Coronavirus lockdown

Spain has declared a state of emergency and we are in lockdown, obeying the ‘quedáte en casa’ (stay home) edict. It may be that after all these years of living here I have gone native but the strategy, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in society, seems to be a good one and sits far better with me than Boris Johnson’s ‘carry on as normal, protect economic interests above all else and let them develop herd immunity’ one. My stiff upper lip, such as it ever was, has definitely drooped in these southern climes.

To be frank, staying home hardly seems onerous, especially when you live somewhere as beautiful as I do. I’ve spent most of the day in the sunshine in the garden, digging my veg plot with a renewed fervour (the spectre of food insecurity will do that), accompanied by the sound of birdsong and cowbells. There are tougher ways of saving lives. Even if I am losing money hand over fist as I do so (and as a business person I am.)

It's not all frenzied gardening. There's some reading happening too

It’s not all frenzied digging in the garden. There’s some reading on the balcony happening too

The bucolic soundtrack was punctuated surprisingly frequently by the sound of passing cars, however. An indication that not everyone in Spain is taking the whole staying home thing quite as seriously as the government intended. Many families from Madrid have taken the opportunity of the school and business closures to escape the city and hole up in their holiday homes or back in the villages where there families originate from.

In fact yesterday was busier than the height of summer at many beauty spots throughout Asturias, with carparks overflowing as tourists hiked, biked and selfied in the sunshine, blithely ignoring the real reason why they suddenly have all this free time  and find themselves in this beautiful part of the world.

This is not a holiday. It is a shutdown. And these rural villages have sparse, elderly populations who are particularly at risk from Covid-19. The last thing they need is Madrileños fleeing the city and bringing the virus with them. To travel here at this time is selfish in the extreme, exposing these remote communities to potential devastation. To not even self-isolate on arrival beggars belief.

So I understand exactly why the government is enacting strict powers preventing all but essential travel and I support it wholeheartedly.

I was writing this post last night, when at 3 minutes to midnight I received an enquiry over Airbnb – a family of five from Madrid wanting to rent our Casa Rural for 10 days. They tell me they have been out of the country for a few days and don’t want to return to Madrid for fear of the virus. They don’t say where they’ve been and quite frankly it smells of panicked dissimulation as they must be aware of the fact that there is growing ill-feeling here in Asturias towards Madrileños ignoring the quarantine.

But it makes no difference whether their story is true or not. Whether they are coming from the confirmed coronavirus hotspot of Madrid or some other unspecified country now is not the time to bring travelling strangers into this small mountain village. Nice as the money would be. This is a time to put health and lives above economics and comfort. This is a time to pull together for the common good. There is only one reply I can make to my Madrileño enquirer: ‘Quédate en casa’.



  1. Mary, imaginate como en estas tierras, hace 100 años pasaron la gripe Española, que no era Española, era I Guerra Mundial, y España era neutral y no había censura de prensa, y que en Asturias, a esa gripe, la gente le dío el nombre de “mal de moda”. Bueno pues 100 años después los seres humanos seguimos siendo unos inconscientes.
    I apologize by my English, (I don’t speak English)
    Mary imagines how in these lands, 100 years ago, the people passed the Spanish flu, which was not Spanish, it was the First World War WWI, and Spain was neutral and there was no press censorship, and that in Asturias, to that influenza, people gave it the name ” bad of fashion. ” Well, 100 years later, human beings are still unconscious.

    • Así es, desgraciadamente. Seguimos siendo unos inconscientes. Hay que hacer lo que se puede para proteger a los más vulnerables. Mucho ánimo y fuerza para ti y para tus seres queridos. Un abrazo

  2. We have much to be grateful for but the short-sightedness of others beggars belief. Let us hope they wake up to the facts.


  1. […] of emergency and subsequently a state of alarm. Then, of course, in the midst of all this we had an unexpected trip to Accident and Emergency. Suffice to say we’ve been on full lock down long enough for the […]

Please leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.