Logdown Log in Mallorca – Day 51

Wildflowers growing on the side of the lane in our valley

Yes, it’s day 3,789 of lockdown here in Mallorca (Spain). Not really; it just feels a bit like it sometimes.

But there was A Big Change in this country on Saturday, as Spain’s restrictions – reported as the toughest in Europe – were eased slightly for adults. From Saturday, May 2nd, we were allowed out for exercise (sports) or a walk.

Of course, there are restrictions, such as dedicated time bands for going out; this is is designed to minimise the risk to those most vulnerable to the virus. For walks, we can travel up to a radius of one kilometre from our homes; exercise is not so restrictive, but must be done within the same municipality. We cannot hop in the car and drive anywhere to walk or work out. (Oh, how I long to walk beside the Mediterranean again).

Lucky to Have Land

We’ve not exactly been lazy during the lockdown. Exercising to online videos could have been an option if our wifi signal was better, but we opted to walk.

We’re fortunate that our finca has plenty of land. More than half of it is still virgin territory for me, as it forms a valley within our valley and not only are the sides of this mini-valley steep, they’re also perilous, as the land underfoot is just loose stones. I had a small taste of this danger in our early years here, when I ventured out and slid several feet, ending up in a heap on the ground – my unplanned descent broken by a well-located shrub. This required a hospital visit to check on very painful ribs which, fortunately, were just badly bruised, rather than broken.

From this limited personal experience, I know that one careless step could lead to hurtling down the side, through a tangle of wild olives and mastic bushes, to an uncomfortable stop at what is the long-dried-up bed of a stream. Andres and Guillermo, elderly brothers who lived in the valley as small boys, once told us they’d fished for eels down there. And that there had been peach and apricot trees for scrumping.

Stepping Out

The rest of our land is not as dangerous. As well as the garden we’ve created, there’s a large flat field – which has become our walking track during lockdown. We don’t use the field for anything in particular, as it’s mainly layered with huge rocks and stones. The Boss used to get out his man toy (a bushwacker) to level the wild growth to the ground, but this marvellous piece of kit died last year and we have yet to replace it.

Almost since lockdown began, we have had a routine: 20 circuits of the field in the morning and 20 in the early evening. This was mainly to counter all the extra baking I’d been doing. We’ve missed very few sessions and, as a result, now have a well-trodden and compressed roundish track amidst what is now a field of waist-high (and in my case, some  shoulder-high) wild grasses and wildflowers. You could probably spot it from the International Space Station, if you were up there looking down on our part of rural Mallorca.

Felines in the Field

The cats that share our finca have been visibly bemused by our routine. Shorty, our affectionate ginger, started to follow us but realised that if he just sat in the middle of our track, he would get a few terms of endearment and a stroke on the head from me each time we came around. The others just sit in the grass at the side of the track and watch us.

During these walks we’ve also discovered Dusty’s secret daytime hiding place. He has a spot in a dense cluster of wild fennel and a plumbago bush that we certainly didn’t plant, but which thrives in the ashy area that was once our bonfire site. You’d never know that he was there but, one day, we saw him stalking through the grasses and then disappear from view. It was as though he’d entered the door to a parallel cat universe. Now that we know his secret spot, we can just about see him as we pass by.

As the weeks have gone by, we have watched Mother Nature continue her spring tasks. Some wildflowers have died, to be replaced by new ones. This morning we spotted some pretty blue flowers that weren’t out yesterday. We’ve seen several tortoises and butterflies galore. These little details are so easily be missed in the daily pace of ‘normal’ life (remember that?).

Venturing Out

On Saturday we used our allotted walking period to check on a couple of neighbouring holiday homes for their owners. It was good to see the land of other people’s properties for a change.

Yesterday, we walked up the lane for the permitted one kilometre. We didn’t expect to see many people out in the valley; but did spot a woman walking a dog in the distance and waved (but had no idea who she was).

What we did see were cyclists. Lots of them. In fact I woke up yesterday to the sound of cyclists yelling as they freewheeled down the lane. Our valley is a magnet for cyclists: it has a very steep and challenging gradient that has earned it a place on the route of the Mallorca 312 cycling event, which takes place at the end of April each year. (This year’s event has been rescheduled to October 10th, 2020).

Our rural valley is in the municipality of Manacor and it seemed that every cycling enthusiast in the town had taken the opportunity to escape on two wheels to the countryside yesterday.

Social distancing wasn’t as easy as it should have been, with huffing and puffing cyclists constantly passing us. In future, we’ll be wearing our black bandit-like masks…or continuing our field circuits, away from the sporty sorts.

Jan Edwards©2020

7 thoughts on “Logdown Log in Mallorca – Day 51

  1. When you are out and about with the Boss, besides your masks and gloves, do carry an umbrella. Not a new one, just an old ratty one. But of course be careful that it doesn’t slip and you somehow lose your grip on it, and it ends up in the spokes of some bicyclist who is zipping past you, breaking all sorts of rules.

    • Ha ha! But, oops, don’t mention the word ‘ratty’ at the moment. We have a rather cheeky one that keeps popping up here and there – after years of not seeing one. Even with five cats permanently around, it has so far survived.

  2. I think that you don´t have to worry about being infected by cyclists passing by. Carrying an umbrella, as suggested, is certainly over the top! Wearing your “black bandit-like masks” when walking seems also unnecessary and also very sweaty in today’s hot weather. As I said before be cautious but don’t panic!
    Love Anders (MD)

    • Hello Anders, the umbrella remark was tongue in cheek, I believe! Yes, the bandit masks would be a bit warm now that lovely temperatures are with us. After passing even more cyclists this morning, we’ve decided to vary our route a bit and walk down a lane with an eventual dead end, that has little appeal for the two-wheeled brigade. I hope all all is well with you.

      • The cyklists are also passsing my finca. i give them a “bon dia”. Worse are the sweaty joggers with a depressed look on their face. They seem introverded and are often afraid of my merry dog , Casey; which loves everyone. I just let them passe bye.!

  3. We also have cyclists that whiz by along our country roads…while the rest of us are trying to stay closer to home with our neighborhood walks. I know the feeling! As for gardening gear (I’m the main bushwacker, etc. in my household), I’ve been spending a lot of time wielding the weedwacker. Maybe my husband wishes it would break! Glad to hear you all have some easing restrictions in Mallorca as time goes on. -Alison in Northern California

    • Good to hear from you. It sounds as though you’ve been busy with the weedwacker. Ours was pretty large and I don’t think I could have picked it up, let alone used it with a vengeance! I hope the situation over there isn’t too challenging for you and yours.

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