lockdown · Thoughts

Life in Lockdown – Day 1

Well, here we are.

As of 11:59pm last night, New Zealand has officially gone into four weeks of full lockdown – or, as I prefer to think of it, box rest – to try and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our country. It’s an extreme and unprecedented measure in this time of great uncertainty, but it had to be done. It will take the country a long time to recover from the economical implications of a shut-down like this, but it would take us even longer to recover from devastating losses of human life, such as has been seen in other countries that failed to flatten the curve.

Personally, I am pleased, proud and relieved that our government has made this decision for the good of the people. Not everyone agrees with their plan, and there have been complaints and pushbacks, but for the most part, Aotearoa (New Zealand) is coming together and uniting to try and stop the spread of this virus. That seems to be the official word in New Zealand right now – Unite. The mantra that government has been sending out to the population is very simple – Be Kind. Stay Home. Save Lives. 

Currently in New Zealand, we have 205 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 (probable means they are known to have been exposed to the virus, and are showing symptoms, but a test came back negative). So far, we have no deaths, and 22 people have recovered. But we are a country of 4.8 million people, and we only have 233 ICU beds scattered across the entire country. We cannot afford to let this get out of control, or tens of thousands of people could die.

So, we’re in lockdown, and I’m staying home. My work is considered non-essential – my day job is in graphic design and pre-press for a small family-owned commercial printer – so I’m off work for four weeks. Government subsidies means I still get paid during this time, and a silver lining to all this is that I no longer have any excuses for not getting book 11 finished, and the next one(s) started. I can’t go anywhere, except to the supermarket to get groceries, which I am hoping to only have to do a couple of times during lockdown. We haven’t been instructed not to ride our horses, but we have been asked to limit risky activities, to keep pressure off emergency services and medical personnel.

I live alone, from a human perspective, but have plenty of company from an animal perspective, living as I do with the following menagerie:

A dog named Steve

A cat named Gilbert

A horse called Ace

A pony called Austin

Two hens called Marilla and Mrs Lynde

A rooster known as Matthew Cuthbert

Eleven ewes, who go by the names of BB, Nosey, Panda Eyes, Sideburns, Flopsy, Snow White, Snowflake, Teenie, Nan, Granny and Socks.

(Full disclosure: They aren’t my sheep, so most of these aren’t really their names, but it gives me a way to refer to them in my head – and yes okay, out loud. Hey, I have to talk to someone!)

In order to try and stay sane, I’ve written myself a daily schedule, starting from when I get up and blocking out at least three hours a day for writing. I have three minutes of my 11am-12pm block left to finish this blog before lunch. After that, I’ll be outside for two hours, spending time with the animals, doing farm chores, and generally soaking up some of this late summer sun. There are a lot worse places to be locked down than on six acres in a small town in New Zealand, surrounded by animals, getting my hands dirty under a blue sky, and writing pony stories that I can, by the wonders of the internet, share with the rest of the world.

So sit tight, stay home, stay safe, and look after each other. We will get through this.

See you all on the other side.

 

2 thoughts on “Life in Lockdown – Day 1

  1. How are things going in NZ? We are not doing so hot in the US… I’m a public high school teacher and our school year is supposed to have started this past week. We’ve postponed the start two weeks and it looks like we’ll be online teaching. It’ll be nice to be able to flex some time with my horses (horsey mornings are my jam), but I’d really rather have things be normal…
    Anyway, I was just thinking about you and your wonderful books so I thought I’d check in and see how writing and life in social distance was going on the other side of the globe!

  2. Hi Anne, thanks for your message. Sorry to hear things aren’t going so well where you are – COVID is a nasty virus for sure. NZ was doing great for a while, we came out of our strict lockdown back in April, and had over 100 days COVID-free until a new cluster broke out a few weeks ago. We now have over 100 community cases in the Auckland region, which is in ‘Level 3’ lockdown right now but is due to go down to ‘Level 2’ tomorrow midnight. The rest of the country (including where I am) is in Level 2, which means pretty much life as normal except we aren’t allowed to have gatherings of over 100 ppl, masks are compulsory on public transport, and every business has to display a QR code for people to scan using the govt app that traces where you’ve been. (Govt doesn’t have access to this data, it’s simply stored in your phone for 30 days so that if there’s an outbreak and you’re linked to a case, it’s easier to contact trace from there.)
    I’m back at work, we have started up Pony Club rallies for the season (and have our first show coming up, touch wood), so it’s almost life as normal here although we are recommended to (and do) wear masks in supermarkets, shopping centres etc.
    I’ve been working from home lately as well, but only because I have ewes due to lamb so I’ve been trying to keep a closer eye on them. Speaking of which, I should go out to the back paddock and check on them before I go to sleep (it’s almost 10 pm here).
    Take care, and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my books! Ngā mihi nui, warmest regards.

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