Lockdown Log in Mallorca – Day 8

A beautiful morning with mist in the valley – before the lockdown

Well, we’ve survived the first week of lockdown in Mallorca. Today is day 8, and Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has today announced that he will ask Congress for a 15-day extension to the current State of Alarm. They’re hardly likely to say no, under the current circumstances.

When the initial lockdown began, staying at home for 15 days almost felt like having an enforced holiday at home: more time to read, catch up on household chores, pamper ourselves, watch movies, get in touch with neglected friends, and tackle something we’d always wanted to learn. Realistically, though, 15 days of social isolation were never going to be long enough to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

Since my last post, we’ve kept ourselves busy. I’ve been researching and preparing weekday coronavirus update bulletins for Mallorca Sunshine Radio. It’s taken longer than I expected, as the Internet is running very s…l…o…w…l…y. But it’s not as if we have anywhere else to be right now. And it’s good to feel as useful as possible within the restricted conditions.

Although I am, as they say in the news business, “keeping across what’s happening”, I’m not recording bulletins this weekend. This meant a little extra time in bed yesterday and this morning, and a more leisurely paced day.

Life Online

For many, life in lockdown has become life online. We all want to stay in touch with families and friends: social media is coming into its own. We’ve been appreciating my Dad’s short Facebook posts in the morning (which are tinged with the gentle humour of a stoical person who grew up during World War II). He’s bought himself a new iPhone too so we can connect by WhatsApp. I am extremely proud of him.

I thought this time of social isolation would be a good opportunity to explore the gazillion possibilities to connect, learn, participate in something, and be entertained – all online. It’s not surprising that the Internet is creaking at times here in our valley, where the signal is not too brilliant at the best of times.

For an island that’s, in area, roughly the size of the county of Hampshire (UK), Mallorca is home to a huge number of creative and talented people. Some of them have come up with ways to engender community spirit, by facilitating online material or setting up Facebook Watch Parties – designed to help us learn new things, get fitter, be entertained, or simply cope with the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of my Living in Rural Mallorca followers live or have second homes in Mallorca. If you’re one of these followers and aren’t already aware of the following Facebook groups, you may be interested in checking out the following.

Majorca Mallorca, At Home Together

Ivan Gonzalez Gainza and his partner Lara Corfield of Wine Industry presented a video on wine tasting

This Facebook group now has more than 1,100 members. It was set up by my friend and fellow writer (plus photographer/all-round good egg), Vicki McLeod, who is one of the most community-spirited people I’ve met since living in Mallorca.

Vicki and her very small team invite group members to contribute videos designed to teach, inform, or entertain other group members. If the Internet had been more reliable at home this week, we could have learnt some new skills.

I predict that group members will be raising their game in the kitchen department, as a result of the various cooking demonstrations this week. These have included making sourdough, home-made pizzas, overnight oats, and carob bites. There have been online quizzes and live concerts by local performers, as well as yoga, boxing, and other exercise lessons, and even a wine tasting tutorial video. The group is a place for members to share useful information – such as businesses in Mallorca offering home deliveries. I’d be riveted to it if our Internet were better behaved.

Online Community Immunity & Vitality Live Retreat

This is a group for those who want to improve their mental and physical well-being during the lockdown. This week I managed to watch two of their videos: Ruth and Eran, (from Palma eatery Santosha) making sauerkraut, and brewing ginger beer. The Boss can look forward to a probiotic boost soon – assuming the ginger beer bottles don’t explode during the brewing process.

Coping in the Countryside

The first barrowload of cut ‘swords’ to go down to the bottom corner of the field.

Yesterday, The Boss and I committed ourselves to some physical activity as part of our daily routine. We walked countless circuits of our field, with the intention of doing this twice a day. We followed our first session with some gardening and, between us, worked on sawing off and removing 52 ‘swords’ (they live up this name) from the bases of two of our monster agaves.

We’d have been doing the same thing today if it hadn’t been for the thunder, lightning, and lashing rain most of the day. Oh, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re staying well.

Jan Edwards©2020

Lockdown Log in Mallorca – Days 1 & 2

Our rural idyll

Today is day two of Spain’s official lockdown. Yesterday, it was hard to believe it was happening. Here we were, in our peaceful rural paradise, enjoying the blue skies and warm sunshine. We had breakfast, coffee, and lunch out on the terrace – taking the opportunity to boost our Vitamin D.

If we’d been without any kind of media, we’d have been oblivious to what’s going on elsewhere. We are, if you didn’t know, probably the only two people in the developed world who didn’t find out about the 2004 tsunami until a week after it happened.

Back then, we had no TV, radio, Internet, or landline telephone – and no mobile coverage. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Now, every medium that exists bombards us with information…not all of it reliable or relevant.

The Sound of Silence

In terms of traffic, Sunday is our valley’s busiest day (but it’s all relative). This is when the grown-up offspring of our mallorquín neighbours return to the family home for a big gathering over lunch. Not yesterday. Lockdown means no visits to family or friends.

Dusty’s happy to have us at home all day, every day

We’re social distancing. It’s just The Boss and me – and our six cats – for the duration. And today, the Spanish government is saying that the lockdown period is likely to be extended beyond 15 days.

The prospect of a possible lockdown dangled like a carrot on a stick for a while. Fifteen whole days at home. Think of all the jobs we could do – like decorating. If only we had the paint to do it, eh?

There’s a raft of possible activities to fill our days, such as sorting out cupboards, photographs, and paperwork. I have a wardrobe that could do with some pruning (I need a bit more space inside it, for the reason you can read below). I also have a Kindle bursting with unread books, and a novel to finish writing.

Radio Daze

My gastronomy/hospitality radio show – Table Talk – has been pulled off air for four weeks. It’s hardly appropriate to broadcast about gastronomy and hospitality with all restaurants, bars, cafes, and hotels closed. Instead, I’m on duty researching and producing Coronavirus update bulletins for Mallorca Sunshine Radio. A couple of times a day I slip into my home studio (otherwise known as the guest-room wardrobe) to record my bulletins. Ah, the glamour of the media world!

Whereas yesterday was sunny and warm and made the whole lockdown thing seem unreal, nature has delivered the weather today to match the mood of the nation. It was raining when we woke up and now it’s just grey and a bit chilly. I wouldn’t fancy going out anyway.

Altogether Now…

‘What was that awful noise?’

Perhaps you’ve seen on TV news coverage that people across Spain are joining together each evening – in spirit, if not in person? It’s an act of solidarity to pay homage to health workers and those who are keeping essential services going. At eight o’clock each evening, we take to our open windows, balconies, or terraces to applaud these people.

Here in rural Mallorca, The Boss and I are taking part, even though it’s only sheep likely to hear us. As people have been doing in Italy, the Spanish will soon be breaking into song as well at this time. I think The Boss and I will stick to clapping: no need to frighten the sheep even more with The Boss’s singing (only joking, The Boss).

Spain’s Latest Official Stats

Today, Monday 16th, the official figures show that Spain now has 8,744 confirmed cases of Coronavirus – 60% of which are in the Madrid region alone. Deaths have reached 297. People in hospital number 3,815 – with 410 in intensive care. The country’s population is just under 47 million.

In the Balearics, 73 cases are confirmed (18 new cases diagnosed in the past 24 hours); four patients are in intensive care and there’s been one death. The majority of the cases are in Mallorca.

Jan Edwards©2020