Lock down hell – week 10

Days 65-71 – week 10 – Phase 1

Monday 18 May 2020 – Day 65

Spain Coronavirus cases: 277,719. Deaths: 27,650. Recovered: 195,945

Happy Phase 1 day Malaga! This day may go down in history. Or at least on my ‘on this day’ memory slot! So how has everyone local marked the occasion? Did you dash out for a café sombra and a pitufo? Did you do anything different today or are you struggling with the onset of change?

Me? Well, daughter and I are heading out to get our hair cut this afternoon! Appointment for today by chance rather than planned. But works perfectly. Daughter last had her hair cut in December and I last went in February. Not that it has grown! But the grey needs attending to. I could be in lock down for 2 years and my hair wouldn’t get any longer. It is lank, lackluster and lifeless at the best of times. Bit like the frame it droops over.

I had a perm in the mid 80s to give it some body. The perm solution took so well that I emerged from the hairdressers looking like I had a blonde afro. The hairdresser was somewhat astounded by the voluminous transformation. In fact I think the word he muttered was ‘extraordinary’. He urged me not to touch it. So I got home. Cried for hours. And then took a comb to it to try and remove the tight crimps. Big mistake. I ended up looking like an electrocuted candy floss.

The Queen came to visit my home town around the same time (July 1987) to open the Crewe Heritage Centre and some friends and I gathered near Camm Street to watch the royal entourage go by. As they did the Queen nudged Prince Philip and pointed directly at me. My friends say she was acknowledging a boy scout stood in front of me cutely dib dib dibbing. But I swear to this day she was ridiculing my yellow fluffy halo and whispering: “Good lord Phil dearest, would you look at the utter abomination of that girl’s hair.”

Mortified I spent months trying to flatten the curls. I even wore hats in bed. I never had (actually I never needed) another perm again. This one lasted about 2 years.

There’s no photographic evidence as I think I refused to have my picture taken during that traumatic bad hair era which coincided with my delicate low self-esteem teen years. There’s never a pandemic lock down when you actually need one.

Anyway, other than a de-escalation haircut we spent a usual Monday doing work and school stuff. Hubby re-grouted the pool and then he and Sol decided to go to the barbers to also get haircuts. Well, Hubby got his beard trimmed in lieu of hair, whilst son got his disastrous DIY shearing we subjected him to a few weeks ago sorted out properly, so he is now presentable enough to emerge blinking into the world again, without being pointed at by passing royalty.

Funny how the little things can make you feel a bit more human. Time to tackle the body hair, white legs and flab that has appeared over confinement caused by far too many biscuits and lazy Netflix sessions.

Tuesday 19 May 2020 – Day 66

Surreal little jaunt out yesterday afternoon on day one of Phase one. Before our haircuts I needed to get some money from the bank. I’ve rarely been to the ATM during lock down and after two failed attempts due to a wrong pin number I gave up and had to drive all the way back home to find my paperwork. Memory loss is a key symptom of extended quarantine.

With that finally sorted daughter and I pootled off to the hairdresser. Sanitized and masked up it was a bit strange but nice to chat and be pampered and emerge looking and feeling somewhat more human.
It was weird to see a few bars open with clientele. For 2 months the town has been deserted so it now feels odd to see people out and about and sitting on the terraces having leisurely drinks – albeit spaced apart.

It feels a bit like we are no longer trapped in the Upside Down world and there’s no Demogorgons lurking in the shadows ready to pounce on us if we stay out too long or break curfew. It’s bright and tempting out there, but I feel on edge as if we could be pulled back into the alternate dimension at any time…because no one yet has shut the gate down completely.

Hubby and son tested the relaxed new world theory by bravely swinging into the ice cream parlour after their visit to the barber. They were unharmed in this experiment. And we are all seduced into some pretense of normality.
One thing that does not feel normal is mask wearing. I hate not being able to see people’s expressions, the mask makes me sweat and my glasses steam up. This is going to be fun if this continues into July and August. We’ll all be passing out from heat stroke. Apparently it’s now obligatory here in Spain to wear a mask in public spaces/on public transport etc. Bleurgghh. Personally I think if you are sensible with social distancing and wash your hands it’s not necessary. But them’s the rules as they say.

Anyway feeling like life was back on track somewhat I happened to see the gym taking appointments online! Wahooo I thought. Joe Wicks was kicked to the curb as I made an 8.30am appointment for this morning only to be met with a locked door. Seems they aren’t opening until phase 2. So back home to sulk and an apology to Joe who has been reinstated for the interim.

Meanwhile the kids and I scrubbed and mopped the pool of grout dust this afternoon. Which ended up in a wet cloth slapping fight. Of course it did. Sigh. But it’s almost ready. Thankfully the kids aren’t as demanding as they were when they were little with their ‘get the pool sorted’ subtle hint.

Wednesday 20 May 2020 – Day 67

Week 10 mid week round up. Apparently there are now 5 million coronavirus cases worldwide and 325,324 deaths worldwide. The US is at the top of the leader board with 1.5 million cases and 93,500 deaths. Russia is a close second with 308,700 cases but only 3,000 deaths whilst Spain is third with 278,800 cases and 27,778 deaths. The UK is fifth on the chart with 248,818 cases but actually has the second highest number of deaths (after the US) with 35,341.

Daily new deaths here are right down also – fingers crossed Phase 1 doesn’t affect this – and around 60 daily over the last few days and around 500 new cases daily.

Meanwhile as I mentioned yesterday, as from tomorrow, it will be obligatory to wear a mask when in public spaces where the 2m distance cannot be adhered to. And I’ve just seen how to use the darn thing correctly, which does actually make quite a bit of difference. Being hindered with a large nose I found the mask kept slipping off (ski slope style) so this video gives a demo on how to wear it correctly and also it helps prevent steamy glasses syndrome. Who knew? Here’s the video for your perusal.

I also see news that Coin will close the town centre of traffic from Thursday evening until Sunday. Great initiative. They do this in July and August anyway each weekend so the bars can put their tables and chairs out onto the roads making more space.

Not much to report today. Carter took Mik’s semi healed dislocated shoulder back to the osteopath in La Cala for some more manipulation. I worked. I shopped. I cooked.

Luna sent me a lovely photo she took earlier of one of the multitude of sparrows nest building in the space between the bamboo and terrace roof. Makes for a very messy noisy terrace but so sweet to see them gathering up dry grass and dog hair or fighting over the bird seed bowl . I’ve seen a couple of little baby birds on the deck which didn’t quite pass their first flight exam. But listening to the amount of chatter and watching the hive of activity there’s plenty more to emerge soon.

Thursday 21 May 2020 – Day 68

Officially losing the will to live with this whole distance learning set up with Sol. If I survive the next 4 weeks of the school term I deserve an intravenous shot of gin. For the entire summer.

I saw an article that kids might have to wear masks in school from September. Last night I thought how ridiculous. It’s not particularly healthy to wear a mask for long periods of time, especially when there’s no air conditioning in the school and it’s still hot in September/October. The kids won’t be able to cope, there will be anarchy in the playgrounds as they pull them off to chat to their friends and eat their bocadillos and I can see them being worn as headbands mostly or discarded in the streets on their way home.

By 11am this morning I thought, you can wrap my son up in cling film from head to toe, if it means he can go back to school.

Son took some his frustration of today out on his punch bag. I think he has a picture of my face pinned to it. As he did so I was reminded of this conversation a few years ago:

Son has been a bit grumpy since he came home from karate on Monday. The story I finally heard after asking him what was wrong went something like this.

“Well the girl, you know the one with the yellow belt. Not the one with the long hair, the other one, well she has got long hair, but different long, you know the one i mean, I can’t remember her name but the little one, well she was fighting me and she wasn’t ‘urghhhh yahhhhh’ing very hard. Not like this URGHHHH YAHHHHH. So I told her to ‘urghhhh yahhh’ harder, like this URGHHHHH YAHHHHHHH, and then you know what she did? She didn’t urghhhh yahhhhh but she punched me really hard right on the nose.

Meanwhile daughter has been online sorting out her future career plans and then they both sat and checked out houses to buy! As you do. Clearly I’ve driven them to the point of house hunting. At this rate they’ll have both moved out by the time Phase 3 arrives. If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic ….

Meanwhile summer has officially started at Casa Carter as the pool has been filled and our ‘quarantine’ terrace all prepared.

Friday 22 May 2020 – Day 69

It’s a New Moon tonight representing the end of one cycle and the beginning of another 28-day cycle. But this is the last moon phase of an eclipse cycle and last 2 weeks until the June 5 lunar eclipse. Apparently it is a time of energy and initiative. A time for making a fresh start or starting a new project or questioning old habits and behaviours. Recovery and Rebuilding are key words.

Sounds about right for most of us emerging out of lock down at the moment. Not too convinced energy or initiative are available in abundance in my world but the sentiment is nice.

But it is indeed time for fresh starts so bit of a different day today as Casa Carter officially re-opened its doors to that rare and elusive species – mankind. Sightings of such unfamiliar beasts have been scarce around these here parts for nigh on 2 months, bar the odd merchant who has passed by trading their wares via my outdoor bartering outlet (ie: on top of the washing machine). But I have, herewith, re-opened the portal and welcome those thus invited back into my homestead.

Wondered whether to hose down today’s guests on their way in and erect one of those foot baths we used to have to wade through as kids at the swimming pool to prevent verrucas.

Yeah bollocks to that. Instead I couldn’t wait to give my girlfriends a hug . It was quite emotional!

I was up early doors today cleaning and sweeping. Not in a sanitizing kind of way, just in a presentable kind of way. The house had kind of gone to the dogs over lock down, as with everyone home it’s like trying to pin jelly to a wall. Then I baked and cooked. Go me! I need a purpose it seems or I’m likely to drift around aimlessly. I have no idea where my son gets it from…

So this weekend is all about relaxation, chillaxing and enjoying the fruits of our labour over the last two months doing chores and DIY stuff most weekends. This afternoon involved tea, cake and chatting with a couple of girlfriends. Now if that isn’t the best reward after 2 months of confinement, I don’t know what is. Daughter has a couple of her friends over tonight. It’s been a full house – under 10 mind – within the guidelines.

Staying In is the new Going Out. Personally I’m in no rush to partake in the mad circus out there at the moment as the bars and cafes open their terraces. Not sure how true the reports are of drunk Brits causing fights on the coast, but those wombles could do well to remember this quote:

Saturday 23 May 2020 – Day 70

Feels almost like a ‘normal’ Saturday today. Trying not to be lulled into a false sense of security as there are still rules, regulations and a scary pandemic out there. But inside my perimeter all is well.

Some parts of Spain have moved up now to Phase 2. In fact most who completed their Phase 1 tour of duty have been given the green light. In Andalucia every region bar Malaga and Granada have moved up to Phase 2 with a few more sanctions. We have another week to complete in Phase 1 (two week increments minimum) but that’s fine. I think we all need to learn patience and self control.

When certain privileges are taken away it’s strange how you are suddenly grateful when small liberties are returned. It’s like being drip fed treats – like a dog learning to fetch and retrieve. Isn’t that how life works normally? Do a job well and be rewarded? Do a job even better and be given a pay rise? We humans seem to function quite well with this method.

Anyway talking of being rewarded…back at Casa Carter more entertaining today to treat ourselves. In small numbers – we are a little bit out of practice with this socialising lark so need to take it slowly or I’ll hyperventilate and get jaw ache!

This afternoon a couple we started lock down with came over for lunch. These friends invited us over the weekend just before lock down officially began and treated me to a birthday meal. We enjoyed our ‘last supper’ together and had a lovely evening so it seemed only seemed fitting that we marked our re-entry into social gathering with them too. And a very enjoyable afternoon it was too 🙂 Meanwhile son had his friend over today to balance out the socialising.

I realised this weekend how much I have missed these get-togethers with friends. In terms of timing, as summer begins, it feels about right to be doing such ‘garden parties’ again anyway as we often all hibernate during the winter months. It is going to be a very different summer this year and I’m hoping to embrace this rather than mourn what could have been.

Meanwhile I for one am learning how to appreciate the simpler things in life. I hope my kids have learnt a valuable lesson in all this too. It’s not about what you have in life. But who you have in your life.

Sunday 24 May 2020 – Day 71

Sunday. Day of R&R after a fairly full on couple of days entertaining. Time to wash up, clear up and put our feet up.

Sol has been busy with his playmate all day so he’s like a new child. Smiley happy people. Took them both for a river dog walk earlier – such a perfect day for it. Carter took himself off to the townhouse this afternoon for some musical rehearsal stuff and then more painting tomorrow.

Meanwhile Sanchez has announced that Spain will re-open the borders to international tourists from July. Although it’s extremely doubtful the usual 80 million will be flocking back this year, there may be just enough tourists to prevent some businesses going bankrupt and help the economy get back on its feet. It is predicted the domestic tourism market will boom this year whilst rural tourism is looking like a growing market.

The government has also announced the introduction of a minimum basic income scheme to help those families affected by the pandemic. Due to be launched in May it will be a permanent system to guarantee earnings for families with zero or low income. At the moment there is very little in terms of financial support for low income families and the lock down period has highlighted that there are many who have been struggling to survive with nothing and been heavily reliant on food parcels from social services or independents organising collections for families in need.

Unemployment is high in Spain anyway but it currently stands at 14.4 per cent. Figures rose by 300,000 in March and 283,000 in April and there’s been some protests about the government’s lack of action over unemployment during the crisis mostly stirred up by right wing VOX.

Anyway, party political broadcast over, I’m off to settle down with my two on the sofa to watch some more episodes of Home Before Dark – really enjoying this series and great for family viewing.

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