Isolation Diary: Day Twenty-seven in Spain Lockdown

Thursday 16th April 2020

Benidorm in the morning hotel Bali lockdown

I completely forgot it was April. I was ready to write March and I’m not entirely convinced that I haven’t been writing March previously, this is my own personal reminder to go back and check.

We are into some kind of lockdown routine now. It feels like we’ve been locked down for so long that I don’t even think about going out. It’s like it’s not even a feasible option. It’s almost as though it sounds ridiculous to even consider being outside. What would we even do? If lockdown truly does come to an end next week it will be strange to say the least. How do you even adjust back to normality?

Rio cosy on the ottoman in lockdown

I’ll admit, I don’t want lockdown to end next Sunday. Not in this way. I feel like I’ve been cheated of my holidays anyway, I only get Easter and Christmas off and I take a pay cut all through the year, so that I can get full pay over the two holidays. Well, obviously I haven’t been paid for Easter so taking a pay cut has been a complete waste of money. But, of course nobody could’ve planned for this.

My other concern is routine. Are we all just expected to stay home for 6 weeks and then suddenly just go back to…normal? Whatever our normal once was. I don’t think I can just go back outside again without any sort of transitional period. I think that’s the key. A transitional period. I want lockdown to be gently eased off. Allow for social distancing exercise outside. Allow for walks in the mountains. Then allow bars to start opening, but with greater distance between tables. Allow things to gradually open rather than an abrupt change.

Morning coffee in Benidorm lockdown

I think new bar guidelines wouldn’t be the worst idea anyway. When we were in Liverpool the bar was by far the worst we’ve been in. We drove over to a restaurant which I’d seen on Instagram and really wanted to go to. The decor was beautiful and the service was pretty good. It was silent inside. People had already started retreating and not going out through corona fears, and there were two people on a date in the restaurant. A restaurant that had 3 separate rooms all with about 40 tables in. The waitress carried on walking and I just knew she was going to place us directly next to them. There are a good 30 tables to choose from but we were placed directly next to the only other people in the restaurant. The waitress couldn’t even get to the side of the table to talk to us as there wasn’t space between the tables. It was even quieter as now neither of us wanted to speak. What’s the need for tables being this close? Or to place people this close? Does customer care have no value or is it all about how many tables you can fit in? Maybe with the new guidelines we’ll stop having customers having to sit directly on top of one another.

Smiling and happy in lockdown

We’re doing good though. We’re keeping fit and active and I can’t quite get over how much exercise I’m doing. My watch is closing my activity rings pretty quickly in the day now, considering before I was barely getting close to having done 30 minutes of exercise a day. Yet here I am now doing a good 2 hours of exercise, minimum. My steps have gone from a measly 1,000 a day to a pretty respectable 5,000 a day. Just Dance has made it so easy to do so much exercise. I did a pretty intense yoga workout for abs and arms for 40 minutes after doing my 6 minute abs too so if I don’t come out of lockdown with a toned, strong stomach then I’ve done something wrong!

I’ve been being strict with my language learning too. I’m keeping on top of setting an alarm so that I spend a decent amount everyday and I’m certainly noticing progress. I had an email from Duolingo with a weekly progress report and it said I had learnt over 120 new words and spent over 3 hours studying over the last week. It all builds up bit by bit and I’m hoping when lockdown is over we’ll be able to head off on a holiday and I can try out my new linguistic skills. We’ll see about that one!

Rio eating his eggs

Alex has learnt to do poached eggs during lockdown. Rio LOVES eggs, he licks all the yolk first and then eats the egg whites. He used to hate eggs. We’ve always had eggs for breakfast in my house and Alex was definitely not a fan. He’d pull faces and say he doesn’t like any kind of egg. Who doesn’t like any kind of egg!? Ha. Boiled, poached, scrambled. I do love a good egg. A few years back, he decided to try one. He must’ve got curious or something but now he likes them too. I don’t think he’s ventured to try a boiled egg yet, he tends to opt for fried. Next step… he’ll like mushrooms? Ha. I don’t think that will ever happen.

Made my we are Venice lockdown video noi siamo Venezia

I’d been asked to video myself saying “noi siamo venezia”, we are Venice in Italian for a promotional video showing solidarity for Venice across the world. The photographer had got in touch and asked if I’d send over a short video clip, but to make sure I was outside to show I’m not in Venice. I had to get creative with the whole can’t go outside thing. But I made it work with the front balcony that I always forget exists. We went back on our front balcony for a bit with Rio. The sunlight is good there and it was a good place to get some fresh air after an hour of sweating it out on Just Dance.

We’d played some Brawl Stars and watched the Elephant documentary on Disney+ documented by Meghan Markle. I love elephants, I really do, but every single animal documentary is so desperately boring to me. I want to like them, I really do. But they are painfully boring. Alex loves nature programmes, whereas me, I just can’t get into them. Animate the animals to do the speaking and I might be interested. Ha

I’m about half way through The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend. On the whole, the book is getting better and a little more interesting. Fortunately, a lot of drama goes on in that house while she’s in bed and pieces come together about how each character isn’t as squeaky clean as you thought them to be at the beginning of the book. It’s definitely improving as the book goes on. I’d read on the ottoman a lot today. I even sat on the ottoman having my dinner with Rio. I think it’s the very first time ever that Alex and I haven’t sat in the same room to eat dinner. We always tend to at least sit and eat dinner together every night as we work opposite shifts, but now it’s not so important now we’re constantly in the same four walls together. It’s lucky we get along!

Cosy in my I love la jumper lockdown attire

In the evening, we played some of Asa’s new album. He sent me over the songs and they’re great to sing along to. My favourite is Those Magic Changes and Saturday Night at the Movies. He’s signing the CDs at the moment and the album is only £9.99 so would definitely recommend getting one. He also does a lockdown TV three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) at 7pm on Facebook live so that’s worth tuning into too. He always sings a few of his songs so you can get a feel for his sound before getting the CD!

Nighttime in Benidorm lockdown

I don’t know if you’ve ever stood on a balcony in Spain at 3am? I know most of you will have, but I do know not everybody has been to Spain yet. Where it’s still warm but there’s also a subtle light chill in the air. The time when spring is just starting to share glimmers of summer. The time when it’s silent. So silent you can hear the crickets buzzing and the odd rustle in the bushes, probably from a stray cat. There’s no noise. Just the odd whir from a car, probably somebody coming home from the night shift. And it’s dark. But with the glow of the hotel outdoor lights brightening it up. The type of silence and peace that I’ve only ever known in Benidorm in the early hours of the morning. That’s how it is, at 10pm. It’s beautifully peaceful.

Cuenca magnet that we found in our apartment

I nipped off to the fridge before heading to bed and noticed something I’d never noticed before. We’ve always had two fan fridge magnets on our fridge that aren’t ours. They were there when we moved in but as they’re not ours we’ve never really taken much notice of them. Until today. CUENCA one said in bold. Cuenca, the last place Alex and I had travelled together in Spain before lockdown. How uncanny that the place on the fan was somewhere we’d been… and hadn’t heard of before we went. It was a random google session when I found Cuenca inland not too far away. Little did I know that our fridge could’ve told us about Cuenca all along. I’m tempted to leave a third fan magnet of somewhere when we leave the apartment and leave a note saying it’s tradition now in this apartment to leave a fan magnet of a place in Spain. See if we can make this a thing.

I must say, I’m avoiding the news as much as possible. It’s all so depressing, isn’t it? I am so pleased that I’ve managed to escape it. I get a few highlights come through on my watch and read a couple of those. But, on the whole I keep clear. There are 90,000 active cases in Spain now, and 83,000 of those are mild cases. There’s also been 74,797 full recoveries which is fantastic and brings some hope. I did see the wonderful gentleman doing his walk around the garden who raised over 12 million for the NHS which is fantastic. It does make me sad though that the NHS is so saturated and drained of resources that it has to be treated as a charity. What happened to the millions promised each week? We must’ve all knew that would never happen.

In the meantime, keep positive, keep safe and keep smiling.

L x

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Hola! I'm Lauren ("Loh - run") — A twenty-something, engaged, English girl living on the Costa Blanca, obsessed with travel, love and elephants.

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