Episode 41: Know Escape

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…

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – The New Normal.

“You’re going to break that keyboard if you bang it any harder, I thought we were going down to the pool that you so desperately wanted open? Are you listening? Get off bloody Facebook!”

I hold my fingers up to silence my husband as I’m currently in an online argument with an affluent pensioner (seated no doubt in their mortgage free ivory tower) who is insistent that we are all better off without tourism.

Now, those who have followed my blog since 2018 will know that we moved here with just enough money to buy ourselves a little flat in Fuengirola outright and have a few thousand left in the bank account to spend on wine and albondigas.

“Have you got sunstroke?” I hear you cry? “A few thousand for a family of 3 and a hungry hound?” “Have you forgotten to take your meds?” “Has someone replaced your HRT with Smarties?” “A few grand and no job?” “Es loco!!”

But here’s the thing faithful reader, my husband did have a job, a contracted one at the Salon Varietes Theatre and was beyond excited to have the career of his dreams and a regular income here but as you well know, sometimes our happy slumber turns into a world without light and almost one year later to the day, through no fault of his own he was made redundant and was forced to exit stage left.

This series of events sent my husband into a downward spiral, a feeling many are experiencing now, and he would spend days in bed and unable to face the world, the breadwinner without a crust to feed us.

Now as you know I’m a Northerner, my bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired. Nurse Ratchet looks like Florence Nightingale in comparison. My knee jerk reaction was to yell ‘get up, get out, get on with it’ which probably didn’t help nor gain me any future foot rubs; but after a week of my banging the mop against the door and playing Guns & Roses at full volume, he finally arose, bearded, jaded and in the need of a pint of Nescafé.
As a fully qualified electrical technician in the UK (electrical estimator and project manager, I stand corrected) he dusted off his pliars and resumed the work he’d left behind 20 years ago along with the grey skies and life went on.
I attempted to add butter to the warburtons whenever the opportunity arose but with our meagre savings obliterated, we had no choice but to sell our home and move into rented accommodation. But life goes on…that was yesterday’s news.

So here we are, almost a 100 days on from day one of isolation, a ‘new’ normal is upon the horizon. The government has tried to keep our heads above sea level, all of us under pension age treading water until tourism resumes and our new life in the sun can resume, mine included.

A voice breaks through my reverie. “Are you coming for a swim or not? I’m stood here like a right tw*t in my Speedo’s. Oh and the sparrows you keep feeding have multiplied are all sat on the oven waiting for breakfast. There was 5 at last count. One was sat on Brian’s head chirping away, I don’t think he even noticed to be fair, too busy wondering if he could blend into the feathered ensemble.”

I close the laptop and look up at the blue sky. Today is Monday the 22nd of June and tourism has been allowed to resume, albeit tentatively for the economy, it has no choice but to do so.

Holiday makers with factor 50 will return because everyone wants and deserves some sunshine in their lives. The local bar owners will dust off their shutters (but only if the landlords have been understanding) and happily pour you a larger than average measure with a relieved smile. Hotels will sweep away the dust sheets and shops will awaken tills with a flourish and iron out the creases as life resumes its new normal.

But…all this is only possible if you return to us. Climb down from your mountain top retreats and spend a bit of your hard earned pension on a tapas or two. Fly the skies in your masks and sit on our beaches at a respectable distance. Don’t let this horrendous virus dictate your lives.

I stretch my arms and yawn. My husband has grown tired of waiting and has fallen asleep on the sofa, towel wrapped around his tanned waist. A female sparrow suddenly flies into the lounge and lands on the coffee table, looking at me with motherly impatience.

“Ok, ok I’m coming. You have mouths to feed too” and I arise with my tiny companion, one on foot, the other on wings, both trying to ensue their family is fed; all of us trying to do our best in this uncertain world.

So… on that note, I have added a ‘Buy me a coffee’ button to my blog.
To ensure me and my feathered friends are fed please press on the button and donate. It’s only a few euros but it will ensure our tales are told and fat balls are buttered.

Finally my friends, be safe, be careful and, most importantly, be here because without you Covid-19 wins and remember, the only thing worse than a warm beer is a smug virus.

To be continued… Episode 41

If you enjoy reading the ongoing story of our relocation you can now BUY ME A COFFEE by following the underlined link!

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – Phase 3… yippee!

Water Fecking Liberty!

“It’s not going to open up any quicker by you staring at it day in day out.”

Ignoring the middle aged voice behind me I look longingly at the enticining cool blue water rippling in the sunlight beneath me. Swaying palm trees complete the oasis and I sigh out loud, brushing at the sweat forming on my brow.


“900 euros”, I mutter under my breath “900 euros a month for an apartment we can only use as a pretty prison.”


I stand on my tiptoes and squint over the boundary at my agile neighbours in their lycra wear, jumping gleefully into their ‘monitored’ wet and wild wonderland and I can feel the injustice of it all encase me like an unwelcome shroud.


“Look over there Marcus, they are allowed in their communal pool so why aren’t we?”

I petulantly kick at one of Brian’s tennis balls which promptly hits a plant pot and swiftly richochets over the wall onto the tendered green below. Brian, who is under the misguided assumption that he is the canine offspring of Peter Parker proceeds to scale the wall in persuit of his favourite toy but promptly forgets his rescue mission after he spots a few stray digestive crumbs nestling underneath the wilting Aloe Vera.
‘Well I’m contacting the owner’s son , he’s already made us pay an extra 270 euros as a penalty because we couldn’t move in on the day he wanted us to during lock down PLUS he’s got two months deposit, a months rent and the months agency fee. We could have had 2 weeks at Universal Studios for that price plus all the Butter Beer we could stomach in Diagon alley.


I can feel my last few apathetic hormones bristling internally at the insanity of it all. Come back 2019, all is forgiven.


“Worse things happen mum, people are rioting all over London,” yells an online schooled voice, “Can I have some cereal?”
“I told you to get it before the class started,” I shout back into the makeshift Covid classroom.


Any voice of reason is not welcome when I’m having a full on meltdown and I stomp back into the lounge to throw myself into the arms of Piers ‘ranty’ Morgan for an hour.

As a fully-fledged control freak I’m finding communicating with the Spanish landlord’s son an arduous task. On moving into the rental apartment we had anticipated and agreed upon the removal and disposal of a giant piece of mahogany furniture which resembled something from Mr Sowerbury’s parlor blocking 90% of the sunlight from the lounge. On arrival this monstrosity was still firmly in situ so we had to spend the next 3 days dismantling it and painting the bright yellow wall behind it. Also 2 large padlocks held the patio doors closed and the old lady who owned the flat didn’t have a clue where the keys were so they had to be drilled off before we could breathe in the outside air.


“Do you want to go across the road to the pub for lunch? He’s got Stroganoff on today?”

I lower my chin and shake my head. I’d eaten enough food this year to carry me into 2021. My birthday had been the previous week and I had celebrated my 53rd year by trying to give myself gout from consuming the 3 birthday cakes that friends had brought over to celebrate the fact we were allowed back into each other’s homes and lives.


Peeling my bottom lip off the sofa I reluctantly wander out into the hallway only to see a piece of paper being slipped under the front door. Bending creakily down to pick it up I gaze blankly at the Spanish writing adorning the crisp white sheet and my mouth suddenly drops. Certain words jump out at me and the blood that has been slowly simmering all morning reaches boiling point.


“Don’t go making any plans this Thursday evening,” I yell to the coffee-preparing adult form in the kitchen, “there’s a meeting taking place by the ‘terminally redundant’ pool for all the residents. Apparently they are going to decide whether the pool can open again… THIS YEAR!!!!” [Insert Maniacal Laughter]


With shaking hands I place the slip of paper on the sideboard and walk back out onto the balcony.


“I’m going in that bloody pool this weekend, come hell or high water. The cocoon brigade can go take up residence elsewhere. Neptune’s apprentice ain’t for turning.”

To be continued… The New Normal

If you enjoy reading the ongoing story of our relocation you can now BUY ME A COFFEE by following the underlined link!

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – Day.. Night… Who Knows?

Isolation Lessons Learned

1. Don’t try and pretend that the man behind you in the supermarket isn’t your husband. The security guard has watched you argue all the way up the street and is well aware that you are daring to shop together. Yelling ‘my backs gone and I can’t carry the Cruzcampo alone’ won’t stop him from throwing you and your old lady trolly out into the street while your spouse continues to hunt for the elusive vintage cheddar while oblivious on aisle three.

2. Don’t try to move apartment whilst on lock down. Hurling your belongings commando style into a white transit at the crack of dawn isn’t fun. Yelling ‘go go go’ every time the road is clear of ambling oldies makes you feel like you are stealing your own possessions. Trying to get permission from the police to relocate is akin to juggling snakes in a vat of jelly.

3. Eating 11 Easter eggs because ‘they were on offer in iceland’ isn’t the best way to approach your bikini body. Summer will arrive at some point even though lock down appears to have obliterated the sun’s rays along with your common sense and easy going attitude.

4. Don’t try and be ‘strong’ all the time. It’s ok to yell ‘When this is over I’m leaving you ALL and moving to Tobago/Wigan/Minnesota on my own!!’ They know you don’t really mean it as,let’s be honest, you’ll have f*ck all left in the bank when that time comes so you’ll just have to exist in simmering silence until either covid 19 bumps you off or you get type 2 diabetes from all the shit you’ve eaten in the past 3 months.

5. Don’t try and rent your dog out for walks. You know who you are.

6. When the take aways finally reopen for collection, kebab isn’t ok to eat every other day just because it comes with a salad. Nor is fine to let your husband order a curry online then spend the next 5 days shaking your head at him because he ordered incorrectly and your still eating the 30 onion bhajis costing the same price as your first car ‘by mistake’.

7. Realising that 3 months has passed and you still haven’t written the best selling book people keep saying you should write. You finally discover it’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s because you just can’t be arsed.

8. Deciding to have an 8pm walk along the seafront and bumping into an old friend doesn’t allow you to sit down on separate benches for a quick catch up because you will suddenly be surrounded by 5 police men on motorbikes who ask you to stand up against the wall while they yell ‘Are you sitting or walking?? Sitting or walking??’ Whilst taking your ID and making you feel like a drug dealer as opposed to a normal human being who just wanted to say hello to a friend you hadn’t seen in months.

9. Staring at the communal pool won’t make it open any quicker; nor will it enable you to swim like Sharon Davis when you finally get into it.

10. When life finally transcends into the new normal it’s ok to do bugger all some days. It’s fine to binge watch Killing Eve and plan your new career as a middle aged assassin just as long as you don’t have to get up too early. You won’t get arrested if the washing up isn’t done at night or if you decide to wear your nightdress to walk the dog. It’s ok to be human and to fail and to be weak and to shout and miss your family. It’s ok to be you.

To be continued… Day.. Phase 3 yippee!

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY… Who The F#ck Knows?

Pi$$ed-off Packing Mama

I’m staring vacantly at the contents of the wardrobe. Who owns all these clothes? They can’t be mine, I can’t fit my right thigh through most of them.


My size 10 wedding dress, clad in polythene, stands upright commanding centre stage and seemingly awaiting a marital ovation. I sigh in resignation and clip a feathered fascinator to my greasy locks and start to remove several forlorn dresses from the plastic hangers and dump them into an open bin bag.


“Don’t go throwing everything away because you can’t be arsed packing,” yells my husband from the lounge.


A vivid image of a bubble wrapped torso being hurled from the balcony suddenly springs to mind but I shake the thought away. We haven’t got enough of the popping packaging to even finish the glassware never mind a 6ft struggling spouse.
I sigh again. I hate moving. No that’s a lie, I love moving I just hate packing.
My son walks in and stares blankly at the bin bags, then honours me with speech.


“Next time we move can we pay someone to pack for us? This looks like the leftovers from a crappy car-boot sale, what’s to eat?” I stare at my gangly offspring; aged 14 and still completely unaware that we are due to move apartments in just 5 days.


The phone suddenly rings. It’s the estate agent.
“Hi Carmen, any news?”
“Hello Paola, can you send me a video of your flat when it’s empty, including the locks”
“Why do you need a video of the locks? We’re not going to come back and start squatting!!!” I roll my eyes and wait for a reply. When none is forthcoming I ask the same question I’ve asked a hundred times this week.
“So, have you been able to contact the police and ask them if we are actually ALLOWED to move this weekend because I’m going to be a bit pissed off if I’m thrown in jail en route to the notary.” Silence echoes down the phone. Our conversation is seemingly complete.


“Marcus! They’ve hung up on me again,” I yell into the lounge and my voice echoes around the empty room.


Our Spanish estate agent is apparently more than happy to take the 6% commission on the sale of our property but appears unwilling to take any responsibility regarding our transition from A-B, albeit being less than a mile between destinations.


The lack of control sits uneasily astride my nomadic feet. Visions of S.W.A.T teams descending on us as we load Tupperware into the removal van suddenly fills my overactive and under stimulated brain. Lockdown has disabled us all from the most simple of tasks and I feel tears prick at the back of my eyes. Self pity isn’t a welcome companion when airports are being used as morgues around the globe and I remind myself of this as I hurl our future into an assortment of cardboard boxes.


A comforting hand touches my shoulder, disrupting the unwelcome thoughts cascading around my frazzled brain.

“‘The Noodle bar downstairs has just opened, I heard the shutter go up. You fancy something hot and spicy? I’m sure they will deliver, even if we do only live 4 metres away.”

To be continued… Day… Night… Who Knows?

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY 21 (504 hours…30,240 minutes… 1,814,400 seconds).

I can’t physically see my feet anymore.  Where have they gone?  Has someone kidnapped them along with my sense of humour?  I’m sure they were there 3 weeks ago.  I try and suck the mottled beach ball in that has taken up residence just above my hips but it just reveals a couple of chipped orange toenails.


Squinting into the mirror I don’t recognize the puffed up face staring back at me.  I look like the Pillsbury dough boys granny.  My hair hasn’t moved position from the scrunchie I wrapped it up in 3 days ago.  I tilt my head and it remains static, a monument to apathy.
My dressing gown has become this seasons essential item; worn throughout the day, only to be removed when Brian needs to perform his ablutions and only then is it peeled off my reluctant torso to be replaced with an ‘I love disco’ onesie which is now my dog walking ‘no more than 50 yards or you’ll get fined’ activity ensemble.



A prolonged fart omits from the kitchen area.  A tall middle aged figure is stood filling up the kettle staring blankly at the tiles.  He’s rarely seen before noon; an apprentice Nescafé vampire in 80’s underwear. The only reason he rises at all is to fulfill his yearning for caffeine which is usually enough of an energy boost to propel him into another room.  Once the relocation of choice has been decided upon, seldom does he rise again until the battery on his phone dies or he runs out of digestives.

My son, infrequently seen out of his bedroom at the best of times, can be heard yelling into his headset throughout the day until the time comes when he is dragged out to the terrace to reluctantly run his enforced 100 laps and then returns to his den of inactivity to resume the position, promising to shower at some later date, probably sometime in June if we still have enough gas in the canister.

My long days are filled with a series of stimulating observations and conversations

“That women at number 23 has been out twice today, she didn’t even have a shopping bag with her the second time”

“Do you want cheese AND ham in your sandwich? I’m not risking Iceland again, I’ll probably get taken out on the bridge by a sniper if he sees me foraging for cheddar again”

“Can you flip me over if I haven’t moved in the next 12 hours, the bedsores are starting to antagonize my cellulite”

“Shut the F*ck up, I want a divorce… not that we’ll have any money left at the end of this”

And so it goes on… our enforced isolation.  The world is holding its terrified breath awaiting a time when we are allowed to walk freely along our chosen foreign shores and dip our toes back into normality again.

But today is not that day and nor is tomorrow, or next week for that matter.

I sigh and rearrange my face into one that isn’t terrified for my child’s future.

‘Right, who fancies a game of Trivial Pursuit? Winner gets to take the bins out!!’

To be continued… Day… Who the F#ck Knows?

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY 3 & 4

LOCKDOWN – DAY3 &4!

Day 3

“Get off that bloody Play Station and brush the dog, there’s tumbleweeds of hair everywhere”

“Why?”

“Because I say so!”

”Why can’t Dad do it?”

“Dad is busy!”

“No he’s not.  He’s watching Star Trek and eating custard creams”

“Are you eating the last of the Biscuits?”

“No…..”

“We need to start packing soon Marcus, just in case we complete on April fool’s day, can you get the stuff off the top of the wardrobe?”

“I will, after Spock saves the Enterprise from the Tribble”

“*sigh* …I’m cooking lunch in a minute, can you both set the table?  Hello, hello?  Oh fu*k it, you can get your own bloody food, I’m going back to bed!”

DAY 4

“That cloud looks like a sausage dog; look it’s got one leg shorter than the other”

I am sat on the balcony with my husband.  All attempts at personal grooming have vacated the building and I’m slowly starting to resemble Waynetta’s uglier sibling.  The bathroom, in desperate need of a damp sponge and a vat of bleach, waits patiently while Facebook and WhatsApp take precedence over household chores.  Nobody is coming to visit us any more so why bother?

“I think I’ll walk Brian over to the office, make sure everything is ok, no leaks or power cuts” my husband mumbles to no one in particular.

The “Office” is the term we use for our new business and is on the street behind us.  We daren’t say the name of it just in case armageddon actually occurs and we never get to open.  Weeks have been spent renovating the existing template but now it’s just sat there, waiting to be explored, lonely in its enforced isolation.  When will it be full of curious customers?  Only this virus knows the answer.  We no longer get to dictate our lives, an invisible force is playing hide and seek with our waking days and time is the only master.

I look up the sky, the sausage dog has gone.  It’s just a blanket of grey enveloping the landscape.

“Grab a bottle of Vodka on your way back,” I say to the departing figure, “I think we are going to need it.”

To be continued… Day 21

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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Click HERE to read all about our relocation to Spain

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE – DAY 2

LOCKDOWN – DAY 2!

I’m having a lovely time with Hugh Jackman, sipping cocktails in his Jacuzzi while he tenderly massages my…

“Can’t you hear the buzzer?  I’m in the loo!  It’s the Amazon delivery… Hurry up or he’ll go!”

I’m ripped out of my slumber by my husband yelling at me from the throne in the bathroom and I stagger out of bed and into the lounge whilst grasping my Dunelm dressing gown to my kebab friendly torso.  I fling open the front door and I’m greeted by Darth Vader’s older sibling who promptly thrusts out a brown box for me to take.  I barely have time to ask if the force is with him before he disappears back down the communal stairs in a puff off sanitized dust.

Gently I place the familiar brown package on the table and go and unlock the balcony door.  It’s raining outside and the streets are eerily quiet.  In the distance I can hear the inhabitants of Biopark shouting for their breakfast and I look out onto the pavements for signs of life.  The Panaderia across the road from us is open and a couple of people are stood outside it, keeping a respectful meter distance apart while they wait in line for fresh bread.

My husband, fresh from his ablutions, saunters into the lounge and stares at the box on the table and then at me.

“Have you washed your hands?”

I look at him enquiringly.  I’ve not been anywhere to need to wash my hands.  Then it dawns on me.  The parcel, it could be holding a virus party all over its exterior, an invisible germ rave.

Shaking my head I head over to the sink and destroy yet another layer of my skin with washing up liquid and boiling hot water then pat them dry on my dressing gown.

“I’m going to walk Brian over to the office after breakfast, give the props another coat of paint, are you coming?  You’ll have to walk behind me if you do, take a shopping bag so it looks like your off to get supplies”  he enquires.

“Why don’t you just get me a red cape too and I can pretend I’m an extra in The Handmaid’s Tale?  I’ll yell  ‘Unclean Unclean’ just to make the walk more interesting if you like?”

My husband, used to my frustrated outbursts, just ignores my sarcastic comments and makes himself another coffee.

“What’s in the box anyway” I mumble, in way of an apology.

“It’s that projector we ordered for the office entrance hall. I’m going set it up tonight in the lounge and we use it like a cinema screen until the business opens…..”

Ah yes, the business.  Have I told you about that?  No?  Well, here’s a funny story…

To be continued… Day 3 and 4

IF YOU MISSED THE BEGINNING OF OUR TALE – BACK TO DAY 1

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STILL AVAILABLE FOR EMERGENCY CALL OUTS DURING THIS LOCKDOWN PERIOD

A New Strife in the Sun – COVID-19… A BRIEF INTERLUDE

A New Strife in the Sun: Coronavirus, A brief interlude

LOCKDOWN… DAY 1!

“It’s my turn to walk Brian, you walked him last time! Where’s his pet passport, have you hidden it?” My husband stares accusingly at me while I fiddle with my Lidl bag.

“It’s where you left it, on top of the packing boxes, open your eyes!”,  I yell back through the bubble wrap.

It’s March 15th and we have been ordered to stay indoors, which is a tad inconvenient seeing as though we are due to complete on our flat in 2 weeks time. We have already paid a deposit on rented accommodation and have committed to purchasing an ongoing business.

 All of this on the proviso that we complete on our flat on April the first.  But there’s one more fly in this ludicrous ointment, our buyers live in Denmark and unless they plan to swim over (which is forbidden as all the beaches in Spain have been shut) I have no idea how any of the above is going to be achievable.

Oh, and my son is due to start a new fee paying international school, did I mention that?

“Mum, can I go on my Play Station seeing as there’s no school? It’s a war game so it’s kind of like studying History…”

I stare longingly at the bottle of Vodka nestled happily between the loaves of Bimbo bread. We  have decided to give up alcohol until this whole pandemic is over but already I can feel my willpower slipping away, not unlike my good health if I decide to start licking external door handles.

“Do we need anything from the supermarket while I’m walking the dog?” my spouse cheerily enquires.

“No! That’s another day out, we can’t combine the two! If you’re walking the dog then I get to go to Iceland to buy Vimto and chat to the lady who calls everyone Sweetie”, I reply… less cheerfully.

My husband frowns “are you allowed to go to Iceland? That’s over the bridge, we have El Jamon closer, won’t you get frog marched home by the lurgy police?”

I stare at the man I married. Does he not know me at all? How is a middle aged woman supposed to stay in enforced solitary confinement without a supply of Scotch eggs and a pack of frozen crumpets? If he thinks a man in uniform is going to come between me and my pack of overpriced Ginsters then he’s sadly mistaken.

Grabbing my moped keys I make a bid for freedom out the front door. I have my passport, I have my Nie, I have my scarf wrapped round my face and my latex gloves on. I have my hastily sanitized 50 euro note.

“Have I forgotten anything?”  I wheeze through my wool enclave as I turn at the door?

“Yes you have Paula, it’s Sunday, and the supermarkets are shut!”

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Episode 32: Manger Things

6 months later……

‘Are you going to actually consume that final chipolata or are you just setting it up on a blind date with your last remaining sprout?’

My son nods, crams the remnants of his lunch into his mouth and then continues to sway to an unheard rhythm, Christmas Air-Pods stuck firmly in his ears, tapping his legs in time to whatever society dictates is music these days.  I look over at my husband to share a conspiratorial smile but his head is also down, tapping at his phone screen whilst shaking his graying head in a Victor Meldrew fashion.  An audible sigh escapes my lips and I reach across the dinner table to clear the festive plates away from the unresponsive pair.  Another wishbone pulled, another dream unanswered, another day in the sun.

Brian ‘the ever hopeful’ is sat by the kitchen door, longingly staring up at the carcass of the ransacked turkey, tail wagging in anticipation of his own festive meal.  I place the remnants of our plates into his bowl and he greedily devours the contents with canine glee.

My husband’s voice breaks through the silence

“I’ve got a job on for tomorrow, a bloke in La Cala needs me to fix his Jacuzzi; he’s got friends over for New Year and they are refusing to get in until it’s got steam coming off it”

Once a lighting technician in the theatre, he had no choice but to return to being a jobbing electrician/handyman after redundancy stabbed him in the back. The manual labour he thought he had left behind was now part of his every waking day and each morning I listened to his bones creak like an old rocking chair left to the depredation of passing time.

My own adored job working for Tui as a resort rep was nothing but a distant seasonal memory.  The powers that be decided to reward me for reaching (and exceeding) my monthly targets by removing me from the hotel I knew and loved and shoving me into an establishment that would give ‘The Outlook Hotel’ a run for its money.  All that was required to complete this seafront vision was a frustrated writer with an axe and a pair of twins to haunt the corridors.  The clientele, no longer tanned and affluent, had been replaced with elderly patrons insistent on having an ambulance on speed dial just in case the porridge wasn’t heated to the required nuclear temperature.  I spent most of my mornings hiding under the stairs, avoiding wheelchairs and inebriated pensioners with burnt tongues.

“What’s for dessert mum? I’m still famished! Dad’s eaten all the mince pies AGAIN and I’m not allowed any more After Eights”

I turn to look at my son and have to crane my neck upwards to speak him. Almost 6 foot now, all limbs and legs and attitude encased in teenage angst.  

“I’ll make you a fruit salad; you’ve had enough sweets today.  Anyway, I thought you were meeting up with your friends at the skate park today? Go and see if they’ve messaged while I make dessert”

Turning to my husband I grab his glass of half finished wine from the table and motion for him to join me on the balcony.  Outside in the street one of the local residents that we have fondly nicknamed ‘Crazy Jesus’ is waving his arms about outside the Panaderia, shouting at invisible apostles whilst consuming a pastry encased in what looks like melted chocolate, pausing only to swallow a mouthful before his tirade of expletives continues.

I turn to look at my husband.  He doesn’t laugh a lot nowadays and I wonder, not for the first time if he is suffering from depression.  Losing his job hit him hard, he loved lighting the luvvies and watching each show evolve onstage.  Now he was back to hauling tools around on his back and fixing other peoples botched electrics.  He had stepped back in time with no tardis at hand to return to the future.

Taking a deep breath I voiced what had been on my mind for a while, the only solution to our ailing financial situation, a chance to begin again.

“I think we should sell the flat and buy a business and work for ourselves here on the coast…. and stop answering to fools”

I await his reply, it’s a risk, a big risk, but isn’t that why we moved out here in the first place?

Wary green eyes meet optimistic brown and a long forgotten dream suddenly resurfaces from behind a cloud of disappointment.  A smile reaches his lips, the first genuine one I’ve seen in a long time.

“F*ck it, let’s do it, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?”

To be continued…

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