We Have Survived Our First Week of Self Exile

Well, we have had a week since we returned home from our little jaunt around Victoria’s art silos and we are now hibernating at home because of the Corona Virus. I think we have survived rather well this week and I have a few random observations about my experience.

I’m missing my family. We have said goodby to our grand daughters for a few months and while I can contact them on WhatsApp and FaceTime, it’s just not the same. Audrey has been studying from school using Zoom and I see photos of her sitting at the dining room table doing her classes. The school have made their students wear their sports uniform (a more relaxed form of their school uniform) to ensure that they feel like they are at school. Schools here have just closed two weeks before the normal semester holiday so she and Violet will not have school now for four weeks.

I notice that my bank account is looking healthy. We are spending less money as we are not eating out for lunches and dinner at all. It’s a bit of a challenge, though, finding interesting things for lunches.

I decided that I would use some of my time this week  to get our winter vegetables planted. I found out last weekend that all the morons who have each bought two years of supply of toilet paper have now completely stripped the garden stores of seedlings and seeds in the expectation that they can feed their families over winter from a few carrot seeds, even thought they have never gardened before. Fortunately, one of our local nurseries had restocked their vegetable plants by Wednesday and I could buy some of the things that I would normally plant..

I rather enjoyed working in my vegetable garden. We had some sunny Autumn days and  I could work away unhurriedly while listening to the magpies carolling in the trees above as well as hearing the rainbow lorikeets squabbling in the trees next door. I have now planted out broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, lettuce, box choy, cabbage and sown some carrot, swede and beetroot seeds. We have not always been home to take advantage of the things we have sown but this time, I think we will be staying put for a few months.

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The pump on garden fountain had clogged up with silt and so I spent another half day cleaning it out and getting it back into full flow again.

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Overall, our garden looks to be in good shape and there really isn’t much more that needs to be done just now. I’ll have to concentrate on other things to keep me busy.

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I have been working with other committee members of my Probus club to find ways of keeping our members engaged since we can no longer hold meetings. To substitute for a speaker, I have put together a narrated slide show of my last trip to Antarctica in 2013. If you have nothing to do for 40 minutes, you can watch it on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKeefxpx_mk

So, all in all, this week has been quietly fulfilling.

We have decided to stay at home and just go out to the supermarket once a week to buy food. We went today, and were pleasantly surprised to find that everything that we had on our list was in stock – even tissues. I actually had a sense of anticipation as we drove there as this would be our big day out for the week. It was a bit of the same feeling that I had as a little boy when my mother used to take us into the city during the school holidays to do some shopping. We would travel on the tram – we were only allowed in the saloon section, not in the middle part where men could sit and smoke. That would have been much more exciting with its open doorways. There, you could have watched people and cars go by and feel the wind in your face. We would do some shopping at the shops and then have lunch at Coles Cafeteria in their Bourke Street store. Lunch usually consisted of a round of mixed sandwiches and a piece of cake. What a treat. Things we’re much more simple sixty years ago!

I am really glad that, after Jill’s surgery, we are back in Australia and not still in the USA. I think that America has three problems in managing this virus crisis and I wouldn’t like to be caught up there. The first, it seems to me, is that unlike Australia, the American political system leaves everything to the states and there is no political capacity to have one centralised form of national control over an event like this. The second is that medicine in the USA is commercialised and that makes it very expensive. To exacerbate that, those who are losing their jobs at the moment are also losing their medical insurance. Thirdly, the President is showing an abysmal level of leadership – stalling, contradicting his medical experts and communicating stuff that is just untrue or made up.  Thank goodness we are home where medical treatment is well organised and free.

I see that everyone arriving in Australia now from overseas has to go into forced isolation for two weeks in a hotel. This is mandatory and supervised by both the police and military. I’m thinking of rejoining the army. I would rather like the job of forcing people to stay isolated. I could attach a bayonet to my rifle and prod miscreants in the midriff (just to maintain adequate social distance, of course) and shout at them in the same way that our recruit training instructors did to us. I could say something aggressive like “GET BACK INSIDE YOU NASTY LITTLE PERSON. I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE ON THIS STREET FOR ANOTHER TWO WEEKS. IF I SEE YOU AGAIN, I’LL RIP YOUR BLOODY ARM OFF AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ARSE WITH THE SOGGY END FIRST. (Note that nowhere here is there a word with more than two syllables as military intelligence couldn’t handle big words).

A  Facebook friend sent me this decision-make and I think that I will use it extensively for inspiration during the coming week.


I think I’ll just stick with gardening and do some more work around the house. I wonder whether things will still be as enjoyable next week?

One thought on “We Have Survived Our First Week of Self Exile”

  1. Loved this post Bruce with its facts, reflections on bygone days and experiences and your thoughts on how you would deal with those who do not comply with regulations to keep us all safe. I endorse your sentiments totally. This is a time for unselfish cooperation from everyone of us.

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