A time to remember and one we’ll definitely not forget. A time we’d never imagined would happen within our lifetime, in this modern age. A time that we were seeing unfolding in other countries, but couldn’t believe it would come to us, that was on their news, ‘The them & us’ thought process was in full flow. Then it did, then it arrived, then it was consuming our lives.
I am writing this post for me, for my family to store in our keepsake memoirs. To read in the future when we need to look back on or remind ourselves what we’ve lived through, what we’ve survived, how vulnerable we were and are. Controlled movements, business breakdowns, families separated, but also what we’ve positively gained, what we achieved and how I see our lives will change.
Although as I type on an unusually cold and wet May Day (12th May 2020), we are still in Fase 0 in Malaga province of Spanish Lockdown, I will write in past tense, as after I have written this, I hope to not read it for years to come, because quite frankly, I am sick to my back teeth of Covid-19, the politics, the false news, the speculation. I just want to go back to normal or as we’re preparing for it ‘THE NEW NORMAL’
On Friday 13th March !! As I did my last hike, unbeknown to me, and stopped for a cafe con leche at a rural venta, and soaked in the view, the news of the Covid-19 Pandemic and changes were unfolding around me. “Difficult times are coming,” said the bar owner and we just stood and stared.
My youngest daughter was in college in Malaga, rumours were spreading of the impending Lockdown, social media was in a frenzied state, people were travelling whereever they could, to be where they wanted to be. My son travelled up from Gibraltar, for our last reunion, only to be called back within 12 hours. Bars, restaurants, public transport, schools were closing, and then BOOM by the end of the week-end, here we were in Spain in the strictest Lockdown in Europe.
Business bookings started cancelling left, right and centre, tourist and catering industries folded overnight. We watched as our numbers of infected rose, we watched as other countries restrictions seemed to be flaunted and not adhered to, as WE had the army on the streets even in rural mountain villages. Police stops became a norm, with those stopped having to prove their reason for travel, walking or even stepping outside. Heavy penalties for those without justifiable reasons. No outside exercise for 7 weeks. This was like something out of a movie.
Flights stopped, the skies were pollution-free, the world’s countries borders closed, nobody could travel anywhere. My eldest daughter Sasha was put on Furlough from her career at Birmingham airport as air travel was no more, her visit to come home to the mountain for a break was gone.
As realisation sank in and we all tried to adapt to our lockdown lives, motivation to start was on a high, we would get up every day, exercise, make a plan, be productive, focus on the future, be positive, blah, blah, blah. Homeschooling for every child, including our Nell in her first year of Bachillerato in Spain (16), video lessons, WhatsApp group chats, virtual projects, hats off to her college they kept the school routine as well as could be expected. Then the rollercoaster of emotions starting running and the RAIN came. Our Spanish blue skies left us, and our blue moods hit us.
Colleagues, associates and friends rallied round to encourage each other, chivvy each other up, find ways we could grow in the future, damage limitation was in full force. Lack of empathy from some was hard to deal with and one had to learn to scroll on by frequently as the social media posts, opinions and comments went on overdrive. Virtual and life long friends and family not as badly affected financially showed great support and encouragement and to this, we shall never forget.
Food and drink played a huge role in everybody’s coping mechanism, comfort food needed every day, never before bakers were appearing, newbie foodies sharing their creations for all to see, camaraderie for me in its finest form. Food shopping, limited to once a week and only to our nearest shop, meant we had to be more creative in our menu plans and ration some foods, to save for special treats. We were determined for the weekend to have a different feel to the week, which meant 2 bottles of wine not one 😉 who was I kidding?
As the weeks passed 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9, the smallest of changes were made fortnightly, no work allowed, essential workers only, not more than 1 person in the car, emergency travel only, in the later weeks and after far too long for many stuck in apartment blocks with no outside space, an hour exercise a day no further than 1 km from your home. Gloves and masks became the imperative addition to the wardrobe, and the weekly long-awaited trip to the shop actually was never enjoyable.
On the good days, typically when the sun came out and we could breathe in the mountain air, I’ve loved time spent with my youngest daughter Nell, in normal circumstances and she would be no different as a 16-17-year-old, there would be no way she would spend 24/7 at home especially on the side of a mountain. We’ve laughed, pranked, Tik-Tok’d, exercised, worked together, hugged and cried. A time I shall be eternally grateful for. Regular Video calls helped keep spirits up for elderly parents in isolation on the U.K, family WhatsApp groups kept the banter alive.
Is the end in sight? I can’t see that, but there is a glimmer of hope in the numbers of infected, the majority of Spanish residents have followed the rules and observed the reasons, obviously, there’s always the select few who think they’re are above the law, and jeopardise things for the rest of us. The summer of 2020 will be most unusual, will we feel free or safe to enjoy the beach, eating out, meeting up with friends? We will just put it all behind us and move on? Will we stay in our cocoons and just be content with our families, enjoying the simple life? Time will tell!
I long for the days our border will be open, and we have freedom of choice to fly or travel to other countries, not even for holidays but to visit family, the feeling of not being ALLOWED to, even if necessary and an emergency is hard to bear and we pray each day we won’t have to be put into that situation.
I thought I’d list a few of the activities that we did during our Lockdown, things to kill the boredom, keep the grey matter, things we’d never done before, our time wasn’t wasted, we definitely learned the simple things in life can bring the most joy and happiness :
- Made my first Youtube cooking video.
- Baked dozens of loaves of bread. Hunted for flour and yeast, like everyone.
- Played Monopoly.
- Did a very difficult jigsaw. (took 3 weeks)
- Online Yoga.
- Plank challenge, lasted 10 days 😉
- Dalgona coffee, had to be done.
- Pruned our olive trees.
- Made fire.
- Created weekly meal plans ( definitely too much time on my hands)
- Didn’t buy diesel for 8 weeks.
- Dug ourselves out of a landslide.
- Cried live on Instagram.
- Had to buy logs in April !!! was freezing, had a fire in May !!
- Had my first doctors’ appointment by phone in Spanish.
- Was only the T.V in the U.K on the evening news.
- Had an article featured in the newspaper.
- Became and essential service.
- Tidy every cupboard and draw (they need doing again)
- Enjoyed watching the wildflowers left to bloom.
- Drank too much, ate more.
- Didn’t run out of Loo Roll. Now that ladies & gentlemen is a WIN 😉
Excellent article, and well done to the Drakie family. Again you overcame very difficult times and have come through the other end.
I have nothing but praise for this family as they have overcome so many issues over the years since coming to Spain to achieve their dream.