The clocks went forward today (or was it back? I can never get my head around this tbh) … Whatever. I’ve always thought it was a bonkers idea. I mean, BRITISH SUMMER TIME … in March? … wtf!
If, like me and our dog, you treat your daily routine as set in stone, then it’s just one less hour of sleep, really. I try and get out of bed before 8am, unless severely impaired (by excess Sangria the previous evening, for instance) and it’s that much tougher if it’s only just getting light outside. It usually takes me, Nikki and Gizmo most of a week to adjust.
When the clocks go back (?) again in the autumn it’s no better. You’d think that I’d get that hour of kip back again. But no. Gizmo wakes up when he sees daylight and insists on his pre-brekkie walkies, whatever the clock says.
So anyway, I drag myself out of bed, get dressed (relatively simple here: shorts, teeshirt, hoodie if it’s cloudy), grab dog plus lead, head out of the door … and stop. What have I forgotten? Keys—check. Sunglasses—check. Ah yes: my phone and driving license / ID, in case I’m stopped by the police. We’re allowed to take the dog outside to do his business, but the police have been stopping people. Nikki sometimes takes Gizmo’s pet passport with her, to prove he’s really our dog and not one we’ve rented just to allow us to go for a walk.
It would normally be quieter than usual on clock-moving Sunday, but this morning is, of course, exceptional. Week three of the lockdown begins today. The silence is eerie, the feeling of isolation total. It feels like all the humans on the planet have been abducted by aliens overnight, leaving just Nikki, me, Gizmo and the seagulls. Alone. Perhaps this is how El Médano was in the Good Old Days: no airplanes, no traffic, no tourists, no surf shops—just a few fishermen and camels (yes, historically true) …
And then a police car goes past, as it does every morning at the same time—as measured by the clock.
We’re like dogs. We need our routines. In fact, they give us freedom. Because freedom only exists within a structure that allows you to appreciate it. Freedom is a state of mind. Imagination is escape. Creativity is therapy.
In these dark days, when borders are closed and we are locked down in our homes, I try not to think of myself as a prisoner … but if tempted to do so, I think of the prisoners who have endured longterm confinement: Nelson Mandela, Anne Franks, Gregory Roberts* etc They survived by escaping via their imagination and creativity.
*You might not have heard of Gregory Roberts, but his is an interesting story … He wrote his novel: SHANTARAM three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It’s 933 pages long (and a bloody good read).
One challenge that Nikki, and her fellow artists face is running out of art materials. When lockdown was announced with just a few hours notice, we rushed out to stock-up on food. She never thought about paper, paint, canvasses, sketch pads etc. Now the local Chinese shop and papelería (where she used to get her paper) are closed.
Thankfully, an online search reveals that the art shop in Los Cristianos will still deliver. Phew! Nikki shares the good news with the Arte in Tenerife Facebook group that she set up: https://www.facebook.com/groups/488660071536915/
We writers just need a laptop, or a bit of paper and a pen to keep scribbling (as I discovered while waiting in line to get into Mercadona—see my previous blog post) and, of course, our imagination … which, again thankfully, is freely available if you know where to look for it.