During the first week of March we had tickets to see a charity concert at the O2 arena
to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Hospital. Margaret had also procured tickets to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.
We stayed at an hotel in Depford, South London. This is an area well known to me from my childhood. Peckham, where I was born, was rough but Depford was the pits. I didn´t recognise it. It had definitely been gentrified. On the day of the concert we travelled to the O2 to get an idea of the layout and where the restaurants were. We visited the NOW gallery which is opposite the Os entrance and saw the most incredible piece of art called Slices Of Time. There is a pic on the Pics and Poems page.
The concert was excellent and we had great seats courtesy of Margaret. The artists who stood out for us were Cat Stevens, Mick Hucknall and, of course, Eric Clapton.
The major disappointment, for us, was Van Morrison. His performance was poor and he came across as a miserable old git who didn´t want to be there.
The weather had started to take a turn for the worse when we went to the Tutankhamun exhibition in West London. It was great seeing the real exhibits but we felt that they could have been displayed to better advantage. Also, crowd control was poor and the Gallery was like a rabbit warren.
Over the four days we were in London we used the Underground system extensively and it was a nightmare. Covid-19 was lurking in the background but, at that time, not being taken seriously.
A week later, on Friday 13 March we flew to Manchester en route to Warrington to see Mum in Westy Care Home. We were lucky to get a couple of hours with her as the place was implementing isolation procedures.
The following day we checked to see the status of our flight back to Spain on the Monday and it had vanished! Margaret got straight on the case and managed to get us on a Ryanair flight on the Sunday evening from Liverpool Airport. We had two of the three available seats left.
Ray and Pam, Margaret´s brother and sister-in-law were a massive help by following us to Manchester Airport on the Sunday lunchtime, where we dropped off our hire car, and then took us to Liverpool Airport. When we boarded the plane we found that we were amongst only 26 passengers who had turned up for the flight! Once in the air the crew said that we could sit where we liked. Weird. Pic on the Pics and Poems page.
On arriving in Alicante we were hurried through the airport without the need to show passports or any form of ID. Spain was now in lockdown from the day before, 14 March. We have been subject to lockdown regulations since that date. The Spanish authorities have our admiration for the way that they are handling the crisis. Only one person out of the house at any one time, same applies in a car. The police are courteous and in charge.
We regularly watch the UK news and are saddened to see the way that people are flouting the rules. If the UK were on a war footing and bombs were being dropped we wouldn´t see pictures of people sunbathing in parks or having BBQs in the street! This situation is worse because we can´t see the enemy.
We are glad that we are here where the rules are plain and not up for interpretation.
Our next trip to New York was scheduled for the first week in April and last for 17 days. This was cancelled and rescheduled for October. We are having serious doubts as to whether this will happen.
Lastly, on 23 April Lucinda Clarke, writer, and I were due to speak to a group of students at a language college in Valencia about the process of writing a book. Hopefully, this will be rescheduled to a future date.
As I mentioned earlier, Mum passed away on 31 March and her funeral was held on 15 April. Thanks to Ray and Pam for keeping us up to date with arrangements and for ensuring that the day was as they and us wished it to be.
A big, big thank you and love to David and Eileen for their presence albeit by phone.
Our thanks and love goes to Ray and Pam, Lindsay and Mel, Jenny and Willi, Kryshia and Brian, Mandy, Fee and Mark, John and Kate, Jane and John, Avonia, Hilary and Steven, Flash and John, Jenny Lewis, Tim and Josie, Sheila and Tony, Hazel and Phil and Ken and Sylvana.
Special thanks to Katya and the staff at Westy Hall Care Home in Latchford near Warrington.