Here we are in the middle of winter – locked down for the fifth time on a miserable cold and wet winter’s day. I woke up this morning to find that the temperature was 5°C with a ‘feel like’ temperature of 3°C. (37°F) Our maximum for the day was just 8°C (46°F). It wasn’t surprising that I sat in front of the fire for much of the day. Actually, that’s not quite correct as today is Tuesday, (my coffee morning with a small group of local Vietnam Veterans) so I did wander up to our shopping centre this morning for an illicit coffee.
I say illicit because over the last four days, we have been in another covid lockdown. Going out for coffee is not one of the approved reasons for leaving home.
Across Australia, we had been doing well with Covid-19 with almost no cases anywhere. Four weeks ago, a limousine driver in Sydney was infected with the Delta variant of the virus by an air crew from the United States and within a few days it had spread across Sydney to hundreds of people. A trio of renegade furniture removalists from Sydney brought it to both Victoria and South Australia after they completely ignored all the Covid safety rules. Within a few days it was starting to spread here just as fast. It spread faster than a mouse plague in a grain silo. As a result, over 70% of Australia’s population are now locked down at home and state borders are closed.
I have to stay that I have changed my mind about being locked down. Over previous times I was angry and thought that lock downs were an over-reaction in controlling the virus because of an incompetent government health department. Having seen how quickly the virus can spread this time, I am no longer of that view. This Delta variant is rapacious, even though the Department of Health’s contact tracking capability has improved enormously.
The bad thing for Australia is that we were very complacent about vaccination because of the minimal numbers of the virus in our community. Vaccination was regarded as a non-urgent requirement. Now, that attitude has come back to bite us in the bum because only a small a proportion of the population is vaccinated.
I had my second AstraZeneca vaccination today, so in a couple of weeks, probably at the end of this lockdown period, once the vaccine has had the time to percolate (or whatever it needs to do in my body to be fully effective) I will be a lot safer.
In the meantime, I have been busy with cancelling a wide range of planned events. Over the last few days I have had cancelled my bi-ennial army reunion which was scheduled for mid-August, two lunches, a WW1 commemoration and a driving trip into NSW to some of the towns where Jill’s grandfather began his career as a mounted policeman in 1901.
In previous lockdowns, we have ordered some heat-at-home dinners from Rochford Winery – a local winery in the Yarra Valley with a very nice restaurant. Like clockwork, they called me on Friday to see if I would be interested in buying another one for this lockdown. Their food is delicious and while I get access to a nice meal, the winery is able to keep their chefs and some staff employed. We felt good about having a very nice meal of roasted beef cheek, salad and sticky date pudding on Sunday. Now that our lockdown has been extended for another week, I’ll have to see if they can deliver another one next weekend.
There are many signs that you are getting old. The obvious one is when police officers look as though they have just graduated from high school. Another is when the first car that you drove has reached vintage, or classic, status.
I had a different reminder today by the young woman doctor who gave me my covid vaccination. She asked me if I had any problems with vaccinations. I explained that when I was in the army, I had to attend a medical parade which meant that we walked through the medical hut, without shirts, getting seven vaccinations in our arms as walked along. One of them was a vaccination for the bubonic plague – a requirement for all of us destined to be posted to Vietnam. I told her that all this happened 53 years ago – well before she was born. Her response was “I’m sorry to sound so rude, but that was even before my parents were born!” So much for me feeling young at heart and virile.