It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted but that’s because in this lockdown we’ve hardly been doing anything. Apart from a couple of weeks when we were able to get out at during May, we have now been stuck at home since last March
The Premier of Victoria announced a road map out of our lockdown on Sunday but it is so long and conservative that we are all depressed and angry. It essentially means our current status of lockdown is to be extended for another two weeks (8 weeks in total) and we won’t be be completely unlocked until late November. The standards he is using for freeing up our restrictions look to be almost impossible to achieve. We already have feral protesters in the streets and my bet is that we will have otherwise conscientious people ignoring restrictions and practising some form of quiet civil disobedience – especially if it takes that long before the restrictions are lifted. Four weeks ago this state of 6 1/2 million people was experiencing 720 new cases of the virus each day. Today we have only 41 new cases (a 94% decrease) The restrictions are obviously working but we are just so tired of them. We think that this is one of the most extreme lockdowns in the world, especially for such a small number of cases.
On a brighter note, we are now into spring (for some reason the seasons in Australia start on the first day of the month rather than on the exact date of the Equinox itself). Things are moving in the garden. I have planted some more seedlings in my vegetable patch as well as the potatoes which I had been waiting to shoot. The technical name for this is chitting. I have also fertilised the lawn and done quite a bit of spring pruning.
Our nature strip has been invaded by a mass of Freesia bulbs. In past years I have tried to dig them out and to poison them. but this year I have just decided to let them grow and flower. I’ll cut the grass once they have stopped flowering.
We’ve had a good number of fine days in the last two weeks and our solar electricity system, along with our Tesla battery, has kept us self-sufficient in electricity for most days. It’s a far cry from just six weeks ago when we only produced about 10% of our own power because we had the heaters on and we had much less sunshine. It’s less than two months since the shortest day but our days are already over 90 minutes longer.
I took advantage of a couple of the fine days to do one of my least enjoyable jobs and that was to paint our side fence. I had spray-painted it a few years ago but the moisture has leeched some of the paint off the flat surfaces so it was time t brush some more paint on. I still have some retaining walls in the garden to paint but I’m putting that off until I get myself psychologically ready.
Five weeks ago, just before this second lockdown started, we found a box of mushroom compost at the local plant nursery. We have it sitting on our laundry bench and it is now starting to produce a good supply of mushrooms. We are looking forward to mushroom soup, mushroom risotto, mushroom pasta and mushroom everything.
We are still finding ways of filling in our time. I downloaded the new version of the Microsoft Flight Simulator program, which I think is the best computer game that has ever been made. The initial download was 93 GB and that took nearly 40 hours. When I first ran the program I discovered that the virtual machine on my Apple Mac computer was not fast enough for it to run. Over this weekend I partitioned the hard disk so that now I also have a Bootcamp partition (Apple users will understand this). I re-downloaded the software (only five hours this time) and now it runs beautifully. The quality of the scenery is exceptionally high. Last night I was able to fly over my house and see it in quite some detail.
Jill is still busy with crosswords, knitting, sewing, and she just completed her third 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. She has now started one of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House but is concerned that there are so many plain blue pieces of sea and sky for it to be very easy.
I have been walking on a couple of occasions with my friend Dr John who is a retired psychiatrist. We were discussing mental illness on one of these walks and he mentioned that there were two states bordering on insanity. I immediately thought of Canada and Mexico (after all the riots, protests, police shootings, virus, and vitriolic behaviour that is reported in the USA in relation to the current election campaign).
I have had two nice surprises in the last week. One was from the healthcare app on my phone which measures the number of steps that walk each day. It gives me Qantas frequent flyer points if I walk more than a target number of steps each week. It told me that since I have begun using the app ( a few years, now) I have now walked enough steps to equal the total distance from Los Angeles to New York. My second surprise was to find that the National Library of Australia have been recording my blog as part of Australia’s digital history. It is stored on a site named ‘Trove’ in which a trove of news articles are recorded for the future.
I also had to laugh this week when Australia Post delivered a parcel to me that I had ordered on eBay from China. Australia Post are having some problems sorting the vast quantity of parcels in the system because people are mail ordering and shopping online due to the virus. My parcel originally came to Melbourne but was sent to Sydney twice before it was finally delivered to me. I hope that it earned its own frequent-flier points. Now I understand why it took so long to get to me.
It was Father’s Day here on Sunday and whilst we couldn’t get to see our family in person, it was very nice to be able to have a Zoom conversation with them on Sunday morning. We treated ourselves to another order-in lunch which came from Rochford Winery in the Yarra Valley. The food was delicious and the portions were very generous. We had enough enough left over for dinner tonight.
Looking at this photo, it is clear that I am ready for another haircut. I’m just waiting for the barber to reopen.