Eileen from Spain – How shall we remember COVID-19

This question came to mind when a Corona trophy split the ladies golf group.

For the first time since lockdown the lady golfers arranged a competition and the sponsor donated a trophy which she called the Corona Cup.

This name caused feelings to run deep.

Half of the ladies felt they did not want to remember this awful time and did not want to receive such a trophy. Others thought it rude to play but not accept the sponsors generosity.

The sponsor explained;

This lockdown and its terrible consequences had not been experienced by mankind since the Spanish Flu and we had lived through a special piece of social history. Despite our problems during this time our Sponsor  had seen such generosity, kindness, sacrifice and solidarity, and those were the sentiments she wanted us all to remember.

As is always the case  the competition was won by a lady who did not want to receive the trophy even after the reasons were explained, so a bunch of flowers was given instead.

As life looks like it will be back to near normal in Spain from next week, we could easily forget the sacrifices that have been made.

I agree with the sentiments of the sponsor but I also believe we have to remember the meaning and consequences of  isolation and death as we are not out of the woods yet.

From Eileen in Spain -Living Together

I live in a multicultural resort in Spain, where nearly every Northern European country is represented.

It has been interesting observing how these different nationalities have coped with the lock down.

The Scottish on the whole have been living to the letter of the law, the Brits have been very accepting whilst the others have pushed the restrictions to the limits. They have shown a slightly more disregard and rebelliousness to the law.

My Danish friend walked 3 kilometres a day for a loaf of bread, my German friend took to caring for a horse so he could ride daily and my Belgian friend went far afield to exercise his dog when 500 metres was the distance allowed. Admittedly they never put anyone in danger but they had a different perspective on the situation.

However after 3 months of restrictions, we are all in accord about allowing strangers visit the resort.  The fear is real that after such sacrifice there is a chance we could still get infected.

Avoiding Spanish holidaymakers, mainly from Madrid, one of the hardest hit regions, will be possible as despite COVID, Spanish people are very much creatures of habit. For example, most of the shops in our village are now open and operating normally but tomorrow is a fiesta. No matter that they have been closed for over 2 months they will all be closed for the “Region of Murcia” holiday.

If you want to avoid crowds in large shops all you need to do is go between 2.30 and 4.30pm.Spanish lunch time. They are deserted except for a few non Spanish shoppers.The beach is similar with most people coming religiously between 11.30-2pm and 5-8pm.Even though many are still working from home or on furlough, restaurants are only busy at weekends.

I believe knowing these habits will allow us all to live together in harmony avoiding one another and keeping safe.  

Eileen from Spain

Que sera sera

How has COVID 19 changed me? I have always been a person who loves to plan and had a full diary and knew exactly what I was going to do with my life.
Now I have learnt that a daily plan is as far as I can go. The future has never been so uncertain.
I am now using the phrase “What will be will be”.
This virus is not going to go away and a vaccine is not expected to be available soon.

This begs the question how do we live our lives in the near future? How can we assess the risk?

I have been invited to a 50th wedding anniversary cocktail party. After much consideration I am going to decline.
I know the people attending have been in strict lockdown and no incidences of infection have happened in our community but it is still a large group and the risk has not gone away.
Will my resolve continue in the future,I do not know?
Many of my friends feel that the sacrifices made during lockdown must be remembered and not squandered.
While others are stretching the rules and showing a confidence, as if it was all over.
We are all in unchartered territory where uncertainty reigns but patience and restraint I am sure will pay off.

However the one thing we can be certain of in Spain is the seasonal food.
Very little fruit and vegetables are imported and we have to eat what is in season.
Now it is asparagus season and the enormous white fresh asparagus available is joyous and delicious.Melons and peaches will be with us soon
All we can do is live for the day and see how our lives pan out.

Eileen from Spain


Que sera sera

How has COVID 19 changed me? I have always been a person who loves to plan, who had a full diary and knew exactly what I was going to do with my life.
Now I have learnt that a daily plan is as far as I can go. The future has never been so uncertain.
I am now using the phrase “What will be will be”.
This virus is not going to go away and a vaccine is not expected to be available soon.

This begs the question how do we live our lives in the near future? How can we assess the risk?

I have been invited to a 50th wedding anniversary cocktail party. After much consideration I am going to decline.
I know the people attending have been in strict lockdown and no incidences of infection have happened in our community but it is still a large group and the risk has not gone away.
Will my resolve continue in the future,I do not know?
Many of my friends feel that the sacrifices made during lockdown must be remembered and not squandered.
While others are stretching the rules and showing a confidence, as if it was all over.
We are all in unchartered territory where uncertainty reigns but patience and restraint I am sure will pay off.

However the one thing we can be certain of in Spain is the seasonal food.
Very little fruit and vegetables are imported and we have to eat what is in season.
Now it is asparagus season and the enormous white fresh asparagus available is joyous and delicious.Melons and peaches will be with us soon
All we can do is live for the day and see how our lives pan out.

Eileen from Spain- Learning to adapt to reduced restrictions

Spain has a 4 phase deescalation plan which it is implementing at different rates in each region depending on the statistics of that geographical area.
We in Murcia have proceeded to the next phase as our numbers are low.

The lockdown measures up until now have been well controlled as the level of policing has been high, reinforced by the amount fined for non compliance which is huge. The fines start at €600 to €30 000 and the police have not hesitated to issue these fines at all levels.They mean business.
In some countries these draconian measures would not have been accepted but there has seemingly been no opposition.

Now about half of Spain now has to adapt to the deescalation of restrictions.

This in itself brings new dilemmas. We can have up to 10 visitors at our house, bars and café under restrictions can open and more exercise is allowed.
The responsibility for our safety is falling into our own hands with each new phase.
We need to think and decide what to do.
This limited freedom easily allows us to go back to pre lockdown mode if we are not careful.

It is amazing how quickly we forget the last couple of months.
Adjusting and adapting to the new normal needs more thought and care than you would have realised.
For example meeting friends in public places still requires 2 meters distancing when you want to shake their hand. Visiting cafes allows only outdoor use. So easily do you want to enter to use the bathroom!

The dangers are still there and we have to try to keep vigilant to remain safe but we also need to live.
It will not be easy as old habits die hard or new fears take over.
One way or the other we have to adapted and move on.

Eileen from Spain – Possible disappointment

Spain has issued detailed plans for the de-escalation of our coronas virus confinement.

There are  4 phases describing how our restrictions will be reduced.

Timing will of course depend on the statics of deaths and those infected.

Up until now the figures have been reducing and everyone is hopeful.

However yesterday Barcelona reported 400 new cases when the national figures have been in the hundreds. Our region of Murcia published 21.

Catalonia has decided not to proceed to the next phase until numbers come down again.

What does this mean for all of us? We have to wait and see how the government reacts.

Do they allow regions to go at their own pace depending on numbers or will the entire nation go back to increased restrictions?

Spain has closed their borders until the end of the year.

We wait in trepidation.

Eileen from Spain-The joy of a long walk

What joy to feel free to walk without a purpose or a destination. Everyone you meet from gardeners, dustmen, friends and acquaintances greet you with true joy and happiness. Keeping their two meters apart everyone has time for a chat.

Previously when in lockdown my dear friend who is 88 years of age but acts and looks like 70 found the restrictions of not leaving her house at all, very difficult.

She is use to playing golf 3 times a week and walking most days.

So late one rainy night out of desperation she took  her umbrella and went for a walk down her deserted road.

She forgot that at the end of the road there are cameras. She was spotted by the security guards watching the cameras and on her way home via the golf course a security vehicle came charging up the course with bright flashing lights. She crouched and hid behind a bush for a couple of minutes and when they passed she ran into her house. A few minutes later the guards were searching her garden with torches. She watched through the window laughing. However she did not do that again.

Now we can, like a spring chicken she is out every day walking enjoying every step.

We wait each week in the hope more restrictions on our life might be reduced, but we are still thrilled to able to walk freely.

From Eileen in Spain – Death during the Lockdown

Before the lockdown Spain has always buried their dead very quickly. The time between death and the funeral is usually 48 hours. This tradition maybe due to the 800 year Moorish occupation or that the temperatures in southern Spain can be very high.

Last week my husband passed away during the night. Within 2 hours of death the doctor had confirmed the situation and the undertaker had taken him with away.

The next morning on getting the death certificate the undertaker informed me that they were going to have to cremate him at 4pm the same day and I could come with 3 people and they would deliver the ashes to my home the next morning.

That was another shock.

However, I found the strength to email with the help of others most of his friends and family including nearly everyone living on our resort. We asked everyone at 4pm to stop say a prayer then raise a glass to my husband Alan.

I prepared a table of remembrance with his photo, candle, slippers, wedding ring, railway magazine called “The Oily Rag” and a Fulham Football souvenir. I found on the internet a list of funeral prayers and appropriate funeral music on Youtube. Then crying my eyes out I held the funeral for half an hour.

I did not want this lockdown to prevent me sending off my husband without a prayer and au revoir.

Since then I have encountered so much love from people I know.

As it is very difficult to obtain sympathy cards in Spain I have received about 50 handmade cards expressing sympathy. People went to so much trouble in this time of isolation, hand painting beautiful flowers, with wonderful calligraphy and verses.

This is truly the time when you really miss human contact.

Eileen from Spain: “Another Extension to Lockdown”

This weekend the Spanish government extended the lockdown to 11th May.

Even though the numbers of infected and dead have reduced (399 today) there are still too many for safety.

The official figure of confirmed coronavirus cases in all Spain is over 200,000, this includes everyone who has tested positive. However there is another set of data which gives us an idea of the dimension of the pandemic in the country that is the number of possible cases.

The Spanish regions who are tracking this data estimate over 400,000 possible cases. 73% of them are in the Madrid and Catalonia regions.

Luckily all the residents of our resort have up to now kept free from the virus. We are rural, we have been very strict with social distancing and have controlled entry into the resort with our own security guards.

We are bored but stoic, need a hairdresser and want desperately to go for a long walk.

This lockdown has made us more patient and our wishes simpler.

We realise that restrictions will be lifted slowly when the lockdown is ended as the risk of infection will still be significant. We are in unchartered territory!

From Eileen in Spain A Poem at the right time

This is Kathleen O´Mear’s, poem “And People Stayed Home”, written in 1869, after the famine

And people stayed home

and read books and listened

and rested and excercised

and made art and played

and learned new ways of being

and stopped

and listened deeper

someone meditated

someone prayed

someone danced

someone met their shadow

and people began to think differently

and people healed

and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,

dangerous, meaningless and heartless

even the earth began to heal

and when the danger ended

and people found each other

grieved for the dead people

and they made new choices

and dreamed of new visions

and created new ways of life

and healed the earth completely

just as they were healed themselves.