Saturday 2 May 2020

Lockdown adventures

Like everyone else, over the past 6 weeks or so that we've been in lockdown I've had very few face to face interactions with other people and none, other than with Martin and Sarah, at a close distance.  It's a very curious time.

I've been thinking about many things over this time - and have been coping more and less well at different points in time! - but here I want to write about  the non-work things we've been able to do even though many options have been taken away.

Martin's a plasma donor, and the blood service is considered an 'essential service'.  With a little more time on his hands than usual (although not much!  Less time is spent commuting but quite a few new responsibilities have opened up) he's been able to donate a bit more often than usual.  You can donate plasma fortnightly: he hasn't quite managed that, but has been able to donate twice over the lockdown so far.

'Vulnerable people' aren't supposed to be using public transport until we're back at alert level 1, but people are allowed to swim in the sea from alert level 3 down.  Earlier this year I'd taken to swimming weekly-ish at Blockhouse Bay beach, but had been taking the bus there.  I decided to practise biking to Blockhouse Bay shops and walking down to the beach so that I'd be strong and fit enough to do that (and swim) when we got down to Level 3.  The first time I went there for a walk I was most surprised.  I check the tides carefully when I swim, as I basically swim 'lengths' across the bay and want to be sure there'll be enough water.  I hadn't realised how far out the sea goes at low tide.  I usually swim between the structure half-way along at the left of the top photo and a bit behind the structure at the right of the bottom photo.  This day it was all mudflats there with no water at all!

A bit after that Martin and I decided to revise our view on what 'exercising locally' meant.  We initially interpreted that as a 5km bike ride in any direction but, over time, decided to mostly stick within a 2-3km radius of our house.  That ruled out Blockhouse Bay beach, although I have still been practicing other hills on my bike.  We're now at Alert Level 3 and I'm hoping to swim at Blockhouse Bay beach again later this coming week :-)

I was amazed by another cyclist, who posted this on a local cycling group.  He'd decided 'local' meant 'Avondale' and manged to do a 62km ride just in the one suburb!  I've since seen someone else who did nearly 150km by riding literally all the roads within a 3km radius of his house.

Martin's been enjoying baking more than usual over the lockdown.  Twice now I've made him some sourdough starter from the pulp left over from making soy milk (something I make most weeks).  He's made it into various things, but these sourdough biscuits ('biscuits' in the American sense - like scones) have been a particular hit.  We had them for breakfast again today :-)

He also made some amazing sticky buns last weekend :-) (recipe - with thanks to my friend Heather for alerting us to it.)

Easter was different this year, but still good.  My friend Anna led a Zoom Tenebrae service on Maundy Thursday that we all appreciated.  Here we are getting ready, with 13 candles ready to light (which were steadily extinguished as the service went on), supplies for communion and paper to write down things God said to us during the service.

This wasn't Easter, I don't think, but this is what church has looked like for a while as we do our services over Zoom.  Getting that set up was initially quite a lot of work for Martin, but it seems to mostly be ticking over now.  I like that we currently have short-ish sermons that conclude with a few questions, then we are randomly-ish assigned to groups of 6-ish people to discuss them before everyone comes together for a final song and benediction.  I'd quite like to continue that model when we go back to regular church.

Our church is also running home groups, prayer meetings, elders meetings and now Sunday School and youth group all over Zoom as well.
I've been walking a lot around our neighbourhood - mostly on the roads nowas I've found there are too many people at Oakley Creek and it's too hard to stay 2m away from everyone.  I've enjoyed looking at different peoples' gardens and I particular like this camellia tree that's currently gloriously in flower in our street.

A week or so ago I went for a walk around a local park that has lots of open space, then a sparsely wooded section at the back.  It was a delightful surprise to see someone had been 'yarn-bombing' many of the trees in the wooded area.  Here are photos of a few of my favourites - a more complete set of photos is on Facebook.

I went back to Eric Armishaw park last Monday (which gives access to the cool beach I mentioned earlier), but this time walked one way along the beach then back along a path I'd noticed last time.  It goes along near the top of the shallow cliff next to the beach, and is often in fairly decent bush :-)

It also takes you along the Selwyn Village fence line, from which you can see a bird feeder installed by a friend from church who lives there.  I've told him I'll try to let him know next time I'm walking past so we can wave at each other!

No photos, but I've also been enjoying 'the arts' online.  We heard that the NZ International Film Festival people had made a bunch of films available to rent online.  Last weekend Martin and I watched Kaikohe Demolition, which was a curious story, but fun on the whole.  And I also watched a concert from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - various members of the orchestra playing chamber music in groups of 3-5 remotely from their separate bubbles.  It was very well done and highly enjoyable.  They're putting on a Beethoven concert tomorrow that I'm planning on tuning in to as well (if you're interested, tune in here at 4pm Sunday - you can also watch last week's concert if you scroll down the page a bit).

And lastly, on Thursday, to celebrate moving into Alert Level 3, Sarah and I went for a swim at Pt Chevalier beach.  Martin doesn't much like cold water, so he went to a cafe we like (Blue Rose in Sandringham) and bought pies and we all met up after the swim for lunch :-)

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