Up early again this morning – not because of exercise (Monday being a ‘day off’) but because (a) I didn’t sleep well again (must have been all of the excitement about today!) and (b) I had booked a hire car for our use from first thing this morning, now that we are OUT, and in the end it wasn’t available for collection until 12.00, That gave me time to at least get myself looking vaguely presentable (first time in 65 days!) since I would be out in ‘public’, and then to do my usual social media and news monitoring before heading off!
Twitter, which I do love and which gives such an interesting perspective on pretty much everything that is going on (politically), and is a lot more balanced than any one newspaper or the biased English TV, was, as usual, full of a lot of outrage about the situation in the UK… which shows no sign of slowing down. But in amongst all of that was a video that I thought was just about the best explanation of why we need to lockdown/social distance/wear masks (and even stay ‘alert”). I know that it might be a bit late for some of us (let’s hope), but still, worth a watch and circulation:
So back to today. I set out just before 11.00 to go to the Enterprise car rental in Marbella, which is about a 7k walk, past the Spanish supermarket and then through the whole old town to the end, just before the famous ‘Marbella arch’ landmark. I am always amazed when I talk to people about counting steps and they say ‘oh I am sure I walk more than 10,000 a day’ as unless you really do count them (i.e. with a watch, phone or pedometer) you just don’t realise how much this actually is – as you know, we do loads of walking and running pretty much every day, but even then we don’t always hit the 10,000 mark (well we do, because we usually end up walking around the sitting room or up and down the garden until we have!) – the walk today, which seemed to go on forever, was actually only 7,500 steps (very disappointingly), but what a walk it was!
First, as I headed towards the hill, a car honked me and it was my tennis partner and her husband, who I have only seen once in the last nine weeks – lovely – although no hugging, of course! Then I walked past yet another building site and got a few ‘Holas’ from the guys working (they obviously didn’t realise how much I hate them all), and then onto the main road. Lots more cars whistling past, people out walking (mostly with masks) and then once I got near to the shops, the first real sign of change – lots of people sitting outside Burger King (???!!), then the nice Artisan café, lots of the boutiques and other small shops that line the main street open, as well as loads of flowers, trees full of lavender and a general ‘fiesta’-type feel (and lots of hayfever for me!).
We love Enterprise – I even have a ‘platinum’ card as I use them so much – normally we pick up a car at the airport (where we are usually served by a really nice girl that we call ‘red knickers’ – she is the one that asked us, when we arrived in Spain just before New Year one year, whether we had our red knickers with us (which was a little bit alarming as we were only there to collect a car) – apparently, a bit like the Czechs who have the Easter tradition of spanking their wives’/girlfriends’ with their ‘whipping sticks’, the Spanish all wear red knickers and eat grapes on New Year’s Day (God only knows what happens then.. we didn’t dare ask)), but sometimes it is easier in the town, and that office is manned by a lovely elderly Spanish guy called Sergio, who loves me – so when I suggested to Jan that he walks with me this morning (now allowed) he preferred to leave me to Sergio and lay by the pool instead. However, when I got there, instead of Sergio there was a very stressed, but very beautiful, senorita (which amused me no end) who apologised for the fact that it was her first day (their offices having been closed for the last nine weeks), that there had been a sudden rush of customers, and that unfortunately all she could give me was a white van. Which, in the circumstances, I couldn’t really complain about.
So me and the white van hurtled back home, as was only fitting (you know what they say about white van drivers…). Actually it was good fun, and I enjoyed cutting people up and hooting at them as a reward for all the near misses and hoots that I have had over the last nine weeks. I may yet buy myself a pair of overalls and hang ‘Jo’ and ‘Jan’ stickers in the windows. And by then it was time to join Jan by the pool for a couple of hours ‘recovery’.
Talking of companies that I love, my friend Adam asked me last night why I was stressing about chasing all the airlines for refunds, and why not just wait until they cough up, which they are legally bound to do. The thing is that at the moment most of them don’t want to give refunds (and I do understand why, but….) and they make it nearly impossible to get them or even change existing bookings. The only one that is easy, and that is our absolute favourite (and this might surprise you!) is Ryanair. I love them. First they put on regular direct flights from Prague to Malaga after we spent years lobbying various airlines to do it, then they always go on time, the crew is always nice, and they refund everything immediately – one email, click on it, and the money comes back. Amazing. Unlike the big guys, who we are now getting into a good old battle with – look out Iberia…. JG is on your tail…. (and be warned if you are planning on booking a flight any time soon!).
The afternoon, then, took on a fairly normal pattern (news-watching, social media, calls, a bit of work, etc), except that instead of one or other of us having to head to a supermarket to do a big stock up, I went with my van (although Jan, in the end, couldn’t resists a walk to Aldi). And then the plan for the evening is drinks with our paella friends (drinks!!! together!!!!). And then dinner at home and yet another walk. Exhausting!
Before I go, though, something that I pondered on my walk this morning – we have all been ‘clapping’ the health workers (this, as I have said before, is not just a British tradition, it was started in Italy and then Spain), and I hope, and believe, that there are many people supporting the police (my friends in Prague with their Frontliners’ feeding station for example), but there are so many other ‘heros’ at the moment – the ladies manning the supermarkets, the Amazon drivers and so on, it all makes me quite emotional. When this is all over, I am sure that we will be doing many things to thank them all. And, as Jan pointed out this morning, let’s not forget the many people living in tiny apartments for endless weeks without going outside, etc….. so today I couldn’t help but want to post one of my all time favourite videos today: