June 23 The rocky road to normal

Just when we are starting to loosen up a fresh spike in CoronaVirus infections puts a holt to loosening restrictions. The poor restaurants were just about to be able to host up to 50 and it has been put on hold again. So hard for these businesses. It confirms my hesitancy. We are able to go back to the gyms too this week, though mine will commence only when the school which hosts our training facility, begins school holidays.

There are no casual roll ins, but bookings of 10 max and super cleaning with 15 mins between sessions. It seems like a lot of hard work after the ease of the Zoom sessions. I am also a bit concerned about the cost now too because I have been doing Pilates as well. That was supposed to be only temporary but I really like it and want to continue. I can’t afford to add too many more costs when dividends are on hold! I even thought of joining the U3A courses for third term but most are not taking new people or have already reached their limits so I feel somewhat frustrated. Activities through the U3A are free once you pay your annual $50 membership but they are well attended and classes fill quickly. You have to be quick! Due to the older age group of participants many activities have been postponed or on zoom but limited to the already enrolled. Lawn bowls was going to resume too which would give me an opportunity to get out but I am not sure if that is still going ahead now either. Uncertainty is the ‘new normal’. That is also an overused phrase along with ‘unprecedented’. Life goes on anyway.

I did have lunch out at the local pub last week which was an interesting experience. A friend from the country had come to visit and he was very amused by all the elbow pressing of lift and traffic light buttons, avoidance of contact and social distancing. There have been no cases of infection in his area of the state so their behaviour has barely changed.

Anyway at the hotel we had to register our contact information and also order through QR code reading of the menu. Even paying was done remotely via credit card. The only contact with staff was when they gave us the menus and brought the food and drink. No hovering or discussions. It seemed weird but fairly efficient. Food was generous and good. My friend had been burnt out during the bush fires and is trying to get planning permissions for a new property. It seems to be taking an inordinate length of time. This issue has been raised in the papers recently. Despite all the new regulations being complied with it still seems to take a long time. The rebuilding of these places should be a boon to their economy which the governments want but they can’t seem to get it happening quickly enough.

The weather has been quite delightful even though cold with many sunny days, beautiful sunsets and clear skies. After one shower there was a massive rainbow. Why do rainbows make you feel happy? They are so beautiful and mythical I suppose as well as unexpected.

Irene, Bill and I took a walk up the Darebin trail from Kew. It is along the Yarra river, billabongs and the Darebin Creek. The trail has undergone some improvements and was so delightful to walk. Lots of dog walkers too which challenged Alf to behave (sometimes successfully sometimes not).At times you felt completely in the bush and and away from the city.

We picnicked in a dog off leash area which led down a mysterious path to the river. Here we had to clamber over rocks and tree roots to regain the main path. Alf was feeling so uncertain of the terrain he managed to wriggle out of his walking harness! This left him free to bound up the rocks, oblivious of the two other pooches nearby. Irene was somewhat challenged too as her boots slipped on the damp clay bank. Once on the main path we continued almost to Bell Street but turned back due to me having a conversation appointment at 4pm with Suzanne my Swiss French friend. The return seemed so much quicker as it always does.

I stopped for coffee at Irene’s because the cafes had all closed by 2.30 pm. With all the schools back the traffic around her place was bedlam by the time I left. Irene and Bill live in an area surrounded by three private schools so the parents are always dropping off and picking up kids. It adds so much traffic congestion. I think personal drop offs should be banned and all kids needing lifts should use private buses or public transport. It has to be better environmentally though with the virus I guess they have an excuse. Anyway I had to take back streets and diversions just to get out of the area and home in time for my online conversation. Suzanne said it is the same in Switzerland.

I was pleased to add a longer walk to my Virtual Camino mission. Gary and I have passed Burgos and received two more postcards. We have completed 43% of the walk (334kms). We have passed through Azofora which I remember as a small town with a new Albergue. It had a splash pool for us to dip our feet and many other pilgrims were in swimsuits ready for a plunge. Lyn and I were the almost last to leave the following morning ( only three sets of boots left on the boot rack) and we were leaving at about 6.30 am! The warm weather encourages walkers to start early.

Azofora Albergue courtyard

Last Saturday I minded Ziggy while his parents shopped for furniture. He is mad on Soccer again and the local high school had nets on the goals and an open gate to the oval. I was the goalie and he kept wanting me to dive for the ball! I haven’t had two hours of constant soccer since well before the lockdown and I was tiring when another family arrived. Their dog was Ziggy! With a bit of encouragement I got the 6 year old daughter to play with Ziggy for a while which gave me some respite. Ziggy is quite nimble with the ball but I managed to block a few kicks. My arms felt it the next day! Ziggy had managed to get quite a bit of information about the girl. Name, age, school etc. I was impressed with his social competence.

Ziggy about to launch a kick.

Most of the time is pretty mundane. Fixing the range hood was an awkward task with me clambering up backwards onto the stovetop to re-attach a metal light protector that had fallen down inside the cover. I couldn’t quite work out where it belonged until I was atop the stove. I have become quite useful with my tool box over the last ten years. It always seems such a nuisance to ask for help for small things you can probably do yourself. My other project is a woven basket kit I bought early in the pandemic to help support craftspeople from the Eltham Design market. I finally got the courage to start it and feel quite good about my efforts. It’s purpose is to hide the dog paraphernalia and key’s tidily on the sideboard.

Range hood with reattached metal light protector. Have I got the courage to dismantle cover for cleaning?
My woven basket project

Yesterday I decided the bedspread smelt a bit doggy so into the wash it went. Alf is like Ziggy. You tuck him into his basket at night but find him in your bed at 3 am in the morning! I have given up worrying about it. Never have I let a dog take so many liberties but this little guy just worms his way in. Even at the vet(another $270 this week to deal with his ear infection and worming tablets!) another owner tells me how cute he is; What a pretty dog. Alf plays the part by wagging his tale and smiling a doggy smile every time someone looks at him.

So another two weeks of life has passed without too much drama or change. Am I happy? Mental health is another big concern at the moment yet I don’t feel much has changed for me. I am content, not bored or restless. Having brunch with the family and seeing Nick and a few friends is satisfying. All is good.

Author: fleetfootkath

I am a keen walker and traveller. I love to explore and learn about new people, places and cultures with a sense of joy and gratitude for this fortunate life. I believe walking is a wonderful way to really connect with the present and the beauty of the world that surrounds us. It makes me happy.

One thought on “June 23 The rocky road to normal”

  1. Yes its a real pity that things have gone backwards in Victoria. I wouldn’t be surprised (I’d be furious though) if similar happened in NSW as people are behaving as if everything has gone back to normal. Most restaurants etc do try to enforce the distancing but they don’t all do it. People don’t respect the marked seats on the bus and just sit where they want. Sigh.

    Anyway, glad to know you’re taking it all in stride. And my other thoughts while reading:

    We (Gary, Roger and I with friends) saw lorikeet baby in a hollow as well.
    Loved the sunset photo (AMAZING).
    Ziggy WOULD be good at getting girls’ phone numbers etc….he’ll have perfected the art by the time he’s 12.
    I can’t believe you made that basket!

    And there we were thinking maybe we could go to Melbourne (or anywhere for the matter) soon…hopes dashed again,


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