Lock down hell – week 11

Days 72-78 – Week 11. Phase 1

Monday 25 May 2020 – Day 72

Spain Coronavirus cases: 282,852. Deaths: 28,752 Recovered: 196,958

Quick round up at the start of Week 11. Daily new cases around 500 mark daily and deaths around 50-70. There was a big jump on May 22 which is odd but it seems to have settled back down. Andalucia, except bad boys Malaga and Granada, move up to Phase 2 today.

There’s a slight change to the exercise regime. As from today (Phase 1 and 2) the whole family can now go for exercise together (rather than 1 adult and up to 3 kids) up to a maximum of 10 (phase 1) and 15 (phase 2). Time slots remain the same for us in Phase 1.

So we are all up and at it this morning. Kids are a bit lethargic after a busy weekend but it has now given me a whopping great carrot to dangle ready for next weekend. The threat of grounding has been re-installed once more. I have leverage so law and order is maintained.

Talking of law and order – clearly there’s one rule for one and one rule for others. Why do some think they are beyond the law or can flout it so blatantly. It makes the rest of us feel cheated. The ‘we are all in this together’ is quite simply a pile of tosh. The majority of us are in this together and are just getting on with it to enable the pandemic to ease.

Then there are those who deem themselves more self-important than us mere mortals, who are just merrily enjoying the Corona ride and bending the regulations for their own selfish purpose causing resentment and unrest among the rest of us. Highlighted recently by the Dominic Cummings fiasco. So many angry folks fed up with entitled selfish idiots. And rightly so. It’s unfair.

Meanwhile it’s time to put some effort in to get ready for summer. I’m thinking Beach Bod is a tad ambitious and as the beaches/pools are still closed then there’s little incentive to be honest.. Beached Whale is easily attainable although Body Presentable is the target. Must hide the biscuits. And the chocolate. And the cake.

Talking of presentable bodies, in reference to my blurb last Monday about my hairdresser visit – day 65 for those not paying attention. Yes, you at the back. Sit up straight and concentrate. I’ll be asking questions later.

Well I had mentioned my candyfloss perm back in the mid 80s but had no images of that time. Well my sister has ‘kindly’ sent me some photographs of my teen bad hair era which I reckon she’d kept for future bribery purposes.

So for those asking to see evidence of said disastrous perm I present Exhibit A herewith for your amusement and mockery. I don’t recall where it was taken although I do remember I loved that floral shirt!


Tuesday 26 May 2020 – Day 73

Back to the gym today. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. They have finally re-opened by appointment only. All very civilised and basically you book your time slot, turn up, sanitise your hands, have your temperature checked and on you go. Equipment has been spaced out more although with only 3 of us in early doors this morning, social distancing wasn’t really an issue.

Rushed around town afterwards doing a few jobs and then back home just in time to help Sol with his French homework. My favourite. Not. His pencil summed out my mental state today really well. And his judging by the effort he put in.

The 14-day quarantine rule for international tourists coming into Spain will be lifted from July 1st. Great news in terms of giving the tourism industry here some much needed resuscitation. I know my family have cancelled all their visits this year so it will be interesting to see if visitors will return this year. Hopefully some do. Spain is hugely reliant on the tourism market, which is the second biggest contributor to the economy after trade and responsible for 14 per cent of GDP. Around 83.7 million tourists visited last year and tourism is responsible for around 13 per cent of total employment.

I understand from someone returning to Spain there are temperature checks on entry and swab tests for those with a temperature. There are lots of sanitation regulations in place and it’s all being monitored and checked. So in theory opening up the borders again could work. In reality they can’t stay shut for much longer.

There’s still talk of Malaga and Granada moving up to Phase 2 to join the rest of Andalucia. There’s a push from businesses to make it easier for them. Many over 400sq.m can’t open fully yet until Phase 2. It almost ‘normal’ out there at the moment. I don’t feel naughty going out anymore. The mask wearing still feels very surreal coupled with the plastic screens up at various shops. It’s ‘normal’ with a slight hint of weird.


Wednesday 27 May 2020 – Day 74

A usual work/school day today. Son did an online karate class last night which has kick started him back into physical action. Thank god. I was about to rename him Kevin.

Hubby took the invalid back to La Cala for another osteopath appointment and then the boys went off to visit a friend this afternoon for a beer and long overdue catch up. So whilst they were out Luna and I invited Aunty Carol over for coffee and our own girly catch up. Perfect.

It’s the start of a National 10 day mourning period in Spain. One minute silence at midday each day to mark the loss of 27,000 lives to date.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing some research on Italy and got drawn into some articles on health workers. I think we here see Italy as our Covid big brother (having gone into lock down a week earlier than us and with similar protocols in place all round) so it’s interesting to see what’s happening there. Did you know at least 163 doctors and 40 nurses have died from CV-19 in Italy? Four of them took their own lives whilst 70% are suffering from burn out. The virus, which fueled adrenaline for health workers and kept them going during the peak, is now evaporating and has been replaced with depression, anxiety and exhaustion.

Back in Spain there were protests recently in Madrid to complain about the lack of PPE equipment and staff shortages. The protesters want the Madrid region to keep on the extra 10,000 staff hired to deal with the pandemic. Officials however have only guaranteed to keep the extra staff on until the end of the year. One-third of all Spain’s cases and deaths have been recorded in the capital, where the health system was on the verge of breaking down at the height of the crisis.
The virus hasn’t simply gone away. Or won’t simply go away. The health services worldwide will need a huge overhaul. These workers are not robots.

Talking of the medical profession. Physical Education teachers gave the kids a task of making a video demonstrating CPR today. Clearly these teachers had no idea what commotion that could cause between siblings. It’s a wonder they didn’t asphyxiate each other instead or break a rib. I thought it best to just leave them to it. Survival of the fittest and all that…


Thursday 28 May 2020 – Day 75

The inconvenience of Coronavirus #128 – going to the Ayuntamiento building this morning to renew my digital signature only to be met by a closed door with a notice to say an appointment is required. Sigh. Had forgotten all about the appointment malarkey for most things at the moment. Paperwork is a minefield here anyway without any added red tape.

So back home to sort appointment for another day to find kids sprawled on the sofa watching TV. The weekend seems to start on a Thursday during a pandemic lock down. It’s like a 3-day week in our house mostly. So had to go around and switch off all the appliances and technology and get the whip out again and beat them into homework mode. It’s not pleasant, but someone has to do it.

Meanwhile hubby was stopped on his way out yesterday by council workers at the end of our track dishing out free masks. How fantastic. Living in a rural area means we don’t get a postal service to our home and miss out on any distribution perks available in town. So nice to see they are trekking around the countryside and not forgotten us campo dwellers.

Years ago I lived in a little cortijo (hamlet) near Cartama and each day we were visited by the ‘bread van’ plus a weekly van selling fish and even a ‘100 peseta van’ (yes it was that long ago and way before the Chinese shops arrived). You never needed to leave the house! In fact my elderly neighbours, who had a little smallholding opposite (where we would take our jug for fresh cows milk each evening), rarely did. They lived off their land and the supply vans. Occasionally they dressed up in their finery to take their vintage Citroen 2CV to the local Sunday market to buy some extra veg or new socks and pants.

I loved that place. Except for the flood. We were only there 3 months when consistent heavy rains one winter caused the River Guadalhorce to burst its banks. We were woken around 4am with shouts of the ‘The river is rising’. I gathered my laptop, passport and the dogs and waited for the rescue boat to come, like I’d seen on the UK telly.

Clearly that wasn’t going to happen here, so half an hour later we abandoned our belongings and swam down the driveway to get to higher ground. The water level was about 1.5m high in places. We sat and had coffee with said neighbours, wet and cold, until the water level began to subside and it was safe to return.

It was an eventful night. The mud afterwards lasted for months. But, true to form, the bread van still came the next day. Life goes on.


Friday 29 May 2020 – Day 76

Awake again 7.30am. Got up did a Joe Wicks and then scuttled off to the supermarket and fruteria early to avoid the crowds. Home to find son had got up in the meantime but (apparently) had not seen my note (telling him to check for school work) and was re-watching Stranger Things. Sigh. I should glue the note to the TV next time.

Just the two of us at home today. Hubby is at the town house until tomorrow decorating and doing his hour online gig whilst daughter went off to her friend’s house yesterday for a sleepover.

She hasn’t seen these school friends since mid March when lock down began so it is nice to see her social life being resumed once again after a 2 month lull, even if she created a unexpected bottleneck for the bathroom yesterday in preparation. Wish when I’d bought the house, as a carefree young single lady, I’d considered the possibility that years later one bathroom would so not be adequate for a family of 4.

When I was a kid, we were blessed. We had two bathrooms – one upstairs we called: The Bathroom and another at the foot of the stairs entitled: The Downstairs Loo. Which basically belonged to my dad.

My nan I remember had an old terraced house with the original outdoor toilet and she would often make my sister and I use this when we were little, rather than trek through the house and up her treacherously steep stairs to the bathroom. To this day I’d rather tackle those stairs than be shut inside that freezing cold cobweb infested outdoor dunny.

If you are also a one bathroom family you will appreciate the obstacles we have to overcome some days if there’s a gridlock. We do have a spare toilet down in the caravan at the very bottom end of the garden, which we call: The Emergency Loo. And it has come in useful I can tell you if congestion builds up some mornings. If you see someone doing the 100m sprint to the end of our garden. Being chased by two excited dogs (NO! I’M NOT PLAYING CHASE!!) You know why.

Not sure who takes the longest in the bathroom – Hubby, who takes up residence with his kindle and a do not disturb sign; Daughter, who creates so much steam and product fog you need a mask to enter afterwards (handy that we now have some of those) or Son, who if he manages to sneak his phone in with him, could, quite literally, disappear in there for days. So much so he often has a trademark loo seat impression on his butt.

Me? Put it this way, if I see an open door I seize the opportunity and stealthily slink in there for a moment of peace. And a moment is usually all I get as invariably, right on cue, one of the kids will turn up to clean their teeth or hang up a towel.

Privacy is highly overrated anyway.


Saturday 30 May 2020 – Day 77

Leisurely morning. Until daughter got up and announced she was meeting her friends so then it was a mad dash to get sorted and out of the house. Kids. No concept of communicating vital information.

I ended up dropping her in town and for the first time in 12 weeks sat in a café and had my first Spanish coffee. I can only deduce that this caffeine rush resulted in my foolish decision which followed, wherein I suggested to son we take the bikes and cycle to his friend’s house.

Now as the crow flies it’s not that far. And a few weeks ago we had all discussed the possibility of the boys being able to visit each other via cycling using the river route to avoid the dangerous main road.

Said friend’s dad convinced me that a track ran along the side of the road for most of the way from his, which then joined a pathway along the river, which should in theory enable them to get between both houses without touching the road.

I reiterate the point IN THEORY. He hadn’t tested this premise. Clearly. Because half-way there as the midday 30º heat kicked in, I proposed to son that perhaps this idea wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, as there was no pathway along the river whatsoever and basically we were half cycling and half stumbling along a very dry, very rocky and very sandy riverbed. I advocated we abandon our quest and return home. Alive. But he wanted to continue. Usually I applaud persistence. Today was not one of those times.

Eventually we ended up having to carry/drag the bikes up the side of a very steep incline to get out of the river bed and ended up completing the last part of the journey cycling along the road we were trying to avoid in the first place.

An hour and a half later we finally arrived. I think I crawled the last few hundred metres looking pathetically like someone emerging from the Sahara after 3 days.

I got a lift back home. Cycling is not for me.

Son ended up staying over. Think he realised he might possibly be safer there than doing anything else I had planned for the day.


Sunday 31 May 2020 – Day 78

Lie in this morning. Because we can. Kids on sleepovers. Plus after yesterday’s Tour de Coin, the mind was willing but the body was weak.

I remember as a kid I cycled everywhere. To school and back most days and to my friend’s houses all over town. My racer bike was the best means of transport and far quicker than walking. Then when I lived in Australia I got a job about 10k from where we lived and as the boyfriend was using the car I bought a 2nd hand mountain bike and would cycle to work each day. In the Queensland heat. And in a very hilly suburb.

Anyway that was then. And this is now. And that particular adventure yesterday pretty much rendered me useless for the rest of the afternoon so Carter and I chilled out and later watched a couple of movies – Military Wives (very funny and feel good movie) and The Invisible Man (arghhhhhhhhhhh)

BBQ today. Just as a thunderstorm arrived overhead! Typical. Must be the Brit thing in us that sparks this unique weather front just as we light the BBQ. Rain arrived. Refreshing! But it did not dampen our afternoon of entertaining.

As the rules and regulations emerge for the beaches/pools the idea of a holiday at home is more appealing by the day. So decided if we were ‘staycationing’ this year then I’d treat us to a couple of new deckchairs. I find sunbathing really boring to be honest, unless I have to, which is usually when we take the kids to the beach or pool, but otherwise I rarely sit still long enough at home to lie down on a sun lounger. But it is a long summer this year. And I can think of worse places to be.

Plus the beer is cheap. And we don’t have to get up at 7am to put our towels on the sun loungers.


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