Apologies for publishing this twice… please ignore if you have already read it! I managed , when trying to edit the post, to relegate it to drafts which means it can’t be found on my site! Have a great weekend ! ( I have been to the beach for a swim since first writing this.. very quiet beach and crystal clear water.. bliss!) Very grateful.
Chatting ( on line of course) to friends and family over the last two months has been fascinating. Two months? Nearly 13 weeks here on Friday. Fascinating because of how everyone has passed their time ‘en casa’. The shortage of all but the most basic ‘harina de trigo ‘ (plain flour) is a big hint as to what many families are doing! Throw in the measuring of ingredients, timing the end product in the oven and mindfulness or patience needed for whole process and you can add home schooling to the list of things folk are doing while in quarantine.
There is of course a big difference between the parents juggling working from home and keeping the children entertained ( learning?) Or in the case of essential workers , having to tag team shifts to make sure someone is at home for the children. ( hubs in the UK have stayed open but there are not many – any?- here in Spain.) As restrictions are relaxed but schools are not reopening until September many parents are now very worried about how they will cope. Using abuelos is still a bit risky! These families are not finding it hard to fill the time… they are probably working harder than ever and close to exhaustion.
For us oldies however, we have had a lot of time to spare and I have wondered once or twice why I haven’t written that book yet or perfected my Spanish! How many of you have mentally beaten yourself up about similar? Even the photo albums that have been on my ‘to do’ list since 2003 have only reached 2007!
I have been addicted to reading since my Dad gave me ‘Five on a Treasure Island ‘ when I was seven. I can’t go to sleep at night without reading and I am very unsettled if I don’t have a good book on the go. Even the worthy tombs, novels in Spanish or Perfecting Spanish Pronouns will do! It seems reasonable therefore to think that I must have a book in me… well maybe not. I love writing my blog, long letters to friends, family history for the kids, an odd poem here and there and eulogies! I kid you not…it was after writing my Dad’s that I began to write the family history. Bottom line, I think I am lazy and hugely lacking in imagination. On the other hand, while writers will tell you that their craft is hard , hard work and dedication there is still necessary that spark of inspiration that is kindled in to life with the slog. Perhaps then I genuinely don’t have that spark or tiny flame and instead of beating myself up about it and decrying myself as lazy, I should simply continue to enjoy reading and doing the things that bring me joy. Best book read during quarantine? Inland by Tea Obreht. Fantastic. The kind of book that makes me wish I had that spark and enthusiasm for research. There was a mountain of amazing and true background to this story of the American west in the late 1800s.
And so.. back to our present situation and how to pass the time. It’s interesting talking to parents who are home schooling or trying to. Some children love it and happily follow a timetable, complete on line tasks sent by their ‘REAL’ teachers, take part enthusiastically in zoom classes and are a dab hand with Google classroom. Others point blank refuse to do any of this, preferring to play with their toys, build Lego towers, watch Netflix, draw , sing , dance when they want to or not. Don’t worry. This is a great time for learning more about ourselves and our individual learning and creative styles. We learn what we want to and what lights our fire. We cram and force the other stuff in to pass exams and get jobs. Little ones who are doing what they love at the moment will be bright enough to cram the other stuff in when school starts again. My light bulb moment pinged on only last Tuesday. Two months in and no book written! I have however knitted a shawl, cardigans and hats for our expected new grand baby, a tea cosy and half a rather odd looking sock! I have managed to keep my sourdough starter alive with harina de trigo and made bread every week. This week’s , a very tasty rosemary and olive oil version. I have baked like never before…but now it’s getting too warm during the day to have the oven on. What now? That darned book again?
No. I have ordered a new sewing machine on line. I left my old one in Scotland for the very talented girlfriend of my son to create on. I reasoned that there wasn’t room for it in our small home and have only missed it now and again. Then mummy- to -be daughter took down the curtains, I made several years ago, from her spare room as it became the nursery and she asked if I would make new ones. After quite a bit of deliberation, on line research and a lot of fun on a Spanish fabric and pattern sight, I was raring to go again. The machine I have bought is from a Spanish company , although outsourced and made in Thailand ! ( my faithful first Singer blew up aged 30 and was made in Clydebank). This little one gets good reviews and arrived in one day. The summer is going to be long and hot. I won’t be going far as travel will be restricted for a while. Working in the garden will be an early morning project , while still fairly cool. The afternoons I can pull down the blinds, sit under the fan and sew! My Grandma taught me to use her Singer when I was still in primary school. I made my first dress aged twelve . I’m so excited and realise that that it’s in doing things we love and want to do that we learn the most. Which is my excuse for not having written that book during quarantine. What have you not done and what have you done and loved instead?