5 things – Sunday, March 29 2020

Okay, so we’re not in complete lock-down yet – level 2 I think they call it. It’s sort of the lockdown you have when you’re not having a lockdown. 

State borders are closed – at least they are in Queensland and, I think, everywhere other than NSW & Victoria, Australians can’t fly out but can fly back in if they can get a flight. No one else is allowed in. Clubs, churches, gyms, pools, and other places are closed. Restaurants can serve take away only and coffee shops are open but without seating – again, take away only. Funerals are limited to 10 people, weddings to 5, and weirdly hairdressers are still open – although many are closing regardless. People are, by and large, keeping their distance and mostly staying at home other than to go to work (if they can’t work from home) or to supermarkets or to exercise.

The government hasn’t decreed that other shops shut, although many have, and my heart goes out to all the people made unemployed by this crisis. We all suspect that Level 3 is around the corner.

That aside, there have been things to smile, think and wonder about. Here are 5:


I’m loving Stephen Fry’s Seven Deadly Sins. Wow he can tell a story. Season 1 explores the great leaps in human development and technology through the ages but told in a way that is entertaining. Ironically the episode I was listening to the other day dwelt on how improved agricultural practices led to people living closer to animals and how that, in turn, led to viruses jumping from animals to people with sometimes catastrophic effect.

Also new to me is You’re Dead To Me from BBC4. It’s the history podcast for people who don’t like history, and those that do. Greg Jenner brings together comedians and historians to go over an event or person you think you know about from history or had neglected to learn about at school. I love it.

2. Connecting

With most people in the day job working from home we’re using Google Teams to stay connected. I’m used to not seeing my colleagues – I’ve worked completely remotely for the last 3 years, but for those who are used to daily face-time, this is a great alternative. It does, however, mean that I can no longer be catching up on blog reading or emails when I’m in a meeting – not that I’d do that, of course (she hastens to add).

I also had virtual drinks with my bestie and her hubby in NZ on Friday afternoon on Zoom. They were in the kitchen cooking dinner and it was as if I was in the room too. I can’t understand why we haven’t done it more often.

In other connection related news, whilst divorces are expected to increase as a result of covid-19 isolation, births are also expected to increase. Given that I read during the week that due to, well, increased demand as a result of covid-19 isolation, a global shortage of condoms is expected. There is an estimated shortfall of 100 million condoms already due to manufacturing stoppages in Malaysia. And you thought you should have been buying toilet paper and plain flour…

3. New ways of birthdaying

It was Sarah’s birthday last Tuesday and while we couldn’t go out for dinner, we did take a bottle of prosecco and some nibbles to the beach, rang our favourite Italian and ordered pizza and pasta as take away, ate it outside and pretended that it wasn’t raining and we weren’t getting wet. No one else was down there (probably because it was raining) so we joked that we had the restaurant to ourselves and didn’t have to deal with Grant’s indecision over the menu. 

Grant made a Victoria Sponge which I posted onto FoodIM and Nigella herself wished Sarah a happy birthday on the back of that post. I’m not sure that she would have been so quick to comment if I’d mentioned that James Martin’s grandmother’s sponge recipe was better than hers in How To Eat. #justsaying

4. Sam Neill

The Kiwi actor Sam Neill @samneeilltheprop is doing a daily Instagram clip (or IGTV) where he reads from books or plays the ukulele while he’s staying at home. He’s one of my favourite ‘grammers at the moment – and given that I otherwise refuse to follow non foodie celebrities – well, other than Sam Heughan from Outlander, that is – that’s a big thing. Maybe it’s a Sam thing?

Anyways, I loved the episode where he read Dr Seuss’ Sneetches. I’m ashamed to say that I’d never read The Sneetches, but when Sam said that it was:

like all SEUSS, it’s funny and silly. But it’s also ABOUT stuff – prejudice, fashion, status, racism, herd mentality, panic buying, you name it. All kinds of human stupidity BUT … it has a happy ending.

So I listened and it was good – although he could read pretty much anything and it would be good. Check it out.

5. Elections

Weirdly and illogically, we had an election here on the weekend for local councils. Voting is compulsory in Australia and you’re fined if you don’t comply. 

We voted early, during the week, and there were lines marked on the ground where we had to stand, we took our own pencils, and our hands were sanitised on the way in and on the way out. Even so, the whole thing was ludicrous. Applications for postal votes ended last week (or the week before) so while we’re all encouraged to stay at home, we had to go out and vote. Go figure.

On the Blog:

  • I’m blogging my travel diary from our UK trip last December. This episode was the one from Malmesbury – and it contains a flying monk and a barmaid-eating tiger. You’ll find it here.
  • The latest episode in The Nigella Diaries is the one about vanilla ice-cream. Sarah said that it’s better than Sara Lee ice-cream from the supermarket. Given that she thinks that’s the best vanilla ice-cream I took it as a compliment.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

19 thoughts

  1. I love this post Jo, and who knew about condoms. Well you evidently!

    I agree the whole management in Australia of the epidemic is totally ludicrous. So many holes that people are driving through. I mean hairdressers! I might be one of the very vain people but even I cancelled my appointment.

    Take care, maybe we should have a bloggers virtual drink sometime 😘

    1. Lol you’d be surprised what trivia is kept in this little brain of mine – or maybe you wouldn’t be lol. I ran into my hairdresser at the supermarket and she said they’ve closed anyway. I am vain when it comes to my hair but even I wouldn’t feel comfortable. You guys take care too x

  2. Hi, Jo – Thanks for the update. Glad that you are safe and sound. The COVID-19 closures and regulations that you have there are similiar to here, but ours may be a bit tighter (no hairdresser shops open, all flights from UK have been stopped, travelers must have a 14-day quarantine period and not leave the house/apt/hotel room. This is no longer self-isolation. These travelers also may not reside with seniors.
    I’m happy to see a photo again of your homemade icecream. I’ve been craving it since your last post!! 😀
    Wishing a belated ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sarah!.

    1. Yeah our government has only just started the quarantine as opposed to self isolation – people weren’t following it at all. Our state borders are closed & Australians aren’t allowed to travel – with the only arrivals in Australians returning from overseas or people with special dispensation. NZ is at level 4 & I suspect we’ll be at level 3 shortly.

  3. Beautiful sunset images. I miss being outside. Not enjoying feeling trapped in my own home with all these messy kids!

    1. I’m lucky enough to catch a sunrise every morning – out walking at 6am each day. I work from home normally anyways so that’s not really any different. My 22 yo said the other day though how glad she was that I didn’t have to homeschool her.

  4. Glad you’re safe and sound, Jo. The cake and ice cream look delicious. All non-essential businesses are closed where I live. I had my haircut about a week before the pandemic was declared so I’m good for a while. #lifethisweek

  5. I completely lucked out and just scraped in under the deadline for postal voting. No way I would have gone. Sam Neil is such a good human, isn’t he?

  6. Super exciting that Nigella commented on your Foodim post – yay! How good is Zoom – we too have enjoyed virtual drinks with friends. So much fun! With the extra time together and more reading time, this little introvert is very happy! I will have to check out Sam’s gram – the more smiling we can do right now the better. I’m ready for a total lockdown and would rather it be sooner rather than later but my heart is breaking for the businesses and jobs lost – this isn’t just a health crisis, it’s an economic one too.

  7. Your food pics always make me want to pop over for a cuppa and a sample. No baking here – or we’d be the size of a barn in very short time! Fortunately the condom shortage isn’t a problem for us (getting old has its benefits). I’ve also found the “Your Dead to Me ” podcasts, so will check a few out. Loved your jigsaw – it looks a bit tricky.

  8. Wow Nigella commented, how exciting! I’m now following Sam Neill and love his opening words each time How are you? as if he really cares about the answer and how I am. Love it, thanks so much the recommendation. Take care x #lifethisweek

  9. I love Sam Neill’s feed! He just seems so not-fake, if that makes sense!

    I was surprised to see a post from Mel K today sharing news that we HAD gone into ‘home confinement’ from Sunday night, an announcement from our Premier. It kinda went unnoticed I felt… I certainly didn’t realise. It’s a whole new normal now isn’t it. So strange. x

  10. Oooo, if I did my math right, I think Sarah and I share a birthday! It was a strange one, that’s for sure. But my day ended up being filled with people taking the time to get in touch and actually reach out. It was waaay better than last year when I felt sort of isolated in a busy world. Funny that. That said, the day really could have been improved even further by a sponge! Haha.

      1. Hahah. True, but we find a way! (I ran away to our favourite isolated beach camping spot, before it was closed down). 😉

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