Life on Lockdown

These certainly are testing times we’re living in. And it’s all a bit surreal spending this time in our middle-of-nowhere village.

When we got back home, we had two weeks of normality. Dave wasn’t back at work yet. We hadn’t started on the house yet. We were just enjoying being back, spending time with Leona, planting the food forest and taking walks in the sunshine. It was glorious.

Then the corona virus shit really hit the fan in Spain. We’d actually just spent the day out with friends, having decided we’d been back long enough to be sure we hadn’t brought the virus with us! It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat out enjoying the weather and each other’s company. When we got home that evening and put the telly on, the president was making an address about the State of Emergency and what it meant. That brought the reality of the situation home and we started lockdown along with everyone else.

The oil price tanked and Dave hasn’t had any work come his way yet, but we can manage for the time being so at the moment the enforced break is nice.

Life in the village has not been drastically dissimilar than normal. People go out to check on the animals, tend their veggie gardens, feed their chickens, collect firewood. But nobody is taking strolls through the village any more, there are no casual chats in the street. And if you go down into the valley for supplies, there are police patrolling to make sure everyone is playing by the rules. To buy food, you have to wait in line to go in the small shop one at a time. The bars are shut and nobody is walking around like usual.  Precautions have to be taken seriously here. The population is quite elderly and a lot of people have worked in the mines and have lung conditions.

We are feeling even luckier than usual to live out here rather than in a city. Going out to sow vegetable seeds, water the garden and walk the dog have been sanity-saving activities for me.

The veggie garden and food forest seem more important than ever. I’m on a desperate mission to get something to grow in the field before summer. The clay goes from waterlogged to hard-packed without a hospitable middle ground for seeds to germinate and survive, so I’ve been sowing seeds and covering them with whatever mulch I can find in a bid to provide them with vaguely suitable habitat. Some are starting to come up now but I know there’s a seriously long way to go from baked clay to spongy forest floor. Still, got to start somewhere!

We have planted out a load of my little trees and bushes that I grew from seed almost two years ago. They look so small and insignificant in the field, so exposed to the burning sun and cold wind. It seems impossible at the moment that they could ever make an impact, but we’ll just see what works out. I have sowed another batch of seeds for trees, bushes and herbs that will be ready next year.

As the month comes to an end and we face probably the whole of April on lockdown too, I’m relieved that things are feeling good right now in our little corner of the world. We are very lucky to be able to enjoy making the most of the lockdown. Leona and Charlie keep us entertained and we’ve enjoyed lots of reading, cooking and chilling out.


The travelling four

I can barely believe we spent the whole of February in the UK! We spent time in London catching up with friends, went to CentreParcs with Dave’s side of the family for his Mum’s 70th, spent a long weekend in Edinburgh for Faye and Iain’s wedding, had a few days in Aberdeen with my parents and stayed at a few stop-offs in between with various family members. It was a fantastic trip and even more special spending time with the family now that we have an additional member for everyone to meet.

This whole trip was planned around my sister’s wedding, so really we have her and Iain to thank for our holiday! It was a beautiful occasion and one of those rare days when you get to catch up with all kinds of wonderful people you don’t get to see often enough.

We had originally planned to go to Berlin at the start of March for me to get a treatment that might improve the blindness in my left eye. But mid February we decided we would save that for another time. Time, money and energy are all at a premium and we’d rather be spending it at the house and on Leona. So we booked our ferry home on the last day of February.

The crossing back was worse than the journey out. Poor Charlie was exhausted having stood up scared on her bed the entire way and braved one wee in almost 30 hours! But we all survived and made it home.

It feels so good to be back. I was a smidge worried before we left that my need to be around family since having Leona would be stronger than my need to be in this beautiful place where we have decided to build our lives. But as much as I’d love for us to be able to see each other more often, I’m very pleased to say that Asturias and the lifestyle we can afford here still have their pull. I am excited to get back to our project and try to inch our way towards a completed house.