I will not permit COVID-19 and the surrounding hysteria to define and dictate my experience of 2020. We came a very long way, and took a huge punt, to create a new life that was not directed by the responsibilities of full-time work and other people’s expectations. We want to beat a rhythm on our own drum; one that we choose to dance to, or sit out as we please.
The six-weeks of lock-down earlier in the year was challenging on one level, but presented no real hardship, contrasted with what city-dwellers tolerated. We had our garden to tend, and were outdoors every day. Sarah’s online work kept her busy, and our family solvent.
The spring and summer of 2020 has not been what we anticipated: we were supposed to attend a family wedding the UK in March. That was postponed. We were supposed to host family from the USA in July. That was cancelled. Australian family were coming to spend Christmas and New Year. Cancelled. We were expecting to have B&B guests right through to October, and we were actually awash with bookings. But that all changed too, when the Xunta enforced new tourism regulations that effectively put our B&B out of business before it really got off the ground. We’d already had some guests, and the feedback from them was fantastic, so it all looked like good business would follow. Then, they dropped the boom in January, right after I returned to Galicia following the death of my mother in the UK.
We changed tack, and we have sailed on. We took in a full-time tenant, who has occupied our guest accommodation for the past four months, and that has worked out fine. Sarah’s online business is becoming increasingly successful as the five-star reviews come in, so I take care of the domestic stuff, and I continue to develop the garden. We have added six new fruit trees, four olive trees, an Italian cypress, and much rosemary and lavender. We have removed a huge bramble patch, which will be re-planted with more fruit trees, probably another cypress, and a second cherry tree, because we both love cherries, and the blossom is lovely. We have harvested potatoes garlic, and onions of surprisingly good quality, for first-timers, and our spinach didn’t disappoint either. The tomatoes – five varieties – are progressing. We ate the first cherry variety warm off the vines on Saturday.
Steps have been created where part of the stone wall fell down – in just the right place! And a new concrete patio by the re-camped shed, on which we will be stencilling sunflowers now that it has been repainted bright white, and given a new door. Our entrance to the house has been paved with local slate, and the entire exterior of the house painted a vibrant green. Only the window-frames require another lick of protector before the winter arrives. A new front door and porch will be the last of the renovations to the house. Done, dusted, completed! Hard to believe when I read past blog posts.
Speaking of post: Six went into the ground in preparation for the chicken run, which will be finished at the weekend. The wire and sun-mesh goes up on Saturday, along with a little coop I will build, with the help of Keiron, who comes to work for us each weekend, completing the back-breaking jobs I am unable to do. Only two chooks, to start with. Just to break ourselves in gently. A red hen and a speckled hen. Hers and hers.
COVID still hovers like a bad smell. Everyone is masked when they are out and about. Some self-appointed mask-wardens are enjoying their role: policing the cafes, which are full of people from Madrid and Barcelona. Another lock-down is likely, so we have already laid in a store of non-perishable food, and filled the freezer. I am pickling, and making chutneys and jams from the summer produce. Autumn’s apples will become cider again this year, courtesy of “El Basco”, in time for Christmas drinking.
I am collating my recipes, to produce a book, and re-writing parts of a crime fiction novel I began nearly twenty years ago. The blog will eventually become a chronicle of our life here in this gloriously green land. More to come. More to look forward to.