We have had two wonderful pieces of news in the last couple of days.
The first, relates to the way that we have managed to get coronavirus under control in Victoria. Over the last nine days we have had absolutely new zero cases of the virus in Victoria. Restrictions have been further eased and there is even some talk about how it could be possible for the virus to die out if we can sustain this experience.
The main restrictions that we have had eased from midnight tonight provide a lot more freedom for Victorians. There are still restrictions on visiting people in their homes, and at functions such as weddings and funerals and we will still need to wear face masks. However, we can now:
- Travel beyond Melbourne into regional Victoria, so the ban on leaving the metropolitan area of Melbourne has been axed.
- Melbourne’s 25-kilometre travel limit has gone.
- A maximum of two people will be able to visit our home per day, and those two people no longer need to be from the same household.
- Gyms and indoor sporting facilities can open with up to 20 people, subject to strict density limits.
- For those wanting to get out of town, accommodation and tourism sites are reopening across the state.
- Restaurants, pubs and cafes will now be able to host up to 40 customers indoors and 70 outdoors, providing they can meet minimum density requirements.
Ironically, our neighbouring states still have their borders closed to Victorians, yet we now have a lower number of active cases than any of them. Perhaps we should get the police at the border checkpoints to turn around 180° and stop their ‘pox ridden’ citizens from coming here. Seriously, we are looking forward to the day soon when those borders will open again.
Since we can travel further, Jill and I have again visited the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. It’s a very pleasant place to walk around and enjoy the ambience and the colours of the spring flowers. I think we found where the corona virus actually comes from. This tiny cacti in the ‘arid garden’ looked exactly like the images that we see of the virus in the media!
The second piece of good news was that Donald Trump has been defeated in the election in the USA. It’s like a weight off our shoulders. I am less concerned about which party is in government in the United States but I can’t abide Trump’s narcissistic, dishonest and arrogant behaviour. I watched Joe Biden’s speech today and it was a complete change to hear conciliatory words and a call for unity. I especially like d the way that he praised his wife, Jill. That contrasts heavily with Trump who would have only bragged about how good he, himself, was and promoted more division.
Dave, one of my American friends put it like this:
Try mimicking Trump’s actions and behaviours in your own family, business and community and see how that works out for you – Be a bully. Be dishonest. Brag about your capabilities and achievements. Lie a lot. Be divisive, abusive and discriminatory. Deny responsibility or accountability. Give benefits, favours and advantages to those wealthiest around you at the expense of all others and inflame anger and discontent frequently.
Those behaviours are nothing like the values that I was brought up with – Be kind. Be fair. Be loving. Be tolerant. Be helpful. Be honest. Be forgiving. Do no harm. Clean up your own messes. Ask for, and give, forgiveness. Apply your talents to make the world better. Behave so God will pleased.
I know that Trump has a couple of months before he goes (if he ever really does go completely) but I am going to have to find something to fill in a hole that his departure will leave for me. For a long time now, one of the first things I have done in the morning is to review the newspapers on my iPad and see what other stupid thing Donald has done or said overnight. There has hardly been a day over the last four years when he hasn’t said or done something ridiculous. It’s little wonder that he has been the laughing stock of the world, and the world is now rejoicing that he is leaving office. Now, I’ll just have to find something else to do.
I extend my best wishes to all the people that I know in America and hope that they can work together to overcome some of the division and vitriol that exists in the United States. Some of my friends have told me that they are no longer able to talk to their neighbours and friends because of their extreme political views. I am so grateful that we don’t have that degree of animosity in Australia. I have a good old mate, Ken, who I first met fifty two years ago in recruit training. He and I have quite different political views but we have always been able to respect each other’s opinions and listen objectively to each other’s ideas. He will probably dislike me for calling him ‘old’ but we both remember the good old days when politicians behaved in a gentlemanly or ladylike fashion even though they were on different sides of the political spectrum.
Back to our every day lives in what has become our new ‘Covid-Nornal’ life style. I have discovered that Jill is a ‘forty-seven percenter’. A recent survey showed that 47% of Victorians feel uncomfortable about going back out into the real world after our lockdown. Jill is one of them, preferring to avoid crowded places. We have been able to find more opportunities for a picnic alone in the park on the days that are now getting warmer and more sunny. I’m sure that as time goes by we will have more opportunities to get out and about and our lives will gradually get back to something resembling normality.
Way back in April (doesn’t that seem like five lifetimes ago) we planted some seeds and we nurtured the seedlings on the shelf outside our kitchen window during the lockdown. Some of them were Flanders Poppies and they are now growing in our front garden and flowering beautifully it’s only a few days until Remembrance Day on November 11, so this year we will have some Poppies for our own commemoration.
This morning, I walked down to the local Service Station where they sell the Sunday Papers. I extended my walk along to the swing bridge that crosses the Yarra River to Odyssey House. The grand building on the other side of the river used to be a Roman Catholic Seminary but for some years it has been a drug rehabilitation centre. Below the swing bridge, it is reported that platypus are living along the river bank. They are the one animal that I have never seen in the wild. I stood on the bridge for some time to see if I can find one but I think the river is still flowing too strongly after recent rain for them to be visible.
As something of a ‘plane nerd’, I have been interested to see how few aircraft have been flying in the skies over Victoria. I grabbed a screenshot from my ‘Flightradar 24’ app the other day and it’s clear that commercial airline traffic is virtually non-existent. There are plenty of small aircraft from flying schools that are taking advantage of the empty skies and there have been a number of RAAF training aircraft in the skies over their base at Sale. I expect that commercial flights will increase significantly once our interstate borders open again.
We, ourselves, aim to be out and about as soon as possible. Seeing that the 25 km travel limit is discontinued from tonight we have a booking for lunch tomorrow at a restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula. In two weeks time we will be driving around the Great Ocean Road (one of the world’s most scenic drives) to Apollo Bay and Warrnambool. I hope that, after all this time at home, I have not forgotten how to pack a travel bag