Synchronised barbecuing, Friday night Happy Hour and a fun new sign each day are just some of the things this Canberra couple is doing to cheer up their neighbours during the pandemic.
Michael McFarlane and Elizabeth Dangerfield have, like many Canberrans, spotlessly cleaned their bathroom, organised their DVD collection into alphabetical order and become Wii Fit champions.
They are foregoing their normally social lives, like eating out at restaurants with friends and having dinner parties at their home, to abide by the government regulations set down to manage the spread of COVID-19.
"We used to do quite a lot," Mr McFarlane said over the phone.
"We used to go to Scottish country dancing classes once a week and we've got a number of different groups of friends we have lunches with at restaurants around the place. We were quite social, so that's slowed down."
Now the couple is getting out of the house once a day for a walk, and going to the shops every four to five days.
"Otherwise, we're stuck," he said.
To cheer up the neighbours in their retirement village at Goodwin Crace, Mr McFarlane said his wife started making signs to put on the balcony.
"She makes light-hearted signs, she's made one each day. I think we're up to six now," he said.
He said normally there is Happy Hour each Friday at the village clubhouse but that had to be cancelled.
"We were thinking of a way we could still socialise. There are three balconies directly across from us, the corner of another three and a couple of ground floor courtyards. They're all within shouting distance, just about," Mr McFarlane said.
And that's how the idea of synchronised barbecuing also began. The couple and their closest neighbours all cook dinner at the same time from their respective balconies.
"We just shouted at each other," Mr McFarlane said.
He said after spending 40 minutes each morning on the Wii Fit, the rest of their days were spent keeping in touch with friends and family via email, and talking to their Queensland-based grandchildren on FaceTime.
Mr McFarlane said his wife runs an email mailing list called The Self-Isolation Times, where she sends funny videos and other contributions to friends and family.
"She's got a little program of taking a photograph of a humble possession at the house. We were both science teachers, so things like a periodic table made out of perspex. She just says [via email] to people to go around your house and have a look at your possessions and cast your mind back to where you got them from. Take the time to enjoy things that you normally walk past and don't give a second through to."
"She's the creative one," Mr McFarlane said.
He said they were getting through the pandemic "pretty happily", but it would be nice when they could share a meal with their friends again.
"In the meantime, it's the electronic communications and talking to people across the balconies here," he said.
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