The week started in the usual routine now but more and more discussion emerged about easing restrictions and transitioning to a more normal life. I have noticed a few more cars on the road. People are still hanging out in the park but the teenage groups are a little closer. The virus has certainly been contained and although Victoria has had a cluster flair at an abattoir, overall it is looking good.
Parents with children are finding it tough to home school and work from home as well, so there is a push to get kids back to school. I hope there will be a new appreciation and respect for teachers after this. It is challenging to keep the children focused and enthusiastic and parents have had a reality check. I remember some joke when the shutdown started that said something like, ‘Now parents will realise that it is not the teacher who is the problem!’ I am sure that hasn’t really been the case for most of the kids but parents will understand it is not such an easy job after all. A lot of parents have also enjoyed quality time with their children too and I think many families will have found a new closeness.
I have had a couple of Zoom book club meetings. (I am in two book clubs). Despite feeling quite comfortable with the process I still managed to fluff the beginning of one session. I was quite tired and pressed the incorrect START which meant I had two sessions at once! What a dill I felt. It was sorted quite quickly but a nuisance. I had wanted a smooth start this time as I have taken a monthly subscription out to avoid the frustration of the 45 minute limitation with free subscriptions. The downside to unlimited was we didn’t quite know when to stop! Both sessions were successful though I do find them more tiring than real life meetings. It must have something to do with the brain having to function differently and the uncomfortable sensation of seeing yourself on screen at the same time. What ever the reason, I have decided virtual meetings are more tiring. Great to do nonetheless.
I also had two work sessions on Zoom. I participate in two committees related to ALIA, The Australian Library and Information Association, that are concerned with accrediting Library Technician courses at TAFES and also library education standards for graduates. Both of these meetings were interesting and stimulating though once again they are tiring. At one stage I forgot to mute my microphone and my dog jumped onto my lap creating a disturbance heard by everyone. Embarrassing!
The next face to face was with a French Swiss friend, Suzanne, I met in May 2018 when I was walking the Chemin St Jacques in France from Le Puy to Cahors. We walked together on and off for a few days and felt a connection. She is a widow too and was walking the first part of her Camino from Le Puy to Cahors. Later that year Suzanne returned to Cahors and continued on to Bayonne, completing the second stage of her Camino. Her English was quite limited but we managed. She has just finished an English course and wanted to practice with an English speaker. I volunteered, forgetting about the time difference of 8 hours. Suzanne has to start at 8 am in the morning her time which is my 4 pm. Maybe less than optimum for brain sharpness! Alternatively Suzanne will speak French with me on another day. It was good fun and her English has come on so well, though I doubt my French will be at such a good level. Having to concentrate for an hour was again very tiring!
I am beginning to think this tiredness that I feel frequently( and quite a few people have commented upon too), is something akin to when I stopped studying after completing my degree. During the study period I had pushed myself hard as well as at the same time bearing twins and managing (mostly) as a new Mum. After I stopped I felt exhausted and it took me nearly 12 months to recover from the Adrenalin overload I had been experiencing in order to keep everything going. We have all come to a relative stop and the energy we use unconsciously to manage all the activities has dissipated. We have relaxed. I am usually a very energetic person but I have felt quite tired over these few weeks. I am well, exercising and eating properly. I am not drinking extra alcohol. I am sleeping well but I still feel that holiday sense of not wanting to rush. A few of my friends have said they quite like the slower pace( and they are not all oldies either!)
The big blow was the banks announcement that they are not paying dividends this quarter. Ouch! They contribute significantly to my cash flow so I will need to be very careful of my spending. Mind you this came after I bought a new IPad! My old one was almost out of space so that every time there was an update I had to delete practically all my apps and do a clean out of memory etc. I had had it for several years but I am very conscious of not being wasteful at the moment. Even my old tshirts that are not good enough for the op shop are being turned into a rag rug. I don’t want to be contributing extra to land fill if I can avoid it. Having fewer distractions has allowed me to try a few new crafts.
I have also bought a raffia bowl kit from a local online design market. I loved the look of the end product and have been looking for a bowl with a lid to hide the dog walking paraphernalia on the bench. At the moment the stuff sits in a salad bowl! Hopefully I will achieve the desired outcome. Great expectations are not always realised!
The second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day and my sons delivered handsomely. Nick, the single one, came for lunch and we took a long walk together around the area with Alfie. It was just so nice to have unhurried time to just talk and be together. He also got handy and fixed my handle on the pantry door! My other son Jonathan, who is the father of my grandson Ziggy, had his wife to spoil first, then we had a long Zoom session (easy with just them) followed by a gourmet dinner they sent to me. Again it was quality time together that really counted.
The dinner was slow roasted lamb, roast potatoes and gravy with brocollini and salad and Foccaccia, then Tiramasu for dessert. It was all so delicious and such a treat. I rarely get take-away and obviously haven’t gone out for dinner anywhere for weeks, so it was just such a nice gift. I love them all so much and they are fantastic to me.
I feel like we have had much better communication over this time than we usually do and it has been a real bonus. The weather has been getting colder and wetter but there have also been some magic days and afternoons which have made it so pleasant to walk.