Confined to Barracks – Week Eight

This is now the eighth week of us being confined to barracks. It’s been very much like last week although we have stolen a few hours to go for illegal short drives just to get out of the house. I’m waiting for the day when this virus will magically disappear (as someone suggested it would) but it seems that no one yet has said ‘Abracadabra’ strongly enough.

We had been waiting rather anxiously to hear how our state government was going to relax our restrictions when the state of emergency was reviewed yesterday I think it must have been like the anxiety a prisoner might feel in waiting to see whether they would get access to parole and what the conditions might be!

On one hand, I have to say that I was a touch disappointed with the news of the very limited way that the restrictions in our state were being relaxed. We can now have a gathering of up to five other people in our homes (rather than one), we can go fishing, golfing and have a group of ten people at weddings, twenty at funerals and up to ten people exercising together outdoors. We also have a fifth reason for leaving home and that is to visit family and friends. I was hoping that we could now be able to sit in a small group at a table in a cafe and have a glass of wine with friends, but I guess that will have to come later. Children will all be back at school by June 9th. We still can’t go for a drive and have to be home each night.

On the other hand, I’m glad that we are taking the removal of restrictions very slowly as I note that in most other epidemics there has been a second wave of infection that is far worse than the first one. It is very easy to think that now we have flattened the curve, the risk from this virus is all over. I think that it is a bit like parachuting out of a plane. Just because the parachute has slowed our descent, it is still too early to take it off when we haven’t yet reached the ground.

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I notice that there is now more traffic on the roads and larger numbers of people going shopping. I just hope that people still continue to respect the rules of social distancing now that they appear to have more confidence to venture out than they did in the first week or two of this crisis.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and it was wonderful to see Cathy who dropped in with a bunch of flowers and some chocolates for Jill. We talked outside on our deck for a while, maintaining a healthy distance between us. I tried to give Jill a treat for Mother’s Day so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking something nice. For lunch we had mussels cooked in apple cider and cream with garlic and chives. For dinner we had a roast chicken dish with herbed potatoes.

Zoom meetings have kept me busy during the week with up to three on the one day. It is a great medium for keeping in touch with friends and family.

I noticed that one of our neighbours up the hill had a wonderful growth of fungi in their front garden. So, with their permission, I spent a half hour photographing them. 

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I have also spent a good number of hours re-editing the large number of photos that I have on my computer.

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Jill is still busy knitting Trauma Bears for the Red Cross. Once she has knitted both side of their body, the Red Cross takes them to other volunteers and prisoners who sew faces and details onto them for distribution by the Fire Brigade and Ambo’s to give to little kids after fires, accidents or some other traumatic event. She revels in getting the crossword from the daily paper completed each morning and is working hard on a jigsaw of the British Houses of Parliament. There are a lot of pieces of a very similar blue sky that she is trying to find a place for.

I had to laugh one day this week when I made a trip to the supermarket. There were two women looking for something on the bottom shelves on opposite sides of the aisle. There they were standing bum-to-bum , totally oblivious to social distancing, or any thing happening around them. I just waited at a respectful distance until they found what they wanted and unblocked the aisle. I couldn’t tell them why I was smiling as I considered them prime candidates for sticking a flashlight up their arse and illuminating their insides with bright light that Donald Trump said would kill the virus!

Actually, I found the perfect set of protective gear in this photo of a Chines woman on a train. I think it should be adopted universally by all world governments.

Woman on train

I found some very interesting facts about new shortages in the supermarkets. I read that in some parts of the USA, it is of some comfort that toilet paper is now back in stock but they are, very sadly, running short on bereavement cards. With everyone in Australia cooking at home, we are now finding some spices very hard to find. Apparently, Australians are buying more  cardamon each week than they normally would buy in six months.

We continue with our horticultural endeavours. Everything in my vegetable garden is growing well but I do enjoy zapping the cabbage white butterflies with a spray of Pyrethrum, I know that there are thousands more to come but it does give me a perverse feeling of satisfaction to squirt one or two of the buggers that lay their eggs on my cabbages. I stand very still and let them settle on a plant that they choose to lay their eggs. While they are sitting there I can quietly creep up on them with my spray bottle and give them a good shot. It’s a great feeling to see them erratically fly up into the sky in their death spiral.

Jill planted a packet of California poppy seeds in some seed raising mix a few weeks ago. We now have hundreds of little plants that are now an inch or so high and I have been pinching some out into seedling trays so that they can mature into a size that we can eventually plant out in the garden. Our plan is to have a forest of poppies that will flower next spring.

The Vietnam Veterans that I ‘coincidentally’’ meet up with for a coffee on Tuesday mornings have shamed me into walking rather than driving up to the shops. For me, it is about 1.5 kilometres walk up the hill to the shopping centre but then, after a chart over coffee,  I can then walk back half way with them until they take one of the other side streets to their own homes. I’m still walking far more than I am driving and I’m still getting to my Gym twice each week for an exercise physiology session, That is deemed to be a medical treatment rather than just a gym session and it is keeping my injured shoulder in good shape.

Medical facilities are very important at this time. It looks like the virus is (hopefully) no longer going to overwhelm our hospital system. Hospitals in some areas – especially those in rural areas are the backbone of the health system. I was reading about the significance of the hospital in one little town where the local community were making a point about the importance of their hospital. They reported that a woman gave birth in that hospital every hour. I just don’t know how she handles the continuous pain or why she just doesn’t stop getting pregnant so frequently.

Anyway, for now, it’s on with this new week. However, It probably won’t be significantly different from our previous weeks.

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