Lockdown Log – Day 26 – The Supermarket Sweep

Let’s hear it for home deliveries!

We’re fast approaching a month in lockdown in Mallorca. When it started, I had plans to do so many things, including decorating. There’s still plenty of time, though, because the lockdown is being extended to April 26th – another couple of weeks from the already-extended date of Easter Sunday.

The last time I left our finca was on March 14th, when we did our usual Saturday morning trip into Manacor. The good old days. Since then, The Boss has done the past two weekly supermarket shops, and local Manacor agricultural producer Terragust has delivered fresh produce to our rural home.

The Boss volunteered to do the supermarket run. I could tell that it was somewhat stressful, and not just because of taking the necessary paperwork, disposable gloves, sanitizer, and wearing a tightly wrapped scarf around his upper orifices – like a 21st-century Dick Turpin.

Aisle Call

I may be a writer, but my handwriting is shocking; I blame years of computer use. My handwriting could part-qualify me to be a doctor – a career path I’m very pleased I didn’t pursue, in the current circumstances. Only I can understand the scrawls on the shopping list I usually take on our forays for food. On those occasions, The Boss pushes the trolley and probably switches off mentally until it’s time to get his wallet out.

To make shopping easier for him, I typed out a list, in the order of which he would find the items located in the store. I pictured him whizzing around with his trolley (he’s usually in charge of it when we shop), plucking the required items from the shelves and dropping them into the trolley. Job done.

Alas, it wasn’t quite that easy. I received several calls on his mobile phone on both occasions, with various questions. What was the Spanish for linseeds? What did dried yeast look like? That type of thing.

Stepping Up to the Trolley

With Easter almost upon us, I decided I’d do this week’s shopping run. I hadn’t driven the car since March 9th, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to give my motoring skills an outing. Unlike the almost-deserted car park and store that The Boss had reported after his trips, yesterday was a busy day of pre-Easter shopping and I had to queue to enter.

I wore disposable gloves and a Mrs Dick Turpin-style scarf as I pushed my sanitized-handled trolley through the store. Every now and then, my reading glasses would steam up from the breath trapped by my scarf but, even visually challenged by the fog on my lenses, I could see that social distancing was Not Being Observed. I spent much of my shopping trip avoiding other trolley-pushers and muttering crossly under my breath, like a mad woman. By the way, muttering crossly under your breath, like a mad woman, is an effective technique to make people give you a wide berth.

A large number of shoppers were men, I observed, and most of them appeared clueless. I saw several apparently phoning home, from the exasperated ‘get me outta here’ looks on their faces.

I’m not a stock-piler – we wouldn’t have space to store stuff, even if I were – but I did decide to buy two of certain items, in the hope we could extend the time before the next shopping trip. It was with a well-filled trolley that I arrived at a till, where a friendly young lady wearing a clear perspex face shield gave me a bit of a turn when she told me how much my bill was.

Digit Dilemma

No worries. I extracted my Banca March card (which I almost never use), and duly inserted it into the machine. That was when I realised how difficult it is to tap out a PIN number wearing disposable gloves, with fingers that extend way beyond the length of your own. Three unsuccessful attempts later – although I was convinced at least the last one was correct – my card was rejected. (It was only when I arrived home that I realised the card had expired last November!).

I looked at the three packed Sainsbury’s trolley bags (brought over from the UK in 2004 and still serving us weekly) and envisaged having my purchases taken away from me. My UK bank account card came to the rescue; two unsuccessful attempts at its PIN number and I was on the brink of another card rejection. In a red-faced huff (it really was too warm to be swaddled in a lambswool scarf), I ripped off my right-hand glove and stabbed out the number on the terminal keys. I did, though, thank the cashier for her patience – and for being there in the first place. Judging by the look of surprise on her face, that didn’t happen very often.

Back in the safety of the car, I went a bit wild with the hand sanitizer before driving home. Shopping in the time of corona can be pretty stressful…

Jan Edwards©2020

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