Today is a lovely day, the sun is out, the birds are singing, the sea looks quite calm with a bit of a white wave on it. All hunky dory, but there is that little thing call COVID-19, so we have been in lockdown for 53 days. It feels so long!
An Emotional Time
We know we are incredibly lucky to be living in an area with one of the lowest numbers of COVID-19 in Italy. Also having some outside space to move around and to get fresh air. All that with amazing views. But, at times it has been difficult to not have our freedom. Freedom is what we take for granted, or should I now say taken. 54 days ago we could go out whenever we wanted, wherever we wanted, see whomever we wanted, actually together as a couple, but not now. But hopefully not forever, otherwise brain may explode.
The past month as been a rollercoaster of emotions. We are both safe and well so that is good. We look at the figures pretty much every evening and the trend is going down which is also good. Obviously people are still dying and there are still new cases, but as I said these arereducing in numbers. We can’t go for our long walks together which we loved to do. This has taken a toll on our mental health as well as our physical health. We have had one or two semi-emotional days of being fed up with it all, but luckily not too many. Also, we haven’t properly seen our friends in Scalea since lockdown began which is not great. As well as that, our friends from overseas are unable to come over for their holidays, with is a shame. But one day it will happen! I do try to keep positive.
We are concerned for all the local businesses that are unable to open or have limited time to work. A lot of people have their own businesses, shops, bars or restaurants and others work for them. So economically this affects most people. I am unsure what measures the Italian government have taken to soften the blow for everyone. I know in the UK there is the furlough system and others things to help. Here I know there was a €600 payment that people could apply for, but that is not a lot if you consider rent and utilities etc. We just hope that everyone will be OK in the end.
We do appreciate things more now, hearing the sea more clearly, the birds singing and noticing our pear and fig trees coming back to life after winter. The swifts, house martins and other birds have returned so they fly amongst us on our hill. There are some wonderful looking ones too that we hadn’t noticed before. One is a hoopoe bird, it is beautiful.
We even enjoy checking our post box on top of our hill, to get that little bit of exercise and also see the views of the sea especially near to sunset.
Trying to Learn Italian
We are continuing to do our Italian lessons although it can be difficult at times. Our teacher sends us links to either You Tube or the Rai learning website for lessons to watch and exercises to do, and a verification sheet that we must complete and return to her. Sometimes we understand, most of the time we don’t. The Rai website has videos to give context, but the sound and picture can be awful, if they are there at all. The You Tube videos she sends are all in Italian, so we don’t really understand what they are talking about. So, I find English speaking versions of the same lessons on You Tube so we can at least have a starting point and understand what is going on. Or we use the staple, Google Translate. But we plough through and it gives us something to do. The good thing is it has made us aware of all the free Italian learning information that is out there. So, if you are interested in learning Italian, check out You Tube there is lots of information freely available.
As it is April, it was John’s birthday earlier this month. His second in Scalea. Last year we went to the restaurant Il Corsaro with friends and there was a birthday cake, all very social and a lovely evening. This year was different of course, we were at our apartment. Luckily the weather was good, so we made the most of it and were out on the terrace for most of the day and the evening too, having one or two glasses of something. Luckily, it was the night of the supermoon and as we face east, we watched the moon rise over the old town. It was a very nice birthday present from nature. So actually, a lovely evening.
There have been a few other birthdays here in April which we have not be able to celebrate as we would. But when we can, we definitely will and we will probably do it big time.
Easter pretty much passed us by. We did buy a Colomba, the Italian Easter cake as we did last year which again was yummy and treated ourselves to very lovely dark chocolate Easter eggs.
Now We are Wearing Masks
At the beginning of the month, we noticed there has been a major increase of people wearing masks and gloves. I don’t think it was officially announced anywhere, it seemed to just happen. There were people moaning on social media about others not wearing them. So, we thought we should take part. On Facebook there was a comment that people should be wearing masks, so we asked him where we can get them from, as the normal places were sold out. He gave us a woman’s name of who to contact. She was happy to help and 2 days later we were the proud owners of two cloth masks each. A pair of brown (John’s) and a pair of white (mine). She made them for us and didn’t charge us! They are thick double layered cotton. They are quite difficult to breathe through though. The first time I used it, I felt a bit panicky, I hated it, still do really. Also, when it is sunny and I wear sunglasses, they steam up with each breath, which obviously isn’t great. It is very difficult to walk up our hill whilst wearing one though. I basically inhale the material and not a lot of air when my breath gets heavy, so I take it off on our steep road. We very rarely see anyone there anyway, only in cars.
There is now a Relaxation of the Strict Lockdown
On the 26th of April, Prime Minister Conte announced new measures stating Phase 2 will start, which is an ease of lockdown from 4th May. Bars and restaurants can open but only for delivery and take away. People can visit family within their regions, but not have family reunions. More businesses can open from 18th May. Hairdressers, beauty parlours, bars and restaurants can fully open on 1st June. Obviously, all this with social distancing measures until whenever.
But late on 29th April the president of Calabria, Jole Santelli announced a further relaxation of the lockdown measures from 30th. Talk about notice. This goes above and beyond the national measures. Things like opening of bars and restaurants with outside tables and all this from 30th April, not waiting until 4th May.
I have no idea if Scalea will implement the more relaxed lockdown as stated by the president of Calabria or follow the national rules. I guess we will see. Already there are many comments on social media that are either happy with what she has said or completely angry that she has implemented them way to soon. But officially, we now have to wear masks when going into a closed environment like shops and public transport, so we are glad we have them.
Oh, last month I said I would put an image of the barriers around town. So here is one from the main road SS18 that stops vehicles entering Via Michele Bianchi.
So, I suppose in May we will find out what the next phase of lockdown will be like. Will it be that different to now? Will we see our friends, although from at least a metre away? Will more people visit from different parts of Italy to their holiday homes here in Scalea? Time will tell and I will tell you. It is a very different time indeed.
Keep safe, I really hope you stay well and are not too affected by the current situation.