23rd August Three weeks into hard lockdown.

Here I am finally getting back to the blog. Who would have thought I would be so busy? It has been a little like the beginning of the first lockdown with people connecting more often by text, phone, zoom and email. Add the social media of Facebook and Instagram and the day can disappear and it is time to walk the dog!

I have been sticking with the Zoom gym and Pilates and I am still plugging away at French and Spanish online. Not a lot of variety I have to admit so eventually I hit the wall. I woke up one morning and just thought I may as well stay in bed. It was a grey day and I was totally uninspired. Even the dog had crawled back under the sheets and was snoring! However I thought better of it and forced myself out of bed and into my gym gear. I struggled with the session but worked up a good sweat and did feel better for the effort.

Me second last row, second from the right.

It reminded me of the day on the Camino when you wake up and think,’ What the hell am I doing? I am sick of that blessed backpack! ‘ Then you set off and walk and take it easier, with an extra coffee stop perhaps and a shorter day and you feel fine and you know you don’t want to quit but you were just tired. The next day you set off without a second thought, strong in your commitment again. Talking of Caminos I received the badge from my virtual Camino in the mail. It is so heavy and quite impressive.

Too heavy to wear on a real Camino!

I think the high number of infections make you feel a bit frustrated and it seems that we are never going to get it under control again. The news is full of CoVid, Europe is having renewed surges, while America just keeps having more and more. Our numbers are beginning to decline but they are going down so slowly. We can’t just keep ourselves and life locked down forever. I think that feeling is CoVid fatigue and it seems like a lot of people are feeling very tired. However, like the Camino, we just have to pick ourselves up and keep on the path.

We had a bit of a wake up when the building manager informed us that a resident in my building had tested positive and that they were self isolating. He told us the lobby and lifts etc had been disinfected and certainly the place gleams! Still it was a reminder to stay vigilant and I am back to pressing buttons with elbows etc. Wearing a mask has become second nature now. It has its pluses. During the particularly cold snap we have experienced lately I haven’t had a cold nose or chin or cold air induced asthma!

I have been doing much more reading and have actually returned to my art practice. I completed a male nude from the Hawthorn Artist Society which was acceptable. I painted a deciduous tree festooned with plastic bags that I saw on the banks of the Gardiner Creek. It struck me as an ironic comment on the world. Still life? Acrylic on Canvas. And last night I participated in a life drawing class run by the National Portrait Gallery which was via Zoom( of course!) but subscribed to by about 800 people from all over Australia and some from overseas. It was a challenge. Usually I go once a week to a life drawing class at the Hawthorn Artist Society. In those sessions the model is much closer and even though we do quick sketches to start this seemed quicker. It required a lot of concentration and I was actually really tired afterwards.

I have been taking photos on my walks and on one day I captured a Cockatoo and a magpie fighting for the top of the tree. I was thrilled with my action shot. In fact I have been quite motivated to capture the different light during the day or action at the local park and my endlessly changing view of the city skyline.

My friend Anna and I were supposed to be in Africa from the 14 th of August. We are deeply disappointed but we are having a virtual trip anyway. Anna started it by sending me a text saying , ‘ I have ordered the driver to take us to the airport, meet downstairs at 6. Don’t forget your passport! ‘

I responded, ‘Great! I am just throwing the last few things into my backpack. See you downstairs.”

The next day she sent another text,’ I am so sick of this plane flight. I can’t wait to get out, anywhere!’

I responded, ‘You obviously didn’t take advantage of the free champagne, I am having a party in my row!’

And so it has gone for over a week now. We have been sending texts everyday following our itinerary. I have added photos from the internet which I pretend are my photos of where we have been or what we have seen. We have even invented other people on the tour. There is an obnoxious American called Donald, a young guy with a broken heart, a Woman with issues, ( all Anna’s creations). I have invented a Spanish couple who are good fun and a witty Glaswegian called Cam, who I can barely understand. I still grabbed him for our half day canoe ride down the Orange River. We are now in the Namibian desert!

We have about 11 days to go! It has been interesting doing the research for the conversation and Anna is very imaginative. I have to work hard to keep up.

It was my sons’ birthday on the 17th and because we are in lockdown there was no coming together. I baked a cake anyway and we had a Zoom catchup (of course!) where we sang happy birthday and I blew out the candle. I then cut a few slices to keep and decided to take the rest to Nick who lives fairly close to me (only a fraction out of my 5kilometre radius). Because he shares with two others I thought they could deal with a huge cake better than me. The cake was an Italain torte, layered with strawberries and custard. I halved the recipe but still it was four layers and quite large.

The cake – custard is the boys favourite.

Nick was going to take Alfie too but he had developed an infection at the site where he had been injected with dye for the angiograph and was not able to walk so well. He visited the doctor later in the week and received antibiotics so was soon on the mend. This week Alfie has gone for a holiday. My place seems so quiet without him, though it is much easier to type without him draped over my lap!

Ziggy now has his own email/iCloud account and has started to FaceTime me. He is way more engaged than if I have asked him to talk to me when I have rung Jonathan. It has been absolutely delightful having these informal spontaneous chats. I videoed a story and sent it to him at his suggestion. I would rather read a story live but we will try all methods to see which we like best.

I spent an afternoon checking my computer’s compatibility for the program Webex. I need it in order to do some training for my newly acquired position of Chief Supervisor of the General Assessment Test for VCE students at Bialik, a high school nearby. The date for the GAT has been shifted so many times they had run out of available supervisors, so I have been promoted. The sad thing was I actually discovered my computer is too old and that I probably need to consider updating. The good news is that I can do the training on my iPad just as well after all. Even more tragic, I actually enjoyed doing all the exploration off operating systems and update issues. Who would have thought?! Usually that sort of stuff is life sucking for me, but I am so desperate for mental stimulation it was interesting. That is what a CoVid lock down does to you!

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.

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