Week four of lockdown in Spain is nearly done with many residents admitting they're surprised how well they're handling not being able to go out.
With two more weeks to go (at least) some are finding different ways of filling their time, from volunteer work to cooking, even choreography and enjoying a greater community spirit with their neighbours.
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“I’m doing what Ican and working with a dedicated volunteer team”
Sue WilsonBremain in Spain
Bremain in Spain Chair Sue Wilson admits that so far the lockdown has “been rather different” from what she expected.
“I had visions of feeling isolated and bored, with too much time on my hands. I started to make a mental list of tasks - work on my Spanish, wash the curtains, tidy the garden. Yet I haven’t managed to cross off a single one,” she admits.
Instead she says she’s been busy with Bremain in Spain and turning the focus to helping Brits in Spain through the coronavirus crisis. “I’m doing what I can, by keeping busy, by devouring information and by working with a dedicated team of volunteers,” she explains.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the monthly ‘date night’ she and her husband have. They still dress up, albeit for dining at home at the moment. “I consider myself lucky to have a nice home, a garden and a supportive husband who I enjoy staying in with,” she says.
“I'm looking forward to going back to my church”
Pauline HulmeA Touch of Class
Choreographer Pauline Hulme is using the lockdown time to work on new routines for the amateur theatrical group she runs, but she is missing human contact and longs to see her friends.
“I take each day as it comes. I’m spending a lot more time talking to my children, which is great. I have been working on choreography for A Touch of Class and I dance whilst doing chores; it’s great fun. I have also been cooking and baking as I’ve never had much time for this before. The advantage of the lockdown is being forced to relax and take time out. I have been sitting on my balcony taking in the beauty around me.
“My biggest fear is having to go shopping. I don’t want to bring any infection home to my husband David, who has dementia,” she says, adding, “The first thing I’ll do when this is over is meet up with friends. I am really missing human contact. To feel a hand in mine, to give and receive hugs. I am looking forward to going back to my church.”
“I think the human race as a whole will come out of this better”
Carlos WhiteTeam leader
Carlos White is optimistic and believes that the lockdown will create a better community spirit, as well as being beneficial to the planet. He is, however, concerned at the way the UK is handling the crisis.
“My fear during the lockdown is that people with mental health issues are having to stay inside. However, my main worry is that some people in the UK have not been forced to abide to a strict lockdown like the one in Spain, so this could unnecessarily prolong the bad times there.
“On a positive note, it looks like Spain is past the worst of it, and we will come out of it sooner rather than later if everybody doesn’t slack with the rules.
“I think the human race as a whole will come out of this better, with a cleaner air, and maybe we will have got to know our neighbours more by offering help, and therefore creating a better community spirit by learning to appreciate fellow human beings,” he says.
“Our local shop has been brilliant and we never saw panic-buying”
Tamara EssexRetired consultant
Tamara Essex admits that lockdown “hasn’t been too bad” for her. “I can be as sociable or as private as I choose. I live in a small cul-de-sac and each morning we women stand on our doorsteps and shout to each other for half an hour.” They ‘meet up’ again at 8pm to join in the evening applause .
Tamara has been able to do Zumba from her house thanks to a neighbour and has been “cooking more than usual”, including the typical Spanish Easter treat, torrijas.
The internet has provided a vital link with friends back in the UK and a group chat on the patio every few days with Malaga friends.
Tamara also praises the local shop and the “brilliant” way they way they have provided customers with gloves and made sure distances are kept. “We never saw any panic-buying and although there’s not as much choice as in the bigger supermarkets, we can get everything we need here in the village in some form or another.”
“It would be stupid to say that I haven’t got any fears”
Retiree Judy Filmer claims that the lockdown is not disrupting her daily routine too much. She also feels that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is doing a good job of reassuring the public.
“I’m fortunate enough to live with my husband and my 93-year-old mother in a house with a garden, so it’s a fairly simple thing to self-isolate. We are lucky enough to have enough room to give each other space during the day to focus on individual hobbies or chores. Spring cleaning has come early to our house and all those jobs which I have been putting off are finally getting done. It’s rather nice to know that everything doesn’t have to be done to a timetable, because there is always tomorrow.
“It would be stupid to say I haven’t got any fears, but they do not preoccupy me. It would be a concern if the food supply chain broke down in the future, but Pedro Sánchez, together with our local mayors, inspire a great deal of faith,” she says.