Day one of lock down

This is just to say

I have eaten
the 48 cans of baked beans
that were in
the pantry

and also 72 packets of after dinner mints
you were probably
for the


forgive me
it’s my first day
working from home

so many hours
and no one

                                                                            David Slack (reprinted here with his kind permission).

What a lot can change in a week. This came through Twitter just last Thursday as many people were still at the stage of setting up working from home. Now, a week later, we are in full lock down as a country, probably for a full month at minimum. We are, as our Prime Minister says, going early and going hard with Covid19. With very few cases of community transmission (passing the virus on to non-family members), locking down is the only way to attempt containment. Existing cases should become obvious in the next two weeks and while we can’t expect to remain Covid-free longer term, careful management may mean our health services can cope.

Sometimes there are advantages to being a country of isolated islands that can cut off physical contact with the rest of the world. Our borders are closed and almost all passenger flights have ceased.

Ugni molinae, Myrtus ugni or the NZ cranberry

The cranberries are fruiting. Well, what we know as the cranberry in NZ which is actually Ugni molinae and nothing whatever to do with proper cranberries. Feijoa season has started up north and the grape season is underway. By the end of a month, the cranberries will be a distant memory, we will have eaten all the grapes and the feijoa season will be past its peak. Only then will we know the extent to which this drastic action of lock down has worked.

In the current situation, it is is already clear that it will bring out the best in most people and the worst in a few. Best to be one of the majority in this situation. Stay safe. Be kind. Stay home. At least we are still allowed outside to garden.

Despite an extensive photo library, I lacked any photos of cans of beans or packets of After Dinner Mints. So please, have a random, delicate fungi instead.


22 thoughts on “Day one of lock down

  1. Susan Oliver

    well done Abbie. We will need your posts more than ever – perhaps daily , with photos… just saying. I am hugely envious of your large garden – a sanity saver for sure – and I love that bulbs will come into flower, trees will colour up and lose their leaves whether we are there or not – the garden goes on. (But even better if that is recorded for those of us who cant see it – just saying….again)

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I was thinking of you, Susan, and what it will mean for you to be confined to the limited space of home. Stay safe and I will do my best, as long as I feel I have something worth saying, XXX

      1. Susan Oliver

        thanks Abbie. We are lucky, having a large house, an overgrown garden, masses of books to read and at least 3 years of spring cleaning to catch up on.

  2. perrie read

    a ray of sunshine,with the start of today,iam feeling worriedtoday as a daughter with mental health issues and hours away is not coping,a cuppa and a call to her then i am going out to garden with a spade and 5 fairy blush to plant, the small vege garden is full,so looks like broccoli will sit amongst some flowers…my bear is sitting in the window,looking at the anemones coming up..keep the posts coming,.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh Perrie! My heart goes out to you. There are so many people like your daughter who are in really difficult situations. She may in some ways find it easier now that we are in lock down, the picture is clearer and we know what we must do. So while cabin fever can and will set in for many, the anxiety of just not knowing has been eased. Stay busy, yourself! I am thinking I will do more frequent posts. In the days when I was doing paid writing, I used to have to submit from 3 to 5 different pieces a week and I was constantly thinking and looking for ideas. I see I have gone back to that way of thinking and already have a list of five possible subjects for the coming days.

  3. Winifred Kiddle

    Hi Abby, I follow many blogs but yours is the only one I religiously read. Keep going.

  4. Elaine Bolitho

    Thanks so much Abbie – always appreciate your posts and your pix. I’m so pleased that you have indicated that you will be writing more often. My resolution for this time is that each fine day I will spend at least one hour in the garden. Started by pruning all the seed heads off the City Council agapanthus in the road reserve/driveway outside our house. In the 13 years we have been here they have never touched it, so we just try to keep it in order (with our gardeners help when he slashes it back each year to leave enough room for car access)! There is a limit to how many floral arrangements using the heads that one can place in a small house! So quiet out there – on our busy arterial road which it sometimes takes me 5 minutes waiting before I can cross – there were fewer than 10 cars, plus one cyclist, one family en croc with a good 4 metres between them, one Mum with toddler in pushchair and one runner. (Oh and the nearest I was to the road would have been 3 car-lengths away so still in my “bubble.” Enjoy your 25 hectare bubble and I look forward to the extra posts. Blessings – stay safe.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      We, too, have been enjoying the peace of a usually busy road which has been abnormally quiet today. We are looking forward to the next month of similar peace. Good on you for planning daily gardening. Good for the body and for your mental health.

  5. Robyn Kilty

    That man will have diahrreoa after all that! In his dreams surely! What enormous Myrtus ugni – they are like plums rather than cranberries. Mine are minuature in comparison. But don’t they smell yummy as they ripen?

  6. tonytomeo

    I am seeing more people from town than I ever saw here before, as they come out to the forest to avoid others in parks and public places. We avoid each other when we encounter each other of course.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      We are much tighter here in full lock down. After some confusion on day one as to what is and isn’t acceptable, it has been clarified that lock down means staying at home or close to home and the only reasons to go out in the car are to the supermarket or for medical help. It is not to be a vacation at home where day trips to less populated outdoor locations are fine. So it is fine to go for a bike ride or a walk. Those who live close to the beach or mountain are lucky, those who don’t: tough luck. It seems that the tougher the rules and the more clean cut without exceptions, the easier it is to get a population to understand this odd new reality of ours.
      You stay safe, Tony. It seems that America is set to become the epicentre and worst affected nation, overtaking both China and Italy, in the next 24 hours or so with no respite in sight for you.

      1. tonytomeo

        Unfortunately, that is what happens when no one wants to play by the rules. Most of us do, but there are some who do not take it seriously. With spring break, students still feel entitled to go to the venues where they go to party and get rowdy. Some of the roads to the coastal towns of northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington have been barricaded, so that only local traffic is allowed in. It is ridiculous that such measures are even necessary. It should be enough to just tell students to stay home.

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        There is much to be said for living in a very small country where the surprise of seeing police, civil defence, other officials and I think there is even talk of deploying army personnel enforcing the lock down in the kindest but most implacable manner is likely to work. Quite aside from the fact that we are a nation of observant busybodies – often described as being like a large village. Our universities have all closed and students rushed home to lock down before deadline. It is one rule for all – no complications of state and federal governments here. Our Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer are briefing us daily and the messaging is simple and clear. Time will tell if it works but we already have protections in place for people renting, people paying mortgages, self employed, and small businesses. Large businesses are being dealt with on a case by case basis.

  7. Paddy Tobin

    Despite its nuisance, it is better to remain at home and away from people as much as possible. We have been like this for the last two weeks now and likely to remain as such for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, our regular supermarket has online ordering and home delivery but there are long delays before delivery. There are no delivery slots available in the next fortnight so we will have to manage with what we have in store or order online and collect at the shop and we are anxious to avoid even that level of contact – we are in the at-risk age group and would prefer to take all possible precautions. A friend’s son has died, aged 56, fit and healthy until he caught the virus. There will be no funeral and his ashes will be forwarded to his parents. A very sad situation.

    Keep well, safe and in good health.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      This is a truly awful situation, Paddy, especially striking so close to home for you. Our hope in NZ is that by locking down tightly so early, we can flush all the existing cases out and clear them before we all come out of lock down. Almost all our cases are still related to incoming travellers and that can be controlled in the short to mid term at least. I figure if I avoid the supermarket until next weekend, that by then we should know if there are any local cases connected to our nearest small town. I will feel safer venturing out if there is no evidence of local infection. But we are so much better off than most countries who already have widespread community transmission. We are still at the point where contact tracing can take place. May you and those close to you stay safe in these extraordinary times.

  8. Paddy Tobin

    It may strike people as a nuisance that your government has called for a complete lockdown so early but it is without doubt the best action and it is best you stay at home as long as possible. Best wishes.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Pretty much universal support here for our Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance who are front-footing this. Party politics have now gone out the window.

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