Lockdown? The clocks changed in the early hours, and with it, the weather and I think most people’s feelings of wellbeing did too. Today has been a great day – proper Spanish sun; factor 25 hot, shorts, T-shirts and hardly a cloud in the sky.
It has made a remarkable difference. We’ve spent the entire day outside in the garden; a proper ‘summer day’; cooking paella, eating, drinking and listening to music. We can hear neighbours all around us evidently enjoying the sunshine in a very similar fashion. Suddenly we do not feel anywhere near as isolated. Apart perhaps from the noticeable absence of a few friends, this felt like just any other normal Sunday pre-lockdown.
It’s days like these that we usually overload Facebook with photos of us enjoying the sun, usually with the obligatory comparison photo of the Spanish temperature versus the UK. But having endured almost two weeks of rain under lockdown which has most days seen us confined behind closed doors, it seems malevolent to do so and has instead made us think about those that don’t have any option to simply step outside.
It goes without saying, I imagine, that the lifestyle in Spain is very outdoorsy. But that doesn’t mean everyone living in Spain has their own personal outdoor space. Many families live in apartments. A garden isn’t a necessity when the beach is less than 20 minutes away. At least not under normal circumstances. It’s also a very communal way of life. A typical Sunday in Spain sees generations of families congregate at a restaurant to share a paella, some tapas or anything else for that matter. Or they pack their coolers and head to the dedicated barbecue areas in the mountains. Others choose the beach, and large groups of extended families, friends and neighbours descend with gazebos, chairs, tables, and weirdly, but not uncommonly, armchairs, bringing shoulders of Jamón Serrano, tortillas, olives and copious amounts of vino to the ultimate picnic on the beach.
And let’s not forget the festivals which are usually in abundance. The Spanish really don’t need much of an excuse to close down an entire street for a few days for paella gigante and a spot of flamenco.
But not today. Or any day for the foreseeable future.
You could, perhaps quite fairly, ask “So What?”. There are after all more important things going on right now than not being able to eat a bowl of rice in the sun. But many homes in Spain are just not built with staying indoors in mind. Many are relatively small and have no garden space at all, confining whole families completely indoors, even if the sun is shining brightly. Of course, this will be the same for many in the UK too. And some homes will be better equipped and much more lockdown friendly than others. A 52” flat screen TV for example, will certainly while away the long days much quicker than those without a TV at all.
When it comes to surviving the lockdown, we may have started off at different times, but we’re all heading down the same road. It’s just that some are more fortunate to be driving a much more comfortable car than others.
Note to self – don’t try and use similes again. Ever.
So, under the circumstances, we decided that posting pictures of us enjoying the sun whilst others are confined indoors wouldn’t really give us much pleasure.
But it does at least give us some...