Good morning folks
I trust this finds you fit and well.
I deliberated, dithered, and umm-ed and ahhh-ed for a fair old time about coming out of blogdom retirement.
However, these are exceptional circumstances.
Wherever you may be reading this, we are
all affected by the Covid-19/Coronavirus.
This is not a blag, a brag, a woe-is-me. It is not health advice, nor a political diatribe, it is nothing bar my own personal thoughts and observations at this momento in time.
I do not have Wi-fi, and I have limited Internet on my phone, so I shall keep it short and sweet and may have to slot in less pics than in the past. It will also flit about from past-present-future quicker than a souped-up Delorean, I keep my fingers crossed it makes some sembleance of sense! Apologies for any typos, I am copying this off an ancient version of Word, pre-dating Bill Gates, which seems to think that Esperanto is my preferred language.
There is a treeemendous amount of information, news, false news, crazy rumours, Black humour and straight-up BS around right now. I feel my own feelings and emotions of those around me changing constantly; up, down, despair, morosity, bleakness but above all, hope.
As one of my students in one of the poorest parts of Lima once said to me “Teacher, to lose hope is to lose everything”, (pretty profound for a 13 year old).
There are so many people whose jobs, studies, businesses, livelihoods and lives are in the balance right now. It is almost too big to all take in. Bite-sized chunks was always my motto (in long distance running and working heinously long shifts).
It is not an easy time, but we must all try to remain as positive as possible. If not we might as well just give in now.
Lockdown – Quarantine day 6.
Everything happened extremely quickly here.
I stopped watching the news for a few months, but noticed things-a-happening in late January.
“Should we be worried about this?” I asked those around me but was shot down in flames. Trouble however, was definitely in the post.
Just over a week ago (12th of March), we were sent home from work (until a provisonal date of April the 1st), a mass of populace-wide panic buying immediately ensued. People seemed to think it was a virus that gave everyone the squits, as loo roll was the first thing to disappear from the shelves, then rice, sugar, flour and pasta simply disappeared.
(How I miss ready meals! I would have happily filled my freezer with Bird’s Eye horse Lasagnas and Farmfoods pizzas).
A strong rumour whizzed around on Saturday the 14th that President Vizcarra was about to declare a State of Emergency and that a lockdown was about to happen, which it did on Monday the 15th. Planned for 15 days, in which time only individual family members would be allowed out to buy essential food/drugs (medicine).
This was then ramped up with a nightly curfew from 8pm-5am, with offenders being taken to the local cop-shop by the military/Busies.
There is now another rumour that the 15 day lockdown may be extended for a further 15 days until mid-April, but don’t quote me on that. That would be a gamechanger…
So, that is where we are right now. Confined to our gaff. (We live on the 3rd floor of a 3 storey block of flats).
I have dashed out twice for Essentials, Lina once and the Nipper has not left the building at all, but she is happy.
We are doing as we are told, but most local punters seem to be just carrying on as normal, strolling about, jogging in the park, wandering to the shops 3 times a day for a solitary item. (I have not become the Grand Wizard of Neighbourhood Watch, it is just what I see from our one street-facing Windows).
What is like to be confined to four walls?
I will be honest, it has some good points!
- More family time together.
- Time to do all the jobs one always procrastinates about.
- Time to practise playing Bass (Yousician is ACE! I am not, yet).
- Time to read/write/draw/paint with the Nipper. (She is writing a daily story which I think Roald Dahl would be proud of. Madcap stuff).
- Time to cook (limited provisions = some rare concoctions. Experimental sums it up best).
In summary, a shedload of time which we don’t usually have.
One does simply and quickly adapt to the bare essentials: Health, food and family.
We didn’t panic buy (it was too late for that), but we have enough Tucker in for about two weeks of lunches. My camping larder (Wayfayrer meals) and absolute emergency fodder (Steak and Kidney pies/Space food curries) will all go, but we shouldn’t starve, hopefully. I am bloody hungry most of the time, but food spared is food for the next day.
Yorkshire Tea rations have been cut back. Predicted duration until May 22nd.
I did have a skinful of the delicious new local brew “Golden” (82p a 620ml bottle) just before the real chaos began, but never got chance to take the returnable bottles back for more brown booze.
Liquor stocks stand at one bottle of red wine and one bottle of Pisco (Christmas hamper leftovers). Not a bad thing and not a bad time to rein back on the demon drink!
One of my best mates back in Blighty told me that he had the foresight and vision to stock up on Kestrel Super, but wishes he had bought some food at the time too!
As long as there is running water and leccy, I am not too worried. Here and nowe in AQP it is the wet season and that means less sunshine (although confusingly it is summer now). No sun means no hot water, (solar heating is great when there is sun!) We can all smell together!
It is not like we are going out anywhere.
To be honest, there are people a LOT worse off than us.
Like most folk, I am a tad perturbed about just where this is going.
With all respect, this place just about gets by on a good day, any kind of drama and things start crumbling.
I admit I am not just worried about the effects on society, the economy and the infrastructure, but this virus is a very nasty little bugger in itself.
People (here) do not seem to be taking it seriously, I even heard one old guy say it was “All media lies”. To the youths wandering around the street, I feel like saying “Look at the figures in Italy and Spain, take this (deleted expletive) seriously”.
But, I would be wasting my breath. These folk here are very, very proud and wouldn’t take kindly to Gringo advice!
Nearly everybody here eats fresh food every day and cooks from scratch, so it is a massive lifestyle change to suddenly have to think a week ahead with the shopping list. Ready/frozen meals never really caught on here.
In addition to all the above, maybe I am
one of the lucky ones. There are a huge amount of people here who live on a
very grim day-to-day subsistence survival.
No work = no food, for a lot of folk.
So, you look after yourself and your family.
Your World suddenly becomes very, very small indeed.
You just have to make the best of the situation that you can.
When I rented this place, one thing that sealed the deal for me was access to the rooftop. (Despite 3mths of incessant rain here, most places have flat roofs).
There is a perfectly-obscured view of El Misti and about 12.5m Squire of roof tiling (with a wall!)
The Nipper and I go up there to ride the scooter, play hopscotch, sit in a play tent, read stories and just to get some fresh air (which is indeed fresher than normal, as there is less traffic).
I was training hard for the Lima (half) marathon, which is obviously scrapped, and to prevent me turning into Tubs Lardy I am doing the “One Hour Lockdown Challenge”, which is essentially more stopping/turning than actually running. I managed a collosal (!) 4.4km on Saturday. 352 back-&-forths.
Less than 3 miles in an hour is pretty diabolical, but it is an hour of exercise and the Bairn enjoys heckling me. We got a kind of dramatic aerobatic (on the ground) formation going at one point which entailed her dashing across my path on her scooter at right angles, avoiding me at the last minute, but it went from Red Arrows to Superbangers Demolition Derby towards the end. (How I miss those Sunday afternoons at Warton Stock Car club as a young ‘un).
So, that is about that from lockdown city. Watch this space…
What has been happening since this blog nonsense was wrapped up (for good) just before Christmas???
I ran the Arequipa Candelaria half marathon, on a ridiculously, predominantly uphill route. If one starts and finishes at the same place how is it possible to run 8 miles uphill and only 5 miles downhill? Answers on a postcard please?
Gurned my way round in 1:23. It was about 1km short!
Came home in 24th spot, but despite offering over s/100,000 (£25 grand) in prize Money (including 2 cars!) There were no Vets prizes in my race, nor were there prizes for old duffers who don’t look alter animals (boom-boom).
It was only £2 to enter to be fair and I did get the bonus of a free interview the nanosecond I crossed the finish line. I have no idea what jumbled nonsense I sprouted!
Christmas and New Year came and went, as did the two little ladies.
Their return back to Limaland at the end of January coincided with a weekend of monsoons, when all flights were cancelled, so an 18hr bus it was for them.
Sky Airlines have still not given me a refund, despite countless calls. So, if you do see an employee from Sky Airlines, please give them a hefty boot up the ar$e from me please! Thank you.
Everything went a bit weird in February.
I sank into a bottomless Black pit of dark thoughts, feelings and moodswings interspersed with bouts of uncontrollable rage. I still cannot put my finger on why?
My possible theories for my demise:
– The AQP honeymoon was definitely over by Christmas. The novelty of the whirlwind flurry of a (kind of) new job in a new centre, press interviews, opening ceremonies, the El Misti race and a load of other new things started to wear off after a few months.
– The volcanoes are great to look at, a permanent visual temptation but a logistical nightmare to climb.
– The blue skies and day-long sunshine turned into torrential rain and flooding everywhere, what seemed like every day.
– The “Ar$ehole Neighbour jinx” followed me down here, in the form of a complete imbecile who smokes weed and plays crap music all day, every day.
– The Bloody dogs! Don’t get me started on them…
– The trash/rubbish/litter/loose waste started to grind on me. It seems that people don’t really give a monkeys about how their city looks, so it is akin to living in a landfill site of other people’s crap!
I have not really made any mates down here, (bar one, my good friend Meg).
My handful of solid gold mates are up in Lima, 1000 miles north and I very quickly started to miss them and my old Camacho colleagues, a lot.
With my level of grumpiness (Victor Meldrew is still my role model/hero) and erratic work schedule, it is hard to make friends.
So, in true form, I stepped up the training and fiddled my rest days to step up my drinking!
Training: I follow a specific training programme (at least I did until lockdown) which alternated between easy running and sessions that were terrifying to look at even on paper. So, it was easy to throw myself into that. I even found one quiet bit of road here (just a few miles of a loop, but a far cry from what I had in Lima). Running was going well.
Drinking: I only drink beer, I love beer. I don’t touch spirits, but even so, if you are drinking on your own at home and trying to find “the answer”, the only answer you are going to get is a very slurred/incoherent one, with a sore head the next day. An amateur Tosh Lines.
(I did spend a lot of time in my flat, which was ideal training for now!)
Never on a school night, I was only a weekend warrior, but enough was enough.
Luckily the girls came down before I drowned myself in cerveza/self pity.
Too much time on one’s own is never a good time if you are having a constantly crap time. You can’t wear the smiley face mask all the time.
“All I have is negative thoughts” as said Mr. Joker.
We are social animals after all…
As quick as it came on, it mysteriously evaporated.
This was maybe a premonitious prelude to current events. There is nothing like a Worldwide endemic to put your own trivial, petty problemas into perspective!
There is always somebody worse off than therself.
The mighty Shipbuilders got demoted last
season to Division I.
We are in a sort of RL limbo in that we are not quite good enough for the Championship, but almost too good for Division I.
This awkward equation has resulted in a promising brace of convincing wins.
Two from two and second in the league.
What happens next? Anybody’s guess.
The mighty Whites provided their usual emotional Rollercoaster of results, enough to give a hardened fan a complete nervous and mental breakdown.
We currently lie top-top-top-top-o-the-league.
What happens next? Automatic promtion? Anybody’s guess.
It’s all about the Bass (part 352).
After losing my excellent teacher, Alex (he moved to Missississsissssippi) and flogging that bloody deadweight 5-string, my new bass and amp sat glaring at me in the flat, bubblewrapped and unpacked for weeks.
Without sounding like a crappy advert “ Then I discovered Yousician…”
I am a bit of a luddite, but this app is bloomin’ marvelous!
I was on the freebie 10 minute daily deal when they wafted a special offer under my snout. Everybody loves a bargain and I signed up for a year of unlimited lessons!
Everyone Ate Dead Grasshoppers. I wish so much I had paid attention in Music classes at school. Trying to learn to read music is almost beyond me.
The Nipper and I also started doing the singing lessons, but then she realised she was on to a loser with her duet partner, so that tailed off.
The 4-string staff still continues
though. I am not keeping Mark King or Flea awake at night, but I could probably
just about tras for a third-rate punk band, just about (if all the other musicians
turned their amps up above mine).
Watch this space…
To leave you with a smile on your face (apart from thinking “Thank the stars that dribble is over. Why did he not keep his this is the last blog promise and just let it lie???”)
Some years ago, I lost the remote control for my telly.
Not a big deal, I was born in the 1970’s.
It was just a pain in the poto when you were watching a rental video (now I am showing my age).
I was watching a film called “Dude, where’s my car?” where two buffoons, Jesse and Chester, try to patch together the night before, (we’ve all been there).
The film started daft and got dafter, to the point where I wanted to turn it off but due to the stone age VHS machine and no-remote-control dilemma, I couldn’t. This was the scene where I simply couldn’t decide whether it was comedy Genius of pure dross!
I will let you decide…
That’s all for now folks.
Stay calm, stay safe, stay awesome, stay indoors (the best you can!)
Hopefully back with more (of what I am not sure) next week, or soon.
Take care of thersens out there.
22nd of March 2020.
p.s. Big THANK YOU to Roberto at Sad Robot for getting this site up and running. The man is a web magician 🙂