Ideas come from isolation

From left to right: Steve Marshall, Joan Fallon, Steven Craven, Debbie Skyrme and Helen Sijsling.
From left to right: Steve Marshall, Joan Fallon, Steven Craven, Debbie Skyrme and Helen Sijsling. / SUR
  • While frustrating and lonely, confinement is leading residents in the south of Spain to new ideas and inspiration

We're now into week three of the coronavirus lockdown in Spain. While frustrating and lonely, the experience is leading confined residents to new ideas and inspiration. More time to learn, to study, to explore the world through a computer screen and to have long conversations with relatives are all advantages associated with being stuck at home that many people are now discovering. In fact some have a busier social life than ever.

“We all have the time right now to get in touch with family”

Steve Marshall. Age Concern

Although Steve Marshall is overseeing the running of his branch of Age Concern during the lockdown, he is trying to use his spare time wisely.

“Today I explored the second bedroom, opened wardrobes and found an amazing selection of clothes; however, I want to pace myself as this could be a long haul. I started to do a jigsaw, but I’d forgotten just how many pieces you can cram into a box and just how small they are. I will also endeavour to use this time to try and improve my Spanish.

“I’ve been getting lots of calls and making lots of calls which is very nice. I‘m in touch with family and friends more than normal, which is always good. We all have the time right now to get in touch with family and friends, and this is very important. I can’t remember my sister calling this often.

“Also, the charity needs to keep functioning as much as possible, so there is always plenty to do,” he says

“I broke my wrist three days before the lockdown so it’s been difficult”

Joan Fallon. Author

Author Joan Fallon is finding the lockdown more stressful than most as she had an unfortunate accident just days before the state of alarm was enforced. Fortunately, she has several considerate neighbours.

“I broke my wrist three days before the lockdown, so it’s been a bit more difficult than I would have expected. Also, I can’t drive, so getting any shopping is not easy, but I have wonderful neighbours who buy me what I need.

“This should be a great opportunity for me to catch up on my work. I’m halfway through book three of my latest historical series, but it’s hard to transport yourself back to the 11th century when so much is going on around you in the 21st,” she says.

“The biggest disadvantage is waking up each morning knowing that day is going to be much the same as the one before, and the one before that. And also the lack of social contact. For me personally, it’s the fact that I can’t see my grandchildren.”

"Being in isolation is a great chance for valuable practice time”

Steven Craven. Trumpet player

Steven Craven plays trumpet with Malaga’s philharmonic orchestra. He says that as having his own personal space is important to him, he’s “dealing very well” with the lockdown so far.

“I work with a minimum of 85 musicians day in and day out. My time alone after leaving work is very precious and important time to me. Isolation means it gives me time to relax, think, and do some things totally unrelated to my work with maximum focus and concentration.”

However, he explains that he also has to keep up with the practice. “Of course as a professional musician and occupying a place in a professional orchestra, I have to keep my performance skills as a trumpeter at a high level.”

He adds, “Being in isolation is a great chance for valuable practice time which has to be timed throughout the day for it to be productive.”

When he’s not practising, Steve says he paints, cooks and keeps in touch with people.

“I let off steam along with my neighbours at 8pm every day”

Debbie Skyrme. Wedding celebrant

Professional wedding celebrant Debbie Skyrme is keeping herself busy by giving online advice to couples who have had to postpone their weddings due to the Covid-19 crisis.

She’s keeping a blog and has a Facebook page offering support and advice to people and also working to support local wedding suppliers on the Costa Tropical where she lives and “promoting the Costa Tropical as a future wedding location”.

On Wednesday she posted a story from the BBCabout a couple who live streamed their wedding to 100 guests who were unable to attend due to the lockdown in the UK.

When Debbie isn’t blogging she explains that she broadcasts live from her rooftop capturing how her neighbours are joining in the daily applause. “Ibroadcast, applaud and shout, scream and generally let off steam to connect with my neighbours,” she says.

“With WhatsApp I’m sharing links to all museums with virtual tours”

Helen Sijsling. Arts Society Nerja

Nerja Arts Society Chair Helen Sijsling hasn’t let the lockdown stop her busy social life.

All of the activities that the society organises have had to be cancelled, such as the forthcoming monthly lectures, as well as the Arts Society’s AGMwhich was due to take place in Malaga in May.

However, Helen is making sure that members get access to culture via the internet by sharing links to museums around the world that offer virtual tours.

Helen is also able to keep up with her Arabic classes through the video conferencing application Zoom, with her teacher at Vélez-Málaga’s official language school.

Stories from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decamerone, which relate 100 tales by a group of young men and women sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death in the mid-14th century, are also on the agenda. They are read by Dutch actors at 8pm every day, which Helen says is a “wonderful initiative”.