Tag Archives: Pandemic

Anyway…

7 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 7,  2020

Day 78

I woke to the quiet voices of twenty-six quail outside our bedroom window and went outside into the mist to feed them. This morning they seemed only slightly skittish and did not scatter as I walked slowly up the steps between them. The sun was rising in a blaze of gold behind a layer of cloud that blanketed the valley. It would burn off within a half an hour but I could not see the moon even though I knew exactly where to look. Photographs would have to wait.

 

AAAASENTINEL4

 

Breakfast in bed and the joy of a letter from the lighthouse keeper. Wonderful way to start the day even if the news was not all good. My education is a work in progress and I know that events turn on jewelled bearings for reasons beyond my limited understanding, but still… I look for order in the world and am dismayed when, at times, I find none. I am, as I have said before, a slow learner.

 

At 11:00AM I geared up for the task set before me by the gift of yesterday and drove over to Rosie’s. Formed my own private and solo pyramid building crew and began moving the row of foundation post off-cuts.

 

AAAAAPostssss

 

Five trips, with lunch shoehorned somewhere in the middle. 13 posts. Approximately 4,000 pounds. 5 round trips.

 

AAAAAPOSTs

 

I found a place to put them in the forest off our drive where I can winch them downhill and cut them to length as and when I need them for the piers of the new bathroom and storage room. Until then they will be almost invisible, the green treated wood blending into the brown of ponga trunks and emerald green of fern fronds. I finished after dark, working by the light of the car headlights to lever the last huge post into its resting place. I wrapped up, removed the tarp from the back of the car, stowed my tools and then staggered in to the warm sitting room and the golden light of love, well and truly thrashed. Valerie had set out a cold beer and bowl of sweet-chilli rice crackers to snack on and I checked today’s numbers while she went to the kitchen to prepare a steak and onion dinner. Paradise…

 

 

AAAAJUN7NZCov

 

Zero New cases. Zero Recovered cases. The ratio of recovered cases to active and probable cases plus deaths is 99.93%….still.

 

 

This day has caught up with me and I am reminded of next to the last line of the letter Jeremiah Johnson found frozen to the corpse of Hatchet Jack, another trapper who had, as his short missive said, “killt the bear that killt me.” It was the scene where Jeremiah, ably played by Robert Redford, inherits the deceased trapper’s Henry rifle (after prying it from his frozen fingers). Matter of fact and to the point, it spoke of the rugged nature of the mountain men and their understanding and acceptance the price that must sometimes be paid for living in the wild. I feel that closing this entry with that line is fitting and apropos, considering that this day has thoroughly kicked my ass…

“Anyway, I am dead.”

 

AAAHat

 

Goodnight

 

Waiting on the Moon

6 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 6,  2020

Day 77

 

Sun.

Rain.

Sleep.

Love.

AAAJUN6NZCov

Zero New cases. Zero recovered cases. The ratio of the movement of the second hand to the hour hand of a watch is 720:1. With unequivocal certainty I can tell you that since the onset of the Covid-19 contagion, the speed of time has remained constant, and that the last person who has the disease has been sick for an awfully long time. I wish they’d hurry up and get well.

 

AAAASN

 

It turns out that garden snails are not really that slow, so perhaps I should apologise to the fellow above. In one hour they can travel 150 feet, which may not seem that fast, but in the time it takes for the moon to go through all four phases, your average snail can cover twenty miles. Cut that in half to allow for time spent sleeping and eating and it’s still a healthy ten miles. Not bad for a creature with only one foot.

 

AAAAMOONBJ

 

The rain of the past two weeks has hidden the moon from view as it changed from new to full, which it is right this second as I type. One of the reasons this entry is so short is that I’ve been going outside every few minutes stare up past the scudding clouds to check the moon’s progress. Last month I took its picture as it set and I hope to do the same in a few hours.

I’ve been around for 804 full moons in my life. I can remember quite a few of them, but still hope to see another 400. Majestic, mysterious and utterly captivating. There’s a reason why the three toed tree toad sings his sweet ode to the moon…

 

AAAFULLMOON

 

Miracles happen.

 

Go outside and see.

 

Waiting on the moon.

Soon

5 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 5,  2020

Day 76

This morning I set up a ladder outside the kitchen bay window and climbed up to inspect the roof tarp where it is secured to the main house roof overhang. I brought with me a homemade rake made from a long, thin strip of plywood with four wood screws set in the end like the tines of a fork and bent at ninety degrees. Using this impromptu tool, I patiently raked out a couple of pounds of leaves and debris. The little implement worked perfectly and when I had cleared as far as I could reach, I swept the troublesome pile off the tarp and down to add its component parts to the ever growing humous layer of the forest floor. To the extent that I could, I eyeballed the tarp surface for cracks and then climbed down to wait for the next rain so that I could check to see what puddles appeared.

For the entire two-month span of lockdown the dumping of refuse at the council-run tip was governed by constraints that made trash runs a real pain. I took some bags down  there in the beginning to see how it worked, but when I discovered the hoops I had to jump through I elected to store my full trash bags along the eastern wall of the shop container. Then I watched the numbers fall and waited for the end of lockdown. Now that we’re at level 2, my personal collection of rubbish bags has assumed an elevated priority. I decided to consolidate bags by packing them tightly before loading them into the car for the trip down the mountain. I built a frame to hold open the bags so that I could transfer the contents from other bags into them and set about turning twelve bags of garbage to eight.

While doing that I did a load of laundry only to find that the mysterious leak beneath the washer is back. Threw a towel down to soak up the small puddle that crept from beneath the whiteware. Roseanne Roseannadana came to mind as I thought about the one-step forward and two-steps back dance I’d been doing around the homestead during the last few days. If it’s not one thing, it’s another… Sometimes it’s like that. You just have to put your head down and drive on.

After lunch Valerie and I drove over to a friend’s lot about three-quarters of a kilometre down the valley. We’d been invited to inspect a pile of timber scraps her builders had amassed during the construction of her new home. We pulled in the curved and muddy drive to find our friend Rosie getting out of the car after the long drive from Auckland. She’d come up with a friend to spend the weekend kitting out her new digs with books and planters and the usual home furnishings.  We sorted out social distancing while commenting that it was strange how we still clung to routine despite there being only one active case in all of New Zealand.

Rosie bought her lot about two years ago with the idea of it being an off-grid hideaway far from the madding crowd where she would be able to put down roots, grow a garden and commune with nature on  weekends or holidays. She has a caravan and has spent a long time on site planning her home. The design she came up with makes the most of a small building area perched at the edge of a precipice that affords a wide-open view down the valley toward Whitianga and the sea beyond.

Working with an innovative construction firm, she’d opted for five twenty-foot shipping containers to be placed on huge wooden piles driven into the clay and arranged in a wide ‘U’ shape with the open end facing the view. The builders had cut out walls and installed huge sliding glass, double paned doors and combined two of the units into a large and open kitchen/living room with bedrooms forming the legs on either side. The fifth container was tacked on in back to form a mudroom/entrance and an enclosed storage room. The site was chewed up and muddy but will recover and blossom and her house is going to be divine.

Rosie had pulled the trigger on construction a month before Covid-19 showed up and seen most of the work finished just as lockdown started. She then had to endure the uncertainty and frustration of two-and-a-half months of everything being shut down. No work could be done and even traveling to the site was impossible. Mice took up residence in her caravan and the shell of her new house was exposed to the full brunt of the onset of winter. Since lockdown ended almost a month ago the majority of the work has been completed and the open lines and sweeping vistas are a testament to her imagination and patience.

Rosie showed us around and then offered us the off-cuts of the piles that were used for the corner posts of each container. There were fourteen in all, twelve inches in diameter and ranging from four to eight feet long. I asked her if she was sure, because if I had to buy them at the timber yard it would cost a great deal. She was adamant she wanted them gone and that I could have them. I accepted gladly, but only after showing her how she could use two of them split long ways to make a nice temporary set of steps up and into her house. Her eyes lit up when I showed her how to do it and she said she’d ask her builders to knock it together. I can’t wait to see how it works out.

In the meantime I’ve got twelve huge posts to move to our lot. Looks like two at a time in the back of our station wagon. Lots of levers and work and straps and tarps and fun, and then I’ve got to find a place to stow them neatly until I can use them in the construction of the upcoming new bathroom/storage room and kitchen expansion. I don’t want to mess up the forecourt but at the same time I want to store them as close to where I’ll be using them as possible. I decided on the way home to make Rosie a bell for her driveway as a house warming gift. Luckily, I’ve got an extra SCUBA bottle around somewhere so that will be easy. Another adventure underway.

Checking in with the numbers I found that there has been no change in twenty-four hours…

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.31.18 PM

Zero New cases. Zero recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases and probable cases (plus 22 deaths) is 99.93%.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/05/cant-quite-believe-it-new-zealand-tiptoes-towards-elimination-of-coronavirus

 

PH

 

Soon.

 

 

The Future Waits

15 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 15,  2020

Day 55

AMay15NZCov

1 New case. 10 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 94.8%.

Thames was a no go. Valerie was not up to it and I discovered a bureaucratic glitch in the matrix so we postponed and had a quiet, relaxing day tucked in at home. I completed the repairs on the lamp and returned it to its place in the sitting room. Checked it off the list and made new plans for tomorrow (today:). All is well.

 

AZEppelin

Abide with Me

25 Apr


April 25, 2020

Day 33

Today is Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia. Normally there are ceremonies held at dawn at war memorials, cemeteries and Maori maraes all across the country to commemorate all New Zealanders who served and died in all wars and conflicts and the contribution of all who have served. Because it encompasses members of all races and creeds and unites everyone in remembrance of those that gave their all for the nation, there is no more important day in the year. 

This Anzac Day was unlike any other that has ever been celebrated because people everywhere, though in full lockdown, standing in their driveways or gardens or apart but together in public places, still found ways to honour and remember their countrymen, family and friends. In so doing, they showed why this nation is special. When adversity challenges them they rally as one to steadfastly, quietly and resolutely do what must be done.  There is no greater testament to this country and her people than the way they celebrate Anzac Day.

Here is proof. If you take the time to read and watch all of the different articles and features contained in this link, you will begin to see what I have. Truly and sincerely a moving tribute to a people and a country. Enjoy.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121260057/live-kiwis-commemorate-extraordinary-anzac-day-in-covid19-lockdown

And though it all, the numbers must be counted.

AApr25NZCov
5 New cases. 23 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 76%. (Nothing in the Zero department.) Another day, another death. Bless them and bless us. It could be much worse.



Usually toward the end of April the skies turn gray and cold and Anzac Day often has a somber feel to it. Today was different. A brilliant red dawn and later, a bright and beautiful day greeted those who rose early to stand and remember.

Tradition at services on Anzac Day calls for the singing of Abide with Me. The hymn is a prayer for God to remain present with the speaker throughout life, through trials, and through death. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szjYUaF3nro&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1RGI21RD_vIZr4PvW-e9vq4FDuqASxUvb1X5xG-DoSGFcvXMbj6zoHmfg

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terror, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

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