Before I quit blogging for summer, here’s one piece I left out previously as I didn’t know then how it was going to end
April 2020 – Know Escape
“So what happens now, do we just loose the 4K deposit, or do we take the gamble on Covid19 being a temporary blip and just steam ahead regardless?”
My husband is looking into my eyes for answers but for once in my life, I’m all out of opinion.
Our renewed employment optimism began when I chanced upon a business venture for sale earlier on this year; something we could easily run between ourselves that didn’t involve a deep fat fryer or the need to be polite to inebriated Brits; something that would fulfill our theatrical requirements and bring home the Iceland (overpriced) bacon.
But I’m jumping ahead…
It was a chilly winter’s morning and I’d been happily strolling over to El Jamon with my trusty old-lady trolley. I decided to take a detour along a tree-lined side street when I glanced up to see an unremarkable grey wall with some strange hieroglyphics stenciled upon it. Upon further inspection it appeared to be some kind of shop and I gingerly peered in through the frosted glass.
Being both curious, and more than a tad nosy, I tapped on the shuttered door and was met by a non-Spanish blonde lady who welcomed me in.
‘What is this place?’ I asked, looking around at the internal doors which all had timer’s placed above them. ‘Is it a speed brothel??’
The lady smiled, unsure of my humour. ‘We’re an escape room, have you been to one before?’
I shook my head and looked at the indiscernible writing on the walls. I’d heard plenty about them but hadn’t visited one before. That was about to change.
For those unfamiliar with this type of business, an Escape Room is basically a themed room (think crystal maze) which you are locked into for exactly one hour and in that time you have to find your way out through a series of clues, locks and secret doors with the timer reaching a crescendo as the hour strikes one. If you don’t escape within the allotted 60 minutes then a big gaping maw opens up in the floor and you are cast down into the bowels of hell, to burn for a thousand eternities without tapas or even a cooled Cana for company (a slight exaggeration in the last part but you get the general idea).
The blonde beside me sighed “Me and my partner have loved creating this business but have decided to sell up as we have other things to run in Marbella and can’t find the time to do them both unfortunately. If you know of anyone that’s interested in buying… a couple could run it quite easily between them…”
Sprinting excitedly back to the flat, trolley devoid of E numbers, I breathlessly inform my husband what I had found nestled only 3 streets away and he listens with mounting excitement.
Without pause for thought we run back up the road to check out the locked rooms and then we are shown the financial books on the business. My husband’s eyes meet mine and I know he has fallen in love.
Within 7 days we had managed to borrow €4K for the deposit and arranged to take over the rooms in our names once the money for our already sold apartment was nestled in the bank. Until that day arrived we were allowed onto the premises to get the place ready for the forthcoming Easter Trade. Eager hands were shook and keys and cash were exchanged and lives were altered, all because I took a detour on my quest for replenished Bimbo.
Hundreds of hours we spent redecorating the rooms, adding new enigmas and updating the old. My husband was in his electrical element, all thoughts of the Salon Varieties and their unwarranted redundancy long gone. Doors opened magically and our imagination ran riot.
I no longer had to apply for jobs that I knew deep down I wouldn’t stick too. We were going to work for ourselves, immersed in a world that was a mixture of theatre and mystery and hopefully, profit.
Life was good. We’d found our slice of utopia. For us, an escape was needed no more. The sale of the flat was almost complete and we had started taking future bookings and then…
… And then covid happened.
Our dream disintegrated along with Spanish tourism. The world closed its doors and the Earth’s normality was shattered. Bars lay empty, mannequins stood inert and freedom of movement became yesterday’s memories.
Within months of lockdown our vision of self-employment became a thing of the past.
With heavy hearts and with imminent rents to pay we had no choice but to walk away. On the day we were finally allowed back out into society for an early morning masked walk, the keys were reluctantly handed back and 4k lost forever. We resumed our positions on the sofa for the next 3 months, unemployed and awaiting confirmation from a series of men in suits scattered across the globe who promised that normality would resume again ‘one day soon’.
And here we are still; ‘the new normal’. Boris has just announced that everyone who visits Spain must quarantine for 14 days once back in the UK. This will leave millions of people unemployed here once again, businesses once thriving will lie empty, lives shattered, bank accounts devoid of funds, all because of a few outbreaks in Catalonia.
We who live here can go back outdoors as long as masks are worn. They’ve become the new ‘must have’ accessory. Handbags and heels are so last year, not unlike the Brits foreign holidays.
And so, for now, this is where my story ends. When 2020 improves and freedom of movement resumes then I’ll continue boring you with my Spanish exploits but until that day arrives, have a wonderful summer and enjoy the unlimited sun, Smear yourself in factor 50 (or just Olive Oil as we did in the 70’s) and enjoy whatever freedom you have. Try and avoid reading all the crap put on FB by uneducated expat journalists and watch the news instead. Be kind to all the people panicking about relocating to Spain before Brexit takes its steely hold and try to paint a truthful picture or your life here, not one just coloured in pastels.
Our dreams haven’t ended, they are just taking a Covid detour.
To be continued… Episode 42
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