Lock down hell – week 9

Days 58-64 – week 9

Monday 11 May 2020 – Day 58

We are officially 2 months in lock down and week 9 begins – so here’s a brief overview of what’s happening with a Corona Stats Update. Brought to you by our sponsors Dettol.

Worldwide Coronavirus cases: 4.1m. Deaths: 283,878. Recovered: 1.49m
Spain Coronavirus cases: 264,663, Deaths: 26,621 Recovered: 176,439

Spain is definitely on a downward curve in terms of new cases and number of deaths. Spain is second in terms of number of cases after the US although the UK has more deaths than Italy and Spain.

Some regions (half of Spain) start Phase 1 today. I can’t bring myself to look at the list of what people in these regions are now permitted to do. It’s like being taken to the pub and being told you have to sit in the corner quietly and have tap water whilst everyone else sits at the bar chatting and knocking back white wine spritzers.
Let’s hope Phase 1 doesn’t send that curve back up or it’ll have detrimental effect on the rest of us stuck here in limbo land on Phase 0. We might never reach first base.

I have briefly seen images of bars setting out socially distant tables and chairs and also seen some ideas for roping off beach areas to socially distance sunbeds as an idea for the summer season. To be fair that’s not such a bad thing as personal boundaries don’t really exist in Spain. You can spread your towel on a deserted beach and if someone else comes along it’s guaranteed they’ll put their beach towel right next to you. If that was England we’d tut that someone else was already on the beach, sit as far away as possible and then apologise for turning up at all.

I remember having a rare adult only beach day with hubby several years ago. We hired two sunbeds outside a bar in Torremolinos and settled down with our G&Ts for some kid free relaxation. It was heavenly. Lunch time rolled by and the young lady on the sun bed right next to me suddenly sat up, cross legged and then systematically began to pluck her bikini line with a set of tweezers. And I was downwind. And so was my sandwich.

Anyway so what did Monday bring? Well hubby took the longest drive he’s done in two months and went to La Cala, with a friend (and an official note) to take said friend to the osteopath to get his dislocated shoulder put back in. I meanwhile went to the doctors to make an appointment to get my stitches taken out then a quick dash to the supermarket for post weekend supplies.

My fridge is a bit like Trump’s empty PPE cupboard. There’s no supplies and it’s someone else’s fault.
On that note, stay alert UK folks! Don’t go to work, but do go to work. Go out, but not out out. And continue to control that virus.


Tuesday 12 May 2020 – Day 59

So what began as a very wet day cleared but too wet and soggy to garden so attacked some cupboards this afternoon. What’s new today? Well Spain has announced that anyone arriving here from May 15th will have to undertake 14 day self-quarantine until end of State of Alarm. Not sure how the hell that will be monitored although clearly Spain is not expecting tourists here this year anyway.

It’s also apparently International Nurses Day so big shout out and a petition for a pay rise for any nurses out there. This profession was never on my careers list at school. I’d be like: “Amputated leg? Well you have another. Hop.”

Meanwhile I came across something I’d written down in 2014 when Sol was 7 years old.

  • Mummy: “What 3 things does mummy like doing?”
  • Sol: “Ummm do the garden, go to parties and bake cakes.”
  • Mummy: “What 3 things do I say a lot ?”
  • Sol: “I love you, Luna and Sol.”
  • Mummy: “So what 3 things does Pete like doing?”
  • Sol: “Oh he likes to watch Palace, visit his dad and snog you.

So during a dog walk yesterday I decided to see what answers he would give in 2020 to compare:

  • Mummy: “What 3 things do I like doing?”
  • Sol: “Is this a trick question?”
  • Mummy: “No. Just answer without thinking too much. I asked you these questions years ago I just want to see what you’d say now.”
  • Sol: “Oh. So it doesn’t matter if I get it wrong?”
  • Mummy: “There’s no right or wrong. Just what do I like doing?”
  • Sol: “Like right now?”
  • Mummy: “No not right now. All the time. Generally.”
  • Sol: “Errrrrrrr, you like writing stuff. Going swimming. Oh and Gardening. No hang on, not gardening because you moan it’s too hot sometimes. So hanging out with friends, the 2 Lou’s.”
  • Mummy: “And what about Pete. What 3 things does he like doing?”
  • Sol: “Watching football, listening to music and singing. And drinking beer.
  • Mummy: “Ok so 6 years later snogging me has been replaced by drinking beer! Another question what 3 things do I say a lot?”
  • Sol: “Sol.”
  • Mummy: “And? Another two?”
  • Sol: “errr Luna”
  • Mummy: “and what else?”
  • Sol: “NO, NOW!

Wednesday 13 May 2020 – Day 60

So 60 days in. Another important number. In numerology it’s considered to be a feminine number and extrovert. Extrovert? How is a number extrovert? Anyway it is the ‘mother’ number and symbolises nurturing and protection. The mission of number 60 is to create harmony in their environment.

Oh how I laughed at that one. Nurturing or harmonious is so not what I’m feeling right now. Especially after another battle of wits with child number 2. I bumped into my neighbour outside the supermarket today. Quick catch up and I apologised to her in case she’s heard me yelling at my children. Home schooling I said. She nodded sympathetically. She has a 21 year old bored son at home. She gets it.

It actually took me a while to figure out who she was initially. With masks on I’m finding it so difficult to recognise anyone. It’s also very disorientating and confusing not being able to see people’s reactions. Funny how vital facial expressions are in a conversation. As is touch. Being unable to kiss a friend hello is so inhibiting. In fact it’s rubbish.

So as you can tell I’ve been out, out this morning. Stitches removed. Still very tender. But healing. Super quiet at the health centre. Where are all the sick people? I don’t mean virus sick, I mean the full waiting rooms I am usually greeted with if I go to the doctors. It’s usually chaos. Are they all just well because they are not going out? Or ill and just not going to the doctors? Or are we just a nation of hypochondriacs?

Meanwhile I’ve just cancelled our upcoming trips this summer. Hubby and son were supposed to be over in the UK in June and then we were all booked to go to the UK at the end of July for a wedding. Such a shame but I have the credit for another time, probably next year at this rate.

Talking of trips. Another on this day in history photo. This was taken in May 1988 in the Ardèche in France whilst I was on a sports trip with college. Oddly I didn’t even do sports at college but my friend Shazzer did and there was space on the trip so I signed up. So here we are suited and booted for the 3rd or 4th day kayak canoe’ing on the river. It almost killed me that trip! I never canoe’d before. Or since I might add.


Thursday 14 May 2020 – Day 61

I’ve peaked too soon. In a lock down frenzy I washed everyone’s winter coats last week and gathered up dressing gowns and slippers and washed all them too. In fact if it was remotely winter season and not nailed down, it did not escape a quick hot wash and a spin before being packed away. Never done been so zealous in the past. Quarantine does strange things to you.

Winter duvets were stored whilst the leccy blanket came off (how I shall miss thee) and boots and wellies were boxed up and out came the sandals and flip flops.

Today we are all freezing.

Bloody weather. Make up your mind!

Quite a social day today. Had to pop out again. I’ve been in and out all week so far. Feels almost normal. This time an appointment with an insurance lady. Long story involving flood damage at the town house. And insurance companies who take your money but won’t cough up when you put in a valid claim.

That took most of the morning with one thing and another, so back home as hubby went off to do his few hours online teaching. We were like ships in the night. Or rather big barge boats navigating canal lock chambers.

Again almost felt like normality had resumed. Until I had to remind son about an art project he needed to finish and my utopian state evaporated and déjà vu kicked in as I remembered we are still here in the home schooling loop. And I’m like a broken record stuck on repeat. Someone change the tune.

This weekend would have been the Spanish National karate finals something he works so hard at all year to get to. Without karate he’s a little bit lost. He got his black belt in the summer last year – one of the youngest in the region. The club sorted special personalised belts from Japan a few months ago. Apparently they also last forever. It had better – could have flown there and got it myself for less.


Friday 15 May 2020 – Day 62

Spain Coronavirus cases: 274,367. Deaths: 27,459 Recovered: 188,967

Much anticipation today over the governmental meeting about whether those regions currently stuck in Phase 0 (like us here in Malaga) will proceed to the next level. The announcement is expected in a few hours. We should have a sweepstake. There’s even talk of a 0.5 phase for Madrid and Barcelona – a bit of a sweetener for those regions who are failing at the maths.

Bit weary today. Hubby had a sleepover at the townhouse last night so he could work and crack on with some sorting there. While the cat’s away the kids decided they’d like a sleepover with me. So after a cosy night on the sofa watching Frozen II (had to be done as we haven’t seen it but that’s 90 minutes I won’t ever get back) there were 3 cuddled up in bed. And the little one said….


I remember I used to sleep in with my mum when my dad worked away. My mum used to get up at 2am for work (milk lady) so my nan would be called in to stay over and she would sleep in my bed. I used to love sleeping in my parent’s bed. It felt so decadent and comfortable.

Daughter said much the same last night until around midnight when, as we all finally settled down after much giggling and messing about, son (piggy in the middle) got hot and started to fidget and wanted his legs out. Then in. Then out. You get the picture. After a heated sibling ‘debate’ about said Hokey Cokey movements, he decided he wanted to sleep on the sofa instead. Bonus I thought. If only the other one would want to leave to.

But no.

Daughter settled down mostly occupying the centre of the bed and apparently slept really well. “Did you mummy?”

Well darling after randomly being thumped in the head around 4am and then trying to deftly smuggle back just some residual scrap of cover from someone who managed to mummify themselves in the rest, I can safely say it wasn’t the best night.


Saturday 16 May 2020 – Day 63

Flurry of excitement this weekend due to Malaga being given the go-ahead yesterday to move up to Phase 1 of de-escalation. What does it mean? Well basically we can see friends/family (up to 10), bars can open their terraces 50% capacity, we can move out of town and around the province, shops can open (up to 400sq.m in size). Disappointingly still can’t apparently go to the beach for a walk and exercise time slots remain – so the 1km from house/1 hour rule. Bit odd. So you can meet 9 friends for beer but you can’t drive to the coast and walk along the sea front with your family.

Seems it’s mostly about getting businesses back open and money flowing. Makes sense I guess. Apparently 122,725 people in Malaga province alone were put on ERTE (furlough) by the end of April and more than 30,000 have still not received any money. So there’s a desperate need to kick start the economy again. However the onus is now down to us, as residents, to yes take advantage of the increased freedom but to be careful and sensible in doing so. Use your common sense. Basically don’t be a dick. We don’t want to a second wave.

This is not a return to ‘normality’. There is no ‘normal’ and won’t be for quite some time. There’s no re-boot button. It’s just lock down with frills. De-escalation has to be introduced because the government cannot keep people locked up forever. So it’s about a slow and steady re-introduction to help people return to work, to socialise and to enable businesses to re-open. There’s still 30 per cent of Spain still stuck in Phase 0. The virus hasn’t gone anywhere it’s just the figures have reduced so there are beds available in the hospitals.

Anyway public announcement over. Back at Casa Carter we emptied the pool ready to re-grout and re-fill this week. As I type I hear a rain storm coming in. Naturally :/ So to commiserate our wasted few hours draining, bucketing and mopping and to celebrate the start of Phase 1 we are ordering a curry take-away. How decadent. First meal not cooked by our fair hands in 2 months. Living life on the edge.

Meanwhile talking of my nan yesterday – it’s her birthday today. She made it to 96 last year and died 6 months later in the November. I am so glad I went back last May to see her and I’m also glad she isn’t alive to experience this shitstorm. The thought of her sitting at home with family unable to visit, which she relied on, would have been too sad. She was a tough old boot. But loneliness is also a killer.


Sunday 17 May 2020 – Day 64

I’m on my own, nowhere to roam. I tell you baby, don’t want no home. I wander round, feet off the ground. I even go from town to town

Terrace sorting today getting ready for the arrival of the heat next week. I will be prepared this time! Pool is still empty after the rain luckily somehow bypassed Coin yesterday.

Last night hubby and I enjoyed our ‘take-away curry and bottle of wine’ date night a-la-kitchen. It’s not a new venue. We’ve been there a lot over the last couple of months. Nice place. Food is reasonable. Service is a bit slow at times. And the staff can be rude. But we keep going back. Because it’s local and handy and we can walk home.

Anyway we later watched the Stan and Ollie movie and finished off Gangs of London. Thank God for that. Not my favourite series. Heading onto Human People next…which has been recommended.

Found out this morning that Phil May from the Pretty Things died on Friday. I met him once. At a little summer festival that used to be held up every year in the mountains about 60km inland from here in a little hamlet called El Cañuelo in Periana.

Arthur Brown would headline. What fire hazard? My friend Lynn and I went together a few years on the run in early 2000. One particular year started off badly when “I’ll drive and I know where I’m going” Lynn missed the turn-off and we ended up doing a four hour detour via the back of beyond to get there.

When we finally arrived she parked her van (all kitted out with mattress, blankets, curtains and incense) in prime position so she could view the stage from the comfort of her bed and instructed me to pitch my tent in front. The ground was a bit uneven and bumpy but this was dismissed with a flick of her hippy hand and a “don’t moan Kaz” attitude.

I later discovered I was pitched on an ant hill. Meanwhile a tornado arrived that night which meant I not only spent all night trying not to roll down the hillock I was lay on but my tent also collapsed on top of me, as one side gave up under 500 mph winds. Lynn apparently had the best nights sleep ever.

When I tapped on her van window early the following morning she commented how my hair was comically flying horizontal in the wind as I looked forlornly into her cosy van with bleary eyes and red welts on my skin from ground sheet burns and ant bites.


Anyway the night before during the actual festival, I mistakenly passed through the artists chill out zone trying to find the toilets. One of the musicians pulled me up about it in a “hey you girl, get out of our area, this is for musicians only” speech. I later found out it was Phil May from the Pretty Things.

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