I saw this list of questions on Deb and Jennifer’s blog recently and decided to answer them – even if it was just to record my own experiences in posterity. Min over at Write of the Middle has also been doing a Corona Iso Chronicles.
Before I start though, it should be noted that we’re gradually coming out of lockdown as we knew it. In Queensland, where I live, state borders were closed, as were restaurants, cafes and anywhere else people could gather. We got to what they call Level 3 – which means that through the height of it we were allowed to leave the house for exercise or to shop for essential products. We could drive in our area to exercise, but had to come straight home afterward. We weren’t supposed to be out and about for recreational purposes. Parks and recreational facilities were closed, and the beaches were available for exercise only. Some restaurants offered takeaway and (thankfully) our fave coffee place under the surf club was able to stay open for takeaway coffee.
As I write this, restrictions have eased. Although our borders are closed we can now travel anywhere within the state. Restaurants and clubs can open with up to 20 patrons, gyms and swimming pools are opening again, and gatherings of 20 people are permitted.
What are you most grateful for during this Covid-19 crisis?
Living where we do. I think experiencing this in Sydney where we used to live would have been a very different experience.
Our house is large enough that we could escape from each other in need, our beach is close enough that we could still drive there to do our morning walk, and our suburb interesting enough that I could walk around in the afternoons.
Also, because I already work from home there wasn’t much difference there – although I did have both Sarah and Grant home during the work day – and they weren’t working (sigh).
What have you missed most during the full or partial lock-down?
Being able to eat out and write outside the house. On my writing days I used to go to a coffee shop or the surf club, but during lockdown parks were also off limits. I also missed being able to go for a picnic and linger over our morning coffee at the beach – we had to leave as soon as we finished exercising.
While I used to complain about having to go to Sydney for the day job, I miss going down to see my parents and, I’ll deny that I ever said this, but I miss seeing my colleagues.
I also missed being able to get my greys coloured and for a short period of time seriously contemplated growing the colour out – and then my hairdresser came back to work. Phew.
Has your hobby sustained you during this time?
Not really because I’ve been working as normal. I have read more and also blogged more.
Having said that, I’ve had dreadful trouble finishing the structural edit for my novel and haven’t written a single new word in anything else. It’s like it’s all too real for me and my imagination is having problems seeing past the real.
What changes have you seen in your life since March 2020?
Personally I feel my anxiety is worse. I dread picking my phone up each morning to see the new statistics or breaking news – usually from the US.
Some restrictions are easing and it’s lovely to be able to get my hair cut and dyed, and, while Queensland’s borders remain closed to the rest of the country we can now get out and about. We can also eat out – to an extent, although menus, patrons and bookings/timeframes are still limited.
Weirdly I’ve had almost a doubling of traffic to this blog – no idea why – but I’m not complaining!
Have you been exercising more or less?
At first I dropped off a bit, but since April I’ve been racking up the step count. Signing up for the #walk1000miles challenge has helped.
Has the refrigerator been your friend or foe?
Sadly I have been eating more and falling back into my midweek drinking habits.
Have you been participating in virtual gatherings with friends or family?
Yes – I’ve been having a regular Friday night catchup with my Wellington based bestie and also been doing Gogglebox Masterchef ie watching the Sunday night Masterchef elimination with my brother and his wife virtually. It’s been one of the highlights of my week.
Have you taken up new hobbies during the lockdowns?
No, largely because my job is unchanged. I’ve always worked wholly from home. Sarah did, however bring out the jigsaws, and then there was that weekend that we bought terracotta pots and painted them for the garden.
Are you cooking or gardening more?
No more than usual, but it annoyed me early on when I couldn’t get flour – luckily I always have enough of the basics. I have most of my herbs and lettuce etc in pots (helps me deal with the cane toads) and I did paint some (pots not cane toads) and plant more salad leaves.
Have you shopped more or less? Online or offline?
I’m not much of a shopper but found I shopped even less than usual.
What have you found to be the strangest change to your life?
Nothing really – but I do look forward to the day when I can stand at a bar and order a drink again.
Have you found the changes and experience stressful/anxious/worrying?
Yes, I’ve been concerned about my parents in Sydney, and I’ve been concerned for friends who have suffered job losses.
How have the closures affected your local community?
I live in an area that relies on tourism with peaks at Christmas, Easter and school holidays. Most of our business during this time of the year is from cold Southerners wanting to thaw out, so I feel for those businesses and hope that they’ll be able to weather the storm until the borders are open again.
Have in-person meetings been replaced with virtual meetings via Zoom, Skype etc?
I’ve always worked remotely so have dialled into meetings. I’m finding it strange now that everyone else is working remotely that we’re doing some on Google Teams.
Do you enjoy the virtual meeting format?
I’m pretty used to it.
Are you working from home instead of in your usual place of work?
No change for me – my day job is based in Sydney so I’m still working from home.
Have your habits changed over the past months?
Some bad habits have snuck through that I need to get a handle on again.
Have you had to cancel travel plans for pleasure or family?
First up in late March there was a long weekend in Queenstown (NZ) which was cancelled when NZ imposed self-isolation and replaced with a long weekend in Cairns which was cancelled when flights were grounded. Then there was a weekend in Kingscliff (Northern NSW) for our wedding anniversary in May that didn’t happen. We’ve also cancelled a family trip to Tumbarumba (southern NSW) in July, Melbourne (in July), and Perth for the RWA Conference (which we’ll now be holding virtually) in August. I was also due to be in Wellington (NZ) for WOW in September but that’s also cancelled.
Do you think you’ll be able to travel in 2020?
At the moment our state is open but our borders are closed and we’re being encouraged to see more of our state. As I write this we’re on a long weekend away but to be honest there is still a lot that’s closed. Hopefully our borders will open up some time in July.
I remain optimistic of being able to get over to New Zealand by the end of the year.
Have you/others been wearing masks when out and about in your area?
No. We’ve seen a few about in the main part of lockdown, but it hasn’t been much of a thing in our part of the country. We had very few cases in our region.
Will you change your lifestyle after this experience?
Not really, although I don’t think I’ll take simple pleasures like being able to hug your friends and picnic outside for granted again.
Normally we’d bring more provisions with us for a self-catering weekend away but this weekend we brought a mostly empty esky so we could buy from the town we were travelling to.
I think it has also shown the importance of supporting local business.
What about you?
How have you been coping? Have you kept a journal or made notes during these past few months?