When the stage four lockdown was announced I felt genuine alarm and shock. Then I felt anger, anger towards the people who misbehaved in quarantine, anger towards the State Government that quite obviously stuffed up there, but then I calmed down. Human behaviour is so stupid sometimes, so short sighted and filled with the sense of being the exception. Those people who were fraternising in the hotels probably didn’t think they were sick so it all seemed a bit of overkill! The Government, both State and Federal, are dealing with completely new circumstances imperfectly at times. Hindsight is a great thing.
What we have learned from this virus is the fact that it is not predictable like the flu. You feel crappy with the flu quite quickly and we know about flu. The CoVid 19 is a sneaky virus. You don’t feel sick but you are spreading the virus every time you breathe. You might be lucky and get no symptoms, but your friend gets sick like the flu and his friend gets really sick and needs a hospital. The only sure thing is that the older you are the more vulnerable you are. Yet this past week two people in their early thirties died. This is Russian roulette virus with our health. As time passes we learn more and more about the ongoing impact of this virus. There is mounting evidence of damage to hearts, lungs and kidneys, to relapses or extended recovery times. Like all illnesses in the past like TB, Measles, Polio the knowledge grew as the disease spread and eventually management regimes became well known and evidence based. Vaccines were developed, extent of immunity recognised in survivors. We are not there yet and may never be but until it becomes a known and understood disease we need to treat it with respect and practice prevention until that time happens.
This crisis shows up the weak spots in government policy, in the social contract we all have, and in ourselves. Those anti-maskers or anti-curfew and anti-restrictions individuals are putting themselves above every other person in our society. It is not their right to infect others because they think a mask infringes their liberty or go about as they choose, spreading a silent killer. If they don’t want to be part of the only solution we have at the moment, then they need to remove themselves from society to a place where they don’t pose a danger to anyone else. With rights come responsibilities too! They aren’t going to knock back medical care if they need it I am sure.
What is of greater concern is the rise in emergency admissions for mental health issues. This is a disturbing reflection on our society. Are we less resilient than other generations or more willing to admit our mental fragility? There is an enormous emphasis and finally government support, for mental health at this time. Even my distant friends and family ( those in other states) are ringing to check on my mental health. I am touched and appreciative of that concern as I am alone with only my dog Alfie. Even Alf seems to be a bit depressed. He certainly isn’t as playful as he was and sleeps more. He is getting older though at twelve, but he is still lively on our walks and likes to mix it with the dogs.
Anyway as the week evolved life really didn’t change that much except for shorter walks. Limited to 1 hour and a 5 kilometre radius I have finally succumbed to podcasts while I walk and I have listened to some amazing discussions and interviews. I have been a walker who prefers to be in the present, aware of the bird song, fragrant flowers, sun shining through the trees but the same streets are wearing thin so the podcasts have begun. One particularly fascinating one was the ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler https://www.abccommercial.com/contentsales/program/conversations-podcast about the origins of fairytales.
I was surprised to learn that Cinderella originated in China and the story was even more grim. Cinderella used to talk to a golden fish that she believed was the spirit of her mother. Her stepmother was so mean that she killed the fish and fed it to Cinderella who was horrified when she realised the truth. An old man told Cinderella that the bones of the fish were magic and it was by wishing on the bones that she went to the ball in golden slippers and met the prince. When the prince came with the slipper, the step sisters cut off their toes and their heels to fit into the shoes, but the doves called out ‘ter wit ter woo there is blood in the shoe!’ The small foot fetish of China is related to this story. As the story came to Europe it was modified to fit each culture reflecting what was precious and these modifications have ensured the survival of the fairytales. What has also changed is the goryness or horror of the fairytales. As societies have improved, human lives have become healthier, less fraught and more secure, so to fairytales have become less gruesome. The symbolism of the characters and actions has taken on different meanings through time. Highly recommended listening!
I decided to get back to the Zoom gym in earnest now that Nick was out of danger. That was a bit painful! You lose condition so quickly. I had sore arm pits from push ups and stiff buttocks from lunges etc. I also decided I needed a bit more of a lift and found a free Latin dance class online. Nothing like a bit of Cha Cha and Salsa to bring a smile to your face. I am not as lithe as I used to be and the feet don’t move so fast but I couldn’t help but smile at my efforts. Great medicine.
I then became energised to do my tax return and trade in my old IPad. Things I had been putting off for ages. I had managed to sell two bolts of fabric to a friend just before lock down so I was inspired to assess the rest of the fabric that Jonathan had been going to dump when he was shifting house because he didn’t have enough time to deal with them. I rescued the rolls because it seemed such a waste but had not got around to doing anything with them either. They are an ongoing project but I did find some lovely merino and tshirt fabric which I intend to use myself.
I sent off to Lincraft for some beginner patterns which have arrived. Now I will reacquaint myself with the sewing machine. If nothing else in this period of CoVid I have brushed up on many old skills, some more successfully than others I have to admit. I recalled how accomplished our mothers were with sewing , knitting, cooking, preserving, nursing, child care, craft activities, gardening and everything else they did both in and out of the house. I doubt I will give up travelling and hiking for those domestic pursuits whenever we are able to resume them but I appreciate the sense of satisfaction they give.
My brother in law, Gary, cousin Anthea and I embarked on a new virtual mission. This time we are crossing the US on Route 66. They are cycling but I am walking and using the conversion chart to convert activities like the Zoom circuit training, vigorous house work and Pilates to kilometres as my team contribution. It is a motivator for sure. My housework earned me 5kms. No wonder I was tired!
It has been a bit hard walking because the weather has been freezing with snow in unexpected places in the state. Wilson’s Prom is a fabulous beach and hiking destination but I have never seen snow there. However with the skies so grey it looked as if it was going to snow in Melbourne, it was not a surprise that snow fell there.
As it was the first week of the month I ran the two book club meetings on Zoom and it was great to see everybody and discuss our books. I had only read one The Shepherd’s Life: a tale of the Lakes District by James Rebanks. It was particularly interesting to me for two reasons. The first was that I had walked through the area when I walked the Coast to Coast in 2018 and the author’s love and commitment to this way of life and country. He expressed feelings similar the those expressed by Australian First People about their connection to country. I learned a lot about sheep farming and the accumulation of lived knowledge over time. Fascinating and a great favourite for all. Book club is an innocuous way of learning about fellow members. Several revealed that they had farm connections or actually farmed at some time of their lives. This information was a surprise as there had been no earlier prompts for revealing this before.
With Zoom in mind my other friends decided to have a Zoom Dinner on Friday night. Again it was wonderful to see everyone and discuss our various dinners and families. While my daughter in law will be glad to see the end of zoom meetings it certainly is a life saver for those of us living alone. I followed up with a FaceTime with Ziggy my grandchild. He was playing monopoly with his parents. He was able to show me his coriander plant that he and I had planted from seed together. He is so proud of himself and I am relieved the plant hasn’t died! It is important to nourish this interest in nature especially in this weird time.
As a carer I was able to take Nick to the Physiotherapist for his rehab session. I am ever grateful that he is making such a good recovery. I am thankful his drama has happened in CoVid because he isn’t missing out on anything and the quieter pace of life has allowed recovery and his creativity to flourish. In contrast my art is like a ship wallowing at the jetty. I keep prioritising craft over art. My apartment doesn’t quite have the space for large painting efforts and I have let my drawing lapse too. I am such a butterfly!
My last achievement was a batch of Oat date biscuits. I will have to freeze some because I just can’t eat 40 before they get stale without getting fat!
The first week of the extreme lockdown started with distress and at the end was showing some progress. I am chugging along like the little red train who kept saying he could. Just keeping going and looking for the small pleasures, being grateful for what IS good in my life and buying cheap Aldi wine till the tax return comes in!