Coming Home…. 26/5/2020

Who’d have thought that we’d get to 47 days on the photo challenge?  I thought that I would have run out of ideas a while ago but I think we all did well, although I am afraid that we took our last photo yesterday…..I’ll have to think of something different in the future to keep amused!

Just to keep you in the loop the above are some of the photos that I have posted over the last couple of weeks – Clockwise from the top left, Strength, Clouds, Abstract and Eyes…

 

It is difficult to believe that we flew back to Spain from the UK to get back to Hattie over ten weeks ago. Who would have predicted the events that have taken place since then? Yet here we are, still in Spain with things slowly starting to open up again.

Our area of Alicante did eventually pass to Phase 1 last Monday (18th May), although many people are starting to push the boundaries that little bit further every day as they are beginning to tire from the rules and restrictions.  To be fair some of the rules are a little odd and allow for people to bend them if they are so inclined… you should only be going out to do exercise between 6-10am or 8-11pm, however you can go out at any point in the day to have a beer or coffee.  You are only allowed to walk a maximum of 1km from your house, yet if you want to go and meet a friend for a drink or lunch – you can travel anywhere within the province …and the list goes on!  They do seem to do be something right though as the numbers have dropped off both for new infections and deaths – let’s just hope it stays that way…. Keith thinks it is the temperature!

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With the transition to Phase 1, the Campsite/Area where we are staying opened up its doors to anyone from within the province last Monday. It was looking pretty quiet until Thursday with only a couple of additions however, we grew to 20 over the weekend – almost twice as many as normal – needless to say, most only stayed the weekend and we are now back down to 11 again!

The only other dramatic change is that people can now go and eat/drink on terraces which made me smile as on the first Monday morning, Valor Chocolate had opened its terrace on the sea front and there wasn’t any social distancing going on there… all the tables were full despite it supposedly being only 50% occupancy.

Spain has also introduced obligatory mask wearing in all public spaces where you can’t guarantee that you can stay 2 meters away from someone… including when doing exercise.  Well, that has changed our running route!  We have waved goodbye to the seafront for this year and will now just be running round the block which is far quieter and partially in the shade which is an added bonus! …. it’s quite a big block so not really a huge sacrifice.

All is good though and although it isn’t spring as we know it – we have been surrounded by the most beautiful purple blossom on the trees over the last few weeks….apparently Jacaranda (Thank you mum!)

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The aches and pains have started to die down following our initial runs outside and we are back to 80-90% of our distance now so hopefully it won’t be long before we are fully back to normal.

To ensure that I threw myself back into it fully – and just so I get used to the British weather – I opted to go out on a very wet, rainy morning a couple of weeks ago having completely forgotten what the roads are like round here for drainage.  Needless to say that it was pretty much like running in a river, I know that they are trail running trainers but I don’t think they have ever had the water over the top before!  Thankfully everything had fully dried out by about 4pm once the sun had come out!

Back at the beginning of lockdown we had tried to get hold of our Nut and Seed stall in the market in Alicante but they didn’t reply, however I tried again a couple of weeks ago and finally we have nuts….. and seeds!!  Delivered to the door at no additional cost on the same day – that’s service for you!

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We havent been cooking a huge amount of new recipes over the last couple of weeks but have been playing around a little with an old favourite ….Cheesecake to make it socially distancingly acceptable!

It was Carol’s birthday and I just didn’t think it was right to have one big one… especially if she wanted to blow out a candle!  The recipe works really well and only takes 16 minutes to cook!

Keith also found a recipe for a Vegan Curry Burger that he liked the look of from one of the professional footballers which he tried a few weeks ago.  The taste was good but the consistency was lacking to say the least and it wouldn’t have been something you would want to see on your plate. However, with a few changes and this time, he got the recipe sorted!

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and then there was a delicious Cabbage, Blue Cheese and walnut salad which we ate with flat bread…. very tasty

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And I have finally written up the recipe for the Veggie Lasagne I make… although to be fair I tend to just use the vegetables that are in season/we can find.  It is an old favourite and happened to be a rainy day so why not….

And now it is finally time to go home, back to the UK.  The weather is getting a little too warm for us here in Spain and we have found somewhere safe to stay so we booked our train last week and will be back by the end of the month. So our next blog will be from greener pastures and hopefully I will be able to find some seeded bread flour as I have pretty much run out now!

Up and Running….. almost – 9th May 2020

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After a long while waiting we certainly can’t complain about the weather…. or maybe we can as we are British and its done a U-Turn and been a bit too warm!  No, only joking – we had a couple of days of 30 degrees a week or so ago but now it has settled down to about 25 degrees during the day and 18 degrees overnight, which is do-oable with the windows open…. any warmer and sleeping is hard work even without too many mosquitos buzzing around!  On that note, you’ll be pleased to hear that there don’t appear to be too many – I am seriously hoping I don’t live to regret saying that – however, I have only inadvertently managed to squash one mosquito so far this year on the lovely white fluffy walls…. so that is twice in two years – not too bad I guess, although we definately need to work out where the magic spray comes from as if it takes blood out of white fleece, it can do anything!

Not a huge amount to report on over here over the last three weeks but the time does appear to be flying by despite us feeling like we aren’t doing a huge amount…. although we have nearly completed all the tax returns which a bit of a feat!  I have started to have strange dreams though, waking up one morning thinking that I was still doing my squats (just to be clear, I am talking about the exercise and it wasn’t a typo) in my sleep… must be something to do with the amount of time we have spent without going out much!

We have been keeping up the photo challenge and despite a handful of slightly more difficult days… including yesterdays VE Day photo (above), it is fair to say everyone is doing an amazing job and the photos are good fun!

A few of my photos from the last couple of weeks – going clockwise from top left Colour, Perspective, Spring Plants and Flowers, Black and white and Buttons – are as follows:-

The good news is that last weekend the Spanish government agreed to let people start doing a little exercise outside.  Inevitably, everyone has gone a bit crazy and are not only pushing the boundaries but also, a large percentage of people appear to have taken up running suddenly…. that’ll get the physios back on their feet again!

As much as the government had obviously tried to plan for everything (ahem) it really wasn’t a very good move to start the outdoor activity on a Saturday of a bank holiday weekend with Mothering Sunday when it was 30 degrees… we probably bore the brunt of it as we are by the beach but people were definitely not thinking about social distancing….. just getting on the beach and dipping their toes in the water!

So, unlike the UK,  Spain is allowing people to go out in age groups –

  • Between 14 and 70 years old are allowed to either do exercise (run, cycle, skate, surf, etc. but not swim) between 6-10am or 8-11pm. Alternatively you can walk but if you choose to walk, you can only go 1km from your home.
  • If you are 70+ or if you are high risk, you are allowed out to walk (no exercise) between 10-12am or 7-8pm – again only within 1km of home.
  • Children under 14 are allowed out with a parent and a toy … bike, scooter, etc.(up to 3 per parent…. children that is, not toys) within 1km of home for a maximum period of an hour.

As the week has gone on people have gone out earlier, stayed out longer, strayed further from home and generally you are seeing groups merge bit by bit.

I went for a run on the first morning and over cooked it…. not only because I hadn’t run for the 7 weeks of lockdown but also as I had been returning from injury before this all started, so 9km later although the adrenaline was running high, the calves were rock solid (forefoot running)…. I just got a little too excited about it all and paid the price as couldn’t walk or climb stairs easily for a few days….Ok, lets just say I am starting to get back to normal now… eight days later – that’ll teach me, I may start to increase the distance a little more slowly next week!

As our ‘time slot’ is a bit odd, we haven’t really been out apart from the odd run and the normal supermarket visit. The morning slot is when we do our exercise and by 8pm we are eating and chilling for the evening, so not much else has changed.

Spain’s easing off is in four phases and we had thought that we would be passing to the next phase this coming Monday (11th) – but alas no, they have obviously been hiding something from us.  The next phase would have meant that the Aire would have opened up again to Spaniards who live within the province to 50% capacity but still with the services remaining closed, terraces in local bars and restaurants would have been open up to 50% capacity, we could have met with up to 10 others for social activity and would have been able to travel slightly further afield to get food from shops and markets.  At least we can now see how the other areas deal with the little oddities – they still plan to keep the age groups and times but also open bars and restaurants…. so does that mean that you can only go within your allotted time slot, or is that in addition? Not one for us to worry about currently as it’ll be at least another week before we can progress forwards.  It doesn’t effect us much anyway as we don’t have any plans to go running to the local bar or restaurant, or meet up with groups of friends, although it would have been nice to go into Alicante market to buy some nuts and coffee beans!

We will keep up with our twice daily 45 minute walk by the motorhome, morning exercise – which hopefully will include running along the promenade a little further next week if my calf muscles allow it – and our supermarket trips, we are happy and don’t need anything more and are going to start stocking up on the wine in light of a potential homeward journey in the next few weeks.

As Keith pointed out to me, we are about to enter week 9 of lockdown which means that we flew back from the UK 8 weeks ago tomorrow, and not through any particular reason but just as it has occurred, we haven’t eaten any meat during this period.  It is fair to say that when we see a recipe or a photo for something meaty looking amazingly delicious we salivate, however we do the same for Vegan or Veggie food too – we both admit that we are looking forward to a good bacon butty though !!

So, apart from a mix of old recipes we have been cooking up a few new ones as follows:-

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  • Gigantes with Tomatoes and Kale– A bit like a quick stew although still full of flavour.  Goes really well with a bit of soda bread to mop up the sauce
  • Soda Bread– cooked on the pizza stones on the BBQ and it worked really well
  • Sticky Aubergine Fried Rice – one pot dish with loads of flavour…. got to love ginger and chilli though!

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Let’s see what Boris announces on tomorrow and whether we manage to progress from Phase 0 to Phase 1 next week…. keep smiling !