I skipped away from the restaurant like a 5-year-old leaving a sweet shop with a dollar mix. Others have reported a similar sensation over their first coffee. The process was so seamless. Aromatic food in brown paper bags, positioned neatly on the table. THAT table that blocks the threshold of every retailer in the country in our brave new world of contact-less pickups.
It’s been wet. Good for the dams I suppose – helping with that other thing we’re supposed to be worried about right now. I’m not sure how many others ventured out in the wet and ordered a curry but I felt like I was doing my bit for the locals. The girl smiled at me. We didn’t need takeaways. I’ve made every intrepid journey to the supermarket count. But this curry was like none we’d ever eaten.
Apart from takeaways the world is looking pretty much the same. Level 3 still means we stick to our bubble, Pete works from home on an endless stream of conference calls, and home-schooling continues. At least we can get back in the water, even though the autumn leaves are colouring up and it’s officially what North Americans call the Fall. Where would we be without the invention of neoprene wetsuits in the 1950’s? Yesterday we had the grey, wet, windy beach to ourselves.
Ruby and I have got in on virtual sport. For us it’s a lockdown running challenge. In 14 days we have to complete 42 and 100km respectively. Clocking up a lengthy weekend run gave me the chance to explore neighbourhoods I’d never crossed. I noticed little things like the concrete apartments in Arch Hill. Built by the state and rented to those in need of affordable shelter for decades. They have these wonderful shared gardens. Room for a decent washing line, patches of lush vegetables and dotted with gnarled old citrus trees abundant in lemons and oranges. I’d only ever passed them from the road. Shabby front doors and peeling paint belie what lies behind. Who knew about those lemons?
I ran through parks too. The streets are full of people walking, running and biking. Suddenly the public realm isn’t just for cars. It might be the inner city but we have an incredible network of trails, linking all the way to Coxes Bay. One day we might be able to swim there. Let’s hope the separation of decades old sewer pipes are one of the shovel ready projects that the Government promises will bring us out of impending economic gloom.
The consensus seems to be that home-schooling is a struggle. We’re used to this routine, having schooled the girls on planes and trains, beaches and chalets in the snow. But the difference is we’re not exploring ancient archaeological sites in Pompeii or spending an afternoon at the Natural History Museum in the presence of a diplodocus skeleton suspended from the ceiling. The motivation to learn must come from within our four walls. From conversations with each other and with classmates online. There’s only so many websites you can get the kids to click into before their mojo fails. Keeping it interesting when it’s just our bubble is tough. And we’re the lucky ones having a parent at home to slip into full time teacher mode in lockdown.
Then there’s the environment. There’s a fantastic guy who’s started wrapping Dr Seuss to Dr Dre’s sounds. Masterful. The Lorax makes so much sense, especially when there’s talk of fish in the canals of Venice, clean air in Los Angeles, and pressure to stop wild animals being brought into our cities to live out their final days in wet animal markets. Hopefully warnings will be heeded and changes will be promised before we rush back to normality.
No cases today and we’re soon to find out when we move to Level 2. Is this the beginning of our new beginning?