Day 21 – the light at the end of the tunnel

Where did the last six days go? It’s not like I’m frantically busy or anything. Suddenly I’m getting the occasional request – well, alright – ONE request for what is happening with Con and Rona, and realise that you don’t know what’s been happening in my exciting bubble lately. In a word – it’s starting to feel quite small, constricting even.

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I started a jigsaw puzzle, and have set Con and Rona up to keep going at it while I get on with more important things. Needless to say, they haven’t found a piece that fits yet, but I was hopeful boredom would drive them to it. What I did NOT expect to be driven, was my car – by Rona – in an attempt to flee the bubble and expand her horizons. She didn’t get far!

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I am so ashamed of her – and planned a bubble within a bubble experience for her upon return. However, she seems to have convinced the policeman that she was an essential worker, caring for someone vulnerable (who? Con?? She can’t mean me surely). The next thing you know I’m settling in for the 1pm COVID-19 update on TV1 and I see the prime minister has brought in an essential worker to explain the state of the most vulnerable to the nation.

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Worse than anything she might reveal about the state of our own bubble, is the fact that she is wearing a dressing gown. AND not keeping a 2 metre distance from Jacinda Ardern, who is looking decidedly uncomfortable. (Join the club, PM!)

Just wait til Rona gets home! LOCKDOWN is going to take on new meaning at this address.

Aside from Rona’s antics, I’ve noticed how little hot water we seem to have left, and this morning I discovered just why:
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Con has been soaking in hot baths having read somewhere that hot water destroys the virus. I might just duck his head under and hold it there for a while. Especially since he also made a run for it over the Easter break, dressing up in a suit and being found in the front of a chocolate shop window completely overglutted in chocolate. (Reminds me of a movie I once saw).
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As you can see, it’s been very trying – I can only warn you all not to make your own companions next time you feel a surge of potential loneliness take you. It’s just not worth it.

Moving on from Con and Rona (happy sigh), I must say Easter was very pleasant. Not that we’re going anywhere or doing anything, but there was no guilt attached to either. Now I need to pull up my socks and find activities to fill my days, and hope all the rubber bands are in place for work from home over the next two days. I have – sadly – eaten far too many chocolate easter eggs and hot cross buns. And done a spot of my own baking yesterday (shortbread). In between all the naughty food, I still attempt to retain some normalcy in my low carb, no sugar diet (ha ha ha ha ha). It’s like there are two of me. As soon as this blog is finished I am going out into the wild winds and doing even a kilometre of walking. I have already covered every street in the peninsula by bicycle:

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I’ve watched a fair amount of Lightbox (I’ll buy into Netflix when I’ve seen everything on LB). I’ve listened to a sturdy amount of audiobook (Dorothy Dunnett). I’ve photographed some spectacular dawns and sunsets around the locality:

And like you all, spent some time using video calls to catch up with friends. The days have been taking on a certain rhythm. The long sunny days of Autumn have given way to the wet and windy gusts, a prelude to the coming winter. I hope you are all maintaining your health, your bubble and your good cheer. I won’t mention physique in the same sentence. On that note, I’ll head out into the wet and wild right now. Au Revoir.
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Day 15 – the downward slope

You know that feeling when you are hiking up a steep incline and suddenly you sense the ground levelling and maybe around the corner you’ll see the peak? That’s where we are in New Zealand right now. The lowest number of cases of COVID-19 since lockdown 2 weeks ago. Yay!!!!

Today is blustery and wet so I’ve only managed one short walk but after this post I’m getting the bike out. It’s going to take the battery bike to beat this wind! My walk took me past another much smaller ‘I Spy’ tree. Covered in wee ornaments with a handmade sign. So cute.

Yesterday I managed another portion of the Peninsula on the bike but I’ll save the map for the next post. Managing some pretty good lockdown meals though – check these out:

And that’s just lunch!

Con has been disturbing the peace again! I caught him scoffing through plastic AND hot cross buns today. What a pig!

Fortunately they weren’t MY buns, just my flatmates so wasn’t too worried.

I’ve done my work for the University and now watched the rain come again. Maybe I will just press play on the remote!

Happy Easter All!

Day 13 – getting hot and cross

So I thought it was Day 12, but when I do the calculations, I’ve lost a day in here somewhere and it is actually Day 13. Forgive me. One thing we are very grateful for, here in the Peninsula, is the long view we have over the harbour, so accessible to all on their walks. This mornings:

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Last night I did the third of my rambles around the Peninsula, filling in the green bit on this map.
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I took Rona in hand today and decided to teach her to bake. It was time to try out some ‘Pull-apart Hot Cross Buns’ in time for Easter.
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As you can see, she was remarkably willing.

The recipe looked easy and quick – a miracle for anything involving yeast – and before you ask, you can find it here

The turned out out really well – just like the picture.

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I’m going to freeze some and pick them off day by day.
I enjoyed the early morning walk this morning, seeing the number of trees with leaves changing colour. Later in the morning I did an hour’s work for AUT University, and finished at lunchtime.
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And this evening after dinner, with the night come earlier than expected (Daylight saving last weekend) I joined my sister – keeping a good distance between us – on a night ride beneath the full moon. Really well worth getting out on the absolutely quiet streets. Some stunning views across the harbour to the full moon. See below:

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With that last lovely picture still in my mind, I’m going to download my next audio book and start listening.  Thanks for keeping up with me.

Day 11 – has the week started yet?

Hello, this is me, reporting for duty and writing up the last 24 hours. I’m not sure what the time is, but it feels like things have happened that I need to make known, even if no one is listening.

Yesterday I experienced a sudden craving as I walked past my car from the compost bin. It was all I could do not to fling myself into it, (the car, not the compost bin), and set out on a meandering, undefined drive. I pulled myself back from the brink and carried on into the house. To take myself out of the mundane, I arranged a tea party for the bubble mates, in this instance the pliable, willing ones, and soon Rona, Con and I were set in front of the shattered remains of my feijoa cake, with bone china tinkling all around us.
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The best thing was, I didn’t have to share the cake, because Rona’s on a diet, and Con has an allergy to feijoas. Perfect.

That got me out of my funk, and soon I was listening to more audiobook (Dorothy Dunnett!! Amazing stories). If you like complex, intense, historical dramas, then these are the series for you.

I sat on the front porch and watched the passersby with interest. It’s getting to be the best spot in the house. Made a delicious little pork dinner with egg plant, carrots, beetroot, tahini:
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and best of all, set off in a clear balmy evening to continue my challenge of cycling every street in the neighbourhood. The dark blue marks last night’s ramble under the light of a 3/4 moon.

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This morning I woke up gradually to the impression that it was Monday. So I went for a walk, and passed a very creative endeavour by one of the local families. An ‘I Spy’ Tree, full of goodies and children’s toys, and a child’s sign up with what to look for.
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I’ve posted it to our local FB page, so that more children can go and guess.
The clock above my head in the studio, after six months of saying the wrong time, is now correct, and sadly I realise I’ve lost most of the day without any constructive work done. Oh wait, I did an hour of work for the University this morning, so that counts, right?

I’ve been to the supermarket, and was hysterical with joy to find no queue there. I could go straight in! How amazingly life has changed since I took such things for granted. I didn’t wear my mask, but thought about it:

Now I’m home again, and ready to face the evening already. Stay safe, will speak to you again soon.

Day 10 – grey areas

I don’t want to mention the c-word in this post. It’ll be a challenge. Many things are challenges these days, none the least of them the incessant quizzes and requests on FB to partake in an inane ‘pass it on’ post or the like. I know, we’re bored, but I can see I am spending too much time on my device when I no longer want to find a photo of a specific colour and post it, or look at another toilet paper meme, or see yet another repeat personal message involving a request to pass something along. Sigh. That, more than anything, is what is going to get me reading more or walking or – so help me – baking up a treat.

Banana and Feijoa cake

I finally yielded to the urge to eat cake and baked this yesterday! It was and is still being delicious. No, I don’t have the recipe to put up here but if you google ‘banana cake’ you’ll find a plethora of them.

In an attempt to wear off some of the ill effects of eating this I took to my bike and began a plan to cycle every street in the peninsula. 40 mins of riding at the wonderfully quiet hour of 7pm resulted in a good corner covered.

But I am ahead of myself.

Saturday morning felt much like weekday mornings, but I am trying to retain a sense of weekend about two of the seven days and I achieve this by the simple art of sleeping in later. It’s the only difference. The bird song is the same, there are few cars to be heard, and when I do finally reach the front porch, the number of people cycling or walking past is the same. I sit and study the tree through dappled sunlight.

I did make this weekend feel weekendy by doing some household chores for a while before settling into my audiobook. Oh, and baked – see above. So far my flatmate and I have managed to share this bubble without getting in each other’s space too much – it’s nice to have company. I’ve only needed to queue twice for supermarket, and should be set now for another good while.

You’ll be wondering about the other two houseguests. They’re a bit of a crowd actually. Next time I’ll make them much smaller! But, like Frankenstein’s monster, once created I’m stuck with them, which is a problem when viewing movies on Netflix. However it did give me a genuine cinema experience which I am greatly missing.

Sssssh in the cheap seats!

Today – Sunday- was daylight saving change back, which makes little difference AT ALL. I might just leave my clocks to run wild. It is a beautiful autumnal day though so I wonder what I’ll do with it!? I know!

Stay at home! That’ll make a change.

Day 8 – another day at the office

It was an early start today, because I work from my home office, and I needed to get out on my bike and get a cycle in before that. Fortunately this means I am up before the sun and the pics are usually spectacular; this morning no exception.

I came home to upload a picture for #BikeToBreakfastAtHome – a Bike Auckland initiative which usually happens once a month in town, but now that we are in lockdown it is happening vicariously.
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After brekky, I settled in to try and get all my monitors up and running and get through a bit of work before needing to have an online video meeting with the team.

Where were Con and Rona through all this? I’m glad to say I don’t know. Hunched at the kitchen table ignoring each other no doubt.

Dinner last night was a bolognaise with shredded courgette (zucchini) instead of pasta, and a pleasant change. Lunch today was paleo bread with sardines on top – Mmmmmm.
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I’ve managed to complete my work tasks and headed out late afternoon to see what the line leading into the supermarket was like:
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It’s been worse.

So, with more food than I need, certainly enough to keep me going for the next week or so, I am back and winding down.

May the force be with you.

Day 7 – dealing with annoying bubblemates

Rona has a heart to heart

I’m finding patience wearing thin but Rona – who has only stuffing to call upon – has been unable to countenance Con’s incessant vapid chatter. So, rather than waste soap washing his mouth out I opted to put him into intense isolation in the washing machine. I threatened I would turn it on if I heard from him. So far so good.

Apart from that it has been a pleasant 24 hours. A late night bike ride around the neighbourhood with lights on was refreshing, followed by a morning walk seeing fog shrouding the city.

Auckland over inner harbour.

Sis came around and sat in a chair in the front yard for a short while.

I’ve even managed a few pages of my children’s story.

Stay well, stay sane, laugh if you can.

Day 6 – Staying sane

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Nearly a week and I’m here in isolation with my flatmate and two ‘special’ friends. We’re quite a crowd.
Last night I went for my customary bike ride in the pink fading light of sunset – around the neighbourhood. . . along with hundreds of other folk. It was nice to get out. All the streets are safe for cycling at last, and people smile, wave and call out happy greetings. If it weren’t for a worldwide pandemic and economic recession, it could almost be called a very pleasant time. Still, one can find joy even in a time of coronavirus.

I’m a bit tired of Con. He really goes on . . . and on . . . and on. And his opinions are formed mostly from ‘experts on facebook’ who put things up. They’re his ‘go to’ reference point. Say no more. I’ve spared you by putting the video up on my facebook page rather than here. Believe me, it was drivel.

[The beautiful sunset as I cycled round last night.]

This morning, I set off on foot to conquer the lower bush path which I used to do regularly, but haven’t since my ankle injury. I’m pleased to say that I managed it well and was greatly refreshed by both the views and the peacefulness.
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I passed numerous houses displaying teddies. . .
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and made a delicious coleslaw for lunch, using a large can of tuna and plenty of beetroot and cabbage.
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Right now it is mid-afternoon, and I’m sniffing back tears after watching the latest Outlander episode. No spoilers, but this season is getting better and better, and rawer and rawer. SUCH a good show.

I keep telling myself to sit down and work on my children’s story, but I suffer greatly from distraction. Ne’er mind, I’m not being too strict on myself either, it being a particularly hard and unusual time for us all. Maybe I’ll give it another go.

Until next time then . . .

Day 5 – Bears, sharks and homemade food

You can tell by the title of this piece, that nothing is normal these days. Anything goes. It’s mid-afternoon on a Monday, and by this time a plethora of noise would be surging out of the local schools as the thundering and shouts of children released from classes comes towards me. But not today. It’s still amazingly quiet out there.
Last night after eating this . . . slow cooked casserole . . .(for want of a better word):
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I headed out on my bike, joining my sister on hers, for a cycle around the neighbourhood, being careful to maintain a distance between us.
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VERY worth it. Followed this morning by my walk around a shorter area of the neighbourhood, crossing empty roads usually clogged with traffic.
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I was heartened to see all the bears in windows as I walked, and this particular frontage exceeded all expectations.
Upon arrival home and after the usual coffee on the front porch, I found Rona asleep on my bed . . .
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So I crept quietly away and collected feijoas from under the tree instead. These I cut up with apples and stewed. We’re going to have a bumper crop this year.
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Lunchtime came soon enough, so I settled to making a paleo lunch out of my grain-free bread and with eggs, bacon, tomato and leeks. Mmmmm.
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I had to move Rona off my computer this afternoon to do some work (!!!) and am pleased that the addition of a face mask on Con has made the atmosphere around here so much more pleasant.

Amidst doing some work, I found an engaging app on the iphone, downloaded Google Chrome, and tried inserting an animal name in there: lion, shark, goat. . . further under the descriptions is a ‘See in 3-D’ option, which allows you to place the life-sized animal into your own space. You can imagine I lost a good half an hour just testing that out.

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Time to go and make a cup of tea (again) and work on my story.
By the way, I am NOT going to be one of those diligent types who have set up a calendar with the words ‘Tidy up and clean xxxx area’ in each one. {Shudder}. Just saying.

Day 4 – toothbrushes and tips

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It was a beautiful Autumnal day this morning, and after a spell on the front porch I headed down for a walk past the supermarket. Most times I’ve cycled or walked by there, the spaced out (2 metres apart) queue is so long I can’t bring myself to join it. However, contrariwise, this morning without particularly planning to go, I was so delighted to find only five people in the line, that I joined it and then had to spend the 20 minute wait thinking of what I didn’t already have stored away at home. Fortunately my friend Jan was waiting in the line behind me.

Shopping done (it’s amazing what you can find that you suddenly NEED), I walked home. That was when I found Con ahead of me in the bathroom using my toothbrush.

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SO annoying.

In my absence, Con and Rona appear to be in a bit of a snit with each other. It’s not like they talk a lot anyway, but THIS is what I came back to.
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Con’s not talking to me either, since I removed toothbrush privileges. Fine with me.

We’ve had a wee meeting this morning, via Zoom, which worked well. It saves making cups of tea if you are all virtual, but it’s hard to sing the same notes together.

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Onward and upward. Hope you’re all doing well. For some reason I have a terrible urge to make cake, but there’s only a limited number around to eat it. We’ll see.

Oh, before I go, there’s one tip I invented for if you can’t bear being in the house ONE MORE MOMENT. Go for a virtual drive. Choose a destination, open up Youtube, find the journey, prop the ipad up on the dashboard and sit behind the steering wheel and pretend-drive there. It works.