02.05.20 — Journal

Just Go On

Keeping with the rather reflective mood of my last post, the title of this post was inspired by a little outing that I have had today. The sun has been out, the trees are as fertile and as green as can be, and the temperature has settled at a perfect spring temperature. This all served to put me in a good mood, and an unfathomably random song popped into my head. The song in question isn’t even a “real” song, it was created as a parody of cheesy musical songs for the series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, and is called “Just Go On”.

We’ll never stop,
we’ll keep on moving forward,
even if we don’t know what we’re moving toward.
They say life’s too short,
but they’re wrong:
it’s so long!

Sometimes the only way to go
is to just go on.

With this upbeat message in mind, I thought it’d be nice to share some of the photos which document the various weeks of this confinement, which will be a welcome change after my last and rather text-heavy post. As you’ll see, these photos vary from photos of Madrid in bloom, life in my flat, some of the food I’ve been enjoying, and even a few silly screenshots from calls with friends.

We begin, though, with the last photo I took as I left the office the day before lockdown began. I was one of the last to leave, and so had the task of turning everything off and shutting up shop, which left me with a rather dark photo.

The profiles of computers are seen in a darkened office.

I left the office with nothing more than my laptop that final day, but it soon became obvious that I needed a few more bits and bats: paper samples (for sending things to print), Pantone swatches (for colour matching), and even my office chair: all of which were graciously sent to me by Erretres. With these new additions to my house, it was time to rearrange the space a little in order to create my new home office.

My home office setup, with plenty of plants.

The home office setup – as pretty as it may be – soon became tiresome after a few weeks of remote work, and the weekly trip to the shop became the highlight of the lockdown. This 20-minute wander was made even more enjoyable as Madrid’s winter slowly turned into spring, with the bare trees before we entered quarantine now as lush as ever, and the sun returning to bask everything in a gorgeous warm glow.

A empty street lined with trees during Madrid's coronavirus lockdown.
Balloons decorate a balcony during Madrid's coronavirus lockdown.

Back in my flat, there have been numerous video calls to keep me entertained, with group catch-ups, one-on-one conversations with old friends, and even a weekly quiz which is always a highlight. From this odd capture taken with the Cake Club girls, to the hilarity of me, Abi, and Danni discovering FaceTime animojis, no video call is ever uneventful!

Loredana, me, Heidi, and Megan on Skype.
Abi, Danni, and me use our animoji on FaceTime.

Easter, which should have been spent with Luisa exploring the crazy processions that take over Spain’s Semana Santa (holy week), was a much more quiet affair. It was improved greatly, however, by a surprise selection of British Easter classics (albeit in miniature) that my mum sent over from England!

Cadbury's Dairy Milk Eggs and Mini Eggs.

It’s not really Easter without gorging on Cadbury’s.

Speaking of food, I’ve also (like many of you out there) been taking the opportunity to improve my skills in the kitchen. Instead of taking on such challenges as banana bread or sourdough, however, I had my eyes set on perfecting one particular favourite of mine: la tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette). A relatively simple dish of only three ingredients (potatoes, onion, and egg), the trick lies in perfect cooking time/temperature, the right amount of salt, and – most importantly – the difficult flipping of the whole tortilla in order to cook the other side.

This might all sound rather simple, but the simplicity of the dish means that it takes a lot of practice to get it to taste just right. A key aspect of the tortilla is how cooked the egg is at its centre. Amongst Spaniards it is widely agreed that the centre of the omelette should be poca hecha – lightly done, meaning that the egg is left semi-raw and runny in the centre. Gauging this without being able to see the centre of the heavy omelette is quite challenging – but I think I have finally gotten the hang of it! Here, then, I present to you my best stab at this traditional dish:

A Spanish omelette.

With so much time on my hands, I really should have gotten round to making a face mask a lot earlier than I actually did, but I got away with using my coat’s high neck (thanks Norway for your excellent coats) to cover my nose and mouth whilst I undertook my shop. As the temperature gradually rose, and the city got dustier and dirtier as non-essential cleaning works were put on hold, I soon had to cave and throw myself a mask together from a spare pillowcase!

I have my mouth and nose covered by the high zip of my winter coat.
A car is covered in dead leaves in the street in Madrid, during the coronavirus lockdown.

Other activities that have been keeping me busy and sane include deep-cleaning my flat, as well as the rare moments at work where I’m occupied in doing activities which don’t necessitate that I sit behind my laptop all day. These included matching colours from the aforementioned Pantone swatches for a brand we’re developing, a process which requires natural light, and so I spent a good ten minutes or so the other day leant out of one of my windows!

Also a shout out to my apple plant in the background (on top of my air con unit), which I have been growing from some apple seeds in an attempt to feel like I have accomplished something during this quarantine.

Pantone swatches sit on a windowsill with an apple plant growing on top of an air conditioning unit.

I have only included this photo because I was proud of how clean my place looked.

A section of my flat including my kitchen.

As the lockdown has worn on, my weekly outings have been keeping me going, and I’ve been trying to switch up my route to the supermarket in order to mix things up a bit and see some new sights. This has led to some odd sights: outdated advertising, dirty cars, and the odd abandoned item in the street.

Sunlight shines through a clump of trees in a deserted Madrid during the coronavirus lockdown.
Old posters and some abandoned fabrics on a metal door.

I’m sure that this event was cancelled but I’m not sure what happened here.

I’ll bring you all up to date with the latest development in Spain’s lockdown procedures in my next blog post, but for now I shall just leave you with the only bit of physical company I have had during these last six or so weeks: a chocolate bunny that was on offer after Easter was over!

A chocolate rabbit sits in my kitchen.

Yeah, he was a bit creepy. I ate him as soon as I could.