A year since lockdown began

Home grown produce in New Zealand

Exactly one year ago, we went into lockdown.

Two days before that our Prime Minister informed us that we would be shifting into level 4 in 48 hours.

I remember a slightly raised state of anxiety. Nothing like this had ever happened before. I looked around my office wondering what I needed to take with me to work at home, I called into the supermarket on the way home to collect a few things to tide us over…funnily enough not toilet paper or flour. Living 40 km from the nearest town we generally kept our basic store fairly full. It was summer, the garden was still producing, the freezer was full of meat. We had recently had our steer slaughtered, (but therein sits another story about show jumping escapee cattle) and I always have a reserve 5 kg bag of flour and rice in the cupboard.

Our eldest daughter decided to stay in town where she was flatting with a friend, our younger daughter decided to attempt the long trip from Dunedin in South Island (where she was at University) to get home before level 4 and our son and his girlfriend decided they would come and stay too.

I was in my happy place.

I was home.

Work pressure was reduced.

Job reasonably secure for the short term at least.

Two of our 3 children were back home, and we were told to stay home.

So, stay home we did.

After 4 weeks the flour had run out, the rice had run out but more worryingly, the wine had run out. It was time to brave the great beyond.

Following guidelines, I went alone. I reminded myself how to drive a car, how to dress for town, found a pair of shoes…I had not worn shoes for four weeks, and prepared to come face to face with people…face to face, at a distance of course. I queued through the car park with my mask and gloves, did my shopping and went home. The supermarket was busy the roads were empty. Everyone, as far as I could see was doing as we had been asked. Jacinda asked the whole country, the team of 5million, to go home and stay home, and that is seemingly what happened.

On April 27th one month after lockdown began we moved down to level 3 and then to level 2, two and a half weeks later. By early June we were back to level 1, lifting all restrictions except border controls.

Since then we have had a couple of raised alert levels as the odd case has emerged in the Auckland community but for myself, not living in Auckland, life has returned in essence, to normal. Once, I had to cancel a trip to one of my Auckland based schools, but mostly as COVID freely runs riot around the world, I have been extraordinarily lucky here in Aotearoa, New Zealand; little has changed apart from restrictions on global travel and some job cuts due to a heavy reliance on an international market.

That is the big picture…I feel blessed to be living in Aotearoa as the pandemic rages around the world. I worry for my family overseas and am sad that their freedom has been compromised.

With vaccines rolling out here in Aotearoa and world-wide, I am hopeful that global travel will once more become common place and I will be able to visit family in the flesh.

Wishing everyone a gentle and safe emergence from lockdown.

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