Archie completed his first Airfix model this evening, and in record time. I had assumed he would have inherited the same art and craft skills, patience and dexterity as me (none, very little and sod all in that order), and that my €15 investment in keeping him occupied would have given me a better return than just 1 hour. Clearly, I completely underestimated him and am now looking for something a tad more challenging. Still it put a smile on his face.
The conditions of allowing children out for walks have now been confirmed and announced. Children 14 years and under may go out for short walks once a day for a maximum of one hour and up to 1km from their home. They must always be accompanied by a parent or guardian (just the one, so no family outings). They may ride bikes and scooters but must observe social distancing and not meet up or play with other children. Facemasks will not be obligatory but recommended. Playgrounds remain closed.
The rules are still fairly strict and will almost certainly be imposed. But this is a huge deal for us in Spain. Archie is counting the days down like Christmas is coming and children of friends of ours, even baked a cake to mark the occasion such is the level of excitement here. I suspect it will be a very early start for many of us this Sunday.
Jo and I just need to fight over which one of us is supposedly the responsible adult that gets to accompany him.
I practically jumped out of my skin today when the doorbell unexpectedly rang. It hasn’t rung for almost six weeks and I’d completely forgotten we had one and what it sounded like. Jo and I shared a nervous look across the table and remained glued rigid to our seats. It rang again. Tentatively I peeked through the peephole to be confronted with a masked man staring back. Ah; it’s our meat delivery from a local butcher.
Our local Spar shop here has been simply brilliant serving the local community throughout the lockdown. Open 7 days a week, the shelves are always fully stocked, and the staff always polite, friendly and, I suspect, it’s always service with a smile from behind the facemask.
But we have been looking at ways to reduce the frequency we need to go there. It’s a dilemma, partly because we want to support local businesses, but primarily because it’s one of the very few opportunities we get to leave the house. But the less often we have to go, the safer it is for everyone.
It was quite exciting taking our delivery of chicken, beef, lamb (quite difficult to find in the local supermarkets here) and sausages. And sausages. And sausages.
It turns out that the butcher and I use completely different systems of measurement. Whilst he works on the traditional metric system, I favour the more simple Number of Sausages I Want for My Breakfast method. The conversion rate of 8 sausages to 8kg of sausages is actually quite generous.
I’ve also joined a wine club, for the same reasons. This has added a small degree of respectability to my drinking which I quite like. it now feels like I have a sophisticated, middleclass hobby rather than some habit that will need kicking once the lockdown ends. I’m currently tasting several varieties in order to source a good vintage breakfast wine.
It’s strange how often over the past weeks I’ve mentioned how much it feels like Christmastime. Not that it has been particularly joyous or festive, just that there are some similarities with being under lockdown; the extended time spent with family, the uncertainty of which day it is, and that most shops and businesses are closed. Not to mention the excessive chocolate indulgence. Actually, at times it has been quite joyous.
And now with less than 24 hours to go until Archie can leave the house for a walk, it once again feels like Christmas, or Christmas Eve to be exact.
The day started with sausages for breakfast. Three down, many, many more to go. A great start, then made even better by a very unexpected but perfectly timed early Christmas present - a box of chocolates left on our door step. A later text revealed the identity of the Secret Santa, who organised it from the UK just to let us know that we were being thought of. Such a thoughtful, generous, kind, and ever so slightly illegal gesture. Thank you Ant. I will keep the identity of Santa’s Little Helper a mystery to avoid any Spanish Inquisitions.
By midday we were stuffed on sausages and chocolates. By 6.30 Archie was showered, in his pyjamas and ready for bed. Not that he would be able to sleep. To say he is excited is an understatement. And he has been very, very good this year.
Sadly, some people on social media are begrudging children this small but significant step. I’ve stupidly been drawn into Facebook arguments over “why them and not me?” with supposedly grown adults. I appreciate that it’s hard when others are having a tiny piece of freedom and you are not. I know how envious and if I’m honest, sometimes even resentful, I feel when I see posts of friends in the UK enjoying their daily exercise time. It’s only natural. But this is a positive first step for all of us. Hopefully soon further relaxation of the rules will follow. This could be just the start of things getting back to, well something better, even if not particularly normal.
But to those that begrudge a child’s first trip outside the front door in six weeks tomorrow; I say, ‘Bah Humbug!’ and suggest you try being a bit more emphatic to others. Then who knows - maybe you will find yourself on Santa’s Nice List.
I guess not everyone loves Christmas as much as we do.