Day 23-24 / Lockdown in Barcelona

The unexpected yet beautiful home schooling/home activism experiment

Saturday 4th April. I’m not feeling relaxed. I slept in, which wasn’t as good as it should have been. Sometimes I think my skin and allergies are worse when I sleep longer, but I certainly appreciate not being woken up too early! Weekends mean we don’t try for any type of “schooling” and that noone even tries to be dressed before breakfast. There is some intense deep cleaning of the kitchen going on which is excellent – just as long as I can have a few minutes to get my breakfast. I escape the house and go for a much needed walk and shop. I sneak off up the hill taking the first right turn out of the house. I know if I get a few paces up there I am safe enough, as I stay away from roads on my “back way” to the shop. I spoke to a neighbour about his guerrilla gardening space in front of the house, he told me it was all planted up and ready to grow. I picked some flowers – I will actually integrate this into home schooling – the idea is to make “identifying them, and looking at whether they are edible” into a fun activity (on a weekday obviously). Actually Kira jumped the gun a bit when on Sunday she asked me if she could eat the dandelion – she’s been watching far too much Peter Rabbit recently. I know they are edible, but had a sudden doubt, but then, well Sunday I avoid screens, and I really do know they are edible so I said yes. She got a mouthful of petals on their way to being seeds and spat it out. It was the funniest thing that happened all weekend though.

I also foraged some Boraja on the hill. Just for the novelty of coming home with a shopping bag with foraged wild spiky veg in the bottom. It’s in water, waiting for the next step (which involves me having a moment to google what the next step is)

It was rather annoying for the family that after getting home too late to cook the planned lunch, I started making a video about collecting seeds from cherry tomatoes. My brilliant plan was to do the images and then add a soundtrack in Catalan. So the video was just my hand, the lovely red tomatoes and Bernat’s 4th or maybe 5th baked loaf in the shot as well. In another parallel universe we live in Caseres and he is the village baker. This latest loaf has Boodaville olives in it! Amazing! Anyway, none of you will see this video, because it didn’t get approval from the resident professional. It’s much more fun seeing my bad Catalan on screen, than hearing correctly worded yet poor quality jokes read out.

The lockdown world is not good today, the walks and lunch on the terrace can’t quite keep the anxiety away. It is often to do with not enough time alone for me, or a sense of feeling I should be doing things, or today a combination of this, plus not being able to solve my technological problems. In preparation for a no screen Sunday I decided to keep going until I solved the tech problems and finished the video and wrote the blog. I don’t think pushing those things helped very much though. My extra frustration is surely due to hormones, which may be linked to feeling physically unhealthy, and all combined with being very easily irritated. Luckily some good and very old friends were on zoom, so I’m sure they loved to hear my grump. Three weeks in is definitely not a good moment.

I did see the police on my walk today – two motorbikes drove past, but said nothing to me. They told off a man who’d sat down on a bench in the sun with his shopping trolley though! The trick if you want to sit in the sun, is to pretend you are in a queue and sit on a doorstep. It’s also the trick to having more than an online date. If you join a long enough queue you can chat to each other, unworried about police for up to half an hour. Plenty long enough to decide if you want to smuggle them into your flat for a few days.

Out in the real world, we are undergoing an unbelievable, and unfathomable change. Unfathomable. That’s the word. I can’t get my head around where this is going, but I guess for now, the whole idea is to come out of it knowing what we want from life. As Charles Eisenstein (and probably many others I haven’t read in the swarming sea of opinion) said, we have to know what to actively work to get back, and what we are happy to leave behind. Let’s hope people make good choices on that! Hugs – don’t let them be a thing of the past. That reminds me of one time many many years ago I went out to the Ramblas with couchsurfers for an afternoon offering Free Hugs. That may be a thing of the past. Well, I think maybe it already was a thing of the past.

But the important thing is that the deaths in Spain are less each day. The curve is flattening. In the USA well, as I mentioned before, I can’t get into that one it’s too insane. In the UK people are out in the parks, following the lead of their wonderful leader (I’ll shake hands with everyone, even the patients in hospital) who has now gone to hospital with COVID-19. They still seem oblivious to what is coming. Deaths are going up, but recorded cases are dropping. How is that possible? Fixing the numbers by not testing?

Bernat’s brother is home now and feeling much better. He’s the immune one of the family now! Except he’s not allowed to leave the house for another 15 days, as they say he is still contagious. So in total he was 10 days with mild symptoms, then 7 days in hospital, then 15 days more until being “free” of the virus.

Sunday 5th April. Fun and relaxing family time, and some wonderful cooking a quiche time, just me and music and moving as slowly as I felt like. Treasure hunts on the terrace were the order of the day. We all wrote one! Kira probably did more reading and writing with this that she did all last school week. We didn’t have any treasure, and I asked her to go and find something – she said “you can draw a little picture, that can be the treasure” which I thought was just wonderful.

In the afternoon I spent half an hour cycling round the terrace. There are two reasons 1) so my arse doesn’t forget being on a bike 2) it’s quite meditative, you have to concentrate because the turning is so sharp. I think I could get away with a trip to the shop on a bike though. After the bike session I think I’d found my way to enough alone time. It’s like the exercise – you need about twice as much as you think is enough.

I’m reading, and sharing with the family, an amazing book. Exploring Natural Mystery, by Jon Young. I bought it online from the USA, it is in terrible condition and cost about twice as much as I wanted to pay. Seriously, the front and back cover are ripped! But the content is incredible. It is a 14 day course on connecting with nature – birdsong, tracking, observation. The first lesson is that the wilderness is to be found where you are; the road, the terrace, the windowsill. The stories in the book cross with native american stories and indigenous perspectives on listening to nature, and thinking of the next seven generations. These perspectives are massively important to our way of getting out of this mess. The absolute opposite of technocratic solutions to stay alive, and the absolute embodiment of the story of interbeing and the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. The first page is a thanksgiving text, which I read to my family and videoed to share with friends. The first paragraph says that if we all made daily time for thanksgiving – recognising the gifts of nature, from soil, to water and weather, to plants, animals and humans – we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. It is the second book I have read that I want to share somehow – an online course maybe? what other choice is there?

Days 1 – 11

Day 12 and 13

Day 14

Day 15 – Family hospitalisations, drama and cabin fever

Day 16/17 online pub quiz, british media, digital detox, coronavirus test on brother in law doesn’t give the correct result.

Day 18. Lockdown is now normal / meeting a friend / dance party

Day 19 Bernat’s brother tests positive for COVID-19 / rain

Day 20 – Boredom hits hard

Day 21 Desperation, seeds, immunity passports?

Day 22 – We are not “working from home”. There is a crisis and we are trying to work


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