Monthly Archives: August 2020

Under the [very hot] weather in Marbella!

steps to the beach

I started writing this yesterday morning when I woke up very early and thought that it was about time that I got on with another blog.   The reason for being so quiet has been, unfortunately, that I have been ‘under the weather’ (as us Brits would say) – i.e not feeling that well.   It all started with the pills that I was given to reduce the liquid around my bad knee, as they seem (if my prognosis is correct) to have upset my stomach quite a bit, to the point that I have barely been able to eat or drink anything for about a week (looking on the bright side, though, this could also have been another ‘hand of God’ as I had been so worried about putting on a stack of weight through my lack of exercise, and now there’s no need!).   Added to that, even though we have only really been out in the sun sporadically (I have been doing a ‘walk’ (or should I say a ‘waddle’ as that is more descriptive) every morning while Jan runs, and then we have had a couple of hours on the beach and that has been about it) I also managed to get a bit of sun-stroke.   So all in all, it has been a bit of a weird few days.

I also got the results of my MRI at the beginning of the week, which showed that I have a ruptured meniscus ligament and need to have an operation to fix it.  So that’s something to look forward to once we get back to Prague (where we are actually now heading, since  from the 24th onwards the CR will require everyone coming in from Spain to go into quarantine for fourteen days, or take a test – we wouldn’t particularly mind taking a test, but presumably Ryanair will give up on their four flights a week between Malaga and Prague with this news so who knows how easy it will be to go to and fro after Monday.).  So that means that the operation will have to be in Prague – and that has also been a bit stressful as, having sent off emails to various doctors that I knew or was recommended to over the last couple of weeks as everyone seemed to be on holiday, they all returned at once, and now I have a million appointments scheduled for next week – after which I will obviously have to tell all but one of them that I have wasted their time (hopefully none of them are reading this!!!).

Another thing that added to my ‘gloom and doom’ was/is my hair.  As mentioned before, we found a lovely hairdresser, Juan, in Marbella just after the lockdown (when I had hacked off most of my hair and various patches of Jan’s).  So to cheer myself up I booked an appointment with him a couple of days ago to ‘do my roots’.   My Spanish, though, is clearly not as good as I thought as having explained that I wanted my roots blonder and then some darker bits on the ends where the sun has bleached my hair almost white, he misunderstood me and did all the roots very dark and most of the ends too…. so I now have a kind of ‘Zebra’ look.   I tell you, it is not easy being a woman sometimes!

Now we are on the plane heading back to Prague and I’ve been reflecting on the last couple of weeks to take my mind off the journey (stomach still not that good….!).   I was already a bit stressed when we set off as I had debated wearing one of those dashing sombreros to cover my hair, but with a mask as well that would have been way too hot, so in the end, I just thought stuff it – after not much sleep last night (too much heat and too many trips to the loo (and too much information I know), combined with hobbling along on one and a half legs, I figured I had enough to worry about!   But the first thing I will do (in between doctors, obviously) is to get back to my Prague hairdresser for a sort out, and then work my way down, so to speak.

What took up quite a lot of time on this trip (apart from flopping about in the extreme heat and watching endless football (Jan has been in some sort of football Heaven, with big matches every evening all of this last week, and forever into the foreseeable future)) has been sorting out guff for our Spanish house, as who knows what the winter is going to bring and where we will end up…. right now it looks as if it will be Prague for the foreseeable future, but that might change and if it is Spain, then this time we want to be better prepared.   What strange times we live in.

Something else that I have been doing – on my own – and enjoying a lot is walking.  Even though it is not that easy at the moment and I don’t do any of this ‘speed-walking’ malarky, the hills around our house ensured that I had quite a good work out each day, and I have seen so many things that I wouldn’t normally notice when driving or running.  Yesterday I explored around the back of the ‘King’s Palace’ – a huge monstrosity of an estate that sleeps about a 1,000 (although, from the stories we hear, not a lot of el riyadh estatesleeping went on there, if you know what I mean)…. nowadays it is barely used (although I think it is still owned by the Saudi royal family), but the grounds, if not the house itself, are looked after (and still guarded – I was caught peering through the hedge by one of the security guards yesterday, but he was nice enough (could have been the hair, could have been the leg)) and some of the ‘smaller’ houses around the back of the palace are beautiful (I believe they were used to house the various wives pasodobleand entourages), and, in some cases, named after whoever lived in them.   I particularly liked ‘El Pasodoble’, and also Casa Esther and Casa Yasmin, (that one made me feel rather nostalgic – when I was in Turkey with my Turkish boyfriend (hundreds of years ago), there was talk (by him!) that if I was to stay, I would need to change my name to an Arabic version, and I was even given a gold bracelet with the name Yasmin etched on it (as a hint) – actually that was the only thing that I kept when I made my escape… just think, though, I, too, could have had my own Casa Yasmin at some point – well, I our house signsuppose I do really, although Casa Jan and Jo doesn’t sound quite the same.    Actually, our house (unusually for me) doesn’t have a name, but we do have a sign outside:)

Something else I saw on my walk was a massive lorry turning up outside one of the houses to deliver some huge great palm trees – they seemed to be doing some landscaping and the trees were being moved by crane – who would have thought??!   I picture in a few years’ time, people looking at them and wondering how many hundreds of years they have been there… haha!:

So that’s it for now; I won’t get into politics today – too depressing – or even mention Covid (one of my ‘girlfriends’ asked me to stop going on about it as I depressed her even more than I did myself) or, God forbid, masks… no doubt I will feel the need soon, though, especially when things start hotting up as we go into the winter (if you see what I mean).

For now, here is a video I found this morning that shows that it doesn’t matter how old you are or how many working legs… you can still get up and dance… :

Hopping about in Spain again!

view from window

So right now, we are back in Marbella.  There are various reasons for this; first, our aim to single-handedly keep Ryanair financially afloat during these difficult times – honestly, I have said before that no-one would want to be a politician at the moment, but imagine running an airline…that must be about the most difficult job in the world just now – and Ryanair, bless them, have put on some additional flights between Prague and Malaga ryanair in malaga 2(presumably they think that these are less likely to have to be cancelled than others…. we wish!), so we need to make the most of them!

Secondly, having sorted ourselves out a bit back in Prague, we found that we didn’t really have a lot to do, since most of our friends have disappeared for holidays and so on, work is slow, and if it is going to be boiling hot in both places, then we decided it is better to be here by the beach than there in the city… although… it is really bloody hot here….    And thirdly, well, as also mentioned before, my leg has gone from bad to worse, so it seemed to make sense to get back in front of the very good sports doctor that I have down here whilst I can.

As everyone who reads this blog knows, irrespective of where you are just now, normal life is pretty complicated, and no sooner did we arrive back in Spain, than everyone we know went into a full-on panic attack due to the EuroWeekly newspaper putting as its LOGO-EUROWEEKLY-1405front page headline a few days ago ‘Spain to go back into lockdown on September 18th’.  This was a complete distortion of an interview that one of their journalists had held with the Spanish Health Minister, and they published an apology a few days later, but by then the story had gone ‘viral’ ‘on Facebook and the damage had been done (we ourselves thought it was pretty unlikely that they would announce something like this so far in advance since the Spanish government do not normally use the Boris Johnson tactic of giving everyone a huge amount of notice of something nasty happening (or not, as the case may be), but our Alicante lady friends were suicidal, and even now not everyone has seen the apology – only yesterday we bumped into a friend who tends to be of the ‘gloom and doom variety’, who told us that we should hurry back home as the country was going into lockdown any time now (but then we asked what he had heard and as soon as he mentioned ‘September 18th, we knew we didn’t need to take it too seriously).   If nothing else, this whole pandemic has shown up just how bad, and how dangerous, an awful lot of the media nowadays can be (not like in my day!!).

Anyway, we watch and wait here in Spain, whilst also seeing that things are far from straightforward in Prague (honestly, down here we have yet to hear of anyone that we know having the virus or knowing someone with it, whilst in Prague (and London, of course), we hear of people on a more or less daily basis)….. so we continue to ponder, again, where we would prefer to be if it all goes pear-shaped.  Right now, we are 50/50 (my vote is Spain, Jan’s is Prague!).   This will, though, depend a bit on my leg.

So on Monday I went for an MRI on my knee.  I have had loads of Xrays and ‘CT scans’ over the years (as a way of trying to get myself to sleep on Sunday evening I was counting the bones I have broken (courtesy of my horses, of course), which made a change from sheep), but I have never had an MRI and have never wanted one since, mri machine 2amongst all my other weirdnesses, I suffer horribly from claustrophobia (I once got stuck in the lift in our building in Prague and completely freaked out, to the point that they had to call the fire brigade to come and get me out as quickly as possible before I did too much damage (to the lift) – actually that was quite a marvellous experience in the end).  However, I figured that if it was just my leg going into the ‘tube’ I would be OK – I just needed to get into the ‘out of body experience mode’ that I use at the dentists.

If anyone is about to go and have an MRI now, apologies, but bear in mind that I am a pathetic scared-y-cat and it probably wasn’t as horrible as I am now going to describe – part of the reason, for me, was that the Spanish are not always great at ‘customer care’ and having got myself ready, (which, thankfully, just meant taking off my jewellery and shoes) I was told to lie down on the sliding ‘shute’ type of thing, to shut up and don’t move, whilst my leg was encased in a kind of plastic tube (and yes, it’s possible for a leg to get claustrophobia).  No calming music, headphones, earplugs (I have since read that these are all quite common elsewhere).. and then off we went.   The shute slid into the huge circular bit (up to about my waist, thank GOD) and then the most almighty racket kicked off.

Actually, despite the fact that it sounds as if the ‘chainsaw massacre’ is about to start, I didn’t really feel anything (possibly a slight vibration now and again) but the whole thing goes on for so long – one minute (figuratively speaking) a noise like a bloody great saw, then bang, bang, bang, then wheezing and puffing…. I was trying to count seconds in my head to see if there was a pattern, but really it was just a range of ridiculous noises interspersed with silence (when I kept thinking that we had finished), and then off it went again… I ranged from mildly panicking that I had been in there for so long that they must have forgotten me, to thinking that I had cramp in my leg and would have to break out of the case, to thinking that the whole machine was about to blow up and/or take off.. and then suddenly it was over…. just when I was contemplating waving my arms around and shouting that someone had to come and get me out of there!

So now we sit and wait for the report, but I suspect it won’t be great…. no doubt I will write about it later.   In the meantime, we are back into our ‘Marbella routine’ (without much exercise in my case).   Generally, as mentioned, it is bloody hot and therefore difficult to do anything too constructive.  Jan is still doing his morning runs (getting earlier now as the temperatures go up) whilst I go waddling around the roads for an hour’s walk (I just daren’t do nothing!) and catching up on calls whilst I walk (as mentioned before, if we are wearing trainers, the ‘mask feds’ decide that we are ‘exercising’ so don’t mind the fact that the mask is worn around the neck, whilst on the beach and in flipflops, we can incur a huge fine….) so calls are doable.   Then we have marbella beachbeen spending a couple of hours on the beach (cooler than by the pool) but by about 2.00 pm it is way too hot, so we have been forced inside to do a bit of work (Jan has a big court case coming up, whilst I am still managing a couple of projects) and then we are back out walking late pm – either into Puerto Banus, where the mask feds seem to have given up and the tourists are everywhere (so look out numbers) or the other way into Marbella Old Town, where the beaches are packed, but still socially distanced (we have read reports of people queuing to get on them and, in some cases, being turned away… it is just SO organised here).

Plus, of course, I have been spending time on social media, chasing wildlife around our house (can you even imagine what happened this morning – I went to draw the curtains in the bedroom, and touched something that I thought was a leaf and was, in fact, a geckocockroach, which I then hurled across the room whilst Jan ran for his flipflop and duly whacked it…. I may never recover), plus we have had quite a few gecko visitors (they are actually quite cute, but they have the misfortune of living side-by-side with cockroaches, which means that every time they move they run the risk of extermination) and, of course, a few mosquitos (but it is even too hot for them).     Plus we seem to have an army of ants gradually moving in – and I know I have said in previous blogs that I am fascinated by ants…. but NOT in my kitchen.

I am sure there will be much more to write over the next few days … not least because, for GOD’S SAKE, we have just this minute seen a report that Spain has gone ‘orange’ in the Czech Republic (from the 24th……).   Talk about throwing a spanner in the works…..

 

 

Back in Prague – but for how long?

lovely prague

A few of my friends have been asking if all is OK as they haven’t heard from me for a while, since it is a bit more than a week since I posted my last blog.  I hadn’t actually planned for it to be that long, but I found that the combination of the news from the UK re quarantining people from Spain (and generally! – if you are not ‘up’ on the UK news, you might find this article interesting… pretty much sums it up if you ask me: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/uk-population-being-fooled-by-government-1-6684939), my injured leg eventually revealing itself as a potentially serious problem with my knee, and the rising temperatures in Marbella during last week which were a bit exhausting, kind of put paid to my enthusiasm (and ability to be extreme heatamusing) for a few days!

We actually snuck quietly back to Prague last Thursday – I had originally planned it to be a bit of an adventure since I was to be flying with Ryanair from Malaga to Rome and then on to Prague, but since Jan’s flight to the UK was no longer viable he swapped to fly back with me, which meant that the three hour shopping fest that I had planned (hopefully) for the magnificent Rome airport was no longer possible (even though, to my surprise, the shops were mostly all open) nor was the idea of relaxing over a bowl of rome airportpasta at one of the many restaurants…  Instead we ended up arguing for most of the stayover, partly due to the need to wear masks at all times (and Jan is developing a bit of a phobia about that), partly my inability to move around very fast, and, mainly, the incredible expense of even a glass of beer (Jan is used to having a non-stop supply of alcohol in the airport lounges which, in Rome, were sadly closed).   I shouldn’t complain really, since the whole journey was very easy – again both flights landed early (into Rome and then Prague), felt very safe (both were about half full, so lots of space around us), boarding was controlled and quiet, and everyone wore masks – I even had my temperature taken by a robot in Rome airport which was very exciting (I was singled out for some reason, although I don’t think I looked particularly unwell…).

I know that a lot of people are worried about flying just now, but so far we have felt that the whole experience is actually a lot nicer than usual, so the only thing to worry about (and I know it is a big one for many people) is the chance of catching something on the flight.   For sure on our first flight after our 100 day lockdown we were a bit apprehensive, but on the other hand we felt that the chance of catching anything at the airport or on the plane was pretty remote – flying from Malaga, where there were no infections and everyone had been isolated, there must have been a higher chance of the plane crashing than that we would catch anything on board! Now, of course, the chance is a bit higher, but obligatory masks in the airport and on board, the social distancing, on plane with masksthe fact that the planes are not so full, etc, means, I still believe, that flying is one of the safer things that we can be doing.   Back in Prague, in fact, numbers are rising (they are now higher than our part of Spain) and I have even experienced the slight concern of the friend that I had dinner with on Friday letting me know yesterday that he was going for a test as some of his colleagues at work had tested positive (luckily his was negative).  The fact is, really, that unless we all lock ourselves away completely again, there is always going to be the possibility of catching the virus, irrespective of what we do/where we go…… but still, in my book, it’s a very small one.

So back in Prague life goes on pretty much as normal – the number of cases, as mentioned, is getting higher (but still relatively low, although I do wonder how accurate they are.. in the space of just a few days I seem to have heard of an awful lot of people that have the virus!), the weather is grey and rainy (the first day we thought it was a bit of a relief after the heat…not sure now!), shops and restaurants are quiet, but not yet disastrous, and I continue to hop about on one leg, having various tests, and getting grumpier by the minute.   The consequence of my leg injury means that (a) I am spending far too much time on Twitter each morning and having a good old rant about the situation in the UK (but what joy when one of the people that I follow and quietly hero-worship, ‘liked’ one of my Tweets!), and (b) that I am having to try to limit myself to eating only dust, since hard training is out (even ‘Bollywooding’ is a bit difficult, but I am managing to do a bit of biking, thank God.).  On the subject of eating dust, I saw this great video this morning which, as always with Michael McIntyre, made me ‘LOL’ (as Jan would say):

What else?   I’m getting involved in a fund for SMEs (particularly those that have been badly affected by the lockdown), which I will no doubt start talking about in more detail soon, and am doing a reasonable amount of work (which keeps my mind (some of the time) off the fridge….) but with so many people away just now (it is hard to keep track of the weeks and months at the moment, but it is in fact August!)) and most of what we are working on just as easily done there as here, it is only a matter of time, I suspect, before we head back to Spain!