House Arrest in Spain – Day 24

house view

Yet another twist to the Covid-19 story, as if it wasn’t dramatic enough – we were finally getting into watching a half reasonable programme on the TV last night (non-Covid-19) and the news flashed up that Boris Johnson is now in intensive care. Bloody Hell. Not only that, but there was then, and has been through the night, a lot of twittering that the PM’s office knew how unwell he was but kept it quiet, whilst Russia’s media were already talking about it on Sunday evening… have I got stuck in some weird dream where I am a Russian spy locked away in Spain and getting ready to fight the an unknown enemy (although that is a fairly standard dream, now I come to think of it)… ? russian spyI’m starting to get very worried about the next twist in the UK story… although… Dominic Raab as the stand-in? The biggest supporter of dismantling the NHS… (and half Czech to boot!) – that could take some beating…

Then, just as we were watching the Boris news breaking out, my tennis coach sent me a vitek at home!photo of his courts in Prague, with a note that he and they are waiting for me, and if I can get there, we can play today!! For God’s sake! What IS going on? Is it April Fools?  No. We’ve had that (and are living it by all accounts).  Unfortunately, of course, I cannot get there today, and frankly at the moment I wonder if I can still actually hit a tennis ball (tennis is a funny old game.. even after playing it for hundreds of years, if I go longer than about three days without hitting a ball I turn into a maniac on the court). Sadly I am not about to find out, but amazing and great news that the CR is already starting to relax its lockdown (first to do it early, first to stop!).  Let’s hope it is the right decision.  Spaintennis courts also continues to improve, so it may be that I will be able to get out on court sooner than a plane arriving to take us back to Prague…

So, anyway, that was last night. This morning I was up again quite early, partly as my brain even when asleep wanted to check on the situation with Boris, and partly as the weather forecast for today was particularly good. As I had quite a few messages about yesterday’s blog, I started with answering those – actually this is probably a good time to say THANK YOU to everyone that is reading it (I can’t quite believe how many!) and commenting/liking/calling… and sorry if I haven’t said it or responded properly… I am reading everything though, and getting spurred on each day to keep writing it! I even had a message last night from one of the first ladies that I ever employed (that was never the plan, but apart from two guys who were gay, and one that was debateable, I only ever had ladies working for me in nearly 30 years – fear, I suppose) who said that she always remembers me going on about ‘big potatoes’ and wondering what I meant… so that was great!

Jan was lying low most of the morning; partly, I think, in a bit of a black fog as the Czech situation seems to be so much better than here, partly as the weather was not yet as good as it was supposed to be, and partly as his Blackberry (yes, he is the one that keeps Blackberry in business) wasn’t working properly. Which, apart from the possibility of getting sick (any old sick…. not just CV-19, as mentioned before), is our biggest fear – what if our phones stop working??!!! How awful it is that we have all become so dependent on them. It would also, sadly, have been his mother’s birthday today, so that was sad for him (although we both agree that if our mothers were alive right now, what a huge stress that would be (his in Prague, mine in the UK, both would have been well into their 90s….).

By lunchtime, though, the sun started to come out in more ways than one, I had spoken to various friends and done a bit of work, and it was time to get biking (in my case) and running around in circles (in Jan’s). I must say, sitting on an exercise bike for nearly an hour must be one of the most boring activities ever invented (in my humble opinion, ranking well up there with watching water drain out of the pool (again today, and no we don’t have a cover (someone asked, thank you)), running up and down the garden, and watching news for what seems like 24 hours a day. Oh, and taking the rubbish to the bin at the end of the road, although that does have its moments – I bumped into one of our neighbours (not literally, of course, as I had my 2 metre stick with me 😊) the other evening and spoke to a DIFFERENT PERSON, which was exciting).

But it does give a lot of time for thinking and singing. So that’s good. And today on the bike I was pondering our neighbours as it is so weird to know that people are living around us but never actually seeing or speaking to them, especially when some are our friends (plus they can maybe hear my singing and may not want to be friends again).  I am sure, though, that if we ever all get out of here, there is going to be one Hell of a party!

Not too much to report in the afternoon; a bit of TV watching (and still getting very irritated, of course), a bit of messaging and a bit of working. Plus no supermarket today as we stocked up yesterday and, frankly, that walk is getting awfully boring! And then the evening and dinner loomed and the big question of booze or no booze (I just managed it last night… but a challenge.. Not one that Jan is ready to take yet…). So that was our 24th day. Only another 18 to go….!!

palm tree on beach


 

House Arrest – Day 23

house view

As someone said when this whole CV-19 thing started to get going – ‘you couldn’t write a book about it if you tried, as no-one would believe it. So the story got even more surreal last night, with the news that the British PM who, according to ‘Hand-on-cock’ yesterday, was ‘doing just fine’, is now in hospital. Don’t get me wrong, we, and most of our friends, are fairly anti-Boris Johnson, but still…. It was a sobering thought to go to bed with.

bj

I think that this must have been playing on my mind, as I woke up early again (yesterday must have been a one-off) and annoyed myself immediately by doing my morning weigh-in and finding that, based on my reading last Monday (I try to ignore all the others in between and only ‘log’ it on a weekly basis) I have put on 1.5 kilos. Which is really bloody annoying and whipped me straight into a frenzy of early morning exercising.

(It could, though, be a blip, as our neighbours (the ones we shop for) sent a message yesterday afternoon that they had left a present for us outside our gate, and this turned out to be a plate of my absolute favourite Peruvian (and super high calorie) delicacies (she is a fantastic cook), most of which I scoffed before I even got them back to the kitchen. And then, needless to say, quaffing a bit too much red wine during the evening of news-watching and all that drama and there we are. So alcohol is now OUT for the next few days. Oh God…)

So first off this morning were a few facial exercises aka Rostya to get started, then a short Bollywood dance routine to warm up and then my 7 App … all before Jan was even awake!  That was followed by a few calls and messages (it being Monday.. as if it matters!), then social media trolling and then I was off and out to the supermarket.

Speaking to one of our friends in the UK along the way (on the phone, obviously), we both agreed that what is going on there is a bit ridiculous (don’t get me wrong… I was not always a fan of lockdown and still have occasional mixed feelings, but I do feel that it either has to be done properly, or not done at all – at the moment, in the UK, it is a bit ‘half cock’ (apologies to non-native English speakers.. that is not what it sounds like…)).

Anyway, what seems to be happening in London, is enough lockdown to affect people’s jobs, the economy, and a certain amount of freedom (which is what a lot of people are fighting against), but not enough to really stop the spread of the disease… I suppose the numbers and time will tell. My friend told me that she had fallen out with one of her best friends as they had been going out and partying quite a lot during the ‘lockdown’, whilst she is staying put inside and her husband (who is high-risk) cannot go out at all. So it seems a bit unfair. We agreed that this virus will have as much effect on people’s relationships as Brexit…. Incidentally, she also told me about her daughter’s lockdown in Dubai, where they need a timed permit to leave the house (and then only to the supermarket)  – see below:

dubai codeI pondered this general ‘lockdown imbalance’ on my march to the Spanish supermarket, at the same time observing that there were way more cars on the road today (people starting to get fed up?), and a lot more police cars. One coming towards me whilst I was walking in the most deserted part of the road slowed right down as it got close so I figured I was in for some interrogation, but then they suddenly sped up and disappeared. I suppose they saw the blonde [very] flowing locks from a distance, slowed to take a better look and then got scared off as they got closer. Not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.

But, anyway, this lockdown imbalance thing. I spent a good part of yesterday twittering away about the lockdown here (how tough it is) and saying that if the UK wanted to see a quick improvement in their numbers, people should shut up complaining (and breaking the lock-down rules). I did wonder if part of my annoyance is due to my slight jealousy that everyone has it much easier than we do in the Spain… but that is not really my thing.

Generally, I think that the Czechs are better behaved than the Brits and will accept authority (from the old times), but they also think that everything is better in the CR than elsewhere anyway, so the fact that the numbers are so low there is probably just another sign of their own general superiority, rather than any particular effort on anyone’s part. Apologies.. just saying… 😊. Plus they are very creative – so they have already come up with quite a few possible solutions to facemasks, ventilators, etc – fantastic – but are also good at looking as if they are abiding by the rules and have found clever ways to get around them!!

The Brits, on the other hand,  think that they themselves are generally better than anyone else (hence Brexit), so whilst lockdown might work for other countries, they fight against it because (and I just heard this on the TV and shouted straight back) – Brits like to go out in the sun, and love to exercise (what…?? and the Spanish don’t (or the Czechs for that matter!)… So whilst this lockdown business might work for others, it won’t work for us superior Brits… we won the war and all that, and we won’t be defeated by some bloody virus…

And then the Spanish – well, from what I see on the Spanish Facebook pages and hear from our friends, most of them are so terrified of catching the disease (even down here, where there is so little problem) that they may never set foot outside their doors again!  However, it does look, thank God, as if they/we will get the chance soon… the curve is not just flattening but taking a downward dive, and there is a rumour that things might ease off a bit soon…. We shall see.

So this afternoon took on its usual pattern – a bit of work for both of us, a bit of TV watching and quite a lot of pondering. I can’t believe, actually, how patient we are both getting about everything – I seem to be able to sit and gaze into space for hours on end (although things are churning in my head) whilst I caught Jan listening to ‘sloppy’’ music on the terrace earlier today and singing away to himself. Almost bizarre. Clearly we have way too much time on our hands!

House Arrest in Spain – Day 22

house view

Unbelievably I woke up at 09.00 am this morning. An all-time record sleep-in, which I can only assume was due to being exhausted from all the talk of booze-fuelled orgies and so on yesterday (plus, perhaps, the fact that I am turning into a lazy sloth – I think in thirty years of running my own business, I have never gone more than a day, or two max, without stressing about work, answering emails and calls… now, well, there is no real work to stress about, so I am gradually finding out how easy (and enjoyable!) it is to do nothing much (although, of course, there IS the stress of there never being any more work to stress about, but I am trying to avoid that one!!!). However, my late start meant that I missed out on a lot of social media trolling, but once I started on Twitter I went so mad that I had to get up and get moving to calm down.

We have been slightly perturbed watching the Czech news and press conferences in the evening and seeing everyone, even the PM and the moderators, wearing masks (they have even invented a natty little see-through mask for the ‘signers’ – clever old Czechs as usual). andrej babisWhether they really need to wear masks when they are sitting alone in their study (the PM, for example) is debateable, but presumably it is to ‘lead by example’.

Compare that with a video that I clicked onto this morning of the UK health minister, Matt ‘Hand-on-cock’ as we like to call him – walking through a shop and drinking from a paper cup of coffee, and then handing the coffee to his assistant while he sneezed out into the air (and he was diagnosed with CV-19 a couple of weeks ago and went back to work within six days). Unbelievable. To really rub it in, too, the video got stuck on my phone and kept re-running itself until I had to turn it off completely to avoid smashing it on the floor (and imagine the horror of our phones breaking at the moment…!!!).

I can’t help feeling that the UK is going to turn into a very bad situation (I won’t mention the US as I don’t know enough about it and monitoring Spanish, UK and Czech news is enough for my blood pressure at the moment..… but…), and I am not going to go into all the reasons why here… thank God, though, the Queen is going to make a speech tonight – that should make all the difference…..!

Anyway, for the first time, instead of getting on the bike today (and to Hell with the rock-hard bum), I decided to run up and down the garden, as per Jan for the last few days. And even though it was deathly boring, as expected, oh the pleasure of running again. Whilst enjoying that, and to take my mind off the boredom (and raging about the situation in the UK) I pondered a few weird things that I wonder if anyone can answer:

• It is normal to have bright sunshine in Spain at this time of year. But in the UK and CR – 20 plus degrees, blue sky, sunshine? Could it be something to do with no planes in the air? Or the ‘hand of God’ misbehaving and saying ‘haha.. while you have to stay indoors, I am going to make it lovely and sunny instead of cold and rainy’?

• Had anyone ever heard of or used these words before the last few weeks? ‘Flatten the curve’? ‘Furlough’? (Actually, I still don’t know what that means…)…’Social distancing’? ‘lockdown’. or a new one, which I like – ‘Covidiots’! Will we continue to use them when this is all over, I wonder?

• What will actually happen to the economy in all of our countries? Are the shop workers, bus and tram drivers, couriers, etc, the new bankers, lawyers and accountants (i.e. we are now seeing how much we all need those people in ‘low-paid’’ jobs whilst the big earners are no longer required… )?

• If this situation arose again, what would we make sure to have in the house in order to be ready… in our case:

  • An extra phone – the stress, every day, of something going wrong with our phones (sad but true!) and not being able to replace them or have them mended!
  • A bigger supply of our regular pills – it is great that we can buy our prescription pills for cash, now, but the pharmacies are clearly making a killing (pardon the slightly sick pun… oh God, and there’s another one! – Jan would be proud!) – I was so delighted to be able to buy my allergy pills here that I overlooked the fact that I am paying about Euro 2 per pill…. Blimey!
  • Hair clippers/good scissors
  • Some other exercise equipment, possibly….
  • Scarves, needles and threads – whoever would have thought a few months ago that we would be worrying about the easiest way to make a mask??!!!
  • Probably other things that I can’t remember now, but I have plenty of time to work them out.

So the afternoon was taken up with our tidying the garden, draining water out of the pool again (another Groundhog day activity – each day we drain it out and clean its jg cleaning the poolbottom, so to speak, then it rains again during the night and we have to do it again), and then a bit of work and a few calls and boom, here we are again and it’s evening. How quickly these days do go!

House Arrest in Spain – Day 21

house view

A little story to start off with. At the beginning of the 90s, when I first arrived in Prague, there was just a very small group of British expats, of which I was the only woman. We would gather in a smoky bar every night to discuss how difficult our lives were (and they really were!) and then at around midnight we’d head off to various dodgy clubs (or worse in some cases) before staggering back home in the early hours…

fax machine

As a way to cope (for, I suppose, vaguely similar reasons as now) I started to write a daily ‘news-sheet’ (we didn’t have blogs in those days!) which was called ‘This is where you hear it first’ and which I faxed out to all my buddies (and more, as we went along), every morning.  Mostly it was a daily tale of ‘sex and drugs and rock & roll’ since amongst our group were some really crazy guys – many of whom are still around (and may well be reading this!), so I am not going to name them as they are now ‘well-known and important business people’. But in those days, they loved it!

Anyway, I hadn’t realised that when I sent the fax out each morning (anonymously) the company name showed at the top, so whilst I thought no-one knew who wrote it, of course they all did. And as we went along, it started to get quite a readership (it was even published in the then English language newspaper later in its life!). One day my then boss (I’ll call him ‘C’) came running into the office waving the latest missive at me as, he said, the MD of one of our biggest clients had just called to complain about this scandalous material landing on his desk every day, and in his opinion C should immediately stop it being circulated by whoever was doing it, and probably fire them. Clearly he didn’t know C very well as he, himself, was completely overexcited about it, and only threatened to fire me if I didn’t allow him to help with writing it every day….

So… last night, C, who is still a very good friend (and advisor on swimming pool maintenance as well as being a ‘very big potato’ – I should explain, he uses a lot of very unusual terminology that is not always immediately understandable and which, nowadays, I find myself using too –‘big potatoes’ are ‘very important people’, going ‘legs up’ is not what you might think, etc. – ) messaged me to say that he thought that my blog was becoming a bit tame – too much about exercise and modern stuff, and not nearly racy enough.  I explained that, whilst I would love to be able to write every morning about a booze-fuelled orgy the previous evening, unfortunately the most exciting it gets nowadays is the opening of more than one bottle of a nice Rioja or arguing about where I last saw my slippers!

bottle of riojaAnd since we haven’t seen or spoken to anyone else for three weeks (other than the ladies working in the supermarket who don’t look like ravers (but difficult to tell behind the masks…), and Samuel, the fishmonger, who does, I suppose, have a bit of a glint in his eye), I am a bit limited with what I can conjure up!  Apologies. Maybe when the lock-down gets lifted, things will liven up a bit.

So a fairly standard start to the day (obviously once we had recovered from our wild night). First I had to weigh myself, as I always do every day (Ok, maybe not every day, maybe every two hours) and that made for grim reading, so I was straight into the Bollywood routine and then onto the bike, while Jan did his morning run  – I debated doing that instead of cycling for a change, but, frankly, the idea of running up and down a 50 m stretch of pathway for about an hour is about as exciting as watching the swimming pool draining…

After that (and I suppose you may be wondering what happened to our supermarket walk today – well, for a bit of additional excitement, we decided to change things around a bit and go early evening) we got well and truly into the TV and social media for a few hours, particularly as it was quite a ‘big day’ for news in all jurisdictions.

First, lovely Keir voted in as leader of the opposition in the UK – good news. Then an extension to our lock-down here until the 26th April. Not so good! Pretty bloody irritating really as the numbers are so much better… but there we are. As Jan has said, we wouldn’t be able to go home yet anyway, and our lives here wouldn’t be SO much different if things were relaxed more… hmmm…. At least the sun is shining again and it should really heat up next week.

Then, there was a lot of discussion on the UK news about whether to wear a mask or not. In the CR, as mentioned previously, you cannot do anything without a mask, certainly not nude sunbathing. The Prime Minister, Mr Babis, even tweeted Donald Trump the other day to tell him that it was the wearing of masks in the CR that has kept the infection rate so low (true – I saw it, during my 24 hour Twitter watch).

In Spain, wearing a mask is not the law, but most people wear them – and, actually, everyone is more concerned about wearing gloves, which I kind of think makes more sense. Whilst in the UK… well, surprisingly, no-one has a clue (why am I not surprised…?!) and it seems they will spend at least the next two weeks discussing whether or not masks should be implemented… by which time the damage will be done (or not, as the case may be!).

My own theory is that masks, unless they are high quality medical ones, probably don’t make much difference. BUT, it depends where you are. When I lived in Turkey for a while, it was not that uncommon, especially with the older guys, for them to walk past and spit in my direction as a sign of endearment (it was the blonde hair that got them going I think).  In the CR, I remember being horrified in the early days (and still sometimes now) when grown men thought it was appealing and macho to ‘gob up’ phlegm and fire it onto the pavement as they walk along, or blow their nose out without a handkerchief (oooffff… sorry about this.. making myself feel a bit disgusted already)…. I have even experienced guys blowing their nose out into the air whilst running next to me on the treadmill in the gym – and you can imagine my reaction to THAT!  And then travelling on the metro or trams generally in the winter can be particularly unappealing when people sneeze or cough directly at you… need I go on, and apologies to everyone that I might have offended.

Soooooo…. If wearing a mask protects people from being spat at, gobbed at, having someone’s nose blown at them or coughed at (or stops the wearie (wearie?) from doing such things), then, in my book, it has to be a GOOD THING! Whether or not it ultimately protects anyone from the CV-19 germ.

So using that TV discussion as inspiration, and whilst pondering making myself a 2 metre stick to take to the super later today, I managed to put together a couple of new masks so that we can be a bit more colour co-ordinated as we go into the week… that took up most of the afternoon (as mentioned previously, this really isn’t my kind of thing). And suddenly it was late afternoon and time to get tooted up (another of C’s expressions) for

House Arrest – Day 20

house view
We woke up to a beautiful Spanish day today; bright sunshine, blue sky, warm. Lovely. No time, therefore, to sit about looking at social media this morning – straight out of bed and into the first exercise routine of the day (no, not what you are thinking!) – first a six minute warm-up of Bollywood dancing, then seven minutes on the 7 App, then shower and off out for our supermarket walks.

One thing we discussed last night, though, was this ‘social distancing’ ruling of keeping two metres between ourselves and others. (Actually.. what is all this ‘social distancing’ wording? ‘Physical distancing’ might be better. Another lot of weird wording that we have never used before, just as ‘flattening the curve’).

social distancing

Anyway, Jan pointed out (he is a lawyer, he can’t help himself!) that 2 metres is a lot longer than most of us think, so he had to find a tape measure to explain it – and it is true. So, in practice, how does this actually work? We wondered if some clever person will be producing a special ‘2 metre stick’ in the very near future for carrying around and prodding people if they get too near? This could be an interesting new invention – a 2 metre stick with matching mask and gloves? Or, for now, do we just take the tape measure with us when we go out in order to reprimand people (I suspect that Jan actually did that this morning, but I don’t want to ask and definitely do not want to know… oh… the embarrassment…….).i love aldi

So today I was off to Aldi again, much to my delight…. (can I really be saying this? Me who has never set foot anywhere other than Marks & Spencer for the last ten years, or however long they have been in Prague (and Marbella))? It is true that the walk is getting mosque in sunpretty boring, but, on the other hand, I am so much more conscious of my surroundings now – as mentioned before, when I am driving or running, I don’t notice a thing. So I took a few more photos on the way there, as it was all so pretty – not a soul in sight, and, actually, the lack of any noise is interesting too – I guess we don’t notice how noisy everything is usually…. Only when there isn’t any. mosque view

On the way back, I was so busy counting my strides that I nearly trod on an army of ants but just managed to avoid them. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by ants (not weird, interesting….really!) – we human beings can learn a lot from insects and animals – ants, in particular, are very clever – they are divided into workers, builders, bosses, carriers, etc. If one gets killed, they will join together to carry it back home, or if they are struggling to move something all the carriers will muck-in to get it done. No arguing, trying to take each other’s jobs, or sulking.. just loads of hard work.

The reason I mention this is that it was another reminder of how many simple things I used to enjoy before running a business and, probably, new technology took over – normally, if I am walking, I have my phone to my ear or in front of my face for most of the time… how nice it is not to have to do that and just walk and look! If this lock-down carries on, I think I may very well turn into one of those weird elderly and braless hippy ladies, who wear flowing long skirts and sandals, and have twigs in their hair…

Anyway, back at the house, the sun was beating down on our courtyard, so I couldn’t avoid a bit of sunbathing whilst waiting for Jan to return from his own supermarket run, and that combined nicely with a bit of social media trolling. As usual, some very interesting stuff being put out there on Twitter as well as a load of rubbish (but that is mostly on the TV if you ask me… ). I think the heat must have calmed me down a bit as I managed to avoid ranting for too long when, for the third day running, the BBC gleefully gave out inflated numbers for both Italy and Spain again. Hey ho.

So that’s another day gone – tomorrow is our 21st and we will be cracking open a bottle of something sparkly for having got this far without going completely bonkers (although, you may feel that that is debatable). It will be an interesting weekend – in Spain, we think there is a good chance that the lockdown will continue until the 26th…. And in the CR it is looking similar. We hope to know on Sunday…. Wherever will it all end?!


palm tree on beach

House Arrest in Spain – Day 19

house view

Right. So this morning I woke up early again and decided, partly due to the rain that was forecast for this afternoon, and partly wanting to avoid immediately getting bogged down in social media, to get up straight away and get on the bike. We had a bit of a late billy idolnight yesterday, due to various dramas that I won’t even go into here, so deciding that I needed an early shot of ‘positivity’, I asked my new friend ‘Alexa’ to play some Billy Idol to get my old legs going, and an hour of that was enough to completely restore my good mood.

On the other hand, Jan, who went to bed even later than me, completely flipped his lid (another of our strange English expressions that I particularly like – means turning into a lunatic) and came screaming outside in a vile mood, threatening to call the police if I didn’t turn it down (he was brought up on Eros Ramazzotti and other sugary stuff). The consequence of THAT was that he, too, felt the need to get moving and went off to run around the garden for God knows how long. And then peace was restored.

Just on that; some of our friends have been asking us why we didn’t head back to Prague when we could – there are lots of reasons, (not least that we couldn’t get a flight at that time), but another being that the idea of both of us being cooped up in a relatively small apartment as opposed to a relatively large house –neither of us is easy to live with, as you may have noticed by now – well, I guess I don’t need to explain…! 😊

So, with the cycling out of the way, and one of the best jokes yet ‘Wattsapped’ to my nearest and dearest, it was time to do a bit of social media and TV watching. Three weeks ago (when we arrived in Spain – three weeks???!!!!) I was a bit of a social media ‘virgin’. Now, I am getting mildly addicted, and can totally see why some of my friends have deleted their apps in order to ‘recover’. Before, I would only go onto Facebook/Twitter to be nosey and see what people were up to without really showing my face. Now I am a twittering maniac – I have reprimanded Sky News this morning (‘fake news’), liked loads of different ‘anti Boris Johnson’ tweets, and generally got completely over-excited.

The reprimand to Sky News was to tell them that they were incorrect in their reporting of figures in Spain in order, I suspect, to keep the pressure on the UK (and, boy, do they need that!). Spain, actually, is looking a bit better, especially the South. To put our lovelypuerto banus friends’ minds at rest, we are in Andalusia, which is a lot further from Madrid than, say, Bratislava to Prague, and which has a very low rate of infection. We do not ‘duck and dive’ every time we go outside in case a coronavirus germ flies into our face…. In fact, the chances of that are about as likely as us sprouting wings and flying ourselves back home. But clearly there is still a lot of confusion about how to catch it, etc, etc.

Also, the majority of cases in Spain are in Madrid, about 80% of the deaths are people over 80 (and we haven’t quite got there yet!) and many of the new infections, very sadly, are hospital/police/fire people (which, also, is not us). But thank you all for the concern! Actually, we are quietly confident that the restrictions are going to be lifted a little bit soon… but I hardly dare voice it..

We are also, of course, watching the situation in the CR and the UK. Not quite sure why the CR is talking about another 30 days of lockdown (although, to be fair, the lockdown is not as strict as here or France/Italy) as the figures are still relatively low – if they are going up a lot, then it would seem to me to be more sensible to tighten up the rules of lockdown for a short while rather than extending it but keeping it fairly relaxed. Just saying……and only my opinion!!

And then – the UK… What a disaster. I won’t even go there. (Today!)

So back to our day: our own positives and negatives:

Positive 1: The numbers are improving slightly in Spain. That means we might be able to get out and about a little bit more soon…..
Negative 1: The Czechs are talking about extending the lock-down for another 30 days. That means that we may not be able to travel out any time soon.
Positive 1(b) We may have to stay here for another thirty days… 😊

Positive 2: Our hair is getting so long that soon we won’t have to wear a mask
Negative 2: This is not an attractive look for either of us….!

Positive 3: Every day that goes by, we are getting nearer to the summer and a stronger sun (in all locations) – who knows if the heat will help kill the virus (mixed information on that) but at least it will make sitting about much easier (although I am still concerned about this nude sunbathing with a mask on…. it reminds me of people who come back with a tan from skiing (we used to call them ‘toffee apples – in case you don’t know what that is – brown head, white body?!)…..
Negative 3: Every day that goes by, the economy is getting a hammering, and people’s lives are changing forever…

Positive 4: In every crisis, there is an opportunity…..

I know that this all sounds a bit crass and there are a loads more things I could say, but I seem to be wittering on a lot today. So back to a couple of important bits. One is something that I was sent this morning – basically it is a song from Italy’s most famous band in the 70’s. They have donated the copyright to Bergamo Hospital so every click on the video means a gift (because YouTube pays the owner of the copyright per click). Please, therefore, click on it, and share as much as possible! Grazie!

And the other is a project that I have been helping with over the last few days, and which, soon, will be ready to go – see

http://www.frontlinepraha.com.

The organisers are just waiting for the permissions to be finalised, and then it will be all systems go. Basically, and I hope it is understandable from the website, this is a ‘drive through BBQ’ where ‘frontliners’ (ambulance, fire and police) can literally drive down, grab a burger/chips/drink/ and drive on – all, of course, free of charge. If any of you are interested to get involved – helping, sponsoring, whatever – let me know!

So what else: work took up quite a bit of the afternoon, and then, due to a horrible thunderstorm outside which put paid to either or both of us doing our supermarket bollywood trainingwalk, the Bollywood App had to come out again – (at least for me… not sure this is really Jan’s cup of tea), and then, as usual, the day disappeared into the evening. Not really sure where all the hours go!

House Arrest in Spain – Day 18

house view
This morning, during my social media troll, I read an article by a mental health specialist, where she suggested that being on a diet at the moment made no sense. We should all eat and drink what we want, and not put any more stress on ourselves than usual. Well. Pardon my ‘French’ but I would say that that is a load of bollocks, especially for someone like me.

The idea of being cooped up here or anywhere else, eating and drinking what I want, and not doing any exercise, fills me with horror, since on that basis I could be looking at returning to Prague about 30 kilos heavier. And that, really, would be worse than getting a good old dose of CV-19, and would definitely send me over the edge on a mental health basis!

I thought today, therefore, that I might write a little bit more about this, since I have also had lots of friends who are reading this blog asking me to explain our rather full-on exercise routine a bit more. Also, and sorry to say it, the weather has been gorgeous palm tree on beachtoday, so it hasn’t been quite as ‘action-packed’ as usual – mostly lying sunbathing and doing not very much – although, no – I do remember one thing that I was going to mention, and that was an article in the Czech media about the need for everyone, even when they are NUDE SUNBATHING, to still wear a mask…. I haven’t quite worked out my thought pattern on that… but it is definitely conjuring up some odd images…

Anyway. To start with, I would say that if I could change anything about my physical self, it would be not to have been born with a ‘fat gene’ – I was a fat baby, fat child, sometimes fat and sometimes thin teenager and so on. During my teen years and into my twenties, I managed the fat gene by doing such a huge amount of exercise – on a regular day, I would probably burn at least 2,000 calories from exercise alone – that I could eat what I wanted and still be relatively slim. Actually, sometimes, I veered towards anorexia, not helped by growing up during a time when people didn’t know much about weight/BMI etc – I am 174 cm tall, with shoulders that would allow me to bench press Jan, if I ever bench presswanted to (rather than the other way around… and not that I ever want to!), plus huge hands and feet, etc… and according to the charts in those days, I should have weighed about 50 kgs…. Hence why I always felt like an elephant.

So once all that exercise stopped and I started to live a normal ‘business’ life, then I only had to look at a speck of dust, and on went the weight. For about the last thirty years, therefore, irrespective of how busy I have been, exercise has had to be a really important part of my life (and Jan’s, of course). So when we found out we were going to be put into lockdown – and Spain is the only country, as far as I know, that doesn’t allow us to go outside to train – ‘no exercise’ equalled ‘freak out’, and, potentially (at least for me), no food or drink for the next however long! And living with someone that can’t go five minutes without thinking about food (yes, food, surprisingly!) and asks what we might eat for dinner when we are having lunch, you can imagine how difficult that could be!

So, to start off with, the reason we walk to the supermarket each day (one to each supermarket) is NOT (OK, maybe a little bit!) because we need to top up our wine store, but actually because that gives us around 10,000 steps each without really trying. I am staggered, therefore, that at the moment, whilst there are quite a few people in each supermarket, we don’t see anyone out on the road, because they all drive! So if you are stressing about what to do re exercise, think about walking to the supermarket rather than driving.. I did the longer supermarket run today and got a lot of stuff (having not gone yesterday) and I can tell you, walking up our hill with two big bags of guff was not easy!

Actually, while I was waiting at the check-out, I heard two guys talking about their inability to train each day as ‘they don’t have a gym or any weights at home’. I didn’t say it, obviously, but you don’t need a gym or weights to do some pretty good training – I have mentioned the App that I use (7) – it is quite tough, and probably not suitable if you are not used to doing this kind of routine, but mostly I am jumping about in front of a armsmirror, lying on a carpet, leaning against a wall or sitting on a chair…. No need for any equipment, or any real space. There are loads of other apps like this, and if you need to use weights, then you can use bottles of water (or bottles of wine!) instead.
I know, too, that not everyone is feeling great – for me, when I am fed up (generally, not only in this present situation) the best thing to do is to get up and move… even if it is just to walk around the room or sit on the floor and stretch, or dance about in front of the TV (the Bollywood dance app is great… but there are loads of other dance Apps too). Sometimes (and yes, I know I am a bit much), I do 20 squats each time I go to the kitchen squating…. And even if you are not feeling too well physically (one of my friends said she would love to do some exercise but she has a really bad back) you can do some arm stretches or strengthening exercises (bicep curls holding bottles, arm raises using bottles) or even just stand up instead of sitting down…. Standing burns more calories than sitting and helps backs…

So then food. I think, for me, the hardest thing about dieting is trying to do it when I haven’t much time.. it is not always easy to prepare a lunch or breakfast in just a few minutes, or if I am already in the office. So actually at the moment it is quite nice to be able to spend some time working out what to eat, buying it and then preparing it, and still keeping within a reasonably calorie count… I always blow my diets when I have to eat out (no chance of that just now!) or am super-busy and have to ask someone to run and get me a sandwich or whatever… so that is another positive.

And then the most difficult of all…. how to avoid eating/drinking comfort food/drink out of boredom. Well. That is not easy, and we both have a daily fight on both levels (mine on chocolate/ice cream, Jan on booze)…. The simple answer, really, is not to buy any…. Or at least not too much!

So that’s it for today. We have managed to have a reasonably ‘Covid-free’ day so far, but the evening looms and I am already angry with the British news… time to get tweeting.