going on walkabout in the streets of Llandudno! Keeping us humans locked up is a step in the right direction for the planet – letting nature blossom.

On the subject of goats, I’m reminded of the Fainting Goats and I feel obliged to tell you a story.

So as legend has it the Jones side of the family (my mother’s side) has a history of fainting episodes. No known medical cause. They just faint. One minute they are vertical. The next Aunty Freda is on the floor.

My first real insight to this was when I was 16 and there was a big family party at the local pub and my mum’s dad (my grandad) was feeling a little queasy and went to get some fresh air. He fainted as he got to the main entrance, and his son (my uncle), rushed over to help him. My uncle took one look at my grandad slumped on the floor and suddenly he blacked out too.

So, there’s now 2 bodies sparko in the pub entrance. My grandad came to, saw my uncle comatose next to him, and he passed out again. My Uncle then came to, saw my grandad still out for the count, and…yes…you guessed it…he keeled over again.

In all this mayhem, which now included several people gathered around watching this mad circus, there were family members try to herd other ‘delicate’ relatives away from the scene with shouts of “keep Marge away or she’ll go” as they were shielded from the debacle in the doorway.
It was some time before an indirect family member had the bright idea to just separate the unconscious parties involved, thus solving the yoyo fainting episode.

I believed this delightful family trait had skipped a generation, unlike bunions, (but I digress), until one fateful day when Hubby was stung by a scorpion.

On this evening he’d got out of bed for a post midnight wee and in the darkness I heard him shout ‘OUCH’. I thought he’d stubbed his toe so paid no attention. Then I heard him yell ‘OUCH’ and then an almighty thud and a final ‘ARGHHHH OUCHHHH’. A scorpion had apparently stung him on his foot. He’d used his other foot to flick what he thought was a wasp off, so it stung him again on the other foot. With excruciating shooting pains now in both feet, he stumbled and toppled like a felled tree, which brings us to the third OUCH, as he managed to land on said Scorpion, which had saved just enough poison to strike him finally and triumphantly on his bare backside.

By the time I emerged from the bedroom to see what all the kerfuffle was about, Hubby was sprawled, butt naked, on the kitchen floor writhing around in agony. After locating the Scorpion, which had amazingly emerged alive if not somewhat dazed and a little stunned from underneath Hubby’s behind, I finished the blighter off with a shoe. But as I heralded my success with a Tarzan style roar, Hubby fainted.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the day I discovered I too am afflicted with the family fainting trait. And down I went like a proverbial sack of spuds.

Eventually when we both recovered, Hubby was packed off to A&E, where he received another poke in the behind with an antihistamine shot and some painkillers. Nasty things Scorpions. Fainting episodes. Even nastier.


Saturday 11 April 2020 – Day 28

Spain Coronavirus cases: 161,852 Deaths: 16,353 Recovered: 59,109

Another weekend in the garden which is a strong contender for the Chelsea Flower Show right now. Pruning, leaf raking and making home-made Pot Pourri with lemon and orange blossom. Hubby was packed off upstairs to paint the roof terrace whilst I did a stock check of the paint shelf.

Just finished watching a series called Russian Doll. If you haven’t seen it give it a go. It’s an 8 part series and really clever. It’s an American comedy about a young woman who is at her birthday party in New York. She dies during the evening, but gets caught up in a weird loop as she keeps returning to re-live the same night over and over and keeps dying at the end of each night.

That’s kind of what I’m currently feeling like on lock down. We wake up and go through a daily monologue of motions to fill and make use of our days with our routine, chores and activities, only to wake up and have to do it all again. And again. With the same result at the end of each day. There’s no escaping it.

Earlier I had a very weird momentary memory lapse after asking Hubby if he would be watching the football this afternoon. When he replied that obviously he wasn’t because there’s no sporting events on at the moment, I suddenly remembered why and it was like being sneezed on in Tescos, as I came crashing back down to Planet Covid-19.

On the plus side Spain’s number of new cases are dropping. It’s paying off. The restrictions are tough but it’s working. And apart from some eejits who still think it’s clever to be social butterflies, the majority of us need a big pat on the back (from a 2 metre distance with a glove on a pole. Obviously)


Sunday 12 April 2020 – Day 29

No need for a session with Joe Wicks this morning as I decided to clean the water tank. For those of you townies who have their water on tap, so to speak, you perhaps won’t be familiar with the concept of filling big deposit tanks with well water and having to clean said tanks on a regular basis unless you want to bathe in swamp water. It’s not a difficult job but involves some level of dexterity to get into the tank and then armed with a bucket you need to empty the last foot or so of water out of the tank which takes around three hundred thousand and thirty four, nine hundred and seventy four thousand bucket loads. Better than burpees.

Whilst that was going on son has tapped into survival mode. Not sure what world he is envisaging in his muddled mind but yesterday afternoon he took his pocket money savings and moved them from his wallet in his bedroom to a new hiding place in case the “robbers came for it”.

Today he announced he was learning Morse Code. And after tip tapping his way around the kitchen I finally sent him packing off into the roof with an app and a Snap Circuit set, which bizarrely has a button for such things. Who knew. He did however manage to set up a Morse Code type circuit complete with speaker (joy) and flashing light (double joy). If you suffer from epilepsy look away.

So ADHD tendencies coupled with Morse Code resulted in mummy heading for nervous breakdown so I retreated to the end of the garden for some therapeutic digging. Even the constant strimming noises from the neighbouring gardens is more pleasant than ‘dot dot dot -dash dash dash – dot dash dot dot’ (spells SOL didn’t you know!). Possibly SOS SOL is about as far as he’ll get. But perhaps that is all he’ll need before this is over.

Whilst gardening I came across son’s trainer he nailed to his climbing tree from about 8 years ago which I discovered makes a handy phone holder! Perhaps some things he does do turn out to be “Dash dash dash – dash dot dash.”

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