The Diary of a Lock Down Director

Chris Rowlands is one of the Directors of Castles Estate Agency and he has very graciously allowed us to follow his weekly progression through these extraordinary times with his usual Welsh Wit!

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to lockdown!

We’ve been here for a week now.  I’m sure it’s going to be different for everyone but this is what it’s like in Valle Romano, Estepona.

The Set Up.

For starters, I live with my parents at the age of 55¼.  It’s a long story best saved for another day.

Bish is actually my Stepdad (another long story) and has been a diabetic for over 40 years.  My Mum has had a stroke and a heart attack in recent years.  It’s fair to say that both fit the dreaded “underlying health issue” category.  To complicate matters, my Mum also suffers from dementia.

Under the current circumstances, I couldn’t think of a place I’d rather be.

We live in a lovely little villa with a garden and a pool.  It’s warm and cosy in the winter, cool and bright in the summer.  We have everything we need for a home.

Valle Romano



The weekend before the lockdown my folks were in Poland.  In fact they only just made it back into the country.  Thankfully they did.  I was also out with clients up to the final day.  So when they returned not only did we go into self-isolation, we also went into self-isolation from each other within our house.  They had been travelling, I’d been out with clients, it makes sense.  No symptoms between us so we will be able to interact normally soon.  In the meantime there is no contact and we actual stay in separate rooms for now.

My Dad cooks, Mum helps, I wash up.  It works for us, most of the time.  We were supposed to have carrots with our meal last night but Mum wondered off with them.  I’ll let you know if we find them.

She doesn’t remember about the virus but it doesn’t matter.  In fact the lockdown works in her favour.  Over the months she has become concerned about security and hates being left alone.  She now has two of us in the house at all times so that relaxes her.  She also has concerns that someone is going to take all her money from the bank.  That’s strange because she hasn’t got any.  I checked.


Well, if the media are to believed, you’ve had your panic buying issues.  Well, no problems here.  The Spanish are many things but panic buyers doesn’t appear to be one of them.

They are organised though.  I’ve just been to our local Mercadona for our weekly shop.  There are restrictions in numbers but there is no queue and I can walk right in.  A lady politely shows me where the hand wash and plastic gloves are.  She makes sure I use both.  She then gives me a trolley she has just wiped down herself.  Great start.

I get the list out and begin.

There are people in there but there is an usual quietness as people are going about their shopping.  I notice that there are many more men than women.  There are no children and I wonder if the quietness is related to the change of clientele.  I think not.  We all want to get in and out as swiftly as possible.  This is not a social visit.

The shelves are reassuringly full.  There are regular announcements in Spanish and English informing us to keep a safe distance from each other.  We are also told that the store is keeping its regular hours, supplies remain unaffected and there is no need to panic buy.  I am reassured by this news.  I falter at the last minute though and place a packet of Weetabix in my trolley knowing there is one on the shelf at home.  My bad.

There are lines on the floor at the checkout reminding us to keep our distance.  The guy on the till sprays his conveyor belt for his new customer and I almost bang my head on a large perspex sheet hanging from the ceiling between us.  That’s new.  I also notice that all the Mercadona team are wearing the same, what look like to my amateur eye, good quality nose and mouth masks.  Well done Mercadona.  Sky News had been reporting earlier this morning that many Doctors and Nurses working in the NHS are still without such protection.  I hope it’s on its way.

I get into my car with everything on the list (plus Weetabix) and I feel cleaner for the experience.

My mum rolls her eyes when I get home.  I bought a bottle of cava instead of sparkling rose.  I smile to myself.  She remembered that OK and I consider she may actually be playing us all.


I’m trying to stick to a weekday routine.  Up at the usual time breakfast, brew etc.  Normally its off to work.  Now its back to my room and fire up the computer.

There’s enough day to day emails to keep me busy for a couple of hours.

Then there are the things that we have never got around to doing.  Website updates, marketing, blogs….plenty to do for now.

Outside of work there are jobs around the house we can catch up with.  The bathroom needs painting, the grass surround to the pool needs trimming and the terraces need power washing.  The weather is a bit iffy at the moment but they will all be done over the next few weeks.  The house should look good by the end of this though.  No excuses.  I’ll keep you posted.

welsh dragon

Pet Watch.

We have a rescue dog called Charlie but most of us call him Dobbie (Harry Potter fans would understand if they saw him).  (Un)fortunately he’s on his holidays at my sister’s.  He was staying there whilst our folks were in Poland.  He was a victim of the travel ban which came into effect before they could get him home.  I’m sure he’ll be OK, he has plenty of company.  It’s not a huge place my sisters.  She also has 3 (gorgeous) children and 2 dogs of her own.  They will be very snug.  Her hubby is the most chilled cat in the country so I’m sure they are OK.  Maybe I should WhatsApp them.  Love you sis.

It’s actually a pity that Dobbie isn’t here.  The oldies like taking him for walks and it would have been an excuse to leave the house for a while.  No can do for now.

We have also have a 20ish year old cat called Pippin.  But just seems put out that he has to share his house with everyone.

Weight Watch. 

I usually go to the gym 4 days a week (you wouldn’t know it) and play padel tennis on a Tuesday with the lads.  Ade text me on Tuesday to see if it was still on.  I think he was joking but I’m not sure.

I’ve now had a week of no activity and not liking it.  I’m going to set something up in the garden so I can do something.  See how it goes.

 Beard Watch.

Mmmmm….if you are still reading, this will send you to sleep.

Never had a beard.  In the past it’s been patchy with ginger bits.  Really cool.

However, with the onset of silverness maybe there will be a change.  Now’s the time to try.

Good luck folks.  Stay well.


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