Cool runnings

To use the word 'run' would be over-egging the pudding somewhat. So, let's be a little more transparent: last Sunday evening I hobbled gamely along the Paseo Marítimo, accompanied by 98.7 per cent of the population of Malaga, or so it seemed, what with it being the first weekend that a bit of the old sporting activity was allowed and all.

As I huffed and, indeed, puffed my way towards the Baños del Carmen, I was struck by how rigorously the vast majority of people were observing the social distancing rules. It was quite clear that some friends and neighbours hadn't seen each other for weeks, judging by the joy of their mutual greetings and yet they all maintained a couple of metres between them as they gesticulated, gurned and beamed their way through what, let's face it, were very unnatural conversations indeed.

Meanwhile, groups of teenage girls who'd clearly InstaChatFaced a meeting (strictly speaking against the rules) promenaded together, yet not together, as they all kept a respectful gap and chuckled and giggled their way to wherever it was they were going. Likewise, the young lads, albeit with considerably less giggling and rather more moody staring.

Sporadically, during these weeks of confinement, photographs have appeared in the media of people behaving badly and/or selfishly but these examples are the reddest of herrings. I've been astonished and mightily impressed with how everyone has taken responsibility for themselves. We're talking, here, about hundreds of thousands of people in Malaga alone and, for every occasional buffoon flouting the rules, there have been vast swathes of good guys doing the very best they can, often in extremely trying circumstances. Like my neighbours, for example, listening to me practising music.

Anyway, on and on I faltered on my 'run', continually marveling at the respectful manner in which people were carrying themselves until, quite unexpectedly, my destination hove into view. The thing is, I've been running that route for years now and that is, quite honestly, the quickest the time has ever passed in spite of my risible physical condition. Hitherto, I'd always gazed desperately upon the lapping waves of the Mediterranean, desiring an imminent end to the torture. On Sunday, though, my route was smattered with myriad little cameos of joie de vivre with the good people of Malaga behaving, I have to say, quite impeccably.

Consequently, the time simply flew by - even if I didn't.