Wheel alignment

Friday, 10 April 2020

The anatomy of a personal lockdown

The whole world has faced the unknown with respect to Covid-19 and whilst the approach of each country varies, we've all faced restrictions which we've not experienced before.  NZ went into a hard lockdown really quickly and this has paid dividends.  As of today, a total of 1283 cases and sadly 2 fatalities involving the elderly.  That early action has not only stopped the total from being much, much higher but it will enable some degree of normality to resume that much quicker.

I've never voted for the Labour Party as I've disliked the "nanny state" politically-correct approach of some past Labour governments but I must say that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has handled major crises during her tenancy with more compassion and decisiveness than I would have imagined.  The sign of good leadership.  I was surprised to see her attracting major overseas interest like this piece from CNN a couple of days ago.

Getting back to how it's affected Jennie and I personally at this stage, it hasn't been too bad at all.  Following her rapid return from the UK, we both self-isolated on our property for 14 days.  I did the cooking and cleaning for the first 10 days and then it was back to sharing.  To be honest, we were both expecting the odd argument being in constant close proximity but we've been able to have a lot of fun and laughter.  A certain amount of novelty in the situation I suppose. 

I've been staying fit by having my mountain bike in a resistance frame.  It's ironic that on the last day of our isolation, I overdid the pedalling and hurt a leg muscle.  Consequently, my first trip post-isolation was to the pharmacist to get some Voltaren rub!  One trip to the local supermarket to get some odds and ends went off without a hitch, as did a visit to the doctor to get our influenza shots.  That was pretty slick.  Rolled up in the car to the service lane behind the surgery and a nurse in full PPE administered the jabs through the open car windows.  All done in a couple of minutes.

Fortunately, the autumn weather in our region has been fine so far with temperatures in the low-mid 20's C.  This has let us go for walks on the beach behind our place and do some long overdue gardening.  We did get some welcome rain a couple of evenings ago but it only lasted for half an hour.  Nice double rainbow over the harbour though.

So far, haven't found the pot of gold

Whilst nowhere as good as riding, just being outside in good weather to do some gardening has been great mentally.  Thought I'd share some shots of a few plants in our garden that I've been tidying up.

We have a lot of bromeliads and whilst they don't take much looking after, a good thinning out was needed and a good start has been made on that job.

A colourful bromeliad patch

The bees are having a field day with our Dwarf Bottlebrush plants.  It would be interesting to see what the honey tastes like!

Dwarf Bottlebrush

Last year, we had very few Monarch butterflies in the garden .  We think that it was due to large numbers of paper wasps attacking the Monarch caterpillars but this year there's a lot of them with very few wasps.  The Swan plant below which the caterpillars feed on is about 2.5 metres high and will provide a great food source.

Swan plant with seed pods

The Vegepod we bought at the end of last winter has been wildly successful.  Produce grows much faster than in the garden and we've had a constant supply of lettuce varieties, rocket, spinach and so on.  The basil has been outstanding with heaps turned into pesto, leaves frozen for future use and so on.  Also very handy with it being just a few strides from our kitchen.

Australian-made Vegepod.  A real winner

I guess that being busy is helping our lockdown to pass with relatively little frustration but the background knowledge that the majority of Kiwis are helping to drive it in the right direction also helps enormously.  The only frustration is not being able to get out on the bike.  It's been polished to within an inch of its life with nowhere to go!  Maybe soon......

I'm also retiring as chairperson of our region of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.  After nearly 5 years in the position, we have some great people who deserve to make their mark on it.  I'll still be around as a mentor and examiner so no plans to give up riding yet!

Finally, whilst looking for something else in a storage box, I came across a Tamiya plastic bike kit of a Honda Blackbird that I built around 2004.  It had got broken forks but fixed it ok thanks to superglue.  I remember that it sent me almost blind painting all the tiny parts and matching the bodywork to my real one.  Still looks pretty cool!

Tamiya Honda Blackbird

Kia kaha everyone - be strong.


  1. I need to go riding...

    Look after yaself Geoff!

    1. You and me both, Andrew. Mental health imperative!

      You too mate.

  2. Good to hear you survived your self-quarantine (not corona-wise, you get my drift, right?), and both of you are corona-free, Geoff. Not being a transit-country certainly helps limiting the contagion with the virus. NZ and leading lady Jacinda seemed to have been doing a great job. In Germany we hope for a careful easing of the strict rules by May. But as long as people are dying from this our politicians are still very reluctant: people over business they say.

    1. I do indeed get your drift Sonja - hiding sharp knives helped 😁. Not being a transit country definitely helps but being a tourist destination offsets that a bit. Amazed to find that 50,000 tourists from Germany were here when all hell broke loose. Definitely people first here too.

  3. Great pictures Geoff. Our own view across the Irish Sea to the Scottish coast at Portpatrick can only bee seen from upstairs. Still, at least it's getting warmer. This lockdown is a damned good time not to be living in a big city!

  4. Thanks Ian! You can't be too far from Ballywalter with that vista. I have a close friend in NZ who hails from there. He's mentioned Portpatrick views in the past. Agree that small is good at present. Our village has a population of 1600 which is fine by me!

  5. I’m getting all sorts of jobs done around here too Geoff. We aren’t in lockdown so can go for a ride or to the shops but being off work leaves plenty of time to do the jobs I never have the time nor more importantly, inclination to do.
    Of course, I’d be happy to go back to work tomorrow but unless there is a minor miracle that looks less and less likely. Still, we are trying to enjoy it as much as we can.

    1. Hi Dave,
      In retirement, inclination overrules time! Lots of little jobs that just don't interest me! Making progress though. Hope things get back to semi-normal for you soon. Two of my IAM mates who are Air NZ pilots are in the same position.

  6. I'm in Bangor Geoff. As you say, just a few miles from the metropolis of Ballywalter. Keep safe, and have a good Easter.

  7. Geoff, both your Prime Minister and ours get a good review for putting political ideology aside and making pragmatic decisions in this New York Times article. well worth a read https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/world/australia/new-zealand-coronavirus.html?smtyp=cur&smid=fb-nytimes&fbclid=IwAR0z5lAaN0DMzAXgsWGNqCSwCLjd9hCHvucWPI7esHgJAx-s8JfTULx8H3A

    1. Thanks Jules,
      An interesting view and I'd say pretty accurate. I'm horrified seeing the orange lunatic on TV every night. I have friends in the US and have worked over there and really feel for the average US citizen for having that guy calling the shots.

      Take care mate!