2020 Aus Life in Lockdown
Life in Lockdown
It is now the twenty fifth day since our return to Zoonie and we are still sane. Each day has a gentle structure to it as do the weeks. After breakfast Rob does Zoonie jobs, including now servicing and fitting a new switch to the windlass, at present it is not playing ball and working but he will trace the cause, I have total faith.
I have been making strides on finishing my book and then have other projects in mind. I wrote the story of Graham the green Dinosaur to our oldest grandson Henry this morning. Graham was originally buried in the sand on the beach in Poole by Henry, and now he has turned up here!! It is wonderful now that both he and Ruby are writing to us regularly, I feel so much closer, it really shortens the miles.
We get at least an hours exercise in each day, this may be a walk on which there is always something new to enjoy. We returned at dusk one evening to find two kangaroos grazing just under Zoonie’s bow, a pair as one was bigger than the other. Another time a bandicoot dashed along the path away from us, 10 times bigger than a mouse and prettier than a rat. Another morning there were hundreds of small blue jellyfish washed up, some still alive. Their tentacles could reach over a metre in length for a small fish. They were all gone the next day.
There are many sandy trails around here presumably from olden times and lots of broken down sheep fencing but the natural shrub has grown back leaving just these enticing trails. It doesn’t matter at all if one gets lost because they all come out on the local roads. The photo of Rob pointing to the Norfolk pine marks the outward limit of one of our walks and we are very careful not to walk under the branches of these trees, as you can see the cones are big, heavy and spiky and I rate one’s chances of survival after being hit on the head with one would be somewhere near zero.
Rob does the shopping as there is only supposed to be the one of us in the store at a time while I plod on at the computer. The internet is a blessing all the more at this time isn’t it, I’ve even friended on Messenger a lady aboard a 45 foot Oyster locked down in the Galapagos where their food shopping is brought to them onboard.
We do not look too far ahead as nothing is certain about when the lockdown will end globally, but common sense would suggest that opening up country borders to visitors will be the last thing on the governments’ minds.
In the evening at the moment, after supper we have a three day cycle of games, Scrabble (very much our own rules) Tri-ominoes and 3/5 Dominoes. They all last an hour or so by which time we are ready for a bit of viewing. At present its Howard’s Way one night, kindly loaned to us by Carole and John from the big cat at the end they are building, and Killing Eve on the other night.
One cold morning we discovered the Ebespacher heater works and Rob thinks it didn’t recently just (after the new thermostat was fitted) because the air temperature was too high, it didn’t matter before when the thermostat wasn’t working anyway, but now we have the new thermostat we have a new situation.
It has been enjoyable getting to know the other folks in the yard. The photos of Baudin coming through the pass were welcomed by Darren who had a lovely Easter weekend anchored in a bay across King George Sound, snorkelling and relaxing. Craig, the police detective is working on his lovely little 1978 30 footer that has been in the family for yonks. He has promised her a major refit and now she is getting it. He started back at work on Tuesday after six weeks off and had to shave his two year old beard off so he could wear his face mask. He wasn’t too pleased at all that wasted nurturing and I didn’t recognise him at first when he turned up again.
So Boris is on the mend, thank goodness; we haven’t had such a charismatic PM for a long while and his speech of gratitude to the NHS was reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s ‘from the heart monologues’, he seems to have taken a leaf from the biography he wrote about the great man.
And the Queen’s speech was timely and sincere and well written as usual.
We have learned we will get a refund of our Qantas flights minus £600 costs for the privilege of Qantas cancelling it, something not quite legal there me thinks. We should get something back for the 10 day camping trip which as you know shrank to two days and the one day Kimberley tour has already been refunded almost in total. We lost our refundable Broome to Perth flights but never mind.
All ten winches are now spinning nice and freely, but the windlass and all its bits is off to a friend of Mark’s, ‘Newby’ who is a bit of a wizard with recalcitrant machines.
We wear our wetsuits now for swimming. I suddenly couldn’t see the logic of wearing them in the tropics for snorkelling and then not wearing them down here at 35’ South. We also wear our snorkels so we can breathe without our heads bent up while we are swimming, and so we can say ‘high’ to all the little fish down there. I do 8 lengths at a time at the moment and find my aching neck is pain free for days afterwards.
Some friends of Malcolm and Christine who live near them in Kojonup offered us the use of their second home just up the road from here and it would have been nice but then I thought that folk have been told not to go to their holiday homes at present so our being there could arouse suspicion and a visitors to Aussie we do not want to run the risk of being thrown out and not allowed to return. So maybe at some later stage when the restrictions are lifted who knows maybe we will take them up on their kind offer, if only to have a BATH! Craig didn’t think we’d have a problem but we erred on the side of caution anyway.
As if CV is not enough the poor south west Pacific Islanders now have to contend with cyclone Harold wreaking havoc on the Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga. It will be a different world when we come out of this.
Our American friend Gail is now busy at home in Houston sewing face masks on her machine for the cause and Alison and Randall are safely in Port Stephens Harbour for the duration. They will be plenty warm enough through the winter there. It will get cool and quite wet here but we will deal with it.
Zoonie is safely and conveniently placed right now so we are not planning to change that until August at least, when our original plans were to move with her up the west coast with the plan to exit from Carnarvon, something the Border Force say we should be able to do without a problem bearing in mind South Africa and the islands between may not be open to visitors, unless perhaps they self-quarantine for a fortnight upon arrival which is what other yachts are doing. At least it would get us moving west.
If we were in a marina it would be more expensive and her hull would be getting fouled up and if we were at anchor then we would have to move around to avoid inclement wind and our access to the shore for exercise and shopping would not be nearly so easy. Plus of course we are lucky enough to have the car.
So far eight people have the infection here in Albany and I guess they must be in the hospital either here or in Perth, it seems nowhere is escaping the virus.
Listening to some authors on the ABC RN one chap, Frank Snowden in his book ‘Epidemics and Society’ purports the concept that man is not central to the universe, nature is. A bit like saying the earth is not central to the universe, the sun is, (Nicolas Copernicus). Two profound truths, and perhaps one agrees with them, I do, but it will be interesting to see what the changes will be, good and bad, when we return to a new, temporary normality.
We like cycles don’t we, and I don’t just mean bicycles. Annual, weekly and daily cycles are reassuring concepts that we can look forward to coming around again with their elements of enjoyment and predictability. In our present world of uncertainty when the future organisation of society is in itself on the change, those cycles are even more important.
Many of us will have birthdays within the CV crisis and will look back on those occasions with relief that not only could we make our own celebrations but that the malevolent CV cycle is over.
On our weekly cycle here, despite the fact we are ‘retired’ or ‘keenagers’, we still work and our work is important to us as it grounds us and gives us direction, usefulness and purpose. So we look forward to the weekends when we try to do something not work related and a little different. Similarly we look forward to Fridays, when we buy fish ‘n’ chips from the ‘Squid Shack’ you see in the photo. Run by two young ladies their take-away business is keeping them going by locals who live here, daily fishermen and the likes of ourselves.
I hope you are all surviving well and remember, as each day goes by it is a day less to go to the end of our shared ordeal.