I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 29 March 2020

Spain 2020 - This is not what we were expecting

Saturday 14th March

We woke up this morning and Richard said why don’t we see if we can get a ferry for Tuesday.  This meant that we needed to get to the vet PDQ to get Muffin his exit check.  I rang the vet and she could fit us in at 11.15am.  Next was to ring Brittany Ferries along with half of the UK, I think!  For ages it was engaged and when I finally got a ring tone, I had to wait for 28 minutes before anyone answered.  By this time, we were on our way to the vets!  Anyway, someone finally answered, and she said that she doubted if we would get a dog friendly cabin then came back with either Sunday, Tuesday for Wednesday!  We chose Tuesday and she took my £20 to change the booking.  I then got an email to confirm.

There were two other Brits in the vets also waiting to get their exit checks done so that they could drive home.

It was at this stage that we realised that things were moving pretty fast here in Spain.

We went to Consum in Vera so I could get some gin!  A litre of Gordons for less than £10.  It was chaos in there with empty shelves and supermarket staff running around everywhere.  Fortunately, I just wanted the gin and something for a picnic as we don’t want to go into motorway services to eat. At the check out I wondered if the girl thought I was stockpiling gin!

We stopped to get fuel and found the people who work the pumps both had masks on.

It was then Thomas’s to get some bread for lunch – there was even a long queue in there.

As we left Thomas’s we saw that the Police were taping off the beach and both the foot and cycle paths along the Paseo.  This didn’t look good.

If I thought everything was kicking off this morning, I was kidding myself!  It really DID kick-off this afternoon. 

The Spanish Prime Minister had given a press conference declaring a state of emergency in Spain. 

Jet 2 had either turned a flight around or the Spanish wouldn’t let it land – I’m not sure. 

Then Brittany Ferries announced that they were cancelling their Santander to Portsmouth and Le Havre to Portsmouth sailings, of course our booking was on the Le Havre route   So now what. 

A loudspeaker van drove all round Mojacar Playa telling people, both in Spanish and in English, to stay inside their homes.

What on earth where we supposed to do now?!  We did bury our heads in the sand a bit at this stage but then I got an email from Stuart, the property manager, to say that as of Monday morning at 8am all non essential travel would be prohibited in Spain unless travelling to get food, or work or traveling home – the last one gave us hope so we looked on the Eurotunnel site and there seemed to be plenty of space.  We quickly looked at Google Maps and we chose our route which went to the east of Paris as neither of us relish the idea of the Peripherique and then booked our shuttle.  This was our only way of getting home with Muffin.  We don’t use the route normally as we only live a few miles from the ferry terminal in Portsmouth.

During the evening I got a phone call from Brittany Ferries to tell us our crossing was cancelled!  But at least they did ring.  They are giving us a full refund which works out about a bit less than the Eurotunnel.

Sunday 15th March

We had the sad job of packing up today.  I put it off for as long as possible but I could sense that Richard was getting edgy so I had to make the big effort.  Richard got the suitcase out from under the bed which brought back memories of the burglary as the case had been pulled out then and looked into. 

Once I had started packing it just seemed to flow.  We are away from home so often that packing has become quite easy really.  While I sorted and packed the bedroom Richard was in the garage packing other things.  We had gained a large paella pan (Mark’s) and various other things of Penny’s. 

Taken before lockdown

Phil popped round in the afternoon to take the contents of our freezer.  I had it all worked out that there was just about enough to keep us going until we left – well with a few meals out too.

Richard took Muffin for two short, on the lead, walks.  The new rules were that you could only go out to go to the food shops, walk the dog and only one person in a car.  (Things have changed and more stringent since March 15th).

It was a sad evening, knowing that we were leaving the next day when we really shouldn’t have been leaving for another 20 days.

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