Lock down hell – week 14

Days 93-100 – week 14 – Phase 3

Monday 15 June 2020 – Day 93

Worldwide Coronavirus cases: 8,013,963 Deaths: 435,988 Recovered: 4,137,614

Spain Coronavirus cases: 291,008 Deaths: 27,136

Welcome to the 14th and final week of life in lock down. I say lock down. We aren’t really in lock down anymore, but I have no idea what to call it. De-escalation I guess. The virus is still out there – 3,263 new deaths daily around the world and 120,000 new cases.
At the moment all areas of Spain (70%) are now in Phase Three with the exception of Madrid, Barcelona (and metropolitan areas), Lleida and parts of Castilla y León. As from next Monday the ‘new normal’ begins.

It is also the last week of school. Rejoice. And I think parents and children all over the country are literally crawling towards that particular deadline when we can cast the shackles off and unplug our children from technology and release ourselves from that painful daily routine of parent/teacher mode. Which I might add is NOT a good combination. Unless you are a teacher who is a parent. Then you might be good at it. If you are not, like me, then you are probably completely useless at it and have now got alopecia and a sore throat. Mind you there seems to be very little work filtering through the online app today. Teachers are probably in their pyjamas and on the gin already. Can’t blame them. I have a crate on order.

Daughter went off to her friends today for a birthday gathering. Apparently you can’t say ‘party’ or ‘play’ anymore once they hit their teens. You have to say ‘gathering’ or ‘hangout’.

To-may-to. To-mah-to.

Meanwhile hubby and I watched the Epstein documentary recently. It’s eye opening. There are so many more influential people still out there to bring down. The #MeToo campaign highlighted the unbelievable numbers of women who have been violated in some form or other throughout their lives. In my much younger days I’ve been flashed at; had my crotch grabbed by a man at a work related event whilst I had drinks in my hands and I’ve been groped by some weirdo who thought it was ok to sneak into a campsite filled with teens on a college trip to France and lie on top on me when I was asleep.

You think at the time – well no harm was done; it was a one off, they were drunk; I won’t make a fuss. As an adult you know what you should have done is string them up and mince their family jewels into pulp. We need to teach our girls and boys, at a young age, that this type of behaviour is not acceptable. And teach them how to recognise the signs and how to respond.

Here’s a prime example: This big brute is in my face right at this moment. He has slobbered on me and been heavy breathing and licked my ear. He has zero social distancing or personal boundary awareness and will not take ‘NO’ for an answer


Tuesday 16 June 2020 – Day 94

Temperatures beginning to rise. It’s been a slower start to summer this year. Thank goodness. I could live with spring temperatures all year round, whereas the summer heat is a bit of a killer. I wrote this a couple of years ago and it’s still apt:

You know it’s summer in Spain when :

  • 1. You basically have 2 butter options – either pouring it onto your bread or stabbing and digging it out.
  • 2. Walking around in a bikini or pants at home is the norm.
  • 3. You linger for ages over the freezer section in the supermarket not because you are even contemplating buying anything frozen (because it won’t make it home before it defrosts and partly cooks itself) but because it just feels nice.
  • 4. Make-up and hairstyles are a thing of the past until October or thereabouts.
  • 5. The kids replace a shower or a bath with jumping in the pool. And consider that sufficient. Who are you to argue?
  • 6. You greet everyone with a humpfff, a flapping of clothing and “Que calor!”.
  • 7. You drink so much water your kidneys don’t know what’s hit them.
  • 8. You live on salads not because it’s healthy but because the thought of putting the oven on to cook is just too much.
  • 9. You burn your thighs on the car seat after leaving it parked out in the sun for more than 30 seconds.
  • 10. You leave pants and socks in the washing basket instead of hanging them out. Seriously what’s the point?!

Meanwhile daughter returned from ‘hanging out’ with some of her school friends and of course is now grumpy and tired. In fact she was extra grumpy due to the fact her phone had been randomly blocked. Son’s did similar the other week. So mummy to the rescue. Just call me Tech Support. And all is well again in her world…..and therefore ours.

For those of us who remember ‘3 rings’ from a designated pay phone to get our dad’s to come pick us up please remind my daughter that life will not and does not end without a phone.It just makes life easier.

I’ve just been reading about the new cases in Beijing and reintroducing lock down measures. The thought of going through that all again fills me with dread. The Chinese capital has reported 36 new Covid-19 cases bringing the total to 79 since a locally transmitted infection was reported on Friday for the first time in two months. Once again around a wholesale food market. Before this Beijing had only recorded 420 local infections and 9 deaths.

I’m two thirds the way through the Hot Zone book. It’s compelling and repulsive reading at the same time. I can’t put it down and yet another part of me shudders. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. It’s put a whole new spin on viruses/diseases and how they spread and what they can do. Scary. If Coronavirus doesn’t wipe out the human race, I reckon one day something, quite easily, might.


Wednesday 17 June 2020 – Day 95

So it seems we have uninvited guests who have recently moved into our caravan area at the end of the garden.

I might love nature. Mostly. But some things are better at a distance rather than close up. For example creepy crawlies and rodents. There’s a rule. You live outside. I live inside. Social distancing please. And not too near my house. Preferably where I can’t see you.

Anyway the caravan is used as a spare bedroom mostly for kids and their friends. I happened to pop down there to grab some bedding from the inside when I noticed something moving trapped (or nesting?) between the window and the outside shutter. When I looked a bit closer there was a family of baby rats, about 5 or 6 I reckon.

The fruit rats like to feed on the avocados and are actually quite cute. But I don’t want to see them.I certainly don’t want them setting up home. So task of the day was evicting the squatters. Joy. I get all the good jobs. Except Shit Job Sunday. Which I reserve especially for Carter. Because I like to share. I’m good like that.

It’s not the first time I’ve had unwelcome visitors. I remember when the kids were very small I had a huge fully grown fruit rat actually come into the house. I freaked. I had 2 kids in my arms. So I managed to corner it in one room and then threw the cat in there to sort it out. The cat took one look at the beast and bolted. Another time I once woke up in the middle of the night and heard a noise coming from the side of the bed. There was a huge toad in my bedroom!

But enough about my ex. Boom Boom.

Other than that dramatic interlude today passed quite pleasantly. Out this afternoon to drop kids in town. Son went to karate and is having a boys night with hubby and his friend at the townhouse watching the footy and having a curry. Also had a chat with my mum today and was reminded of this when son was little:

Sol: “Mummy who was the first person ever in the world?”

Mummy: “I don’t know who do you think it was?”

Sol: “I know who it was!…Shall I tell you?…. It was (whispers) Farmer Christmas.”

Mummy: “ooooh yes maybe it was.”

Sol: “Or Nanna.


Thursday 18 June 2020 – Day 96

Collected son from his sleepover in town this morning. Then back home to do a clean up. I do sometimes wonder what’s the point of house cleaning, when everyone still lives here. It’s like raking leaves in Autumn.

Anyway, it was all hands on deck and sent to the kids off to sort their bedrooms. Well I say all hands. Daughter is at one end of the spectrum. She swept, she mopped, she had a wardrobe sort out, cleared out under her bed and re-arranged her cupboards. Son lay on the bed, did some juggling, checked his phone, lay back down (because life is soooo exhausting) then asked me what he was supposed to be doing. He even manages to do nothing in the pool.

This conversation from a few years ago springs to mind.

In the car yesterday driving home from coast.
Mummy: “Ohhh look BeerFest in June.”
Sol: “Oh yes! Let’s go Pete.”
Pete. “Ok but you’re driving.”
Sol: “I can’t drive yet!”
Mummy: “ You will be able to in 10 years time.”
Luna: “I can’t wait to have my own car and my own house.”
Pete: “Me too.”
Mummy: “Then we’ll come to your house and lie all over your sofa.”
Pete: “And watch what WE want on the TV.”
Mummy: “And say we’re hungry and demand food then say we don’t like it.”
Pete: “And leave our shoes and socks all over the floor.”
Mummy: “And say ‘ughhhh’ when you ask us to help with the chores.”
Luna: (laughing nervously) “ha ha. I won’t mind.”
Big Pause………
3 minutes later.
Sol: “I’m not going to have kids.”

Meanwhile went to check on our squatter situation and the buggers have returned and re-instated themselves back in the window gap. I was anticipating they might. Mind you I watched them today (from inside) so I have now figured out where they are getting in – the missing wood panel is their gateway into the portal between the window and shutter. Which can be fixed thus preventing them getting in. I think.

I really don’t want to put any traps down. Quite happy to live in harmony if they just bugger off to another part of the garden. Go nest in a tree or in a hole in the ground. Will sort that one with hubby when we get an hour or so spare. Suddenly there aren’t enough hours in the day again as life returns to normal busy-mode.


Saturday 27 June 2020 – Day 98

A morning of sorting today in the garden followed by a plunge in the pool. Must be getting hot to get me in there as it’s still a tad fresh.

Summer solstice today. When the sun reaches its highest and most northern point in the sky marking the start of summer for us in the northern hemisphere. So longest day and shortest night.
Here is Spain the sun will set tonight at 9.48pm. Traditionally this is a time of new beginnings. Which is very apt at the moment.

Basically what this really means is there’s zero hope of getting kids to bed now anytime before midnight as they switch into summer holiday mode and turn into vampires. Never emerging from their pits until at least midday and that’s just to feed and slouch around until the evening when they suddenly liven up to go out hunting, swimming and playing as the sun sets. Our body clocks are turned upside down and inside out. We are ruled for the next couple of months by the heat and sunshine.

In pagan times the holiday was known as Litha and it is all about embracing the sun and its power. Here in Spain this is something we have little choice over.

To this day, the Brit in me still wants to go to bed some nights just as everyone else is venturing out to eat and the old dears drag their chairs out into the street to sit and talk until the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile an update on Ratgate: I mentioned to a friend how all my sunflower seeds had been eaten. I assumed birds. She said: “rats like nuts.” Dohhhh. Fear in my over zealous lock down plantation of flowers to keep the birds, bees and butterflies fed, I may have inadvertently created a paradise for rodents in my garden with fresh food on tap and safe haven housing.

I am actually growing quite fond of them (looking at them through the window is like looking at animals in a pet shop – secure behind glass) as they snuggle up together. Saying that I’ve not seen fully grown Mama or Papa Rat yet. Carter says we can’t keep them. Or we’ll be overrun. He has a point.

So we (I say we, by that I mean I stayed well away this time as hubby was here) propped the shutter open and off they scuttled again. Hopefully this will mean they’ll be forced to find new accommodation. This rent free apartment is now off limits. Time to build your own condo tree house guys. If not, more drastic measures may be taken.


Sunday 21 June 2020 – Day 99

Today is the end. And the beginning. Today is about celebrating.

Firstly as the 3 month State of Alarm was dissolved at midnight last night it is the end of the de-escalation of lock down. And so it seems appropriate to have a gathering at Casa Carter. Because we can. And for so long we couldn’t.

Second – it is our friend’s birthday and he so deserves a BBQ and beer.

Third – it is UK Father’s Day so although I can’t see my dad for a while, hubby on the other hand is getting a steak. A rare treat. Although he’s cooking it, but one cannot have everything. I shall float around with a glass of wine and make salads.

Fourth – it is officially summer. And with a ‘new normal’ in place or whatever you wish to call it, this is going to be a different summer entirely. Embracing something unusual or diverse is perhaps what we actually need, even if it’s not what we want.

Fifth – there’s a new moon and a solar eclipse tonight. Only partially visible here. And at some god forsaken hour. But we’ll take it. It’s called the Ring of Fire which reminds me of Arthur Brown. Or the morning after a Madras the night before.

And finally sixth – the 12 week long school summer holidays start next week. And for those of you out there who have shouldered this home schooling burden I know you will join me in the utter relief this brings.

And so the timing seems fitting as we emerge out of this ordeal/adventure/nightmare/learning curve – whatever you would like to label it. And with synchronicity at play today I am concentrating on the many reasons to be grateful.

As from today there are still some restrictions in place and each region will make their own rules. Apparently in Andalucia bar terraces can now open at full capacity and 75% inside. Hotels and tourist accommodation may occupy 50% of their capacity for communal areas. Funerals can have 70 people maximum outdoors and 30 in closed spaces. Cinemas and theatres can have 65% of capacity. Open Air concerts can be held but with a maximum 1500 people. Masks are still mandatory and social distancing where possible. These restrictions will be eased if things go well or pulled back if not.

I don’t think for one minute believe this pandemic situation has ended or will end any time soon. And judging by the mentality of many out there if this doesn’t spike it’ll be a miracle. This whole scenario is an ongoing saga that will unfold and play out like some badly written low budget B movie.

But I need to stop boring you all to death and free up some time. But thank you for reading, liking, laughing or commenting. You’ve kept me sane. And I appreciate the support. This is me signing off. Please stack your chairs in a neat pile in the corner, wash out your tea and coffee mugs, Edna will bicarb the strains next week. Please put the biscuits back in the Tupperware , we don’t want ants or rodents. I have enough on my plate with those already at the moment. Thank you Susan for the Custard Creams and Hob Nobs. Wash your hands and stay safe and please lock up on your way out. Group virtual hug. Over and Out.

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