The last two days have been the most ‘normal’ of any since we arrived here in Spain (91 days ago) – and apologies for gloating! (I have had a few messages recently saying how lucky we have been to have been here in Spain or similar, and I agree, up to a point… but those of you that have read this blog since day one will remember how tough it was for the first couple of months or so – even though we have more or less forgotten them now! So I kind of think that these last days here are ‘pay back’!).
As usual, both of the last two mornings were taking up with, first, news and social-media monitoring, but, really, there is nothing too new there, and then, of course, exercise – Jan out to run, and me off to play tennis with Juan. Now that we are well into June, the heat is rising, so even first thing in the morning it is pretty tough out on the clay, but great fun nevertheless, and now wearing masks everywhere outside of the court has become normal (although I still find it uncomfortable to put one straight on the minute we finish, with sweat and grime running down my face!). And then, since we are now in Phase 3, as mentioned, we spent the rest of both mornings down on the beach (which opened on Monday).
Coming back to what I have said before, again, I get it why the Government couldn’t really make different rules for every town or city in the country (although, in retrospect, I am sure everyone will agree that in Spain, for example, it would have made more sense to just close down Madrid as soon as the infection took hold (rather than the whole coutry, many areas of which had absolutely no infections throughout the whole period), and that might have allowed a lot of the rest of the country to operate as normal, but who would have known that then – let’s hope if there is a second wave, things will be different) but here in Marbella, where the beaches meander along for about 10 km without a break, there are areas which could easily have been opened much sooner, since there are very few people using them, even at the peak of the summer season. So both mornings, we have headed down to our nearest area of beach with no need to wonder how the set up might be in order to ensure the 2 metre distancing rules, since we have been the only people on it! Bloody marvellous!
The downside of having such a deserted beach area is that there are no ‘facilities’, so even though we have always taken drinks, towels etc with us, sooner or later the need for the loo and/or food/more drinks, always requires us to head home earlier than we usually want (plus, now, work is starting to require both of us a bit more than it was) but a couple of hours in the midday sun anyway is pretty much enough. Yesterday afternoon, then, after doing some catching up on our computers and having lunch, I dropped Jan off for his final bout of dental treatment on this trip (he now has a new ‘bridge’ which he loves to show to anyone who is interested, plus a branded mask to promote the dentist, whom he mentions about every half an hour….. the miracles of dentistry when you have never really been to a good one before….!) , and then decided to venture out of the main town and check out the big shopping mall (La Canada) which has been closed from day 1, but which also opened on Monday.
First, I have to say that it is very impressive how well-behaved the Spanish are – it is still not obligatory to wear masks at all times (but it is if there is a chance that the 2 metre social distancing rule cannot be maintained) so even though around the car park people generally had their masks slung around their necks (and, incidentally, how fantastic for us shoppers, although not the shops, to be able to just drive in and park – life before CV-19 we would only ever venture to this place first thing in the morning as after that the queues to park were impossible), but as soon as everyone got to the entrance, on went their masks as a matter of course. What IS obligatory, though, is to constantly clean your hands, so at the entrance to the mall itself was a big disinfectant stand with very strict minders, and then the same set-up in front of each shop (for someone like me, who is an obsessive hand-washer anyway, this is marvellous) but it does get a bit tedious to be asked to do it at every single shop… and some of the disinfectant is a bit smelly and sticky!
The shops themselves, though, were doing a pretty good trade – in addition to the ease of parking, another thing that was nice about the experience is that there were fewer people just milling about or sitting around the coffee/food areas for hours – it seemed to me that the majority of people were there to shop (especially me!), which is a good thing! I veer from thinking that the economy here is going to be ruined (when, for example, we visit Puerto Banus, which is still looking very run down and empty – we passed through there today and it looked as if pretty much every other shop has been closed down…) to feeling that actually, fingers crossed, it may yet bounce back… who knows with anywhere just now.
Otherwise, apart from our usual things (as expected, now that we have wheels we are no longer making the long walk to the supermarkets, but just whizzing in as and when we need to (still only one person allowed, so Jan usually does it while I sit in the van and ponder, or make calls), I still (Jan can no longer bear it) watch the various news channels to see what is going on elsewhere, and shout at the TV when it is the UK news, and whilst I am no longer practising Bollywood as much, that, the 7 app and the bike are still in use (and will continue to be once we get back to Prague (although I won’t, obviously, be bringing the bike with me!), the rest of both days have passed in a very normal fashion – down to our friends’ house for ‘tapas’ early evening yesterday before heading out for our walk (even though we don’t have to go at a regular time anymore, it is just so nice to walk late in the evening, when it is cooler) and today dinner at home after soaking ourselves in the jacuzzi for hours in order to cool down!
Finally, a video I found earlier today – no relevance at all (other than being ‘uplifting’), just a memory of how great a voice the late and wonderful George Michael had (and note David Bowie applauding in the background!).. in case anyone is interested…. and more from me on Friday!