Wednesday - 25/03/2020
Another day dawns on the Costa Blanca North, and still everything is quiet. No cars on the roads, and hardly anyone is out walking. We are lucky though, we can sit in our villas, or apartments and look out over some great views. From my home, workstation, I get to look west towards some mountains in the distance, looking over palm trees swaying in the breeze.
The weather will warm up soon and I can move my remote office to a covered terrace, that can’t be a bad place to work. From there I will look out over the swimming pool and our own garden. I will be able to hear the birds sing, and watch the lizards and geckos lay on the rocks to warm up. We get, on average, 300 days of sun per year. Personally, I think it has been a higher number every year I have lived here, and I have been here fifteen years now.
Even though we are in “lockdown”, the sun still rises and sets, and people are carrying on with their lives. I have just had a video chat with a young man who, hopefully, will be joining me for a week of work experience at the end of May. He attends one of the local schools that we work closely with. Fingers crossed that we are back to work and normality is returning by the end of May.
I appear to be collecting video chat apps, four in the last 12 days, that is enough for me. I remember mobile ‘phones arriving and discussing with my mum that one day in the distant future maybe we will able to see each other. In the end it wasn’t that distant. Video chat allows me to see my family while I am in Spain, and they are spread across Europe, the UK and the US. We can move anywhere in the world and still be “close” to our loved ones.
Tuesday - 24.03.2020
Today I must live on the Spanish plain as it hasn’t stopped raining all day. The good news is that the sun will be out again at the weekend, so we can all enjoy our lives in Spain, sitting in the sunshine.
Home schooling seems to be working now. The boys are up and ready for 08:45 and logged in for roll call. It has been difficult for the boys to adapt to home schooling. They need to far more self-disciplined, and realise that even though they are at home they still have structured lessons.
I enjoyed today, as Freddie had a domestic science class and as a result I had stuffed eggs for my lunch which were lovely. I was lucky as he slightly over did it with the mustard, and no-one else seemed that keen. Not a problem for me and therefore, 10/10 for that.
At work, the boss has suggested we download a group video app, which I had never heard of before, so that we can have some remote bonding on Friday evenings. I’m up for that. I was on the case straight away, downloading the app and getting it on my laptop. That wasn’t so difficult, even for me. Five minutes after installing my group video app, I am getting messages from people wanting to talk to me. I have now spoken to four former colleagues from my FX broking days in London, including a couple of them I hadn’t seen for twenty years. Great talking to my old friends, but I really must get on with work. I have left it with them all that we will have a chat and a beer one evening a week. This isn’t looking good, I now have chat and beer evening commitments three times a week, I may be booked up every evening soon to have remote drinks with friends, family and colleagues past and present.
I have survived my second weekend in lockdown. Last Saturday I did the shopping, but Claire has now taken over responsibilities for leaving the property as I am asthmatic. Therefore, this weekend I stayed on the property.
My weekends used to revolve around rugby, either taking young Freddie to his tournaments in the Valencia region, or watching rugby from the comfort of the sofa. What to do now? I did some more attacking of the garden, with some aggressive pruning. The weather hasn’t been great, but that still means way better than in the UK. I did some bonding with my pair of tortoises, Flash and Herbert. No, I didn’t name them, two small boys named them a few years ago. Like most pets that start off as family pets, eventually it is the parents that end up looking after them, and the tortoises are definitely mine. They woke up early this year as the weather in February was very warm.
I go back inside when it starts to drizzle to find Claire has brought in my DIY kit, and has a list of jobs for me to do. Nothing too complicated, just drilling, screwing and hammering stuff, but loads of it. Then a paint pot turns up. What’s going on, why are we suddenly redecorating? Apparently, this is replacing strolls by the beach and a couple of beers. This seems a poor replacement.
Finally, Saturday night arrives, and I have a video call with my brothers. I prepare, by having beer, wine and Limoncello all at hand. Call starts at 20:00 (CET), 15:00 (EST) sharp, one brother from Spain, one from France, one from Monaco and one from New York. The whole thing works brilliantly, all the partners and kids are with us, and we do lots of toasting, laughing and catching up on events. Two and a half hours later we have all had too much to drink - not the kids - and we say goodbye and agree to same time, same place with a theme, fancy dress and karaoke for next week.
Sunday started slowly and stayed like that all day. We sat on terrace and soaked up what sun was available. I am so lucky living in Spain, even though I have been here for fifteen years, there is something special about laying on a sunbed next to a pool.
It’s Monday, and its back to work. No DIY, no bonding with pets, other than dropping some lettuce into the tortoise area. Good to talk to colleagues, work partners and friends. I am missing my walks around the office area, visiting work partners and trying to drag them out for coffees. Anyway, onward and upwards, let’s get those calls made and emails written.