LOCKDOWN DAY TWO:
Monday is the first “normal” day of the lockdown. I go to the surgery for routine blood tests. Everyone is maintaining social distance. Doctors and nurses are wearing masks and gloves. The village is VERY quiet. I use the opportunity to go to a couple of food shops. In the first, they have put tape on the floor to keep people queuing at a good metre’s distance from each other, and that works well. It feels a bit like a board game, when the person at the till leaves the shop we can all move one square forward. In the bakery, a sign prohibits more than one customer at a time, and there is a tray to put the money on.
We learn to ration our “treats” – in the morning the socially-distant doorstep chat (shout) with the neighbours. In the afternoon a walk to the shop. A chance to talk to humans, whether the can of tuna you buy is absolutely essential or not.
A purple button has appeared on our health app. This app, Salud Responde, allows us to book GP or nurse appointments (usually the same day or the next). The purple button, marked “Coronavirus” is slightly too vibrant, and throbs ominously. I haven’t dared press it as it has the air of being poised to squirt disinfectant in my face.
In the squares all the benches are empty. It looks and feels very strange.
LOCKDOWN DAY FOUR:
Every night at 8pm, across Spain people take to their balconies and join together to applaud the health workers and the emergency services. It is incredibly moving. Videos from the big cities show neighbours leaning over, waving at each other, and clapping. It is sparser in my village, but as I clap on my top terrace our thin and scattered applause merges above us and floats off to join in the nation’s gratitude.
The Spanish king addresses the nation, as does the Prime Minister. The general view is that this will go on for a couple of months beyond the initial fortnight.
LOCKDOWN DAY SIX:
The shop at the top of my road) has upped its game. We queue outside until someone leaves. A squirt of disinfectant on the hands as you enter. It is no surprise that here nobody is taking advantage of the situation – I bought a 12-pack of loo rolls for 1,40€.
There’s bad news from a dear friend whose brother has the virus. He’s in hospital in Madrid so she can’t go to see him, and he’s in his 80s. It brings it home. It’s not just about funny memes and clapping on balconies.
On the patio it is very quiet. There is almost no traffic, and the road improvements in the village have had to stop. The sound of birdsong is everywhere. It was there before, but we had forgotten to hear it.
LOCKDOWN DAY EIGHT:
Life inside the prison cell has just got a whole lot better. A bunch of women friends have done battle with technology and we manage a group video call between five of us. I have an extra-long shouty-chat with Ana-Mari opposite, she on her balcony, me inside my front door but with the glass section open, shouting through the bars.
From next door Isabel waves, but today she doesn’t come out. She’s at the kitchen table with her sewing machine, making face-masks for the healthcare staff and for local people, she is one of a team of volunteers across the village doing this, and a bigger team across Andalucía. Not all heroes wear capes.
We discover that the Spanish Prime Minister is going to ask parliament for an extension to the lockdown, to April 12th. We knew it was coming, but there is still a sinking feeling.
It’s drizzling, which cuts down slightly on terrace-exercise. On LBC radio this morning they interviewed a Frenchman who has just completed an actual Lockdown Marathon since their confinement began in France. His terrace is 7-metres long, and he has counted up all those 7-metre chunks and has done 6,028 lengths of his terrace. In many ways it’s a metaphor for seeing the bigger picture, seeing how small contributions, small steps, add up and contribute to something big and valuable.
Like staying indoors, for the greater good. #MeQuedoEnCasa
© Tamara Essex 2020 http://www.twocampos.com