The “new normal” continues…

The golden hour offers a bit of magic during a time of uncertainty.

How different is the world compared to last year? Tucked away in my rural paradise in the Southern Hemisphere I can pretend not much has changed as I ooh and ah over an another stunning sunset sipping on my scotch and dry. It is my favourite time of the day. Tasks completed during the day and an opportunity to sit with my husband to savour the view. The only downside to this is the arrival in recent weeks of 200 plus screeching cockatoos free-wheeling between the various huge gum trees that surround our home. These native birds love to destroy trees and any other soft-wood they can find to combat their boredom. They love to start their deafening noise before sunup drowning out the melodic magpies and sweet sounding currawongs which come down from the mountains.

Anyway, I’m not complaining because giving up some of the pleasures and activities I was enjoying until things changed in March is the price I’m willing to pay if we continue to flatten the curve here in Australia. The enormity of this pandemic has shaken the world and its nations to the core. The loss of human life is heart-breaking to watch across the globe and the impact it has on those at the frontline. There is no denying that we all have a role to play in beating this COVID-19 in the little actions such as regular handwashing and social distancing through to staying home as much as possible. For those of us fortunate to have a roof over our heads this is possible but for others we need to be aware of the impact.

Thankfully, we seem to have moved beyond the initial panic buying of supermarket items including toilet paper but supplies of certain items are still limited and being restricted. Once a fortnight trip into town is all I can cope with at present. Shopping has become more stressful with limits on how many people are allowed in a shop, trying to keep our distance in narrow supermarket aisles while trying to reach into the meat section and having to pack our own grocery bags. Walking down the street people avoid you like you have the plague!

A highlight of our new routine has been the advent of takeaway deliveries once a week to outlying areas by one of our local hotels. My husband loves the Mexican Parma while I like the spring rolls washed down with a drop of local Aussie pino noir! They set up the van in a designated spot so we can do a drive through to pickup our meals and alcohol orders. This is one way of keeping staff employed while the hotel is closed due to Level 3 coronavirus restrictions. Living out of town we don’t bother with take away very often so it feels like a treat. But everyone must pre-pay by card over the phone when putting in their order to ensure no physical contact.

Easter regardless of whether you a follower of Jesus or use it as a break away with family and friends, was different this year. Our town is usually overflowing with visitors and hosting an array of events to keep people amused. After the economic downturn from the impact of nearby fires in January, there was a campaign to encourage visitors to return and fill their eskies with local produce. Come April and we are asking people to stay away!

My husband and I celebrated our birthdays one day apart during Easter. While there was no special dinner out or a trip to a winery even, Bolly (my hubby) bought some gourmet takeaway from town and fine wine to enjoy. The two of us spent most of our birthdays talking to family and friends over the phone at length because like us they have the extra time to spare. I think that has been a positive out of this. So many more people are talking about how they are catching up with friends they haven’t spoken to in a long time.

Church was different with a Zoom meeting but was lovely to see the faces and hear the voices of those we are missing from our regular Sunday gatherings. The local community radio provided air time for a stations of the cross a joint service with the Catholics and Anglicans on the Good Friday.

ANZAC Day on the 25th April was surreal with no war memorial services to attend. But people found ways to mark this sombre and important day by staying home and standing in their driveways at dawn with a candle as they remembered those who gave their lives for us. We took a battery radio outside to listen to the Dawn Service broadcasted from Canberra’s War Memorial with a handful of people including our Prime Minister Scott Morrison. My husband and I lit our old kerosene lantern and stood in our paddock watching the sun rise. As the strains of the Last Post played I was surprised by how moved I felt by this simple action. The magpies provided a beautiful background chorus. We later visited the war memorial in town practising social distancing and were able to view the many wreaths and tributes that were laid by various individuals and community groups and organisations.

Autumn has been delightful here and the show of colours better than previous years. We are allowed out to exercise so we are fortunate to have the picturesque Delatite River nearby to enjoy. April came to a close with impressive rainfalls and a wintery blast. We received more than 130ml in one week so there is lots of runoff from the hills behind us and our dams are overflowing which makes us very happy. This cold snap also brought more than half a metre of snow to Mt Buller making for a magnificent sight on a clear sunny day.

So life carries on with its own rhythms as we look forward to less restrictions in the near future.

4 Comments

  1. It sounds like you’re in a wonderful spot for lockdown. Are all those photos of your local countryside? We’re enjoying the same things – the birds in our garden, takeaway, cocktails and hanging out as a family without trying to get too stir crazy, whilst accepting it’s no problem being a little stir crazy!

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    1. We do live in a slice of paradise here which is an inspiration for my photography, especially during lockdown Alex. Every day I take my camera for a walk with me and I discover new things and changes with the seasons. The Victorian High Country where I live was the location of a much-loved film “The Man From Snowy River” based on Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson’s iconic poem. The film put Mansfield on the international map with the likes of the late Kirk Douglas starring in this epic tale of bush horsemen. It was the 38th anniversary of the film in March this year. It was before computerised images with local generations of cattlemen doing the riding scenes. It is a cold rainy day here so maybe I should pull the video to watch!

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  2. Your photographs are a lovely reflection of your countryside life. We enjoy much of the same here, and truly have not been affected by the new rules – ever changing as they are. Forrest has been working from home for nearly two months now, and I really like this. It has caused me to be more quiet in the house since he’s on conference and staff meeting calls a lot. With spring having arrived here, I keep busy outside most days so it’s not a problem for him to find the atmosphere he needs to work.

    The one thing I do not enjoy about this is the once every two to three weeks to town to gather a few perishables at the grocery and to the farm store for chicken feed. There is still a lot of hoarding going on here, and what with people growing tired of the “rules” are no longer following the rules, running around mask-less, speeding through town, running through intersections and not obeying the six foot distance between people. I find myself becoming even more of a hermit, having witnessed this ill regard for safety. I hope you and Bolly continue to be in good health and happiness!

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    1. Like you Lori, I am wanting to more space and quiet than more! I am hopeful that some people will come out of this with a new perspective on life. Autumn has been stunning here this year and in the last week or so we have been allowed out for day trips! Schools in Victoria start going back today with only some students with the rest due back on June 9 all being good!

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