New ideas to break the monotony of home existence – bringing the inside outside!

Hello! I hope this post finds you as well and as safe as can be. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments of welcome in my last post. I too, have thought about you a lot in the intervening years of silence, and it means a lot to be able to continue our links. Sending virtual hugs!


New situations call for adaptation, and the thing we need to do now is to become adaptive and find ways to cope with the limits to our existence, and make things better where we can.

As we try hard to adjust and cope with this very strange new existence, it is healthy to recognise our feelings of anger and frustration because if I have learned anything in life, the more you smile nicely and swallow other people’s s**t the less your own needs will be cared for and the worse it turns out for you. I’m going to share my own feelings here as my own ‘therapy’ and to help provoke some noise to make changes that need to start happening.

I think there is a thing called ‘too much’ and I for one am definitely feeling like there is too much news about Covid-19, and not enough focus being paid to how we’re all going to come out of this in as resilient a spot as possible. The good news is that if official statistics are to believed, we are getting on top of infections. However, there is a way to go before we’re all allowed to relax, and this intervening period is starting to give me concern.

I’m starting to feel angry. I see my neighbours socialising openly with no regard for appropriate distancing, and it makes me very mad. Don’t they realise that doing so only increases the chances of a prolonged lockdown if they inadvertently spread the virus on? We’ve all read about people who have Covid-19 and feel perfectly well. Can they guarantee they don’t have the virus? And how do they know they don’t when the only people I understand are being tested are travellers and people known to have contact with Covid-19 sufferers?

There’s a 12 day window in some cases before symptoms start to appear. How hard is it to keep yourself to yourself for just a few days????? I’m mad because it means more people will lose jobs, and more people will suffer tremendous hardship and suffer from the consequences of the actions of the selfish few for many years to come. So please, people. Do the kindest thing you can possibly do and be proud of yourself for doing so. STAY AT HOME. It’s that simple. Do you think I should make a copy of this and put it in everyone’s letterbox? I really feel like doing it.

Going out terrifies me now. The sanctuary of my home is very much where I’d rather be for the next while, yet as the family’s only adult and sole breadwinner, I am forced to go out because I can’t get all the essentials of life delivered. And there is so much fear and stress out there.

Today, I ventured out to find the fabled flour that has suddenly become extremely scarce (I don’t blame panic buying or hoarding. I suspect most people are naturally doing what they would turn to when faced with more time on their hands – doing something fulfilling and creative like making bread and baking). Walking up to the queue, I saw a man standing in front of me with a trolley which was already full of food. He had stopped, and wasn’t moving along in the queue, which was moving up at that point. I thought that perhaps he was just walking by, having done his shopping, and was waiting for me to take my place in the queue before going past me. So I asked him politely “Are you queuing?”to which, and said in an extremely aggressive tone, “I’m there” (gesturing to the point where I was standing (which was not in the queue, btw)) and “you’re here” (to behind him) “are we all good?” This was kind of shocking. All he needed to say was “yes” and I would have kept moving past him? Why did he need to make such an extreme response? That was not kind. He was probably feeling stressed out having already queued once for food and now having to queue again. Unfortunately, this sort of reaction is becoming more and more common as fear, stress, and uncertainty overtake our worlds. I’m really beginning to wonder if the Government has taken the right approach to controlling this outbreak. Is the cure worse than the thing we’re trying to fix?

Don’t get me wrong. I agree that distancing is a good thing. However, here are my thoughts:

Fear is the overarching vibe I feel all around me. It’s the destroyer of worlds. In order to maintain control of fear, people’s basic needs must be met. And here’s how these needs are not being met right now:

1. When you’re queuing for a long period of time for an activity you never had to queue for in the past (this starts to make you feel anxious). No one smiles. The hapless guy manning the queue at the front is feeling just as scared as everyone and says unhelpful things like “take it easy” to people, which only increases stressful feelings.

2. When you finally get into the store, and find the things you take for granted are not on the shelf, (ie. bread, flour, shall I go on?) (this makes you suddenly feel like you’ve warped into an alternate universe where there’s a war on, and you start to feel anxious about feeding your family – what was that about there being enough food for everyone??)

3. Supermarkets taking a high handed approach, despite the fact that more than half of New Zealand is voluntarily sitting on their hands at the moment, and that they effectively have a monopoly on the supply of food and essential products (don’t get me started on how much things are costing at a time when a lot of people’s income is reduced – my supermaket bill, for the same things I normally buy, was at least $30 more than it usually is – why? When they are making more money than they ever dreamed of? Have you noticed how quiet they’ve been about their profit margins?) Why can’t they get their act together to home deliver to anyone except for the ‘high risk’? (This increases the chance of infection because people have effectively been forced to congregate at a single common point where infection could occur at high rates). This is not a time to give the people whose sole existence to date has been about making money, the power to be in control of society’s well being. It only bodes well for exploitation.

I think perhaps it’s time for the NZ Defence Force to take over operations and comandeer any available delivery vehicle not already in use for essential purposes just to help clear the backlog.

Sidenote: I know that other businesses have now been allowed to start delivering essentials and there is such a thing as food boxes (which I am also using to prevent unnecessary trips to the hated supermarket). This will help to some extent, but I believe that more needs to be done. Not everyone is in such a privileged position.

This scenario just throws up how ill prepared we are as a country to cope with sudden large scale disasters. I don’t care if that sentiment upsets the people who are trying. It’s just a fact. I’ve seen it time and time again, where I have been the only one asking “and what if, and have we thought of?” Maybe, coming from a family with a long history of military careers, this thinking has been bred into me. It still surprises me, because we live in a land more prone to disaster than many others on the planet due to our high risk of earthquakes, for one. We’ve had a number of pre-shocks in recent history to get help get us sorted (SARS, Christchurch, Kaikoura, even the Whakaari/White Island event should have got us thinking) and yet… How can we learn from this? I hope it means that in future, those in charge of response to events think a little harder about the consequences of failures in our systems and have a good line of communication and response sorted.

Up to this point, the vast majority of the populations of the world have been compliant with requests to stay at home. How long will this last when the very fabric of normal existence is being torn apart? I’m starting to feel very worried about the consequences.

Having got people to comply for now, the governments of the world need to be focusing on giving people reasons to continue to comply, besides instilling yet more fear into people or the big stick approach. Not all countries are culturally aligned to being compliant and now is not the time to expect drastic change to automatically happen. Meeting as many basic needs as possible will go a long way to preventing the rising feelings of anger and resentment I’m beginning to both feel, and hear all around me. Helping people to feel that things are under control and everyone is getting access to things they need, will help.

What say you, my readers? Do you agree?

We’ll return to normal knitting commentary in next post. 🙂

Stay safe everyone.

PS: And in case you are wondering, yes, I did get the flour. Rationed to one bag only, but at least it’s a bag! And no, it wasn’t from Countdown, my supposed local supermarket in charge of the well being of the good people in the area where I live.

13 thoughts on “Adaptation

  1. Gosh, it has been ages! So pleased to hear your voice on line again. And yes, yes and yes. Totally agree on every point. I now live in small town King Country. And love it. And the community support and wrap around love is palpable. I did get told I was ‘bloody ridiculous’ for passing on the message that flu vaccines were going to take place outside the local GPs, in the carpark. Fortunately the nurse, appropriately robed up, was right behind me. I hope we’ve all moved on to accepting the new normal. We do need to do what we are told. And thank heavens we have strong, compassionate leadership. We are going to be fine.

  2. Going to the supermarket is something we are not doing, as both of us in my “bubble” are over 70. Writing a list for my lovely neighbour was a new experience though. It feels like handing over a large chunk of independence to somebody else. Just hoping this huge change to our lives is worth it

  3. I’ve been shopping for my parents so they don’t have to go to the supermarket; had to go to 3 different ones to get what I needed for them and us though, which isn’t exactly helping matters. I do hope you dobbed the neighbours in who were socialising despite the fact that they know full well they’re not allowed to!
    I hope you continue to be well; I’m busy sewing at home while the kids kill things online. Eldest goes for runs but knows the rules and youngest is happiest at home anyway so he’s enjoying it all. I’ve just read an email from someone talking about things going back to normal when the lockdown finishes and I’m thinking that’s not going to be reality. Reality is still going to involve distancing, probably until a vaccination or a treatment is available to reduce the severity of the disease. I miss normal, but I refuse to kid myself that we’re even close to that for some months to come.

  4. This is such a well thought-out blog post and I agree with everything you say. We have been lucky that the people here are trying as best as they can – my hometown prohibited meetings of more than two peope a few days before the national decree went out (Germany isn’t in lockdown, but you are not allowed to meet in public in groups larger than two people – families who live in the same household are exceptions, of course).

    But shopping has been starting to stress me out, too – it’s like playing a multiplayer game of PACMAN in the shop, everybody is avoiding everyone. So far, people try to be extra kind, I try to smile at my fellow human beings when I’m in public, just to say “hey, this is crap, but we’re gonna make it!”. While we had to wait in line in front of a supermarket at the beginning of last week, the middle-aged man in front of me turned around, and made a funny smalltalk comment – I joined, and the very casual conversation took the edge off for both of us. PHEW.

    In my country, the big discussion has started that “this is too mentally challenging for people” and “we have to allow people to go outside!”, and the online magazine feuilletons are filled with philosophical articles about “freedom” and “how dangerous is it for the state to instigate such measures” and it just fills me with anger. Fact IS, this virus is very dangerous and deadly, so you WILL have to park your arse on the couch and we will DEFINITELY survive this. It’s not as if this is going to be like that forever. We have modern technology, a lot of people can work from home, and so it’s not as if no one knows what’s going on and we are doomed to boredom. (sorry for the rant).

    I totally understand that a lot of shop owners and self-employed people are fearing for their livelyhood, and this sucks big time, and in my humble opinion, one solution would be to support local business more than Mr. Bezos, because he has enough money as it is. The local book shop delivers home, too, and so do the supermarkets and the comic shop and the florist and your favourite restaurant has either takeaway now or they will send someone round.
    (Sorry for the rant)

    1. Hi Julia, a comment on the last part of your post. In NZ we can’t support most local businesses as non essential businesses aren’t allowed to send goods at the moment. So we’re being asked to not order from overseas, but nor can we support our local people. That part is a touch frustrating. No takeaway at all, so all restaurants of any kind are closed down, same with florists and book shops. We’re lucky in my family in as far as we already cook from scratch, we have our own library of books at home and we all have crafts to do for which we have supplies on hand. Many people aren’t used to not being able to go out and do things and now they can’t purchase new things to try even if they have the money. Hopefully in just over 2 weeks online businesses might be able to get back to business, but we’ll have to wait and see.

      1. Oh wow – okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t know that – that is absolutely frustrating for sure!! That was thoughtless on my part – I also know that it’s a problem for people who live in rural areas (no matter what country) because, sometimes, there just isn’t much, and the next store is about an hour away.

        I will keep my fingers crossed for you all! Go Kiwis!

      2. No way you would know Julia, which is why I mentioned it. I’m glad that things are working for you guys in Germany, here’s hoping that things get better for us all, no matter what country. One good thing, it seems to have revived blogging, I love reading this blog.

    2. Love your thoughts. 🙂 Here the essential online businesses that are allowed to operate are only food, beverage, clothes and household products like whiteware. It would be good for more businesses to be allowed to operate online as it will provide a valuable source of income for the smaller places that are suffering from no revenue. The good news is that infection rates seem to be going down around the world – let’s hope that continues at pace. And as you say, let’s please hope that the beautiful things we are seeing with reduced air pollution and people busy’ness will indeed last beyond this enforced lockdown. It has been so refreshing.

  5. I thinks I agree with you mostly, but find it a rather difficult topic. In The Netherlands, we are still allowed to go out ( like for a run ) but only if you go by yourself, and I think that is a good thing. It is not only the fear that stresses out, I guess, but also the constant alertness of the social distance, and if I were to stay home and indoors all day ( especially in cities not everyone has a garden or other good place to spend some time outside ) it would be a disaster for my health. Not just for my mental health, but for my physics as well, which is something that also worries me about those very restricted lockdowns. Doesn’t that mean that everyone gets out of shape, and that if one does get a virus ( even a small regular cold ) the consequenses will be far worse than they could be ?
    I totally agree on the overkill of news. If you can speak of news at all; for I feel it is mainly figures they spill over us, with infection rates. That just adds to fear, if you listen to those several times a day, without being of any help. What also worries me, is that no one talks about the ‘after’ indeed. For it won’t be the same, I guess. In some ways that is good, I think, if they will reconsider the way we treat animals and nature, but I fear that may just be the thing soon to be forgotten if things get back to normal again.
    What surprises me, is the lack of news about other events in the world now. Before this started, we heard about war in Syrie and South-Sudan, but suddenly that has stopped ?
    But anyway, despite my high bills for food now, even with less income, I still feel lucky. .Lucky to live where I do live, for I fear it might be far worse for the people in poorer areas, like the slums of big cities…

    1. All good thoughts José. We are allowed out for exercise too, it’s just the physical socialising that I’m having a lot of trouble with. Stay safe and well!. xx

  6. In regard to what you mentioned about your neighbours; a few days ago I fetched a parcel from my neighbours that they accepted for me while I was out working. My neighbour took quite some effort to keep distance – so far, so good. Now, to my surprise, they had their daughter, son-in-law and their toddler over. So that made me think: do people assume that they can only get it from strangers ?

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