Days of a Plague Day 1, March 26 - Day 7, April 1

Day 1, March 26. Surprisingly a lot of traffic, and of course, power tools.

We've been ready for the official lockdown for a long time. We've cooked dinners to freeze, bought one extra of dry ingredients, (oh-so-much beans!), stocked up on loo paper and soap and disinfectants a little at a time, although some dinners and special naughty treats have disappeared before we began.

I also built a list of Plague projects, which is completely silly because lockdown is not changing my regular life. I can't go outside the house, into town, see friends, and some say only one person is allowed even in the car to go to the supermarket for one person to shop, 2m away, etc. Ben being home all day, with lunch, we are eating better, so we'll definitely need to devise some kind of an exercise regime.

Lockdown officially started at midnight last night. I was almost elated yesterday because I could finally stop worrying we weren't doing it soon enough. But today, there was no more preparation required, we have so much food, and suddenly I was completely exhausted and needed a nap.

Ben's sticking to his regular routine. Good for him.

I got some leftover cotton fabric so I can try making cloth masks. I might try making some out of my cotton weaving samples as well; somewhere in the stash room there are heaps more. Or continue trying to reorganize the yarn stashes. Or work on a simple woodcut or lino print. Or, you know, weed or weave.

I've seen a lot of recommendation for folks to keep a Plague diary. I'm not sure if/how I'm going to do this, but for now I'll try to post a pic a day on Facebook just so I have something I do daily. Which I don't have in my usual life. Interesting times.
Day 2, March 27. We had crazy weather today, blindingly sunny one minute, roof-caving-in rain shower the next. I wanted to make the masks but the kitchen, where I set up the sewing machine, was too dark even with all the lights, so I continued cleaning the closet/stash room. Long story; even longer process. Towards the evening the temperature dropped Ben wanted the first fire of the winter. It's still March so it's the earliest in the 23 years in this house; previous record was April 9, in 2009, which was still quite early.

Still an annoying amount of traffic noise including the airport, but I heard something in the late afternoon I hadn't heard in a long, long time; that overwhelming, thick, heavy, silence. It was almost scary the first time we "heard" it at a B&B somewhere in the country, Napier? all those years ago. Then every time we went into the country. But how long has it been since we last heard it?

Have you noticed, now that we're all locked down, we are connecting more with friends, and the connections are more deliberate? It's been nice, hasn't it, even though I'll probably be more or less a hermit still. I wish it wasn't a pandemic that unites us, and yet there is something... ummm... not bad?? "Good"?? in the world fighting the same thing together. Well, more or less together. If only we could do this about the environment. And less traumatic world events.
Day 3, March 28. Today my character was tested and I failed. I woke up knowing I have reached Covid reading saturation. I was determined to work on one of my projects. Or clean the house. Every lockdown achievement by friends almost depress me; they are getting so much done, their homes are getting tidier, cleaner, nicer, while the magnitude of my task in that department gets me down.

But I first did my usual round of Facebook checking, which takes longer these days, among other reasons there is a local lockdown-related group where I find information in the comment section. It started because as hard as the government tries, there are different ways to interpret the rules; one of the most robust has been how far one can go for the allowed daily exercise; if we can drive to where we will do the exercise; how many minutes or km we can drive; and how many can be in the car to go to such places. Members cite different government sources, trying to find the latest announcements, but in the end it's up to each person's interpretation. At times some become quite adamant, claiming other are, "trying to kill my family," for e.g. Apparently there have been more than a few older ladies who can be surprisingly abusive and expletive by reports from young mothers with littlies upon their return.

Which lead me to think of how police states and autocracy and similar come to power; how it's not only those at the top taking away rights of the masses, but segments enforcing their beliefs/interpretations on others. They may not be malicious, their interpretations not incorrect, but it becomes their creed, and when their adamance is louder, others, however numerous, sometimes cede. If not already in existence, (and in today's "daily exercise" discussion, there was,) there may emerge, just as boisterous, those at the opposite end of the interpretation spectrum, and there we have the 21C polarization.

This kind of division won't be sanctioned in New Zealand for now under Jacinda, but I couldn't help thinking she knows history, and it wasn't only her predilection that made her repeat, "Be kind". This situation will probably grow worse in the coming weeks before we regain sanity.

Instead of getting up to embark on some meaningful making, I wrote to friends, and watched more Covid how-to videos. How to sort grocery post-shopping vid was thoroughly depressing but friends say they do it, so I guess we must, too. I find myself frustrated/annoyed by countries/friends who are not in lockdown, even though New Zealand is a newbie.  

Meanwhile, Ben successfully installed the new loo tank upstairs, but had to take some parts off the downstairs one. One loo for the two of us until further notice. The weather was brilliant.
Day 4, March 29. Neighbour Kathryn left us dehydrated apples with a lovely note on our outside steps. (The jar was full but Ben and I had some with cereal in the morning, and I munched on some in the afternoon.) She emailed me to say she also baked bread today.

I had hoped to work on a project later, but first I had to empty the linen closet so Ben could go up to the roof cavity to leave rat poison. This is an almost-annual Easter thing at #44. Afterwards, as I put things back in, I wanted to cull the content, but found only four Christmas ornaments to give to charity. Hanging Christmas/lockdown lights might be fun, though.

That, and a bit of laundry was pretty much it for the day. I am wasting a good lockdown - the story of my life. Tomorrow, projects.
Day 5, March 30. I made three masks; they took forever and I'm "sew" bad at it, but shall try at least three more to see if I can improve. Also made coconut-macaroon-ish cookie-like "treat". Edible, delicious in fact, but wet and wrinkly and ugly. I must stop using the stick blender extension and use the magnificent whisk with egg whites; the blender can't achieve hard peak.

I feel anxious about going to the supermarket after reading all the rules and comments sections, though not sure which one of us will be delegated to go inside. To delay our shopping trip, we've been studying what we have on hand more carefully, rationing fresh ingredients, using and eating slightly less. This is good for our budget and weight; it's actually a good practice for retirement if we can keep it up. Or down.
Day 6, March 31. Today I rant. (FB keeps loosing my rant, so this is the short version.) I made three of these for Ben. I knew he would tell me he prefers masks with wire for a better fit. I knew this these last three days I worked on masks. But hey, Plague? Besides, it's Tardis? Besides, how the Holy Hellebores do you wash a mask with wire in it?

He hinted, even before we were out the door. You know, softly, with no malice. But he does this. He never wore one of my first presents, a light, reversible green jacket, because the inside was red. (He didn't wear girl colors back then.) He didn't wear the first thing I made him, a navy corduroy shirt with small wooden buttons, (not plastic pretending to be wood;) you wouldn't believe how hard it was to find them; he prefers shirts with yokes.

Don't get me wrong. Ben and I do "being cooped up together" well; at times we seek it. This is more to do with my relationship with my parents, where I knew I was going to be (completely unjustifiably more often than not, or for something infinitesimally trivial,) in trouble and I spent days and weeks dreading it. That, and Ben's optimism one day I might step up? Hasn't he learned I just suck at sewing?

The poor guy is exhausted from working longer hours than usual, and having a most strange trip to the supermarket. He fell asleep on the floor.

What a day. At once, like any normal day when we do our own things in different parts of the house, and yet... Plague.
Day 7, April 1. I made shrimp and lentil curry. Good thing I got in the habit of very slow cooking a while back; it adds to the normality of my life. I had planned for one last go making masks to finish what I've cut already, but that didn't happen. One hand: we have enough, we don't go out, and I'm not getting better at sewing one bit; other hand: these will be nicer, making them keep me off the screen, and even if the lockdown lasts for months, I won't have to do this again. Theoretically. Oh, and Third hand: project idea: wearable "art" masks.

Lockdown is starting to feel normal. It was bound to be, because it's no different from all the days Ben worked from home; it just goes on indefinitely. And not a bad thing, his office here gets ventilated, and the huge work screen heats up the room instantly. For a while I worried we were going to explode from eating better cooking all the time, but neither of us are hungry much so two meals a day may become the norm. Not a bad thing.


  1. My life has not changed much either, although I do miss my coffee 'dates' with friends. Some of them are having a Zoom meeting this afternoon, but I don't feel like it so I will go back to the loom. My Pandemic Towels I'm calling them, although I would have been making them anyway. Somehow making seems like an act of defiance in the face of an invisible threat...

    1. I agree! For me, it's been cooking. The way I obsess with "having enough food ready" reminds me of animal documentaries where in face of grave danger, mothers grab pups/cubs and bring them back into their dens with great speed, something primal about having at least the food part of our life sorted. Also good not to join online parties if/when you don't feel like it, I say. There is much inside us all to re/discover and reward us. Happy weaving, Laura.


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