Sunday, November 15, 2020

Top Five Best Things About Lockdown In Spain

This may surprise a lot of you but when it comes to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, I am a bit of a lockdown sceptic. I know, I've kept it well hidden to date but there you go, I'm entitled to my views and, to quote Harry Enfield's Yorkshireman "I say what I like and I like what I bloody well say". In an Essex accent of course. But, lockdown can't have been all bad can it? Just to prove how open-minded we are here at El Real Thing, we've put together the top five best things about lockdown in Spain. And, if you (can be arsed to) make it through to the end of this blog, then we will scientifically test how open minded you actually are. Ha ha! You can only judge our open-mindedness once you have demonstrated your own open-mindedness. Cunning. Here we go then, in no particular order, the top five best things about lockdown in Spain were;


Mahou IPA. The girl done good!

Yes, shopping. Hard to believe eh? Shopping was materially enhanced by the initial lockdown because only one person was allowed to leave the house for essential reasons such as actually needing to feed yourself. Fortunately for El Real Thing Mrs C can drive so it was Mrs C that ventured to the supermarket for essentials of food and beer. Having only just, at that time, started out on the El Real Thing quest for #RealBeerInSpain Mrs C excelled herself in her beer purchases and as a resut of which cans of Mahou IPA first made their way into our Spanish kitchen. Good beer and no chance of my getting press-ganged into a supermarket visit. Result! But we were the lucky ones. With many ladies of a "certain age" in Spain being unable to drive, and only one member per household allowed to leave the house for shopping, reports filtered back of scores of bewildered looking men roaming the supermarket aisles, sometimes for days on end, in a dystopian existence where life and death might hinge on the fortuitous discovery of chicken stock cubes or the courage and linguistic capability to ask where one might find theTena Lady Maxi pads. 


In Spain, there is no fortnightly visit of the dustbinmen to one's abode to whisk away the detritus of everyday life. Instead, it gets whisked away pretty much every day but the price one has to pay for this vastly superior exercise in hygiene is that you have to take your own rubbish, typically on a daily basis, to the big wheely bins at the end of the street from where the whisking takes place. This would never catch on in the UK because we'd always get wet but of course this isn't an issue in Spain where it's always sunny. And because it's always sunny, the daily trip to the big wheely bins at the end of the street is usually a precursor to a nice stroll anyway. Lovely. But, as above, during Spanish lockdown you could only leave the house for essential purposes such as shopping and..........going to the bins! 

The problem was that only one of us could go. Mrs C was already having to undertake the onerous duty of essential shopping so it would have been inappropriate to deny her the legitimate licence of escape afforded by the daily rubbish run. However, adversity breeds innovation and I determined to fill a second daily bag full of (apparent) rubbish by consuming greater quantities of the Mahou IPA and NOT crushing the empty cans. Conscious of regular patrols being undertaken by the Guardia Civil to stop and fine people without legitimate and essential reason to be outside (carrying half-empty bags of rubbish?) I made up the remaining bin bag capacity with various bulky items from around the apartment. The Spanish rubbish collection arrangements helped keep me sane throughout lockdown although I do miss the coffee table and unfortunately the plants all died after I disposed of the watering can.    


Yes, it's another surprise inclusion with DIY being one of the top five best things about lockdown in Spain. On the evening of Friday 13th March (unlucky for some) having learnt of the impending lockdown in Spain due to commence the following day, Mrs C and I hot-footed it to Leroy Merlin's to purchase a great big tin of interior white emulsion and a variety of paint brushes. In the ensuing seven weeks, we painted the interior of the whole apartment, we painted the outside front wall (we already had that particular paint), we painted the rear patio wall, we repaired the sunken rear patio tiles, we varnished the decorative woodwork out front and back, we varnished the shutter doors, we painted this, we repaired that, we painted everything again, we produced a bit of exterior artwork out of old pallets spirited away from a nearby building site, we threw the exterior artwork away having determined it was better employed as an opportunity for a visit to the bins, and we cleaned and we painted and we .............................................well, bugger me it was sooooooooo boring. 

Friday 13th was unlucky not just for some but for bloody everyone in Spain. The day they announced they were taking our civil liberties away. Whoa, I'm beginning to feel my open-mindedness ever so slowly closing shut.


Deprived of all this because going for a stroll was not
considered an "essential reason" for leaving the house.
To be fair. Not much at all. Sitting out on the front balcony, in the sunshine, with a beer every afternoon was nice. As was going for a swim every day from mid-April onwards. And comparing notes, coffees and beers with immediate neighbours similarly confined to life under this new dictatorship government. But being consigned to effective house arrest, under threat of large fines for non-compliance just does not equate to anything that can be described as "best". So you can forget about a BEST THING No. 5 because there ain't one.  


There is no "F" in Lockdown but there is an "F" in Fear and the governments of Spain, the UK and beyond are guilty of having employed the fear factor in seeking to ensure a compliant population as they impose the type of restrictions on our freedoms and liberties that might make a dominatrix blush. And as for our open-mindedness here at El Real Thing - has this blog merely served to disprove our assertion above? Well, before you make your mind up on our open-mindedness, how about you test out your own. There may be no "F"'s in Lockdown but try reading the four lines of words below and count the total number of F's.





Be honest now. How many did you count? If you counted three (as most people do) then read again. The correct answer is six. In fact we're told that as many as 85% of people initially give the answer as three. So, did you count three or six? If you counted three then this bona fide scientific survey suggests that you're not as open-minded as you might care to think so you must buck your ideas up! If you counted six then you are indeed an open-minded individual and having read this blog you will be sufficiently open-minded to give us the benefit of the doubt irrespective of whether you're a lockdown sceptic or not. Let us know how you get on and we'll conduct an entirely scientific survey into the result. Probably.

1 comment:

  1. I eventually got 6.

    Disappointed that there was no mention of Yakima Valley IPA in the blog.