Day 52 - "Corkscrews and ants"


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Day fifty two. Life behind the police lines in Lockdown Spain for a British couple and their three good legs cat. Today back to the sixties and why the Spanish might face chaos

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Day 52 corkscrews and ants

It is day 52 of our Spanish Lockdown and a Wednesday worry, the hateful weekly shop is with us once again. This morning our neighbour was stopped by the police on the way back from the chemist. “Where are you going?” – back to my casa “Where have you come from?” – the chemists “OK perfecto, you may go.”

An encounter with the police in Spain is very different from one in the UK, where usually, if you are doing nothing wrong the police are usually quite charming.

I remember once when Chris was stopped for speeding with a blues and two behind us, pulling into the hard shoulder the W.P.C. got out and the first thing she said to Chris was “That’s a nice car, I have the new Mini too, and it really can go fast, sometimes too fast.” – And that was her very British way of giving him a speeding ticket.

Here they do a lot of pointing and waving and stand very close so that you can see they carry a gun, they wear a military looking green uniform - and it is for a Brit very intimidating and makes the process of popping out to the shops, rather stressful.

I remember coming on holiday here once and we had gone through the usual car rental hell of Malaga. “Pleese be checking for any of scratches, or it will be our pleasure to make you pay for them.”

I don’t know if you have spent any time in the underground rental car park at Malaga, but it should definitely be called the twilight zone, a few sad fluorescent lights hang dejectedly from the ceiling, whilst you kids in charge of car returns, screech around the place.

It is hard to get your bearings, you have just got off a flight and suddenly you are in sweaty hot Malaga .. and somebody is asking you to check a car that you can hardly see the colour of, get in drive off in amongst crazy car kids, bewildered fellow holiday makers and try and make your way to the exit and twist the rental car around the corkscrew exit ramp up into the dazzling sunlight, find the right exit so you don’t end up going to Torremolinos.

Chris managed very well there was a slight disagreement about which direction with Chris veering off to the left, correctly, at some speed. I said “Slow down, you’re going to hit him.” “Hit what?” Chris still dazzled failed to notice he was heading at speed toward a Guardia officer who was flagging him down. The Officer jumped back as Chris came to a sudden violent halt in our rental car. That is the other thing, you never quite now how hard the breaks are going to be on a rental.

Chris eventually wound the window down, when he found the right bottom. The Officer lent down, “Where are you going?”

“I am sorry I don’t speak Spanish.” Chris said, I said “He is speaking English!” the Officer said “I am speeking English.”

We told him we were off on holiday, he said “OK that is fine, enjoy your holiday.. and drive slowy!”

Day 52 and Chris returns from the joys of shopping in Lockdown. No fizzy water and still no ant killer. I am afraid I have taken to sucking the poor ants up into the vacuum cleaner where they have to Dyson with death. I remember my mother used to pour boiling water over ants and they used to crackle and explode .. so I guess the vacuum cleaner can’t be any worse.

I really want to be able to go shopping with Chris, go to the big store, but the things we like to eat. It is quite miserable going to the small supermarket in the town, OK if you like offal or chickens feet or just want to make a stew, but there isn’t much else in there.

It is interesting that the same supermarket in the big town has a better selection and things like sushi and fresh seafood salad, then we can go to the Hypermarket buy Chinese food, chilli, herbs .. the stuff of dreams.

This might all change next week if Andalucia sign the Phase 1 of unlockdown. BUT there is an awful lot of political infighting were the Labour Government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gets criticised by the Conservative Andalusian leaders. It would be more constructive, I think, that they all got together and got us through this without all the political games.

It took until the 1970s for us to have our first proper family holiday, I think my father toyed with Saint Tropez, possibly Marsaise or the Algave coast. He certainly brought home all the exciting brochures advertising far off foreign package tours.

They were all deemed too expensive, so we went to Wales in the Hillman Hunter. To stay at a holiday ‘cabin’ at Caswell Bay.

The Hillman Hunter was a quite horrible car that British Steel gave my father when he worked as a salesman for them. Drab Green in colour, it had red plastic seats that you stuck to in summer and froze on in winter.

It was a luxury model.. it had a heater, no radio of course. My father bought one about six months later and I remember him drilling a hole for the aerial, bracing himself as he hit the metal chassis of the car.

He needn’t have bothered as the drill bit went through the car body like a knife through butter, already the car had started to rust.

So we arrived at our holiday cabin, I don’t remember much about the cabin as I was so excited at being on a proper holiday. Caswell Bay was actually a very beautiful part of the world with a broad sandy beach.

It only rained for about half of the holiday, so all in all it was a great success. I wonder if this year’s summer holidays will have to be on home soil… if so I can highly recommend Wales and Caswell Bay.