We are now halfway through our second six-week lockdown period in Melbourne and things are looking a little better. The number of new virus cases in Victoria has dropped from over 700 per day at the peak to now around 180 per day. Keeping people masked and apart seem to be working. Whether this will continue for us to be able to get back to a bit more of normality in three weeks time is an interesting question.
I don’t really have a lot to report this week because we haven’t done much. We’ve been spending most of our time at home and just getting out to the supermarket once or twice per week or a walk occasionally. I found that it does help to walk with someone else. I normally walk around 3 km but today I walked with a friend and in the hour that we were allowed to be away from home, we walked nearly 5 km.
I have spent my days over the last week doing two things. Firstly, re-editing many of my photos from our previous trips. It’s interesting how some of those that I had discarded as second-rate actually look rather good when I re-work them. Secondly I’ve been spending a few hours each day watching the progress of the coronavirus hotel inquiry as it is streamed live over the Internet. So far, it shows that the escape of the virus into the community from the hotels is a complete stuff up by all parties. I also spent 40 hours trying to download the 96 gigabytes of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator game only to find out that it needs a computer with higher specification than mine has, so it will not run.
The hardest thing over the last few weeks has been to solve problems when something goes wrong. Our washing machine died at the beginning of this lockdown and it was easier to buy a new machine then to wait for six weeks until a serviceman was allowed inside our house. Jill’s watch battery went flat the other day and fortunately we had another standby watch for her to wear but its battery was also flat. All of the stores where it could be replaced were closed. However we were able to mail order one and have it delivered in a couple of days. We just don’t need things to go wrong when we are in a lockdown situation with limited resources.
At the moment, we are in the middle of a very cold spell of weather. This is caused by a cold weather system bringing extremely cold air up from Antarctica. Over the last two days the temperature has struggled to reach double digits so we’ve sat inside by the fire for much of the day keeping warm. I I haven’t been able to get out into the garden very much at all. The garden is looking good but it won’t be very long before the lawns need another cut. It’s not quite spring yet, but we have blossom trees and wattle trees in flower as well as some spring bulbs starting to show. Some noisy miners have built a nest in the tree outside our kitchen window and we watch them swooping at other birds that come too close. I don’t think noisy miners are very bright birds because they built this nest in one of the highest branches that gets tossed around severely by the wind when it blows beyond a mere zephyr.
We are now picking broccoli and cauliflower that we planted at the beginning of the first lockdown. I planted potatoes this week and some lettuce seedlings are growing nicely in the little hot house on our kitchen window ledge. We are trying to be creative with food so as not get bored with it. The other day I found a nice recipe for cauliflower and cheese pizza.Tonight’s meal is kangaroo with a raspberry glaze.
Our adjoining states have completely closed their borders to Victorians, as many of you will know. This has made it very difficult for those people who live on the border because they are cut off from being able to cross the border for activities such as school, work, medical attention or to attend to livestock. There have been a couple of cases where bureaucracy has really reigned supreme. One farmer wanted to send his sheep a few kilometres across the the border to market but was told by the New South Wales health department that he could only do this if he transported them to Melbourne, flew them to Sydney and then transported them back to the market by truck. Needless to say, the comedians have quickly latched onto this and created jokes about how stupid this situation is.
Another farmer needed to transport 27 tons of hay to his other property which was just 20 km across the border in NSW. The same bureaucrats told him that he could only get to feed his sheep by trucking the hay 380 km to Melbourne, flying the 27 tons of hay to Sydney (presumedly in a chartered jumbo jet or using the military), quarantining himself and the hay for two weeks (while the sheep went hungry) and then trucking the hay 850 km from Sydney to his New South Wales property.
These silly examples do keep my sense of humour intact but for the folk that live along the borders of our state, it is not very funny.
During the week, my sense of humour was also tickled when I came across an article written by John Cleese that jokingly referred to the way that different countries were handling an earlier threat of terrorism. With apologies to Mr Cleese I have made an attempt to adapt this article into one that describes how these different countries are handling coronavirus. I’m sure that it will offend everybody, so don’t read on unless you can handle some humorous offence.
World Reactions to Covid-19
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to Covid-19 and have therefore raised their concern level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” There are signs that their anger may soon extend to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when the supply of tea nearly ran out. The lockdowns have been re-categorised from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when they were threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their discomfort level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s kill the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced that it has raised its Covid-19 guidance level from “Shrug your shoulders” to “Scowl at Others.” The only two higher levels in France are “Protest violently in the streets wearing yellow jackets” and “Capitulate to Authority”.
Italy has increased their level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Honk your car horn aggressively”. Two more levels remain: “Ignore the government ” and “Hold a New Election.”
The Germans have increased their Covid alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is that the virus might cause NATO to pull out of Brussels.
The Spanish are all excited to see their navy being employed to support medics with another transport option. Their ships, all with glass bottoms, enable the new Spanish navy to get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Americans meanwhile are avoiding masks by claiming their constitutional rights to individual freedoms, ordering gun stores to stay open as an essential service and listening to their president tell them how the virus will magically disappear.
The Japanese are diligently following every Covid-19 restriction without question and complying with every instruction to the letter.
The North Koreans don’t even know that the coronavirus exists and are still worshiping their ‘Supreme Leader’ with massed military parades and synchronised marching to avoid being shot.
And in the southern hemisphere . . . . .
New Zealand has raised its bio security level – from “baaa” to “BAAAA!”. Due to continuing defence cutbacks, the military (apart from the army) is unable to offer any civil assistance (the airforce being a squadron of teenagers flying paper aeroplanes and the navy sailing some toy boats in the Prime Minister’s bathtub). New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is “I hope that Australia will come and help us”.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its covid restriction levels from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, mate”. Three more escalation levels remain: “Crikey!’, “We might have to cancel the barbie this weekend” and “The barbie is definitely off”. So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.