Thanks to Anne Rolfe
Studley Daytime WI

Lockdown in New Zealand

I started off in November on a trip round the world and was fortunate enough to arrive in New Zealand before the Covid 19 pandemic kicked off. I was due to fly home at the end of March but flights were cancelled and I have now been stranded in Devonport for 2 1/2 months.

As I was originally going to be here for only a week before flying on to Japan with my daughter, I am living in her sleepout – really a glorified garden shed. Although it does have its own en suite. I cohabit with the tumble dryer which may well be in use soon as we progress into winter.

Lockdown proper for me began on 21st March when over 70s were told to self isolate. Luckily we’d just been to the craft store and purchased wool and patterns for winter hats to keep me occupied, and stash for card making.

Once it was clear that I was going to be here for a while it was no longer a holiday and I have a shared routine with my daughter and her husband.
We take it in turns to cook twice a week, with Chicken Surprise on Sundays. The surprise being who cooks or whether it is actually chicken. I miss my Kitchen WIsdom but have discovered some good recipes on the internet.

Another of my duties is the vegetable garden. The box beds were empty when I arrived apart from the kumara whose small leaves are a good addition to salads. The broad beans are doing well as are lettuce, spinach, beetroot and cabbages. Peas and runner beans not so good despite the warmer climate. My leeks however are thriving and I have been saving toilet roll tubes for blanching. No there is no shortage here. Kiwis have been reasonable about the situation and fairly compliant since we went to level 4 measures.

Luckily I am allowed out to exercise. Skye, a labradoodle gets very excited when Penny and I take her for our daily walk. We cross onto the Reserve opposite the house and then go down to one of the beaches. One looks across to Auckland and the other out to Rangitoto a volcanic island that appeared 600 years ago. . There are 3 extinct volcanoes in Devonport. The house is on the slopes of Mount Cambria and we can see North Head from the front steps and Mount Victoria from the back garden.

During my travels I had been sending regular updates. Since March these have been a weekly diary that I send to 46 friends and relations. It’s one way that I have felt connected as I can’t phone and chat, being on the other side of the world. My daughter renamed the updates as ‘Tales from the Shed’. She was also concerned that I should have a friend in Devonport and advertised on WhatsApp, got me onto Facebook and Messenger, and I now have an iPhone! which goes wherever I go. It’s taken a pandemic to drag me into the 21st century
Lorraine and I spoke on the phone at the beginning but we exchange messages frequently. I am looking for-ward to meeting after we exit level 3 on Thursday. We seem to have a lot in common including her sense of humour and the fact that like me she is no longer a house dweller. I live in a garden shed and she is staying in her daughter’s garage.
One of the good things to come out of this is that I have been able to spend time with my daughter who has been out here for 16 years. .