Lockdown life

Friday 27 August 2021 – Auckland.

We have been out of managed isolation for 13 days, three of which we had the freedom to do what we wanted. However, the last ten have been in a Covid-19 enforced lockdown, and due to the continuing growth in infections, particularly here in Auckland, we have at least two more weeks of lockdown to look forward to. I suspect we won’t see a full relaxation of rules (i.e. I can go to a gig and drink beer) until October at the earliest.

The level 4 lockdown in NZ is as strict as the first lockdown we had in London, far stricter than the last two or three (I have lost count) we were subjected to in the UK before we left. In this lockdown we are allowed out of the house to exercise, to shop for food or medicine, to go for a Covid test or vaccination or to work if you are an essential worker. You cannot go out at all if you are showing symptoms or are a contact of anyone unfortunate enough to get infected. Exercise can only be done within 5km of home and the only shops open are chemists, supermarkets and dairies; what most of the world calls a convenience store. You can buy beer and wine in a supermarket, but not spirits. I want a brandy as my spirits, in both senses of the word, are low. I have no brandy, so a bath with book, brandy and music is out. There is no point in having a bath without brandy.

The last week has not been one of the best, I had a head cold; the first since I don’t know when. Cold symptoms are similar to the Delta variant of Covid so I went for a Covid test on day two of not feeling well, which was Tuesday. Though I was very confident that I didn’t have Covid, between having a test and getting a negative result you are not allowed to leave the house. I didn’t get the result until Thursday evening which was earlier than expected and of course nor having Covid was a great relief. The sister of mine that Eleanor and I are staying with works in the hospital and has been going into work, partly for her sanity and partly to give us some space, if I had Covid then she would be grounded along with us. No fun for anyone.

I have done well with the various lockdowns, albeit the last few weeks in the UK were at such a low level that being called a lockdown was pretty embarrassing for proper lockdowns. However this time I am struggling and have been up and down all week. Even though we kinda knew this was coming it came as a bit of a surprise. We both thought we would be settled somewhere before the inevitable arrival of Delta and could huddle down together as we are so used to doing. Having the first head cold in months didn’t help, especially with the initial uncertainty that I could have had Covid and all that that entails.

I am not enjoying being restricted in what I/we can do. I was looking forward to getting out to the bush and the west coast beaches; Piha and Karekare and up to Muriwai, where dad’s ashes were scattered 14 years ago. There is plenty of time to visit those places, but they are where I am happy and not knowing when I can walk on the sand or in the trees or see my mum and son and grandson again nor meet up with friends for the first time in a couple of years is somewhat depressing. I am not even thinking about the record shopping or gigs that are not happening.

I am a good reader, I am well into my eighth book since we arrived, I love books and am content lying around with music on and a book in my hand; but not all day every day. I want to do things, and I can’t. Admittedly if I was able to do things I might choose to sit around reading a book and not do anything at all, at least then it would be my choice.

I am not blaming the government (unusually) or anyone for this predicament we find ourselves in, it is what it is. I am just bored, getting fat (I know I can easily help that) and am worrying a little about money as New Zealand is SO expensive. Eleanor starts a contract on Monday which will help, but crikey we are burning through cash and that is just (mostly) buying food basics in the supermarket, fresh vegetables are not cheap. I never worry about money, so this is unusual. I guess it is all about not being in control at the moment. 

Moan over and I feel much better; thanks for listening, it was good to get it off my chest.

Last Saturday Eleanor and I walked down to the old two-lane bridge across the Manukau Harbour between Onehunga and Mangere. When I started work at Auckland Airport 40 years ago this was the way we went to work until the current motorway bridge was opened after years of delay in 1983. I was hoping to be able to walk to the middle of the old bridge, or all the way across to Mangere Bridge Township to take some photos, however the old bridge is now being broken up and a new pedestrian/cycling crossing is to be built. This was somewhat disappointing. Oh well, change is good and at least we got a decent walk in.

I know we went to the bridge on Saturday due to the time stamp on the photo, I would not have had a clue what day it was otherwise. The days are now blurring together somewhat. It is like being in managed isolation again but without three meals a day delivered to the door, though with longer walks. Being sick I didn’t do much else during the week other than read, cook and eat.

I was feeling a lot perkier on Friday and having been found Covid free the night before Eleanor and I went back up to Maungakeikei One tree Hill/Cornwall Park for another walk, and this time we went to the top. I puffed and huffed a bit on the way up, taking a photo is a welcome excuse to stop.

As you would expect the view from the top was pretty spectacular, though I didn’t really capture it that well. The cheap second hand 50ml lens is not very sharp so I may have to replace it with another one when money comes rolling back in again.

The money for the obelisk was bequeathed by Sir John Logan Campbell to honour the Maori people of the area, though it was built in 1940, 28 years after his death.

New Zealand is dominated by green, most New Zealand native trees are evergreen but there is a surprising variety of colour and shade across the various species. Viewed from above and mixed with a few European imports the patches of trees are beautiful.

Back in Cornwall Park I introduced Eleanor to the Morton Bay Fig tree which she says is now her favourite non-English tree, they are massive and magnificent and there will be more photos of them here soon, the ones I took today did not do them justice. These are not Morton Bay Figs, and I don’t know what they are, yet. My tree education is going to start now.

It was very enjoyable being out and getting to stretch the legs and I plan on doing a lot more of it over the coming week.

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.

4 thoughts on “Lockdown life”

  1. Hey Phil
    You can order spirits from alot of liquor stores and they will deliver to you door. Contact less. Most of the big brand liquor stores are doing this. Not that I drink much anymore. Cheers !!

  2. Hi Phil. Hang in there. I’m working every day and there aren’t many cops on the road. If you have access to a car there is very little stopping you taking a drive out to Muriwai via scenic drive. The odds of getting caught are slim . And just have a credible story such as you are dropping food to a friend (have an address ready) who had to self isolate. Thats an allowable trip. Go see your dad. Take a walk out west. You’ll feel alot better for it. Take care mate. (El too !)

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