Good morning folks
I trust this finds you fit, well and safe wherever you may be reading my quarantine ramblings.
As expected, not too much to report from here, haven’t really been that far this week, bar the rooftop and a lightning raid on my local Metro supermarket/bodega.
It is a time that defies superlatives, (or even basic adjectives):
Mad, crazy, unnerving, uncertain, unthinkable, worrying, challenging…
So, I will keep this as light as possible.
Keep safe, keep strong, keep sane and don’t keep your socks in the spoon drawer.
There are a HUGE amount of unsung heroes out there right now, thank you to them all.
Here is the lockdown Superclunk.com blog for 5 mins of procrastination, at your service…
(I apologise for any typos and shocking formatting, this version of Word predates the dinosaurs, plus one of my two typing fingers bloody hurts, too much Bass this week. Man up Woosie! Quit yer trifling, whatever that means?)
As expected El Presidente, Don Vizcarra, extended the lockdown dates until April 13th. If the Bookies were open they would probably offer odds-on for it to be extended again until the end of April. Over 33,000 punters have been detained for ignoring the 8pm-5am curfew. In many parts of many cities markets are overflowing with people, Social Isolation is a term that maybe needs redefining here. Every day I see the same neighbours wandering about aimlessly or going to the shops to buy one thing, four times!
I hear that in Sweden, the government has not enforced any measures; shops, discos and restaurants are still open. “History will be our Judge” said the Powers-that-be. A brave statement?
In Belarus, they are still playing football matches apparently!
Here, as of today, the nightime curfew has been extended from 6pm-5am.
In some areas this has been stretched from 4pm-5am.
In this current situation, every single person on the planet is facing an extremely difficult time of massive changes, but (despite the social isolation) maybe it is a time which is bringing us closer together?
10 years ago here in Peru, I had to take a two bus, one hour journey to an internet café to make a phone call back to Blighty, that is if the lines were working.
Now, via facetime, skype, whatsupdoc, zoom or other technical contraptions, I can make a call instantly via a modern stereogram smartphone. Piece of cake!
If there was ever an important time to keep in touch, it is now. Keep in touch with your loved ones and lovers!
When you cannot leave the building and you only have one street-facing windows (and a rooftop), you do start to notice things which you wouldn’t notice, namely the behaviour of your immediate neighbours.
It is a split between those still working and those banished to their homes.
It is a bit like being in a zoo and going to a zoo. Here is a quick summary of my Vecinos…
- Space Cadet: Appears to be growing a beanstalk (or a HUGE hash plant) whilst seemingly oblivious to the current debacle. Music alternates between Reggaeton and 70’s disco. It was a surprise to be awoken by “It’s raining men” at 6am through his nightclub speakers.
- Retired Banker’s Club: Whilst not having Franco Sinatra and his drunken chums wailing on an afternoon every day, the music still continues with radio Panpipes at dawn.
- Senor Poncho: Every morning the Bairn shouts “HOLA” across the street to the man who is only happy when it rains.
- Downstairs couple: Seem to have gone nocturnal, surfacing around noon, crooning and listening to the same old crooners, seemingly mixing concrete all day with their liquidizer, watching Fast and Furious and making a racket until dawn.
- Basureros (Binmen): Playing a tune that is a 4-bar remix of Barry Manilow and the Shadows, the bin truck is audible an hour before it actually arrives, plenty of warning to take out your rubbish beforehand, but the rest of the neighbours treat the moment it arrives as a get together opportunity!
- Senor Mobile (I & II): The two blokes who used to spend all day striding up and down the street talking on their phones are carrying on business as usual.
It seems like yonks ago since we were shooed of work (mid-March time).
The original plan was to return on the 1st of April. This was obviously an elaborate April fool jape, as it now seems that there are no classes until the 1st of May.
Many institutions are going online, but it is not that simple if there is no pre-existing platform in place, nor training carried out.
I am keeping my brainbox ticking over (just) with an online course about teaching online. The freebie version (guilty) has no exams, so as well as being free is practically worthless. Do I splash the $80? I will hedge my bets for now.
I reckon I could survive for a month on “Arroz con huevo” if need be…
In an attempt to keep in tiptop physical form (!) the ceiling trotting continues, at least until one of my knees drops off.
The roof space is 12.5 metres long, the challenge lasts 60 minutes.
On Friday, the previously-thought-of-as-unattainable distance of 6.28km (3.9 miles) was reached and breached.
I had to stop to untangle the Nipper’s skipping rope from her scooter wheels twice (whilst otherwise dodging this perilous obstacle, thrown across my path).
I have to alternate clockwise/anti-clockwise runs, as my dodgy glass knees really do not like twisting and turning 500 times in an hour.
Other neighbours seem to be cottoning on to my lead, I’ve seen punters dancing and an old dear opposite does a very good shuffle in a space half the size of mine, sterling work!
Is 4 miles really possible? Watch this space…
They are currently offering 20% discount on their goodies. Check it out.
(A new category. Pure nonsense dreamt up whilst doing the above!)
5- Relatos Salvajes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuhoh7Rf6r0
4- The Weekenders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkOfwBF8WpA
3- Where Eagles Dare. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khIZwbXDF0o
2- Snatch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEsIBYt6tpU
1- True Romance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wNYNDzKpuQ
5- The Mountains are Calling. Johnny Muir.
4- A Walk in the Wild. Ray Green.
3- Touching the Void. Joe Simpson.
2- Run Wild. Boff Whalley.
1- Mondo Enduro. Austin Vince.
5- The Doves, St. George’s Hall, Bradford, May 2010.
4- Red Hot Chilli Peppers, August 1990.
3- Wedding Present & The Ukranians, 1991?
2- Stray Cats – Leeds Uni, March 1988.
1- King Kurt – Duchess of York, Leeds, September 1992.
One of our good friends celebrated their birthday on Saturday, and whilst fiestas/reunions are banned right now, a discrete tipple online was had.
(Beer bore alert…)
On my way back from Metro midweek, I asked at 8 Bodegas whether they had any beer. As Backus have now switched to Bottling water (for the emergency services/military), there are no deliveries of ale until the end of quarantine.
Bottled beer here works on a retornable deposit system. It took me a long time to crack this Chicken-&-Egg system. It was impossible to buy beer without an empty bottle, but how could I get an empty bottle without first having had a full one? The shops were not budging at all on this!
(Tinnies do exist, but are generally those diddy 330ml pop cans and are pricey in comparison).
I finally managed to get half a dozen litre bottles, but the shops had no litre bottles. Could I swap an empty litre bottle for a full 620ml bottle please?
Shopkeepers gave me a look like I had said, “Let’s dance naked in the street right now and then have a threesome with your poodle!”
At my final attempt, I managed to procure some “Golden” 620ml bottles for my 1 litre Pilsen bottles, in effect losing out both ways (litre bottle deposit is higher and a litre of cerveza is much cheaper!) However, ale in the fridge is better than no ale in the fridge!
We all had a good chinwag and sang Happy Birthday (quietly, so as not to alert the Serenazgo), then I continued my own party into the night.
Needless to say, Sunday was a complete write-off and I was in bed before 9pm.
Keeping the Nipper entertained is top of my list right now. The Wee One is an absolute star to be honest, I cannot imagine not leaving the house as a 6yr old. Luckily (?) the weather has been generally crap, so staying in is not too hard.
This week has been a flurry of interior design and Fiestas!
No less than three (partly built) doll’s houses and countless parties (for said dolls).
Luckily, we had a couple of boxes left from the move, so these have been hacked, chopped and sellotaped to make new living quarters. I dread the day we run out of sticky tape!
The parties came at a frenetic pace, peaking at 3 on Thursday. All of which involved a show, a cake, a piñata and the unwrapping of pressies.
Drama was narrowly averted! Frozen was not expecting a metal egg cup to fall from the Pinata, but there were no casualties!
Food, glorious food…
It has been a mixed bag of tucker this week, had to break into the emergency curry rations.
It’s all about the Bass (part 572).
On the Purgers.
The whole concept of time has changed for many of us recently.
Two things in life which have helped me with this whole shift are long distance running and working at the Brewery…
John Smith’s (Heineken) Brewery was a mixed time in my life. Highs and lows.
I left and went back way too many times, “Por la plata baile el mono” is the saying here (“The monkey dances for Money!”) It was hard graft, crappy shifts and l-o-n-g hours, but it was top bra$$ and at that time, this monkey needed the Nelsons.
The best time and team I had was in the Canning plant, with the Green team. A solid gold bunch of lads: Andy M, Spanish Pete, Tony Bristow, Lee, Steve, Scottish Jim…
All characters, but one of the biggest characters was a lad called Wez.
I don’t know if Wez was hyperactive, but there were some jobs that just didn’t suit him, especially working on the infamous Purgers.
With all respect, he was maybe more of an entertainer than a
(Second beer bore alert…)
The advent of Widget beers changed the brewing World and the drinks market.
At last it was possible to get a pub-quality pint, from a can.
Boddington’s were among the first to do this by popping a “Widget” into their cans before filling it with beer. The scientific bit is a dose of nitrogen inserted into the widget in a vacuum chamber which goes inside the spherical, bottom heavy, ping-pong-ball-sized-widget just a moment before the can gets a glug of water to hold the widget the right way up, then it gets a second shot (in the Filler machine), just afore the can is sealed. The can then gets pasteurised, packaged and shipped to the shops and eventually purchased by a punter.
This means that when the customer opens the tinnie they get a “surge” sound effect and a pint with a head that lasts. Better with bitter, (John Smith’s Smooth is good, Guinness Draught Bitter is like nectar), but also not too shabby with lager (a-la-Kronenbourg).
Anyroad, back to the Purgers. Some poor soul had to watch 2 lots of tinnies coming out of the vacuum chamber and remove any fallen cans, for 12 hours!
After about 20mins, poor old Wez was generally pulling his hair out with boredom and counting down 11hrs and 40mins to go…
Bite sized chunks, bite sized chunks. Break it down: 1hr in, 1st break, halfway through, 2nd break, 3hrs to go, 2hrs, 1hr, hometime!
What the handbag, kettle, partridge does this have to do with everything?
When you are stuck in your house for 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, you can start to go up the wall a bit. Break it down. (Time, not the wall).
(Ironically Wez was a brilliant fisherman, the ultimate waiting game, but in the time I knew him, he never seemed to catch much!)
Keep calm, keep active, keep safe!
To hopefully leave you with a smile on your face (after enduring all my claptrap above).
I don’t know how many videos exist on Youtube, but this is my all-time favourite:
I have no idea of the backstory, but the sheer joy of a successful wheel change can sometimes only be expressed via the medium of dance! Enjoy.
Look after yersens out there.
Stay calm, stay healthy, stay in touch, stay at home (if you can).
Hasta la proxima.