BRAVE NEW WORLD Omnibus edition TWO

From 26th March to 6th April 2020

Continues an observation of the Corona Virus Lockdown in Soller, Mallorca.

Omnibus Edition ONE from 13th March to 25th March 2020 can be read on

Written by Shirley Roberts

Good Morning Brave New World

Thursday March 26th 2020

We are in for a rainy day.

After nearly two weeks of lockdown my take on it is that I have to have routine.

Get up in the morning – no lounging around in a dressing gown till lunch! Only problem is if the phone rings I might just have to have that chat and another coffee and then it is another day with no shower till noon.

No TV during the day – not difficult as Radio 4 and Radio One Mallorca are my daylight hours companions.

A glass of wine marks the transition from day into evening. One glass or two is the question.

The daily dilemma of whether I really need to go to the shop or the chemist. For the health of the nation it is better that I don’t, for my sanity it is better that I do. Therefore I probably won’t…

The end of the first two weeks of lockdown approaches and we will know if we are on the right track.

Have a great Thursday everyone

Friday 27th March 2020

The sun is shining

A glorious day to appreciate from the window, balcony, roof terrace or, if you are really fortunate – a garden.

My small balcony overlooks a lane where dog walkers make the trek to the Son Angelats open space. I recognise the dogs and their owners and we exchange a word or two. Balcony chats between neighbours happen if we are hanging over the railings at the same time.

Social distancing is causing a new phenomenon. If we happen to see anyone on the street (when we go to the shop or chemist) we keep the distance or course. We also avert our eyes and do not speak to each other. The scurry past another human being is done as quickly as possible to avoid any contagion. Personally I think we have gone too far on this – there is nothing in the rules that say we can’t say HELLO.

I have to go out today and it is my intention to say HELLO to as many people as I can. I will let you know later how I did.

Have a great Friday…

Saturday 28th March 2020

A bit grey out there this morning with a drizzle morning forecast.

My Saturday morning thought is ‘control’. When things we can control become limited we become experts. My normal default position when I can’t do something quickly is to move on and promise myself I will deal with it when I have time. Now I have time and yesterday I spent some of it understanding the nuances of internet banking. An hour later I knew enough to settle a bill in the nick of time. Job done and lesson learned for the future.

So many of my friends and family are discovering the art of cooking. Convenience foods and popping out for dinner are not possible anymore. The flour mills are working overtime and those of us in Mallorca who, in the past, would seek out English brands of flour have given up. The Mallorcan choice of flours is just fantastic.

Local businesses are delivering vegetable and fruit boxes to the door. No choice – you get what you are given. 10 kilos for 15 euros and then the kitchen creativity is up to you. All those veg you avoid in the shops are now looking at you in the kitchen to do something with. We have all learnt to make soup…

Controlling what we can means our houses are cleaner, the drawers are tidy and dinner is prepared by our own fair hands. Family time around board games, jigsaws and communal TV watching is becoming the new norm. For those living alone the balcony chats and not dwelling too much on the aloneness works for now.

Today we have the 6pm claps for the children of our community who have been brilliant in the lockdown of the past two weeks.

Then overnight we have an hour less to fill as the clocks go forward ushering us in to ‘summertime’.

Happy Saturday everyone…

Sunday 29th March 2020  

The clocks went forward overnight and for one day we have an hour less to fill. Filling those hours and avoiding boredom and depression is the challenge.

The main news of the the day is that we have survived two weeks of lockdown.  Our sacrifice of staying home and keeping to the rules seems minor in comparison to all those in the front line. But today this is our story – Well done to us all.

Today the stats will inform us as to what the nature of the infection curve is.   For those following us here in Mallorca the situation does not mirror the rest of Spain.  31 people have died and 862 cases are confirmed were the figures at 28th March 2020. 

It’s Sunday and the police will be on many major junctions.  Their purpose is to turn back all those who try to head for their weekend houses by the sea.  The police have been very much in evidence since Friday checking cars to see if people are trying to decamp.

After yesterdays announcement that more workers will be required to stay home from tomorrow the police will be turning back cars today.

The temptation is just too great for people who live in a small flat with no outside space.  The idea that 30 kilometres away they have a family weekend house with gardens and sea views just sitting there is tough.

New Sunday routines are emerging in Lockdown Life and we can’t see this changing anytime soon.  How we envy the other countries who are allowing their people out for one walk a day.  This is a concession that is worth its weight in gold…

Have a great Sunday everyone

Monday 30th March 2020

The weekend is done and we move into another working week.  Children continue to be linked up with school via social media and a routine, of sorts, continues.

My treat of the weekend was to sort the car boot out.  Such an unimportant job in the grand scheme of things.  This (non) monumental task allowed me to go the car port in the communal garden of my block.  A little time in the fresh air and a small sense of satisfaction.

Communal gardens and spaces are the question today.  We all know that children can’t gather and play there but what about adults observing social distance?  Can I take my chair and sit by the pool? Of course to sit anywhere is not what I really crave.  I want to walk and walk until my legs hurt.  Sitting is seriously overrated in my book.

Today marks many more people staying at home for the first time.  The builders and others whose daily routine was changed under new laws have just joined us in 2020 living.

It’s Monday, it’s lockdown, it’s life – welcome to week three…

Have a great Monday friends

Tuesday 31st March 2020

The weather is disproportionally interesting considering we are in lockdown.  Today is windy and grey with the sun breaking through later – maybe.

The excitement of yesterday afternoon was the arrival of my Veg Box from the Co operativa.  It was like Christmas, for hidden amongst the vegetable were a bag of almonds and a bottle of Soller olive oil. I love the initiative of these guys especially when they got 5000 orders on their first day.  What a glorious problem to have in these times.

Today I have to brave the wind and head for the chemist. I so want the walk and the legal experience of being out but I am also strangely apprehensive. The world outside the front door seems alien and full of germs.

The end of the month of March 2020 today – a month which will go down in history.    Remembered as the time when the world changed.  Whatever the future holds the fear of this virus returning or another taking its place will be with us for the rest of our lives.  We will learn to live alongside the fear and appreciate our wonderful life again, but it might take a little time.

Have a great Tuesday everyone

Wednesday April 1st 2020

April Fool indeed!

If it is, the joke is over – please.

What plans for a joke, jest or a laugh today?

I have just read the one that tells us that a new airport is to be built in Magaluf and I am sure they will keep on coming today.  Well done to all those with efforts to keep us smiling.

My chemist walk yesterday was full of empty streets and beauty.  I am so glad I took pictures because in a few months time we will not remember those scenes. I passed a couple of people who said hello but I didn’t recognise. Facemasks hide so much and one lady was a medic with full kit on. Empty streets and camouflaged people.

Today the routine of sorts continues. I have a clean house and today I might occupy an hour with changing the bed and washing the sheets. Supposed to rain this afternoon so I might make some cakes.  There is no logic really to any of this but we do what we do, grateful that we are well enough.

The financial concerns of many local people are uppermost in their thoughts today.  Expectations of automatic mortgage holidays and banks holding back their deductions have not proved to be the case.  The banks are closed so all enquiries have to be made by phone. It is rare to get through as so many others are also on the line. The practical implementation of all the promises are the key to keeping people onside.  Watch this space to see if it resolves.

Have a great Wednesday everyone

Thursday 2nd April 2020

Today is the last rainy day in the forecast for the next week.  More April showers and then the beginning of the time to top up the tan and welcome back the sun.

The little glimmers of hope are coming at us thick and fast this morning. Today’s was the news that some tour operators are advertising June holidays in Mallorca. The implications of the possibility can’t be underestimated.

Reality life in Soller is just more of the same and I have moved into the phase that allows me to complete the things I want to in the timeframe of a day.  So what if I don’t wash the floor till 6 pm or make cakes at 7 in the morning. It is enough to have an overall plan. No-one is giving me the timetable except myself.

When I talk to friends on whatsapp or on the phone they all say the same thing.  ‘I am so busy in my house plus organising my family.  How will I ever find time to leave, go to work and do all the things outside my four walls that I used to do?’

We have all become experts in adjustment and learnt so much about ourselves.  Being broke and frightened for the future is a universal thought.

Thursday in Soller dawns and I am off to embrace the day…

Happy Thursday everyone

Friday 3rd April 2020

The sun is coming out, the sky will be blue and the wind is a northerly – a little chilly.  Does this matter when you can’t go out? YES!  We love the sun and it is a mood changer even from the little balcony in L’horta.

My viewing evenings have included Chicago and Hello Dolly.  No popcorn but very comfortable chairs in my tiny home cinema.

Yesterday the good energy was around by promoting the ‘Super Solidarity’ initiative to raise Food Bank funds for local people.  The numbers who need this help has jumped dramatically and the English speaking residents are answering the call for donations alongside everyone else.

The tantalising snippets from the powers that be are telling us of plans for the eventual easing of sanctions. We are pinching ourselves that this part of the lockdown might be coming towards a conclusion. It will be replaced by Lockdown Light but a little glimmer is hopeful.

The Easter people would have been joining us now and many here had their own plans.  I was due to fly on Monday for 10 days in the UK. The phrase ‘Make plans. God laughs’ comes to mind.

Have a great Friday everyone

Saturday 4th April 2020

The sun is shining and the countdown to Easter is beginning.

No church services of course, apart from those streamed to us on the television or internet. No Easter people either and we miss them all. Easter in the past has been as busy a season as the height of summer as families love to come and bucket and spade on the beaches.  Not this Easter as the world has temporarily changed.

The news came that Spain is contemplating making masks obligatory for all when they are out.  This is in preparation for ‘Lockdown Light’ which will happen next. No crystal ball on the date for this but the Balearics is one of 6 Spanish regions in the same position likely to get to this status soon.

The masks take on a different status if we are all to wear them as individual fashion statements.  The sewing machines of the Valley are already busy with making for the health staff who need them.  Now some are rummaging their sewing boxes for little jewels to stick on. Designer Masks are the must have of Easter. Forget the Easter Eggs and become mask creative is the message.

As for me and my Saturday routine.  I suppose I could clean the car boot again or take the rubbish out.  Limited choices on this beautiful day.  A book and a chair on my tiny balcony is more likely to the case and another musical on the TV this evening.  Last night it was Sister Act and it made me smile.

Have a great Saturday everyone

Sunday 5th April 2020

A sunny day dawns and it is Palm Sunday.  In our church centred world in Mallorca churches would be welcoming big gatherings.  The would all leave the services with a Palm Cross to display on their balcony or in their home. This year the faithful are asked to display olive branches from their gardens instead.

We are all digesting the news that the State of Alarm has been extended and likely to be further extended when this period ends.  None of this is a surprise and in many minds hardly worth a mention.  We knew that a couple of weeks wasn’t going to sort this.

Now the focus is on the little changes that will gradually come.  We are all praying for the day when we can get out for a walk and release the children for the beginning of the new normalisation process.

The swifts have returned and are our morning visitors.  They sail and glide above our houses and are a reminder, if one were needed, that spring is here and summer is in sight.

Statistically Mallorca is doing well in the treatment of the Virus.  Some of our intensive care beds are now being used for those flown in from other areas. Most people who have ever had to use our health care system have emerged with nothing but praise.  This is continuing right now and we are all very proud of the health workers and all who make our lives work in these unusual times.

Another day of finding things to do, see and appreciate followed by a happy film this evening.  Last night it was ‘My Best Friends Wedding’.  I have hours to make the choice of the 9pm performance in my house.

Happy Palm Sunday everyone…

Monday 6th April 2020 

The sun greets us as we start the day and I should be at the airport for the 10 am Easyjet to London.  I’m not there because plans will never be made the same way again.

When I made this booking and a few others for 2020, I fully expected that I would travel and do the things I wanted to do. ‘Not so’ said the virus and so today I contemplate another day at home just like everyone else.

The week starts with work and school for many, all online and from home. Learning to have a meeting on Zoom is a challenge. The preparations for the gradual lifting of restrictions are uppermost in our minds here in Mallorca and as the week goes on will become clearer.

I contemplated the part that the Radio has played in my weekend this morning as I got irritated with Radio 4 losing the sound.  They were obviously having tech problems today so I switched them off. A bit of classic FM soothed my Saturday morning and then the afternoon listening was all Radio 2. Ryland followed by Lisa Tarbuck is one of my highlights of the week.  Mood for Radio had gone on Sunday although a bit of Elaine Paige accompanied a little of the afternoon.  This morning its all about Radio One Mallorca and staying in touch with the island and the voices who are my friends.

However you are spending your Monday – have a great day.

Pic by Gary Lloyd Rees

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