Dads, dogs and spaghetti pizza - Kim Knight looks for bright patches in the difficult third week of the Delta outbreak lockdown.
On Day Who Even Cares of the lockdown I was forced to buy Original Mixed Grain Toast instead of Soy & Linseed.
On Day This Is Almost As Boring As Watching Opera of the lockdown I discovered the wildlife was now so tame a bird had hopped into our living room and crapped on the floor.
In the difficult third week, time was treacle, slow and sticky, clinging to every surface. I read magazines at 3am and ate chocolate chips straight from the packet for breakfast. I felt like a pinot gris but it was only 11am so I went for a walk instead. The smell of rain on dry asphalt is called "petrichor". The smell of rain when you're wearing a face mask is called purgatory.
Did everybody get a dog since the last lockdown? The low-slung and the high-strung paraded continuously past my window; yappy balls of perkiness and an impossibly long dachshund that reminded me to phone my father who lives in Level 3.
For Father's Day, I couriered him two lengths of Blackball salami. He tells me mum is going to put it on a tinned spaghetti pizza that they will eat while watching the rugby. How long before the South Island finds out if they are moving to Level 2? "I don't remember," says Dad.
On Wednesday he will be there, while I continue to self-soothe with Downton Abbey, the small screen cup of English Breakfast where the news is always bad and/or a marriage proposal. Cousin Matthew says he will be free on the weekend, and the Dowager Countess of Grantham says what everyone who is staying in lockdown is thinking:
"What . . . is a weekend?"
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On television, the war comes and goes and the only thing that seems to change upstairs is who is serving the Stilton. I thought the Spanish flu might ruin everything, but they whip through it in a single episode and only one person dies.
Here, in our real-life terrible, awful third week, a journalist on a live cross from outside a West Auckland supermarket reminds viewers that everybody inside had to deal with what happened alone. Everybody inside was abiding by Level 4 rules and shopping on their own when a terrorist stabbed and injured seven, before he was shot and killed. The horror of that realisation hits like a heart attack.
Torrential rain has washed people from their homes. A man with Covid-19 has escaped from managed isolation. At North Shore hospital a woman in her 90s has died and she is the country's first victim of this Covid-19 Delta variant outbreak. A malicious attack takes out the internet, and somewhere there is a small earthquake. This is enough news, I think. The news can stop now.
My notes from the awful, terrible third week record that, despite all this, it is Spring. Abba has been resuscitated, the venom from a Brazilian viper may be effective against Covid-19 and a man from the Hawkes Bay has made a face mask from a paua shell. When it rains, I imagine he smells the ocean.
The total number of cases in this community outbreak has hit 821, but new daily case numbers are slowing (just 20 yesterday) and almost 60% of us have now had at least one vaccine jab. The country is uniting against Covid-19 - but not in the way we are approaching it. Last week, for the first time, some of us were at Level 3 while some of us were at Level 4. This week, the gap will be even wider.
In Auckland, we cannot yet contemplate buying the commemorative Dick Frizzell designed KFC bucket. Reports of maskless Cantabrians congregating for coffee make me snarl. I don't want to see your souvlaki while the only hot take(out) I can access is on Twitter.
In Wellington, the famous poet Ashleigh Young mentioned she had accidentally bought very thin Vogel's. It was like "trying to toast damp leaves". My first thought was how stunningly, beautifully she writes about bread. My second was WTF - Wellington has Vogel's?!