Okay, so this week we’ve moved to level 3 restrictions here. This pretty much means (although the actual rules differ from state to state) stay at home if you can and leave home only to exercise, hunt and gather food (ie go to the supermarket of food market), or work (if you’re unable to work from home) – and you can only do it with members of your own household and one other person. When you finish exercising, hunting and gathering or working, you go home. It is, as I said to my husband the other day when he was seething about the policeman on the beach who warned us not to sit down and linger over our post-walk coffee, that easy.
I’m finding myself being really quite judgey about the people who aren’t sticking to the guidelines – the people using the (closed) outdoor gyms, the sunbakers on the beach, the groups of older people who still congregate for coffees together at the beach. Sure, they might be sitting a little further apart than they usually do, but it’s breaking the order. I watched the other day as they separated and made to go to their cars when the police came by only to regather once he’d left.
Then there are the ones who come home from overseas and don’t think that self-isolation really applies to them. That’s why we now have a mandatory quarantine – because certain people think they’re above the rules. But don’t get me started on that particular soapbox.
And this is where I’m quite ashamed to say it out loud – I’m not as worried about them catching the virus (although obviously, I am) as I am about the possibility of authorities deciding to close the walkway and the takeaway coffee shop and put fencing around the beach and push us into complete lockdown – all because a few people won’t do what they’re told.
The sooner people – and that means everybody – do the right thing, the sooner we can flatten the curve on this thing and get back to whatever normal looks like in a post-pandemic world. Okay, that’s the rant over.
It’s the simple things that I’m now grateful for – and being able to get out in the fresh air each day is one of them. Having the ability to connect, virtually, is another, and still having a job is a third. And that’s for starters.
I can’t deny that I’m enjoying the simplicity of life at the moment – even as I’m anxious to begin planning the next trip for when borders re-open and planes start flying. I’m also looking for positives and things to cheer about but admit that thoughts of the worst kind keep me awake in the middle of the night – but are gone again by the time I’m out walking, and the sun is up.
Anyways, the things that made me smile, think or wonder about last week…
There are so many of them around at the moment. Masses in fact, dare I say it, fluttering by.
These beautiful blue tiger butterflies are everywhere – it’s because of the amount of rain we’ve had and the hot and humid conditions. Apparently.
2. Lockdown Culture
I’m loving some of the stories coming out about what people are doing to keep their spirits up.
At some point today in Stockport a man will run the streets dressed as Spider-Man. In fact, this will happen twice because the Stockport Spider-Man has become so popular that a second recruit was needed.
Local children have taken to putting drawings in their front windows saying “Spider-Man, stop here!”. The lucky ones get their wish. Video sightings are accumulating. The Stockport Spider-Men have even set up a Just Giving page raising money for the NHS.
In Wells, Somerset, this evening a group of four Wells Cathedral choristers who have been self-isolating together will appear on the street and perform what has become a daily concert for their neighbours.thetimes.co.uk
Southworth decided to organise a group challenge after receiving positive feedback online for three solo hikes during the first week of lockdown. “I did Snowdon on my bottom step; Ben Nevis on the seven stairs down to my garden; and ran up the hill at the back of my garden 29 times to scale Scafell Pike. For this challenge, I wanted to bring people with me on the journey. There was a lot of negativity among the outdoor community about being confined at home and I wanted to give people a reason to exercise indoors.”The Guardian
3. Truth is stranger than fiction…
I have so many stories in my head with lockdown themes at the moment – in the romance writing world I think it’s going to be a trope all of its own. I can only wish that I was a faster writer – and had the time to do it…but that would mean that I wouldn’t have any work and we don’t want to be sending that sort of message to the universe.
My favourite story of the week was this one, about a British hiker named James Johnston who spent 5 days off-grid hiking in New Zealand and emerged to find a world in lockdown.
When Johnston entered the bush to solo-tramp the Five Passes route, a back-country route in the Mt Aspiring National Park, the new alert system was at “reduce contact.” He figured that there wasn’t a much better way to reduce contact than to tramp a remote mountain range where there was no cell reception, so off he headed.
For the next five days he didn’t see another person – until he arrived at a deserted Routeburn Track shelter.
Finding the Routeburn shelter deserted, Johnston says an “eerie” feeling began creeping over him, as he sat down to eat his lunch and plan the next move. There being no cars around to give him a ride back to Queenstown, some 70km away.
Suddenly, three people emerged through the heavy downpour, dressed in high-vis and wearing face masks.The Guardian
The day he came out of the bush was the first day the country was in lockdown.
What I love about stories such as this is that there is now very little that isn’t believable – or material.
4. Care packages
I made mention on a call last week that I was itching to bake but hadn’t been able to get flour. A few days later I was surprised to receive a delivery of a special covid-19 survival pack. It contained a toilet roll, some hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, two bottles of wine and this packet of flour.
I used it wisely and made these biscuits. They’re Pistachio Persuaders from Darren Purchese’s cookbook, Lamingtons and Lemon Tarts, but I also found the recipe online here.
Mine don’t look as neat as his do and when I got tired of the mess of full dipping them into minty white chocolate, I half-dipped, and when that was too much of a faff I drizzled the chocolate instead.
I also made pistachio ice cream, but I haven’t taken a photo of that yet and it didn’t use flour, so really, has nothing at all to do with the care package.
5. Random monuments
Each Saturday we buy a sourdough spelt loaf from Ten Acres at the farmer’s market. Even though we’re lucky enough to get great sourdough every day from our local independent baker, these loaves are weekend special.
While our farmer’s markets are still operating, Ten Acres aren’t coming – for good reason. I read during the week that they are delivering to a vegan cafe up in Buderim Village so up I went and secured the last loaf this morning.
While I was waiting outside to get into the shop – social distancing and all that – I noticed for the first time the sign just outside:
Then I noticed the bread oven built into the wall. Usually I’m in such a rush but this time? It all seemed a tad serendipitous.
On the Blog…
In case you missed it, this week there was:
- Something about the longest March in modern history,
- Something about Gloucester, and
- Something new in Cookbook Corner
Okay, that was my week…how was yours? How are you finding isolation?