Lockdown, commencing 15/3/2020 , ending 21/6/2020

98 days


Spain was put under Lockdown on 15/3/2020 due to the Covid 19 virus, that had originated in Wuhan, China, in late December.It had been hushed up there for a couple of weeks{ a young ENT doctor who tried to raise the alarm was threatened with his livelihood if he persisted with 'false rumours': sadly he subsequently died from the virus}. Wuhan was subsequently locked down completely for a couple of months, but not before the coronavirus had spread world wide. In Spain every one was forbidden to go outside even for a short walk unless they had a dog. I was lucky here to be  on an urbanization of 14 houses, ours the only one occupied during Lockdown!  So could make use of the communal garden and pool: 5 walking laps around the pool, 8 minutes, several times a day gave me some exercise, and I also started braving the pool once it got to 19 degrees - by May 6th it was a balmy 24 !. After Lockdown 49 though we were allowed outside in the street too, special time slots, 10-12 and 7-8, for the golden oldies. Most surpising of all, I learnt to play bridge online ( with BBO) and really enjoyed it, playing 2 hour sessions up to 5 times a week with Maria and Bill. The best lockdown weapon was a sense of humour, and counting off the days: it's Lockdown 54 as I am writing this

David did a 10 week Epidemiology course with Hongkong University - completed in 4days & was free!! There never seemed to be enough time in the day, especially after Day 49 with all those walks we felt we had to do !! We never quarrelled: at the first sign of a disagreement one of us would smile and say ' I have to live with you for a while yet!' and that ended that!!

We were only allowed out to shop or go the chemist with one person in the car, so I ventured to Mercadona every 10 days and, in between, David went to Pepe la Sal, disposed of the rubbish and visited Letters R Us . One queued when necessay everywhere with a 2 metre gap between people, and used sanitizer and donned flimsy disposable gloves in the supermarkets

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For the first month of lockdown the weather was gloomy: I used to walk from one end of the urbanisation to the other

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

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Some of the notices in Pepe's. Once the sun shone I enjoyed my laps around the pool. Celebrating my birthday
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with a Pepe cake on the balcony, then Tapas by the pool: the sun shone there till 6.30. . Social distancing at Mercadona checkouts. . . . Serenity on the balcony
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Then the water reached 19 and I could, just, get in! Really enjoyed the beauty of the plants around the pool
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. . . Frequent road blocks. David stopped once & they checked the time on his till receipt! . . . . . . . . . .Rearranged the dining room and scrounged a rose each week! . Super clean Boyzz learnt to count their days encarcerated





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As well as following the stats, David did a 10 week Epidemilogy course with Hongkong University. Conclusion: epidemiology not a science, just a fair hunch

After 2 or 3 weeks working hard to record my life in pictures from 0 to 60 ( the more recent years already covered) in preparation for a photo book, Maria insisted on, and David facilitated, me playing Bridge online, with Bridge Base Online, alias BBO. What joy!: just 2 hour sessions, but could 'play' partner's contracts too( their hand being viewable once the bidding had ended) and easy analysis, even between hands in a Pairs tournament. Soon I was playing up to 5 times a week: with Maria in a JBC head to head, in a Montrose Pairs tournament & a Swiss Teams organised by Sarah from Montrose. Then with Bill a Sunday teams match, with Sarah, John, Maria, Peter Haywood, Pat & Peter Ford, and a casual duplicate game with different opponents, such as the Shrimptons, Carol & Daniel, Paul & Huguette, Nick & Dorien. I also followed all Bernard Magee's 3 weekly videos and often Paul Mendelson's weekly Zoom appearances( good content but, my, did he ramble!)

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Before Gout & on non bridge days!! a sip of Cava with lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Our 1st taste of freedom, day 49

By Lockdown 49 ( maybe 'Lockdown plus walks 49 or Restricted 49' ) we were permitted, as seniors, to venture outside the house for an hour between 10-12 or 7-8. For 2 days we had some glorious long walks, then the Gout struck: David was in such pain that he thought he had a broken ankle. So a daring journey with me driving ( ho, ho, ho,... what have we here, 2 in a car?) to the doctors and returned with a diagnosis and 2 sets of pills: the first lot reduced the pain but knocked the rest of his body for six, so threw them and settled down with the other set. Unfotrunately no shoes were truly comfy after this, so I continued alone with an hourly brisk evening walk up in the campo : the bird song was fantastic

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Just testing the facemasks- difficult to breathe! . . . . . . . . . . . An ever changing scene from our balcony: noticed how people were ignoring lockdown!


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And even the firefighters had to train - or maybe they were just providing entertainment for the incarcerated ?


Encountered on my favourite Campo walk - a bouldre inside it to stop it blowing away!



Then we approached Lockdown 58, alias ' Restricted 58': but was the municipality of Teulada part of the Denia health region?, & was this excluded from Phase 1. Eureka... it was not excluded, but now the question was 'Are seniors allowed to visit outside cafes outside their permitted walk slot'?? They were indeed.

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Restricted 59: our 1st outing,lunch at Cafe 19. Odd goings on with a birthday group of 12 Germans!

Tried to rally up some other tales of Lockdown from JBC members: received an account from Nick Fitzgerald in Peru that inspired me to continue with this project, though a few members obviously were agin it! Time will see if it succeeds

As we have only Spanish TV here (Netflix in Malta!)  I have been enjoying lots of streamed shows on Youtube: all the Andrew Lloyd Webber ones( Joseph &..., Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, By Jeeves )- my sort of music!! -, some national theatre ones- an excellent Jane Eyre, Frankenstein and A Streetcar named Desire, and Royal Opera ones, of which The Cellist was outstanding: a;sp Pucconi's Il Troccito and La Boheme . I also watched Fiddler on the Roof from the Valletta theatre- a bit hazy though: another one coming up soon from there- The Importance of being Earnest. And now, Lockdown 69 , I am watching the Sound of Music again after more than 50 years since seeing it in Oxford: this time not the Julie Andrews version. Once the Lloyd Webber ones were exhausted, that site, 'The Show must go on' continued with such shows as HairSpray, Wiz, Peter Pan . ..

On Restricted 63 we met up with Carol in Sensatez - the only customers for lunch : what bliss to chat to someone other than David again after 63 days !! We felt so sorry for the restaurant owners: they could have been us 14 years earlier!


Online Bridge continued- Swiss Teams now added by Sarah: a nightmare for Maria trying to get 8 people to agree a time to play! But she managed it. After the 1st match, on Restricted 66, in which our team with Jean & Jim were beaten by Sheila's team with Renate & Rod, David and I hurried out for a 10 day shop and then some very good Tapas down at Select, a restaurant we had never honoured with our presence before: we will be going back there! The other seven customers were all Spaniards, seemed to know each other, though not well, and exchanged hand shakes and generally got too near to each other!

Then on Restricted 67. six months of hair growth was removed down at New Look: what bliss!

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Lockdown 70 saw us having a very pleasant lunch down at the Food Company, gorgeous food and really good views


As most of Spain prepared to go into Phase 2 on Lockdown 72, Valencia's President decided he was happy with Phase 1 so did not send his weekly health figures to Madrid : but actually very little difference between these phases, mostly that restaurants could open inside as well as outside

More training of fire fighting planes was eye catching



David monitors the movements/positioning of Cruise ships around the world : the Norwegian Getaway passed by in front of us around 11pm on Lockdown 71: too dark for us to see it but here is a photo of another cruise ship- a really rare site in lockdown - on its way to Barcelona. A few days later, Lockdown 76, the Silver Cloud passed by - visible only through binoculars! - on its way to Toulon: this was the day that we should have been disembarking from it in Dublin!!


Lockdown 72. All my hopes for a JBC link to my suggested Lockdown page finally killed; no explanation or answers to my questions forthcoming. No meant No- justification thus not needed! Some ethics a bit dubious!!- articles that I sourced have been put on the club website

Did finally, 15 days later, Lockdown 87, get a reply, from all the unnamed committee members : a short, curt, rejection - due to the 'Data Protection Act, see AGM 2019' {so looked up the JBC site, but failed to find that! Did find 'Best Behaviour at Bridge'; but did not mention best/considerate behaviour for the committee}

So now I have removed the site set up for JBC and produced a general, worldwide, Lockdown site instead

Another Zoom meeting with Hazel and Ed in Brushford.

Lockdown 73. David was finally able to get to the dentist to get a crown reinserted- it had come out 2 weeks previously

Meanwhile online bridge continued and I continued receiving Experiences of Lockdown from all over the world. Also enjoyed following the online bridge lessons of Bernard Magee and Paul Mendelson .

Lockdown 76 I met up with Carol at Bites and Bubbels- and overindulged in their brilliant tapas


Lockdown 87. Received the long awaited (15 days) reply to my last email to the JBC Club president: no conciliation, just a brief 'Get stuffed' supposedly from a united ( & somewhat bullied) committee: none of my questions, particularly regarding their Ethics, answered . Met up with Maria for a coffee in Javea- whilst David having root canal treatment

For the past 4 weeks the Swiss Teams ( 8 people) has continued to be a nightmare: our 'team mates' never replying to emails, then saying they cannot play on such a day, without giving alternatives , & thus another day's delay or more!! Result being that we have had to play at times unsuitable for us, often just before rushing out to lunch, in poor humour because the opps played so slowly!! Hopefully only 2 more such matches to endure / But apparemtly. according tp Sarah, most people have enjoyed them

Lockdown 88: a phonecall to decant myself as fast as poss. down to Bites and Bubbels for a coffee and tostada with Carol


By lockdown 89 it appeared that we would be able to go to Galicia on June 22nd, the State of Alarm ending on June 21st, the day after Lockdown 98


Lockdown 92: I received an excellent Lockdown article from Carolyn in Australia. Made me realise that when one door closes, another one opens: so, thankyou Madam President for enabling the Lockdown site to spread its wings!!


Lockdown 96: the Silver Explorer sailed past our balcony at midnight, northwards towards Toulon. We are now booked on her in December, sailing from Auckland, down to Dunedin and then on further south - I wonder?!!

Lockdown 97, and so near the end: a violent thunderstorm, torrential rain and , 3 hours later, loss of our Internet ( during a JBC head to head match on BBO)

During these 98 days of Lockdown, I was receiving, and writing, far more emails than normal, often with interesting or amusing Youtube videos. I particularly liked the following poem:

Back in the days of threepenny bits,

Back in the days of tanners and bobs,
When Mothers had patience and Fathers had jobs.
When football team families wore hand me down shoes,
and T.V gave only two channels to choose.

when schools employed nurses to search for your nits.
When snowballs were harmless; ice slides were permitted

and all of your jumpers were warm and hand knitted.

Back in the days of hot ginger beers,
when children remained so for more than six years.
When children respected what older folks said,
and pot was a thing you kept under your bed.

Back in the days of Listen with Mother,
when neighbours were friendly and talked to each other.
When cars were so rare you could play in the street.
When Doctors made house calls; Police walked the beat.

Back in the days of Milligan’s Goons,
when butter was butter and songs all had tunes.
It was dumplings for dinner and trifle for tea,
and your annual break was a day by the sea.

Back in the days of Dixon’s Dock Green,
Crackerjack pens and Lyons ice cream.
When children could freely wear National Health glasses,
and teachers all stood at the FRONT of their classes.

Back in the days of rocking and reeling,
when mobiles were things that you hung from the ceiling.
When woodwork and pottery got taught in schools,
and everyone dreamt of a win on the pools.

Back in the days when I was a lad,
I can’t help but smile for the fun that I had.
Hopscotch and roller skates; snowballs to lob.
Back in the days of tanners and bobs.

More Tales of lockdown