We decided to move to Spain for the similar lifestyle to Sydney and to be closer to family, especially ageing parents. Outside living, blue skies and, like the Aussies, a nation of people who are upbeat and more interested in socialising and napping than working full time! We’d been here just over 3 years when it was announced that Covid-19 was a pandemic. We’d been through the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. We weathered that one, this one would be similar. No biggie, right? Wrong!

We thought that they were maybe worrying about it a bit too much. At that time it was business as usual here.

We heard about [COVID-19] on the BBC news in early January when there were lots of cases being reported in Wuhan. We saw the lockdown go into place, but still thought that it would be contained within China as their lockdown seemed so severe. 

The start of February was when it started to make more headlines over here. We also noticed that bookings for our Airbnb had slowed right down. We started to get messages from people in the UK who were coming to stay with us in May and June asking how bad the virus was in Spain. We thought that they were maybe worrying about it a bit too much. 

At that time it was business as usual here. We went on holiday to Granada in Southern Spain at the end of February, we were still going about our life as normal. 

When it was declared a global pandemic on March 11. We still thought that it wouldn’t affect us too much. Even though we saw what was happening in Italy, it still felt far away. Little did we know that five days later we would be in lockdown. 

Friday 13 March, I got up and went to CrossFit, had a leisurely breakfast and sat outside in the sun before starting work at 11. 

At midday, the government announced that all bars, shops, restaurants and gyms were to close from midnight that night. 

Saturday 14 March, the lockdown was announced. It was that quick.

Essential travel only. So we can go to a supermarket, pharmacy or petrol station, walk your dog up to 100m from your home. That's it.

No exercising outside, going for a run or a walk by the sea. Nothing. Stay at home or you will be fined.

Even though the official start of the lockdown was March 16th, the police were out in force on the Saturday and Sunday urging people to go home. It was all very surreal.   

It all happened so fast. One minute we were eating paella with all our mates on a sunny afternoon and the next thing we’re under what is, in all but name, martial law.

We watched the news every night and checked social media obsessively. It was very overwhelming.

It was hard to understand how something so far away, could within a matter of weeks be here in Spain and affecting so many people. The lockdown felt a bit like an over reaction as the number of deaths and infections were so small to begin with.

Then the numbers started to rise and rise and we began to understand just how bad it was.

Yesterday was supposed to be the end of the lockdown, but it has been extended by 15 days. [Ed’s Note: the lockdown has now been extended to April 16]. I would like to hope that that will be the end of it, but China was in lockdown for two months before they saw any slowing of the infections and deaths so we’ve prepared ourselves mentally to be in lockdown for 2 months.

Before all this happened I was working on my online store, so had a routine worked out, but, as all the post offices are closed, I can’t really do anything on it at the moment. Also promoting a business in these times feels wrong. It’s been put on ice, so I needed to find something to fill the time that I would normally spend on my business. 

I’ve started a daily diary of how I’m feeling using shapes. Sounds mad but it’s all explained here.

I’m also doing a 30 day body weight challenge with my neighbour and a friend in Amsterdam. 

Yesterday was a 4km run. I mapped out a 40m circuit around my garden and ran 10 laps one way and 10 the other, for 100 laps. I felt sick afterwards and dizzy, but it was really nice to stretch my legs. 

I check the news sites, once a day. For our mental health, we don't really talk about it as it's so overwhelming.

We watch eighties movies at night. So far we’ve watched The Lost Boys, Jaws, E.T, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Beverley Hills Cop, Working Girl, you get the idea.

Routine is fine, but after a while the routine itself gets boring so it has to be very elastic in its nature.

Saying that, every night at 8pm we go outside on our balcony and clap for the the people working on the frontline. Then our neighbour Paddy, who is a DJ, blasts out three tunes across our area. We put the torches on on our phones and have a dance with the rest of our neighbourhood who are all on their balconies. 

Saturday nights music was Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bob Marley, Saturday Night – Wigfield and Never Gonna Give you Up – Rick Astley. Superb. I look forward to it every evening. It truly is the highlight of my day.

Having no other company is challenging. We work from home so are used to spending a lot of time together, but having no other human contact is very strange.

To help, I’ve Facetimed my mates in the UK, Australia and Spain. We’ve set up groups to have a chat about silly stuff and it’s really helping. Sometimes I just want to drink wine and talk rubbish with my friends. I will never take it for granted again!

The Spanish are by nature a very loud nation, so the silence when I go to the supermarket is so weird. Also there are no cars, people, planes, no noise whatsoever. All I can hear is birds. I can’t even hear any barking dogs as they all have someone at home with them now!

If we feel like having a cry then we do. It’s best to get it out. Don’t bottle it up. These are unprecedented times, it’s fine to feel overwhelmed. It gets a bit easier to cope with as time goes on and you get used to the lockdown routine. If we want to put on cheesy music and dance around in our PJs at 10am, we do it. 

Cooking is another challenge. The supermarkets are almost back to normal now after the panic buying. We’re vegetarian, so cooking with chickpeas and lentils is second nature to us, good job as the meat was the first thing to disappear. 

But making breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday is becoming a chore. There are no food delivery companies here to spice it up. All we want to do is go to a restaurant order some food and wine and have somebody else cook it, serve it to us and wash it all up!

Your mental health is so important, this is a test of it like never before. Have a laugh. Have a cry. If you're not coping with it, then tell someone.

To be able to go outside for a walk is our dream. 

You guys are so lucky that you can leave the house. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough being in your house every day. Make sure you stick to the rules, because the lockdown restrictions here are really hard and you don’t want them over there if you can avoid it.

We’re lucky, we have a front and back garden. Look around your house or apartment and imagine not being able to go out. It gets very small, very quickly. 

Your mental health is so important, this is a test of it like never before. Have a laugh. Have a cry. If you’re not coping with it, then tell someone. There are services available to help. Use them if you need them.

This one is for all the people suddenly at home together, we learnt this very early on: If things start to niggle, then get them out in the open immediately. Things snowball very quickly as tensions are high. Don’t go to bed on an argument. Nobody needs anymore stress at this time. Talk about it, then move on. 

If you have someone that you know who lives on their own, maybe a friend, work colleague or a neighbour. Give them a call, especially if they’re elderly. This is the time that we all need to pull together. 

We have a friend here who is on his own. He’s doing it way tougher than us. We call him twice a week and talk total and utter rubbish with him. It makes us all laugh and we get to check that he’s ok. 

And obviously drink wine. It helps!

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