Last night the clocks changed and to usher in the spring, we have been greeted with another scorcher of a day. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve struck up a relationship with the young, Spanish couple on the neighbouring terrace. What began as a quick and awkward wave during the 8pm clap, progressed after a few days to some polite conversation and then even further with the exchanging of slices of homemade cakes. Today however, Marta & Inigo really exhibited the unceasing warmth and kindness that Spanish people are so well known for. The friendship has well and truly blossomed as we shared a momentous occasion by anyone’s standards – the first barbeque of the year. For the record, it goes without saying that we managed to maintain social distancing norms by passing plates over a precisely 2m section of roof tiles between their terrace and ours. We didn’t want to risk hopping over and sitting together as who knows which beady-eyed neighbour was watching, ready to snitch on us for enjoying the quarantine too much.
As none of us are born and bred Madrileños, we talk about why we love Madrid and what brought us here. While we stand in the warm evening sun the conversation flows. We recommend films and series we’ve been watching, food we’ve been cooking and before we know it, like all neighbours everywhere, we are gossiping about other neighbours. It is hilariously reassuring that although the world has come to a complete standstill in the midst of this serious health threat, we are all still nattering about the raucous neighbours downstairs, the sulky new cleaner and the eccentric landlord. It is brilliant to see that certain things never change regardless of country or language. None of us can believe that the 8pm clap actually always starts, as it does again tonight, a couple of minutes early at 7:58. We decide that perhaps another positive to come out of this period of confinement would be making the Spanish a little bit more punctual.