Buen Camino

The moon is already shining like a heated opal in the dusky sky as the pilgrim’s weary legs carry him towards the village where he plans to rest his head for the night. Having left behind the foothills of the Pyrenees, he is making his way through the fertile land of La Rioja where row…

Day ‘far too many to count’

Monday 09/11/2020 Despite largely appreciating the first lockdown – now a surreal and distant memory – I wasn’t too sad to see the back of it and like everyone, managed to enjoy some relative freedoms for a few months. The timing of this dip in cases was perfect and for a short while, I was…

Splat, bang, wallop

Gary smirks arrogantly at the salivating punters in the queue as he swaggers away from the ice cream van carrying his 99p flake. It is his first one of the summer – a momentous occasion. Ceremonial you might say. Gary doesn’t abide by the unspoken civic code that says you can only take your t-shirt…

The Traveller Folk

Heads turned when the traveller folk came to town. As the days grew warmer, they made their way north without an ounce of truth in their eyes. They refused to conform to the paradoxes around which town folk lived. Rambling men playing out their lives in realms where those of righteous standing had no place….

London Town

My parents had always instilled in me the values around which they had built their devout Christian lives. But the teachings of acceptance and forgiveness were quickly forgotten when I showed an inkling of difference. As a confused adolescent, it had been hard enough admitting to myself that I wasn’t comfortable in my body but…

The Librarian

I used to love books until the school librarian put me off them. I know, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds. He used to come immaculately dressed in the same grey jumper-shirt combination, caressing the returned titles lovingly into their special place on the shelves before school like the sort of possessive maniac who talks…

Offshore Drift

Most mornings he watches a couple, a fair bit older than he, descend hand in hand the stone steps cut into the cliffside to swim lengths in the clear seawater of the natural swimming pool built into the rocks below. They rarely utter a word to each other, comfortable after years of companionship and at…

Auf Weidersehen, Kurt.

I was in the bath when they came to take Kurt away. It was just before Christmas. A night that will never be forgotten. I’d known they were there all evening, sitting out in the black Trabant like four shadows waiting to kidnap a soul. Guardians of dark secrets. Reapers of fear. After what I…

FINAL REFLECTIONS

It no longer feels right to be writing a blog titled Life Under Lockdown as the period of strict confinement in Madrid is already beginning to feel like a distant memory. After documenting my life for over 100 days, it is time to tie the knot on this project in pursuit of new ones. As…

DAY 97

Saturday 20/06/2020 Apart from the sea of surgical masks everywhere you look, life is seemingly back to normal here. It is remarkable how the widespread fear about a second wave seems to have subsided as more and more freedoms have been granted to us in Madrid. The ebb and flow of normal life has once…