from Murcia, Spain – Eileen Dunmore

Retired Human Resource Director

26 March. Our first death on our resort. As yet we do not know if it was due to COVID-19 . The authorities are here testing as I write. The victim thought he was ill due to a recurring lung problem. He was seen at our local supermarket 48 hours ago after visiting the doctor. No one is going to move from their house. Frightening times!

25 March. Lockdown Extended. Our lock down period has been officially extended for another week. The numbers dying and infected rise every day. I know that older people are very vulnerable but in Spain I keep hearing of relatives of friends who are fighting for their lives in their 20 ‘s and 30’s.

On a positive side the unusually wet weather has been a boom to the agriculture here in the South East of Spain. All around me are fields of produce for English supermarkets. Large English farming companies lease the land and to cultivate them. On the fields the produce is picked and labelled to be transported by lorry immediately to Britain. At present there is great activity trying to keep up with the demand.

Talking to my friends also in lockdown it seems all we want to do is to go for a long walk. We really will appreciate our freedom when it returns.

24 March. Lock Down. In Spain we have been locked down and under a state of emergency for over a week. The numbers infected daily rises and so do deaths. We have over 33,000 infected cases at present. The authorities have extended our lock down for another 15 days. I live on a golf resort and the hotel , golf course and all sporting facilities are close until mid-June.

Looking at Italy, as Spain seems to be following their pattern, I think we might be here for much longer than we think. Maybe our lives will never be the same again!!

Stairs have been my salvation. I tried to find a suitable Pilates class on YouTube but all the teachers were young and supple and did things I could only dream of. Luckily my normal Pilates teacher who is use to people my age 60 plus, will set up a Facebook group and continue putting us through our paces. I have never used technology in this way but I am glad I am being forced to get up to date.

Indoor jobs that have been on the back burner are now coming to the fore. Hundreds of photos have been discarded, old files, diaries and stuff are thrown out. Do I need all these clothes? I have wardrobes of nothing to wear. I trying to be ruthless but it is not easy.

23 March. Today I am going to leave the house to go shopping. I never thought it could be so exciting. Preparations are needed. I do not have a mask as there are none for sale so I improvise with a scarf. Decked in a cap, scarf and disposable gloves I am ready to go. The roads are deserted and the atmosphere is eerie. As it is early in the day the supermarket is reasonably stocked and it is easy to keep your distance from other shoppers.

On my journey I heard a heart-warming story on the English radio in Spain: A lady went at opening time to her local supermarket in a Spanish village who had difficulties keeping the shelves stocked. Before the shopped opened at 9 am all the staff stood outside the shop and sang “I shall survive” by Tina Turner. They had worked hard to clean and stock the store for the day. On visiting the butcher there was a bottle of hand gel outside the shop on the pavement for customers to use and only 2 people were allowed in the shop at any one time. In the shop there was a line a meter from the counter to keep customers apart. We all felt comfortable with these measures. Stocked up I think I might make a Christmas cake to cheer us up.

22 March. How life can change in a week. We had been in locked down now in Spain for a week. Our area in South East Spain had no cases of people being infected 10 days ago. However, Madrid is a hothouse with thousands of cases. Many people in Madrid have holiday homes here as in the summer the temperatures sore in the city of Madrid. Many Madrid inhabitants decided to take refuge in their holiday homes on the coast. Now we have over 200 cases but no deaths. However, in the whole of Spain we have 20 000 cases and 1000 deaths. Everyday the number of cases seem to multiply.

We had been in locked down now in Spain for a week. Our area in South East Spain had no cases of people being infected 10 days ago. However, Madrid is a hothouse with thousands of cases. Many people in Madrid have holiday homes here as in the summer the temperatures sore in the city of Madrid. Many Madrid inhabitants decided to take refuge in their holiday homes on the coast. Now we have over 200 cases but no deaths. However, in the whole of Spain we have 20 000 cases and 1000 deaths. Everyday the number of cases seem to multiply.

Life in lockdown is very strange. If you see someone you stand 2 meters away. Police are everywhere ensuring we all adhere to the restrictions. Only one person per car and you are only allowed to go to the pharmacy or foodstore. You need to keep receipts of your purchases for proof if stopped. It is quite surreal. Very few cars on the roads , no people walking in villages , it is a bit like a ghost town in a movie.