American songwriter Amanda Palmer's Hawke's Bay experience has been anything but normal, but then neither is she.
After unexpectedly finding themselves locked down in Havelock North, Palmer and her author husband Neil Gaiman moved apart before restrictions were lifted.
Gaiman's 12,000km move to Scotland made headlines around the world at a time when lockdowns were still in place in most first-world countries.
But when things were at their hardest, Palmer, who rose to fame in the musical duo The Dresden Dolls, found herself "showered with kindness".
Now she's set to repay the region with a show at Toitoi: Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre.
The 44-year-old who was crowned Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards in 2010, has long courted the controversy of quirkiness.
But her time in the region has given her time to step back and write her first new music in months.
She can't get over how nice everyone's been to her.
"Someone loaned a car, someone else a piano, people have brought over warm clothes and little toys for Ash, my 4-year-old," she said.
"We've been showered with feijoa jam, wine, hand-knitted mittens and warm hugs."
After a recent tour of Toitoi, Palmer said an upcoming show is in the works.
"I can't wait to play that gorgeous in-house piano. I'll arrange some smaller shows in local cosy places too," she added.
A Toitoi: Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre spokeswoman said: "Amanda is an absolute legend of the music industry, so the opportunity to have her to perform at Toitoi is incredibly exciting.
"Her spirit and energy are so in tune with our kaupapa and we know that it'll be a special event for our community."
Palmer said she was off to Auckland to record music for a quick release. The New York-born singer also recently performed, at the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market.
Palmer, who sang a handful of songs alongside a few young local artists, said busking at smaller venues enables her to be part of the music community.
"I'm a busker by trade," she said.
"I cut my performer teeth in the street back in my twenties and I maintain there's no gig like a gig in front of a bunch of people who don't know you and don't need to care about you.
"We forget, in the internet age and the blockbuster economy, how powerful it can be for a small group of people to gather together and hear an artist or a storyteller spill the emotional details and reflection of the here and now."
Hawke's Bay Farmers Market manager Emma Glover said the "very rare opportunity" to have the accomplished musician performing at the market came about organically.
"I bumped into her at the market and she told me she was a musician on tour and because of Covid-19 she's still here.
"She wondered about performing for a bit of fun so we swapped details," she said.
"Her quirky style was refreshing and well received. It was wonderful to see her collaborating with young local artists."
Palmer said the time spent in lockdown was the "hardest of my life".
"Our marriage hit a very sore spot while in lockdown and Neil made the regrettable decision to head to his house in Scotland, where he's still locked down.
"Emotionally processing all of that and being a single parent for the last few months has been a real struggle, but it's also been a real blessing."
Palmer added: "Our son is really missing him, and we are hoping Neil can find a safe passage back down to this part of the world so that they can reunite."