This morning started with my usual ‘sand-walking’ training, partly as my legs were tired from playing tennis yesterday and they needed to get moving, and partly to make the most of still being able to walk on the beach, despite it being nearly Christmas! Christmas! It won’t be long before it will be a year since all of this craziness started. God. What a thought!
Anyway, whilst walking (and taking some pics since it was such a gorgeous day), I pondered the fact that I haven’t been blogging as much as usual, and wondered whether I should keep it going, despite the fact that I am already halfway through my second ‘book’, which will, when it is finished, be called ‘Second Wave’. No prizes for guessing what that is about…..
Anyway, you now know that I have had my first lot of blogs published – ‘100 Days in Spain – Diary of a Lockdown’ – and that has actually kept me pretty busy for the last few weeks, plus now that all the marketing is starting, it is getting pretty exciting; actually, according to Facebook this morning, the Amazon link to the book has been viewed something like 200,000 times in the last week (if I believe it.. not really sure that I do!!), although unfortunately not all views have turned into sales (!). Some have, though, (and thank you to those that have bought!), and hopefully a few more will; I will probably give most of the proceeds to charity anyway, since this is not going to be, nor was it planned to be, something that will keep me in the style that I want to be accustomed to forever, but it has all been a lot of fun!
I discussed the second book with my friend Adam the other day, saying that I was finding it a lot more difficult to write entertainingly when life here has become pretty ‘normal’ and there is less ‘excitement’ – OK, not really normal in the old sense of the word, but a lot more than it was earlier in the year. Adam’s view was that I should be less honest (I have tried to write exactly what is happening each day without any ‘artistic license’) and that a few odd exaggerations thrown in might liven things up a bit, but I am still not sure I want to go down that road. Especially as, since we were discussing it, I remembered quite a few snippets of activity over the last couple of weeks that anyone reading this might find interesting (and if you think I have made up any of the following or exaggerated it, do let me know!).
So instead of talking about what is happening on Twitter (my old friend Jan the Elder of the rock-hard bum fame suggested the other day that I read too many ‘activists’ on there, to which I responded that I hardly think that my Sir John, Alastair Campbell et al could hardly be called activists, but I suppose it depends on where you stand on everything), or the politics in the UK (or the CR for that matter), I thought I would give a bit of an update on some of the other things that I have been banging on about lately.
First of all, you may remember that I mentioned earlier in the year (in the days when I could run, sigh) that I was jogging up the mountain track one morning and I heard what I thought was a pack of wild dogs in the near distance – I never found out what/where they were, but I read an article earlier this week about the problem that Spain has with the increasing number of wolves in the mountains, due to (guess?!) the Covid-pandemic. Not that the wolves have brought the virus (before anyone gets excited), but because they are usually controlled and culled, and that is not possible at the moment. So if I had been planning on running up the mountain any time soon (and I am not, sadly), I probably wouldn’t now, although ever since I read a book by Jodi Picoult called ‘Lone Wolf’ I have been slightly fascinated by them; not enough, though, to want to meet a pack of them out strolling one morning.
Next, the cigarette ends and flying mattress. We did believe that that had resolved itself, as, as I think I mentioned at the time, an elderly lady (Czech, of course – we are gradually being surrounded by Czechs who either fled here during Communism (in her case) or who have fled here recently to get away from the Covid that still seems to be raging in the CR) appeared at our gate the afternoon after we found it on our balcony and claimed that it was hers, alluding to the fact that she lives in the house just behind ours (not that that necessarily explains how a large mattress flew out of a window and landed on our balcony about 100 metres away… but….). Anyway, it now transpires that that house is actually empty, and no-one that we have asked has ever met an elderly Czech lady around here (only an elderly lady with a Czech… me!!) – so that remains a mystery, particularly as the fag ends have started appearing again and we are now at a loss to know where they are coming from.
And then there is the situation with the near-kidnapping; I mentioned to one of my friends on the Pueblo that we had been told this story, and her view was that it may have been a bit of a ‘cry for help’ and that it was the girl’s boyfriend that had, in fact, kidnapped her in the first place, and now she is being kept here as some sort of sex slave (now, I know that you think I am exaggerating on this point, but you never know down here in Marbella!!). Anyway, despite the fact that I run very little risk of being sold off to anyone nowadays, I am being a little more wary about walking around in some of the more deserted streets around here, especially now that it is getting a lot darker!
The other intriguing thing is the ongoing search for the tall, blonde man that ran down and killed a young guy in the next town from us. Every time I go to the tennis club at the moment, there is a large police roadblock outside, and the majority of cars are stopped and searched (so far, not mine, but it seems that they are only stopping men). My presumption is that they know that the ‘killer’ is lying low in the mountains up from the tennis club and they expect him to make a run for it at some point, which is kind of thrilling in a nasty sort of way. But you know how it is when you see the police – you always feel guilty, and each time I go past them I wonder if they will pull me over and surprise me by finding someone hiding in my boot or something. I mentioned this to Juan the hairdresser yesterday, whilst having a bit of a chop, and he looked at me sadly and said ‘you know, Jo, this is Marbella and every evening there is something being kidnapped, stolen, brought in or shot at’ – so, really, who knows with any of this!
Other than dodging kidnappers, walking on the sand, avoiding police roadblocks and generally trying not to talk about Covid (or, even worse just now, Brexit), life here has been fairly normal for the last couple of months, although that is not to say that we wouldn’t want to go back to Prague again some time soon (just now we could, of course, but then we might not be able to come back (Spain has been talking about stopping anyone from coming in from outside… so far not, but you never know). I’ve given up on all my weird and wonderful fitness regimes and now go to the gym in the tennis club every other day as well as doing two days a week of tennis training (still not able to move that well, but loving being able to wallop a ball around nonetheless), plus I have found (through the Czech ‘mafia’ here (I wrote that jokingly, but then reflecting on what I have been saying earlier, maybe it is not such a joke…!)) a fantastic new Czech ‘leg doctor’, who has already improved my knee considerably, so that’s good. And, even better, the work is slowly starting to trickle in again (for me, Jan continues to be busy), so I think the days of hysteria may well be over. But who knows.
In the meantime, and for the first time ever, we are preparing for Christmas in Marbella. Usually at this time of year (well, actually, most times of year) there are all sorts of religious processions going on on a more or less daily basis (to coincide with the endless bank holidays they have over here….) but not this year. The Marbella town council has, however, gone all out to make sure people feel Christmassy, with all sorts of expensive decorations all over town (did I say that slightly bitchily? Maybe…. but, you know, with so many people in dire straits down here (as everywhere) I am not sure that spending a blinkin’ fortune on planting row upon row of poinsettias along every road, and lighting up every tree, road sign etc is really the right thing), but maybe I am being a bore. Will try to be less so next time!