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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Lots of ‘firsts’...

I’m gradually recording the life changes and adaptations that have occurred in my life throughout the lockdown, social isolation and social distancing measures caused by the Pandemic. Pondering has become quite a big thing in my life and one conclusion I’ve come to is that life in recent months has been a whole series of ‘firsts’. In this post I’ll write about one of the first ‘firsts’ that occurred...worship in a pandemic. 
Like many parishes, we went online. Firstly we tried out a free version of the Zoom app but that is limited to 40 mins per session, but it was good to get a feel for the technology. A lot of us were familiar with FaceTime and Skype but many parishioners weren’t. But even our 90 year olds started to embrace the system. Very soon, the parish moved to a paid version of the app (paid for by the Diocese so we were no longer restricted to 40 min meetings) and not only was it used for services, but also parish meetings and training sessions for our trainee priest placement. 

Palm Sunday was a ‘first’. I wanted DH and I to have the little palm crosses so I had looked around the garden for leaves I could use as we don’t have a Queen’s palm tree that is traditionally used. I thought, dianella, liriope or lomandra leaves could be used but thought I might try strips of the leaves of the pony tail palm which apparently isn’t a palm tree after all. 

It worked perfectly! I used what I had available and it had worked. But I’d been prepared to try those other leaves if it hadn’t worked out. You know that old saying about ‘necessity’ and the ‘mother of invention’. 

And I cut a frond off another palm-like tree which was self-sown  years ago in our backyard to place behind our chairs in lieu of the normal Palm Sunday procession. 

We used an iPad for the Zoom meeting which only has room on the screen for 9 participants. You have to scroll sideways to see everybody. But some people used their PCs and this friend with a large monitor sent us all this photo. 

And through the wonders of Zoom, we had Bishop Jeremy as a guest preacher. We were all in different places but could be ‘together’ in another sense. 

Soon I’m going to write a post about Easter 2020 and there will be ‘firsts’ in that too! 

Family celebrations After COVID-17 Lockdowns

So I’ve already written a post about 3 family birthdays we celebrated this year before COVID-19 changed so much. 
It was DsD2’s birthday in early April when no one was allowed visitors in their homes. Our son in law made a cake and the little family of 4 celebrated this event. 

It had been organised that the rest of the family would sing Happy Birthday to DsD via FaceTime from our respective homes. 
And then we were able to watch the candles blown out...

And then we watched the cake being cut and watched enviously as the slices were eaten...😀

In May it was my turn to celebrate a birthday. By then restrictions had eased a little and people could have 2 visitors to their home. DD1 and Carrie were the first to come on a visit to help me celebrate. It was on DD1’s day off, a week before my actual birthday. DD1 organised lunch from a local fish and chip shop, delivered by Uber. 

It was lovely spending time with them.
On the night before my birthday I had 2 surprise visitors...DH had known they were coming. Anthea and her mum had made me a cake and delivered it to me. 

Naturally we all had a slice there and then! It was a delicious carrot cake with yummy cream cheese icing.
That next night, DH organised a takeaway for 2 from my friend’s cafe...lasagne ( my friend’s mum’s recipe), salad and for dessert, tiramisu. So out came the candles and the fancy glasses...

At 7pm, the family came on Zoom, and sang Happy Birthday to me. Then we chatted for quite a while as they wanted to know what sort of a day I’d had. 

DsD3 had stopped by in the morning of my birthday to drop off a gift from 5 of the family...

Always a winner with me! 
The next day, DD2 and Holly came to celebrate my birthday, bringing morning tea and gifts...I was still being spoiled. 

DH’s birthday was at the end of May and restrictions had eased even then you could have 5 visitors. So we had 2 sessions, half the family at each; a roast dinner on the Friday night and a takeaway on Saturday lunch time. ( we had 2 little girls at both sessions as their mum was working on the Saturday) 

DsD2 made a beautiful (and large) chocolate cake for the Friday night so on Saturday I just turned the cut part away from the camera and we had the candle on top for DH to blow out. 

So now we are in July and once again restrictions in my state have eased considerably more than in late May. We can now celebrate in clubs, pubs and restaurants and can have up to 100 at our home. DH says even our family isn’t that big! Lol 

Later in May on a week day when our local Bunnings tends to be quiet, I had fun spending my birthday gift card...

I wonder how we will celebrate the 2 family birthdays in September? 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Joining in some Isolation Games

In early April I came across a group on Facebook known as Bin Isolation Outing and decided to join in. The premise of the group was that due to Lockdown restrictions, our rubbish bins would have more outings than us. Each week our general rubbish bin would be wheeled out to the footpath and the council contractors would empty those bins. Every fortnight our recycling bin would also be emptied. 

Members of the group were encouraged to dress up to take the bin/s out, video or photograph this and then post it on the Facebook page, giving details of what city/country you were from. I thought I’d give it a go as it sounded like fun. The numbers in the group swelled as word spread; people from all around the world joined. Some of the posts were absolutely brilliant and funny! My efforts were very modest but I had a lot of fun...
First week for me but second week of the group operating saw me dressing up in an outfit I’d worn to a nephew’s wedding years ago...a 2 bin week! 

Another week, I went for the hippy look...

Another week I recycled my 1920s outfit that I had worn to a parish dinner a few years ago...

As the weeks went by restrictions started to ease and after being only allowed to travel within our suburb we suddenly could travel up to 50 km from home. So in my 4th week of dressing up I decided it would be my last. It was time to bring out Sister Mary from the Ridiculous Order who had gone to an adults fancy dress party in the 1970s. But her outfit was newly cobbled together complete with a cardboard cross coloured in with a gold pen. Be blowed if I could find the rosary beads though! Lol

The group is still going on Facebook and the number of members is now over a million. It was fun joining in and so much fun seeing other people’s photos and videos. 

Another game I joined in with was at the invitation of a former student from the 1970s who conscripted a group of us to play a word game. Each day Darlene would send us a word via text and we had to make up a sentence. And they were not easy words I can tell you! 
Peroration, conniption, supervenient, uxorious, zeitgeist, penurious, thwack, quidnunc, brouhaha, coterie, drabble, grimalkin. Aren’t they frightening 😫? I have to admit that I was only familiar with a few of them but online dictionaries were a great help. After 12 words, Darlene must have decided enough was enough, so no more brain strain for us! Lol 

The pandemic brought about a lot of ‘firsts’ as we all tried to make the best of our circumstances. And as I’m using my blog to record rather belatedly my experiences from late March, through to the end of June, I’ll keep those memories coming. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

When the wheels fell off the proverbial bus!

This post is a bit serious but in my inimitable way, I finish on a lighter note 😄. 
A saying I can remember adults using to describe when things went horribly wrong when I was growing up here in Australia in the 50s and 60s was, ‘and the wheels fell off the bus’. Or sometimes just, ‘the wheels fell off!’ 
And that’s how I describe what happened mid to late March this year. We had been hearing of this virus rampaging and killing people in the northern hemisphere and every day the head of  the World Health Organisation (WHO) would be speaking on news broadcasts assuring the world it wasn’t a pandemic at that stage. 
In my school days we had learned about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic but that was something way beyond our comprehension being so far back in time. 
But to those who lived through it, it would have been horrific. 

Then, back in March, every day as I watched the Aussie national broadcaster‘s, (ABC) breakfast show it became obvious that I was actually living through another momentous time in history. The wheels had fallen off the bus!! Big time!! 
The news stories from overseas countries had unbelievable footage and the numbers of deaths grew so quickly. And then the cases started to be recorded here in Australia. Every morning the totals for each state would be listed; number with the virus and the number dead. 
It seemed to happen overnight where businesses closed, people were in lockdown with restricted movement from their homes. In some states schools closed and eventually in the beginning of term 2, students went to online learning from home. 

Supermarkets were open but shelves quickly emptied. In some places fights broke out in the aisles of supermarkets as being fought over groceries, especially toilet paper, hand sanitisers, flour and pasta. 

My GP rang me to tell me about the flu vax and to assure me the medical centre was still open for business. She explained that if I made an appointment, I was to park in the car park, remain in my car and ring reception to say I’d arrived. They would then come to the car, check my temp then escort me to the doctor’s room. And of course there were telephone consultations which had been introduced because of the pandemic. 

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, those who lost jobs due to the lockdowns, to those whose businesses will fail for the same reason. How awful it must be for those who lie awake due to money worries, and worries about being able to keep their home or feed their family and also pay bills. Mental health breakdowns are on the increase too. The homeless must be even more vulnerable now. I worry for the families where domestic violence has escalated; what anxiety for children living in such environments. 
I’m grateful for all those essential workers who kept providing services to the public but I’m ashamed of those in the community who directed verbal and physical abuse at those workers. 

Just because DH, myself and our family are safe, our children still have jobs with most working from home, we know not all have been as fortunate as us. As most golf clubs remained open in Queensland during lockdown, DH and mates continued to play 3 days per week, which gave me lots of time to knit/crochet for K4BN, sew and garden. 
(At the moment many people in Victoria are again  facing lockdowns if they live in hotspots where the virus has again appeared. How horrible these Aussies must feel. 😫)
And friends would send me funny memes...

Stay tuned for some more of my ramblings about what we’ve done in these last 3 months or so. Because it’s been a case of living in a time of great change so we are all creating history in how we coped, how we adapted, how we helped others and so the list goes on. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What about the Needy?

Long time readers of my blog would know that I belong to a group who work constantly at providing warm items, children’s clothes and toys and toiletries to the needy in not just Brisbane, but also further afield in our state. We would also meet up on a regular basis at our Knit and Natters which take place at various locations, such as community centres and libraries. But with the Covid-19 crisis, these venues closed. 

But as you can imagine, the demand for the items we provide grew tremendously. And our members knitted, sewed and crocheted on regardless as we knew that eventually restrictions would ease enough for boxes of items to be distributed where they were needed.  
I made blankets out of donated squares I’d been given, as well as crocheting 100 plus granny squares myself  over a number of weeks 

After Christmas I had tagged along with DH while he checked out his favourite shop, Rivers at their sales. I would grab the 5 packs of men’s socks while we were in the shop and most times DH would insist on paying for them along with the items of clothing he was purchasing. So I had a few packs of these socks which are highly sought after by the homeless in the community. ( I eventually had a stockpile of 28 pairs of men’s socks as well as 13 pairs of women’s socks. I’d had a quick trip to the Reject Shop for yarn in early May and got a good deal on socks there!) 

And it was on May 8 that those of us on the Northside of the city were able to meet in the car park of the Albany Creek Library and hand over our donations. One of our members brought a ute ( utility) and each person put their bags and boxes in the tray. 

We practised social distancing...

Debra in the front of the photo was the organiser of this collection. After she took the donations home she spread the items on tables in the sun for a few days and then she sorted and packed up all the items again ready to take to K4BN’s storage shed at Glasshouse Mountains township. A big job! 
A lot of yarn was also handed in which was wonderful as many of the ladies in the group had been running out of yarn! 

Since Debra organised that collection, other areas have organised their own collections to help restock the storage shed. We’ve had another collection at Albany Creek too, once again organised by Debra. It is easier now to get items to the shed or to community groups who also distribute our items, as we can travel any where within our state. 
This winter is turning out to be a lot colder than we’ve had here in the south east of state, for many years. So as you can guess, I’m still knitting and crocheting as much as possible. 
The Zillmere Knit and Natter is on tomorrow...the first time in many many months. The big room we use in the community centre can only take 13 people under the rules for social distancing so the contingency plan is for any extra people to sit in the outdoor area. It’s a start as they say but sadly most of our venues are smaller than this one so probably only 4-5 people per meeting room if and when they invite us back. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Weekend in Wandoan

I mentioned in my last post that DH and I drove to Wandoan for our #4 granddaughter’s birthday. I thought I’d share some of the photos I took. 
First of all, here’s a map showing the town's position in regards to where I live in Brisbane. 

The family live on a property about 70km from the township of Wandoan. It’s a cattle property. 

The afternoon we arrived, DsD1 took us for a drive around part of the property. It was in that farm Ute in the photo above. I got to sit in the cab but the rest of the family sat in the tray at the back. DH told me later it was a rough ride! 😜 lol 

Even the birthday girl sat in the back with her Grandpa Jim. 

There had been rain in the weeks before we were there and instead of being brown, the property had turned green and lush...such a transformation! 

Our son in law jumped down from the back of the Ute and opened and closed gates for us...

This group of cattle took their time getting off the track...

After the drive we walked around past the big sheds to the main house...the girls loved the 7 farm dogs!!

Next morning, we followed Grandpa Jim around while he did some chores.
Horses to be fed...

And I plucked up the courage to pat this friendly equine. 😉

We also helped feed the poddy calves...

Those calves sure have strong suction on those feeding bottles...I needed both hands to hang on to it. 
And that filled in the morning until it was time to drive into town for Abby’s party. 
And after the party we headed for home with just a stop for a late lunch at our favourite cafe in Chinchilla. 

It looks a humble establishment but the food is pretty good.