As expected, I was pretty wiped-out last night after tennis, heat, walking (and possibly drinking a little too much!) and woke up this morning at 8.30… haven’t done that for a long time. Jan was already up and out (stunning!) so I had an hour of lolling about and checking messages, news and social media in peace, as well as reflecting on our new-found freedom.
During the last two evenings, as mentioned before, we were finally able to meet up with a few of our friends, and it was interesting to hear their stories and thoughts on the last nine weeks – yesterday evening we shared a bottle of wine with our ex-soldier friend from the Pueblo whilst sitting by the big pool and watching the sun go down (lovely!) and he had some good things to say (we had been worried throughout that he was struggling as, on WhatsApp, he had sounded very subdued, but not a bit of it) – it seems that after the first few weeks when, he said, he had had a bit of a meltdown, his army training had kicked-in and he went into ‘survival mode’ – which, in his case, meant a lot of fitness training inside his house (he lives on his own), learning to cook again (by calling his mother, who he hadn’t spoken to for years and being taught over the phone), and generally stopping a lot of the bad habits that he had fallen into over the past few years (i.e. womanising, drinking, etc) – he seemed like a nearly new person – his challenge now, he thinks, is to keep it going once everything properly opens up again……
That is also what we have been thinking – contrary to what we have read (and the many jokes that we have received) – instead of drinking more and getting fatter, we have actually lost weight and got even fitter through this period – not being able to go out to restaurants has definitely helped, and killing our boredom by keeping moving even during the toughest weeks, with all the dancing and Apps, as well as walking miles to the supermarket every day on top of our ‘daily training’, has definitely paid off… but will we keep this level of activity (and reasonable alcohol consumption) going when we get home and back to normal….? Somehow I doubt it – but we will give it a good go.
Talking about getting home, once we realised we were stuck here, we managed to organise our neighbours to pop into our apartment once a week and just check that all was well, which, so far, it has been – but then last night they called to say that we now have a magpie’s nest and eggs on one of our balconies… bloody cheek! Clearly they must have been keeping watch and realising that there was no-one home felt it was safe to move in, but now we are not quite sure what to do about them – apparently, according to Google, a magpie nesting around one’s home is good luck (but, on the other hand, it also talks about magpies attacking anyone that looks at their chicks, so that might be an interesting experience when we get home!!!). If anyone has any experience of this, please let me know!!
So back to this morning. Whilst Jan was out, I spent a while on Twitter, after having neglected it for a couple of days, and, as usual, got very wound up about the situation in the UK. Jan always tells me to stop being so political, but i just can’t help it – first, I was struck by how different things continue to be in Spain compared to other countries, particularly the UK; here, after one of the toughest lockdowns in the world, we are all so happy to be going through an exit plan that allows us to exercise (but still only early in the morning in public places) to drive with more than one person in the car, to go to a shop or café (but only with someone from our own household) and to meet other people (up to a total group of 10) for a ‘social situation’ – as you have seen, everyone is almost euphoric about this new freedom, even though, whilst masks have only been optional up until now, it is now obligatory that everyone wear one in public places, which is a bit of a step back (although there are some that are resistant to this – one woman on our favourite FB page said that this is absolutely out of the question as when she puts a mask on, she frightens her cat…….).. But since Spain has had only a handful of new deaths and infections over the last few days, I am sure most will go along with it.
Compare Spain’s situation to the UK, where people seem to strain against what they perceive as ‘lockdown’, and yet, whenever we watch the news on TV, we see crowds out running and training, hundreds of people sunbathing on the beaches (we are still not allowed on those!), families out driving together, and groups gathering every evening for drinks outside or ‘clapping the NHS’ – and now the UK has the second biggest death toll in the world (and even that is debateable as there seems to be a lot of doubt about whether these are true figures… this morning I saw one of the health authorities saying that they felt the figures were probably double).
I also read an article that talked about the Czech Prime Minister, Babis, running the country as if it were a company, which is something that I have always thought would make sense; ie if one looked at a country as if it were a huge company, and then said ‘what would the CV of the person that you would employ to run it look like’, you might then get the best person for the job (OK, you would have to pay them a lot more, but if they did it fantastically well, who would care?). So that job spec would probably include things like ‘highly qualified, extensive experience in a similar role, a successful track record in a number of areas that are relevant to the position, excellent people skills, good languages, charisma, etc’ – and if you look at the leaders that have come through the last weeks successfully, they do actually meet that criteria – Merkel has it all (she is even a bio-chemist, which comes in handy at the moment), Babis (OK, you may not like him, but if he applied to a relevant advert, you would definitely interview him!), Sanchez has an amazing CV and experience, etc. Compare those with a womanising, dodgy property developer and a womanising public school boy turned journalist, and it is not surprising that the US and UK are in the mess they are in. That’s it. I have said enough.
So, after reading all of that and raging in my head, I needed to loosen up a bit – that required 20 minutes of Bollywood dancing to get my muscles moving, and then a session on the 7 App, and then I decided that that would be enough exercise for today and actually got down to doing some proper work for a while to take my mind off it all. That was followed by a bit of sunbathing by the big pool, and blimey, what a hot day – a bit like lying in a microwave – and then we had our first trip out in the van together – a return to the dentist for Jan and a visit to the supermarket for me. We know how to enjoy ourselves! Actually, even a short drive together was quite exciting after all these weeks – as Jan said, it was nine weeks since he had been in a car (let alone a van), which made him an even worse ‘backseat driver’ than usual. I suppose we will get used to this new normality in time.
Now we are getting ready for dinner and a walk on the beach, and that will be yet another day over…