12:40. The front door swings open and Archie comes dancing out across the threshold for the first time in 6 weeks. Not that he usually dances over the threshold, of course.
Despite his obvious excitement and enthusiasm for leaving the house, Archie is initially tentative as we walk up the road, seeking reassurance that we really are allowed out. The sight of a little girl riding on her bike puts his mind at ease, and soon any uncertainty is forgotten and he’s racing along on his scooter and running and jumping around like a puppy let outside for the first time.
Of course, with the obvious exception of taking the rubbish to the bins, it’s the first time I’ve walked outside in 44 days too.
It’s all a bit odd. It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday; usually JoJo’s bar in the town centre (named after the owner, not the frequent patron well-known for consuming all the Baileys), would be bustling with people enjoying the midday sun with a midday tipple or two. But today it’s eerily quiet. Although closed, teasingly the bar looks as if it could just reopen and start serving at any time. Only the flyers still blu-tacked to the inside of the windows, promoting now outdated special offers show any evidence of its weeks of forced closure.
Archie sees one of his friends from school. They wave at each other but sadly cannot engage in any 11-year old chat or play, but it’s the first face of a friend he’s seen that’s not staring back at him through his computer screen, confirming the rumour that there is still real life out there!
We return home via the 11th hole. The golf course is usually out of bounds for walkers, but now currently closed and with no risk of stray, flying balls we indulge ourselves. Such a pretty walk alongside the lakes. I really must take up golf once this is all over.
The smile on Archie’s face will stay with me forever. And it didn’t cost a cent.
Back home he excitedly recalls his adventure to his mum whilst I fire up the BBQ to celebrate with a glut of sausages overordered last week.
A very, very good day, today.
Monday. I hate Mondays under lockdown. I wasn’t over fond of them pre-lockdown either if I’m honest, but these days they really pee me off. Yes. I am one of the very lucky ones that can still work, still earn money and still have some routine and structure to my day whilst all the time staying safe. But I still hate them no matter how self-centred that is of me. Whether it’s just Monday morning blues after the weekend, especially when yesterday was such a good day, or if it’s the realisation that this is the start of yet another long, drawn out week under lockdown. Or maybe it’s just simply because I’m a miserable old sod. Either way, I wish today was a different day.
It’s not just me either. Archie is struggling today. He’s missing going to school and seeing his friends. I’ve been very impressed with how his school have set up their virtual classroom. Archie still has a full day of lessons with the teachers interacting with the children via video link. But nothing can replace a physical classroom environment where children can chat with each other, play kiss chase and write rude words up on the blackboard. Or whatever it is kids do in school these days.
At least he doesn’t have to rely on me to teach him anything; I could possibly handle the odd ICT lesson, but I have no other relevant skills to teach and pass onto the next generation. At least nothing academic or that could be even remotely deemed Age Appropriate.
Schools in Spain break up for summer in June, and I think it’s dawned on Archie that he won’t be going back until September, when he starts secondary. Fortunately he stays at the same school right through until he’s 18, so he’ll still get to see his same schoolfriends next term and beyond. But that does seem an awful long way off right now.
A bit of a rubbish day today.
A much better day. Firstly, our first wine club order arrived today. The amount delivered suggests that a fair number of club members are living at our address. I’m still getting used to this home delivery malarkey; last week we greatly overordered on pork sausages. And now this. Except embarrassingly I don’t think this was a mistake.
But it is incredibly good timing, as it means we have something with which to celebrate the other good news we received today.
President Sánchez has today laid out a 4 phased plan for the de-escalation of the lockdown, which sees the gradual reopening of businesses and services. If all goes to plan, in his words, Spain will be in the ‘new normality’ by the end of June.
From this Saturday, adults will be allowed out to exercise each day. The irony of marking the occasion of the chance of some healthy exercise by drinking is not completely lost on me.
The possibility of this was announced last weekend but was dependent on the number of new infections and other indicators remaining positive. So far this has been the case. So now everything is firmly crossed that after what will be 7 weeks under strict lockdown, we can finally go outside as a family.
And on top of all that, it looks like the sun will finally come out of self isolation to shine upon us.
And I think that deserves a drink or more to celebrate.