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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

A Year in the Life – 2020
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 @ 8:18 AM

Pablo de Ronda doesn’t have a “bucket list” as such, but in that strange year of Covid-19, 2020, he’s done a number of things for the first time ever in his life. He looks back on 2020 and the positive things that have emerged, at least for him and his wife, out of the disaster of the Coronavirus pandemic…

To say that 2020 has not been a good year is a massive understatement. It started off OK, as normal. We spent Christmas and New Year with family in Germany; then in February we flew to the UK to see my children and grandchildren, two of whom were brand new “stork deliveries”!

Then by the middle of March, suddenly the whole world was in a tizz over a new killer virus and most countries went into “lockdown”. Here in Spain, the confinamiento was harsher than in many other places and we were all pretty much under house arrest.

This prompted me to go into action. First of all I upgraded my IT skills, in order to be able to communicate with family and friends whom we were no longer allowed to see. I bought a new mobile phone, I got WhatsApp, started using Facebook properly, and learned how to use the camera in my new mobile.

I purchased something online for the first time and found the whole idea of online shopping rather appealing. I’m a regular now, so much so that all the delivery people know where I live!

I trialled and then subscribed to Amazon Prime, which is amazing, and I also bought myself a smart bracelet.

During those three months of lockdown I was stopped three times by the police as I went food shopping/to the pharmacy/to the petrol station; all legitimate activities, of course. However, for me, being British and not used to high-profile policing, it was slightly unnerving to be “interrogated” by the Spanish equivalent of the Old Bill.

Then, when lockdown was eased at the end of June and we could buy things other than food, eg DIY materials, gardening products, paint and so on, I started to do things around the house and garden that I’d never done before in my life.

I used my basic carpentry “skills” (I did one year of woodwork at school, until they made me do Latin instead) to cannibalise some rotting wooden garden furniture. I successfully turned four sun loungers that were down on their luck into two decent sun loungers, a reclining chair and a patio table, all freshly stained and in use.

With the help of a couple of friends I constructed a carport, which despite some harsh weather lately, is still standing!

I rubbed down and “hammerited” all the metal garden furniture. Good stuff, that paint! Everything looks like new!

I built a refuse area to hide the unsightly rubbish and recycling bins.

I erected brezo fencing for the first time.

My gallego friend Jorge and I built a raised bed in the garden, using old railway sleepers, where I have planted broad beans, winter lettuce and potatoes.

Jorge and I harvested the olives from our single tree – about 20 kilos – and I am currently soaking them in brine before I marinate them with garlic, herbs and spices for eventual use as table olives.

I am currently half-way through renovating a coffee table I found at the dump.

Once we were allowed to move about again, I pressure-washed the exterior terraces of Casa Rita, our house in Montejaque (Málaga), and did some bricklaying too. All new activities for me.

On the cultural side, I’ve seen my first ever zambomba, a traditional Christmas concert popular in Andalucía, and I “went back to school” in Ronda to start a drama class.

In October I organised and ran the first-ever, we think, bilingual pub quiz in the Serranía de Ronda. Unfortunately, subsequently planned quizzes have been postponed because of the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

What else did I do in 2020 that I’ve never done before?

I had a brain scan (the less said about that, the better!)

Oh, I got a dog, Berti, a rescued German pointer.

Plus, I’ve written my first ever book, which we hope to publish in the next couple of years.

And I swam in the Mediterranean for the first time – for the first time in December, that is!

So, although I don’t have a “bucket list” as such, I suppose, in a way, I’ve accumulated a retrospective one.

I think I may plan a proper “bucket list” for the coming decade, however. Things that will be on it include, in no particular order of priority:

  • Visit Galicia, the only region of Spain I don’t know.
  • Take a balloon flight over Ronda
  • Have a go at padel. I used to play a lot of squash and tennis, so, despite tired legs and advancing age, I might be reasonable at this “trendy” racket sport
  • Visit Ascari race track, outside Ronda
  • Walk the Caminito del Rey
  • Take my wife to Madrid
  • Travel on the Al Andalus train
  • Walk a section of El Camino de Santiago
  • Stay in a Center Parcs in France, the Netherlands or Belgium with the kids and grandkids (that’s a lot of people – over 20 at the last count)
  • Dine in Benahavís, the gastronomic hub of this part of Andalucía

That’s a good ten things – I think that will have to do for now!


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