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Health, mental, physical. News from Mallorca

Corona-Koldbrann Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

I'm sitting at my dining table as usual. It's Groundhog Day. Outside in the garden a welcome sun shines on the orange hairs of my ginga brute, Koldbrann. He is staring at me. When I wave, he wags his tail slowly, tentatively. Could it be dinner time again? (As if he doesn't know to the second what time it is.) 

I don't know what I'd do without Koldbrann! For some reason, probably because they know not what to do, the local government has decided to keep everyone indoors ell the time, and have closed all parks, woods and beaches. Here, lockdown really is lockdown. However, you are "allowed" to go out on your balcony. 

Corona-lemon-tree Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

I get that everybody is afraid, afraid to make mistakes, to make the situation worse. Instead of trusting people to act in their own best interest by self-quarantining and staying away from others, however, the national government has decided to punish people with quite extraordinarily heavy fines for, for example, exercising outside. They call it "non-essential activities."

I wonder if that is such a good idea. Isn't this a time when it's more important than ever to do the old mens sana in corpore sano? Shouldn't we be exercising the hell out of especially our lungs, by doing aerobic exercises outside in the fresh air? In Norway and Britain people are encouraged to go out and exercise, as long as they don't do it in groups or drive for long distances, crossing county borders. 

Corona-grass-flowers Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Just before the weekend, the government announced that it would increase punishments for disobedience, crack down harder, put up more checkpoints etc. At the same time, they keep pushing the lockdown back and back - April 26th is the latest date - without presenting a plan for what will happen on that date. Now we see people starting to take risks, to challenge the authorities by "recklessly" going running, cycling - and swimming. Yes yesterday I read in the Majorca Daily Bulletin that a man had been "caught" swimming to an island in full diving gear, by marine police patrolling the coast.  

Human nature! I think it would be wiser to appeal to people's sense of responsibility instead of threatening, fining and cracking down. No one wants to catch this illness (although I'm starting to think if "everybody will get it" perhaps it's better for us younger fogeys to catch it now before we enter the danger zone in earnest) so I think most people will behave responsibly. A small minority won't give a shit of course, but they wouldn't have anyway. I think these over strict measures will just make the more rebellious take greater risks out of spite. I can feel it in myself: I'm not asking for permission to go outside my bloody house! 

Corona-Bellver-castle Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

So if I didn't have Koldbrann I would be committing a crime if I went for a walk in the morning, without any purpose except keeping healthy physically and mentally. Walking is THE best exercise, in my opinion. So thank God for Koldbrann. When we're out together and I see a police car, I just wave in a manly, 'I've got this' way, and give the thumbs-up. That seems to do the trick. But it shouldn't be necessary. 

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Food again. It's all over. 

Corona-yam-cha-1 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Yesterday I didn't post anything. Why? Too depressed. After dreaming about Chinese food and Chinese supermarkets (Supermercado Asia in Carre Uetam to be exact), thinking, nay, fever dreaming about how I could wangle the curfew by sneaking over there at 4am, hiding out in a nearby skip or recycling bin for plastics and metal until opening time, dash in, grab as much as I could carry and take a taxi home - or maybe just take a taxi there and back - I finally had a brilliant idea: I could call them! Of course they would deliver when lives were at risk. 

Corona-Yam-cha-3 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Of course! Except: They are closed. Or "resting" as the owner called it. Nooooooo! The Chinese supermarket is essential to, well, life itself! That's it, I'm officially pissed off with the whole curfew. 

Yam cha means "Drink tea" but it's really all about food: Chinese tapas if you like. It's a southern Chinese thing that is spreading all over the country and world and rightly so. Oh, when all this is over, I will, etc. On a positive note, I have stopped yearning for my lost and misspent youth. Now I yearn for my lost and misspent February this year! Oh how we just went to restaurants and bars without a care in the world, sitting there as close or far apart as we liked; talking even! Remember February? No, me neither...

Corona-yam-cha-2 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's







Tips for living in genteel poverty 3

Corona-gaff-morning-light Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

My gaff (house) is as beautiful as can be, I think, but there's no denying that it is high maintenance. Not only is its temperature normally set on 'English boarding school January 1902', it's also like Pigpen in the cartoon Peanuts - it can just stand there quietly minding its own business and WHOOSH! Dirt and dust just attach themselves to it, seemingly effortlessly. Having a super sheddy dog (sheddy means sheds a lot) doesn't exactly help. No vacuum cleaner can beat a pillowcase full of ginga hairs every bloody day. 

But! The electric internet comes to the rescue as usual. It was as if it could look into my head (it can) when it started putting ads on Facebook for the Ionic Brush. I ordered one and: It works!

Corona-Ionic-brush Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's


1. It picks up all dog hairs and other small objects. The photo shows a small part of the daily haul.

2. Unlike with a vacuum cleaner, with the brush I can more easily collect flammable materials and put them in empty Nespresso sleeves to make fire starters

3. Sweeping the floors is good exercise

4. I save on electricity

Talking of saving money, when all this is over, I will dedicate a whole week to having two meals and several drinks every day in my neighbourhood cafés, restaurants and bars. I'm putting some of the money I save aside each day for this purpose. The rest is for the apocalypse, which won't be for another couple of months. 




Finding joy in the small things

Corona-balcony-greeting Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Sunday! Today has been a good day. First I found a tree this morning. No, it wasn't "standing in the forest", it was lying on the pavement. I dragged it home, cut off the branches and spent a good hour cutting it up. That will keep me warm for a couple of hours tomorrow, for although spring is here (see below), bugger me if we're not going to have another cold snap. Which isn't very cold, don't get me wrong; it's just that my gaff is on average a good 15 degrees colder than outside. 

Corona-The-Island Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Then I saw on FB that the latest edition of Swedish lifestyle magazine Ön ('The Island') was out, available from Palma Bread, which is open on Sundays and allowed to bake! Having run out of proper food (lotus root among other things) I thought I might as well get me some comfort food: Swedish crispbread. Armed with a hat, turtleneck jumper, painter's dust mask, latex gloves, dog and proof of address, I set out on the perilous trip to the shop, weaving in and out of backstreets, adding several kilometres to the trip.

Corona-Palma-Bread-Lena Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

At Palma Bread I found the affable Lena, and had the first face to face conversation with a living human since, oh, I don't know. February? It was wonderful. She said people act responsibly and wait outside on their own volition when they see customers inside the shop. Of course! We are adults, right? But I still took her advice and kept the receipt for the crispbreads as "proof" that I'm "allowed" to go out. How did it come to this, etc.  Across the street, oh glory, the news agents' was open! And had the Sunday Times! Now I could hold this venerable paper aloft as another proof. SORTED.

Following on an even more positive note, spring is here

Corona-Spring-flowers Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's



Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

CNY-table-4 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

I like to go to bed early and get up early, although so far it's only made me healthy. I'm still waiting for wealthy and wise. However, one good thing about being a lark is the vivid dreams I have between about 4 am and 5:30. This morning it was corona related, that's why I mention it here. It was about Chinese food, how I would get from El Terreno to my favourite (only) Chinese supermarket in Pere Garau without detection and subsequent imprisonment for - horror! Going out! 

Corona-lotus-root-1 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

In the end (in the dream) I just went there and when I got into the shop it had become a huge kind of sunny meadow, a bit like Tuscany but with the occasional shelf thing with more Chinese foodstuffs than you can shake a stick at. It was paradise. 

Corona-lotus-root Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

What brought it on was the horrible realisation that I'm running out of lotus root. Oh, lotus root, king of tubers! If I were forced to choose one vegetable to have with every meal for the rest of my life, I would choose the lotus root. Crunchy, versatile, full of holes and, in certain lights, quite beautiful, I need it in my life. Before moving to Mallorca I went on a reconnaissance trip to Pere Garau to see if they had it there. They did! But now this?

The situation is becoming unacceptable. 

Has it only been two months since I cooked a Chinese New Year dinner for 18 people? It seems like several years, but the endless days of quarantine have been bearable as long as I have had lotus root. Now? Not so much.