5 things – Sunday, April 5, 2020

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.


There are virtual couch choirs and live-streamed performances of Shakespeare. My favourite though is Rory Southworth (@rorysouthworth) who is “leading” an indoor expedition to Everest. 

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 these pikelets for Saturday morning breakfast. They’re from Ella Risbridger’s Midnight Chicken and I posted the recipe here and told you about the book here.

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:

Okay, that was my week…how was yours? How are you finding isolation?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

28 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I completely support your rant about people not following social distancing practices and government regulations. Actually, I’ve been surprised at my own reaction. A blogger whom I admire and follow, posted some recent pictures, In one shot, she and friends clearly were not social distancing. She did caption it that she couldn’t help herself because she hadn’t seen those friends in a long time and just had to hug them. Seriously?! No!! We CAN all stop ourselves. But if we don’t all do it together, then we lengthen the time that we are all in this holding pattern. There – my rant over now too!
    PS – I knew that those Pistachio Persuaders were going to be fabulous!

    1. It’s funny how things like this bring out reactions that are surprising. I have always thought myself to be very non judgmental but I’m seeing a completely different side of myself emerge.

  2. Hi Jo, Thankfully people in my neighbourhood have been following public health advice and government orders regarding social/ physical distancing. Our streets are empty and quiet. There is a large number of elderly people where I live. I love your butterfly photo. How good is it that you got the special care package with flour to bake those amazing-looking biscuits. Have a good week! #lifethisweek

  3. Hi Jo I feel really angry about those who aren’t taking the restrictions seriously. I see them at work every day. Interested to see that you have post virus stories in you head. I’ve been wondering about the novels that will feature corona virus. It’s going to be interesting. #life this week Sharing

    1. I reckon there’s aready people using their isolation to write them… Some of these indie romance writers write so quickly they’ll be on the shelves in a month. I saw a cookbook yesterday on ibooks about iso cooking.

  4. I’ve been noticing the amount of butterflies (or moths) for a few months as lots die on my windscreen as I drive from mum’s hometown to mine. It’s weird that they appeared quite suddenly.

    I love the acts of kindness we’re seeing as well. Similar things happened during the bushfires of course as well and it’s amazing that we do (and can) pull together in times of emergency. And I love that people are making the most of it and getting a laugh out of some of the escapades I’m seeing on social media. Last night it was an upstairs neighbour pouring wine out of their window into the glass of the downstairs neighbour (arm and glass outside of the window). Not sure how much went in the glass but someone across the road filmed it and it was so funny.

  5. Jo,
    I’m with you on appreciating this simpler life we have all been forced to lead. And yes, also eager to get away on that next trip!

    Fingers crossed we will all be jet set at the end of the year!

    SSG xxx

  6. I’m with you on the rant, I can’t bear people who don’t follow the rules. I’m not bothered if they get sick but it makes me feel a bit stabby to think their selfishness could have serious consequences for others. Why can’t they think about “we” instead of “me”? Sigh!

    Very excited about your bag of flour, I’m all about the flourless recipes this week. I have a spare bag but I’m trying to save it for emergencies! I’m not worried about the loo roll so much but the flour thing is really concerning!

    Those feel good stories really put a smile on my dial so thank you – have you checked on the Instagram account Dogs Working From Home? It’s instagram gold! Hope you have a great week x

  7. It is frustrating when people don’t comply. Though it kind of happened to me on the weekend! I was driving to the egg farm as we were out of eggs and when I got there, it was closed! I turned around and went straight back home but technically I think that meant I was out for a drive and not supplies 😉

  8. I’m a bit judgy of the non-complying people too Jo – and the hoarders – and the shops being so slow to restock essentials. Our Coles hasn’t had soap for weeks – and I know it’s not because people are buying it by the trolley-load. Still, meat’s back, milk’s in good supply, fruit and veg etc is everywhere, so basically I’m happy.

    I’m also not a traveller, so I’m happy being hunkered down at home and heading out for my daily walks. Our neighbourhood is doing “going on a bear hunt” and putting teddies in their windows for kids to “hunt” as they go for a walk, and there are chalk rainbows on the pavement everywhere – I love the positivity and community spirit and it’s such a joy to have so much while we are supposedly so “deprived”.

      1. Hi Jo – just back for #MLSTL…. oh and today we had a decorated pet rock (with a cupcake design) left on our doorstep. So much positivity still floating around. BTW have you seen the videos of people dressing up in costume to put out their bins? There’s a FB group – “bin isolation outing” where they post pics – it gave me a laugh for the day.
        Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

  9. I smirked at your comments about people not following the rules and your hope that the beaches don’t get closed down. I haven’t been able to get flour since all this started but most other things have been fine and I’m managing OK. Loving the feel good stories too, and the bread ovens – fabulous! #lifethisweek

  10. I have to say, I’m becoming quite “judgy” of people who aren’t following the guidelines too. They affect ALL of us!

    Deep breath! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful butterfly photo. Butterflies are just beginning to emerge here in the US. The pistachio ice cream sounds soooo yummy. Eat a bite for me! 🙂

  11. Joanne,

    First, I love butterflies and they are just starting to show up here, We’ve had a very WET spring in Texas.

    I like your idea for a book. It sounds interesting!

    I too, am frustrated with non-compliance as I fear it will keep the rest of us on lockdown longer.

    We’ve had issues getting flour here a well. I’m glad someone dropped you a care package!

    Hopefully, it won’t be much longer and we’ll all be free as a butterfly!


  12. Yes to not following rules…we get pretty cross too. Mostly I see people doing the right thing here but being Easter Weekend on the Central Coast I don’t dare drive to the beach to walk…as there will be police presence for sure. Just. Stay. Home. and then we might help the virus not spread. Ah, society, it sure is a mixed up mob. Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 15/51 Share Your Snaps #3 13.4.2020 Happy Easter. Stay Safe. Stay Home. Stay Well. Denyse.

  13. Love those butterflies, Jo! And I’m definitely going to check out Dogs Working From Home. How sweet that someone sent you that care package. Life is good. #MLSTL

  14. Hi Joanne, I usually try not to be judgey although this Easter weekend saw a lot of people in motion with campers. Our ferries were filled to capacity. Sitting slightly apart just does not do it. Your butterfly photo is exceptionally beautiful! A very thoughtful care package. Fascinating about the bread oven built into the wall. I totally agree with you on how truth is stranger than fiction. Take care!

    1. It’s ridiculous how some people don’t get the message, isn’t it? (or choose to ignore it…)

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