Now here is an odd consequence of the lock-down in Spain. Because I can’t say to Jeanie, ‘Let’s go out for a meal’, - which we frequently do under normal circumstances - because I can’t take the dog down the road to the hotel bar for a drink, because I can’t get in my car and drive to the coast, I am so much better off financially. I have more in the bank than I normally have at this point in the month. I know that is not the case for people of working age here in Spain and for most of working age in the UK but I last went to the cash point 14 days ago - usually I visit the money machine twice weekly - yet I still have money in my wallet. The money I usually give to church on Sunday is remains in my pocket. Usually I give a small note to Peter, an illegal immigrant who is a regular worshipper at our church. I wonder how Peter and his family are getting on; Joy, Peter himself and Destiny, their toddler son. Our bills get paid. The luxuries do not happen.
I’ve not been out of the house for three days now. Jeanie’s daughters think she should wrap me in bubble wrap. I’m not sure that I like the thought of trying to breathe through that. I would prefer cotton wool. It is softer and easier to breathe through. Jeanie is still venturing out several times a day to walk Tilly, the dog. Meeting no-one on most occasions. It is so quiet. We think two of the couples who have holiday apartments on this Urbanización have gone back to England today. Their cars are not there. We had seen them and now their places are locked up. Given the incidence of the virus here compared with UK, that may have been a good idea. Very few others are in residence. However, we feel as safe and secure as can be. I’ve been watching the incidence of Covid19 in the different regions of Spain. There is a very good statistical web-site with daily updates. Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque region are the worst affected in Spain. Here in the Valencian autonomous region, we are well down the pecking order, and well below the Spanish overall average for the condition. Not wishing the blight on anyone, long may our well below average position remain until the crisis passes.
We were able to do a big shopping last week before the crisis broke, and so far, there is more than enough in fridge and freezer, although we are beginning to run out of fresh vegetables. Jeanie has a younger friend who will shop for us tomorrow.
We are trying to stay in touch with friends and members of the church congregation by telephone and Internet. Currently, everyone appears to be well. A relative of a friend who visited Barcelona from England has the virus but appears to be recovering well since return to UK. I’ve contacted all the members of what had been my church choir. No problems there at present. Jeanie, my wife and our church pastor, is preparing to put a Mothers’ Day virtual service on the church website for Sunday. I’m writing a meditation and intercessory prayer with a twin theme: Mothers’ Day and a reflection on the current crisis. I’m also recommending to church members, most of us in that delicate category, ‘Elderly vulnerable’, many of us with underlying health issues, that they may find Open University free short courses under Openlearn, a stimulus to stave off boredom. I did several before embarking on A802 and found that experience very valuable.
I’ve heard from each of my three children. At present they, my grandchildren and partners are all well. My children are all key workers. They are facing much more complicated decisions and responsibilities than I ever faced in professional life. Sarah is head of a special school currently under emergency planning. She thinks that due to the delicate nature of her pupils, her school will stay open but under instruction from health services. My son, a primary school head, is expecting to keep his school open, even over weekends. Many of his pupils’ parents are key workers and he, of course, is a key worker himself. However, I’ve been able to monitor him and my granddaughter on Twitter. His school has a regular Twitter feed and today I’ve seen my granddaughter, Antonia Lily with friends in her year group enjoying an early Easter egg-hunt in the school yard. Rachel, in California is holed up with Joe and Sam but Grace in university in Los Angeles has chosen to stay in halls of residence for the time being. Rachel’s health centre place of work is within walking distance and that works well for her during the early part of this emergency.
It does mean that I am able to focus a little more on course work. I was falling behind a bit. However, because Jeanie is not out of the house on choir, band and church duties, I am expected to respond to conversation rather more than usual!
Keep safe everyone,