In level 2, when we could move again, we took the caravan to Auckland to see friends and family. Level 4 lockdown had coincided with harvest season; we'd been busy and we were looking forward to a break.
Generally we park at a campground right in the middle of Auckland. Like many campgrounds in New Zealand, there is a permanent population living in caravans. Shane, the camp caretaker, told us that 21 people, two dogs and a cat had formed a bubble, and a grey heron had moved in with them.
The Remuera Motor Lodge is on the flightpath to Auckland airport and suddenly it was quiet, Shane told me.
"No planes, no cars, just birds and the sounds of someone playing a piano or a guitar."
The permanents walked down the middle of Remuera Rd and Shane, for the first
time, saw the Auckland motorway without cars.
"I wish I'd taken a photo," he said.
Friends and family had similar experiences. The air was clear again, I was told.
"You could see all the way to Coromandel and I saw a huge shoal of fish in the harbour, close to the shore."
People were talking about a "reset" for the good of the environment and for their
quality of life.
• Fred Frederikse: It's one way to foil spies
• Fred Frederikse: The killer in Christchurch, it appears, was motivated by racism
• Fred Frederikse: Time to stay at home
• Fred Frederikse spends a delightful day in Tawa
Others had their overseas travel plans disrupted. Trips to London and Tuscany had been snatched from their grasp and the prospect of being confined to the New Zealand provinces for the foreseeable future didn't seem to appeal.
Talking to Shane as he leaned on his leaf rake we could hear the College Rifles rugby players training next door.
"The beast is roaring again," Shane commented.
"Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop," the coach shouted over the sounds of young men being taught the skills of professional rugby on the other side of the hedge.
"Their talent scouts watch schoolboy rugby, pick out star players and offer them
scholarships, looking for the next Jonah Lomu," Shane said.
Under level 2 schoolboy rugby was banned, but on the other side of the hedge it was business as usual. The country's borders were closed but professional rugby league players were being flown across the Tasman.
"Rugby was invented to give New Zealand men something to talk about," some wit once said and Auckland sports talk radio was abuzz with what to talk about when "the game" started again.
Sport is no longer just a game of two halves, it is big business. Eden Park alone has
three thousand casual workers.
Workers who have been out of a job for the last three months. Everyone wanted mass gatherings to happen as soon as possible.
On Monday night, while we were sleeping in our mobile bubble in the campground, the country moved into level one. The first we knew about it was waking to the roar of rush-hour motorway traffic. It was still dark. The beast was roaring again. The Blues would be playing Eden Park, and Sky Sport was back selling advertising in anticipation.
During the lockdown the government's default position was to protect the corporate economy like the supermarket duopoly. The independents like the farmers markets were closed down.
It didn't look like there was going to be an economic "reset" any time soon.
When leaving town, an attempt to enter Sylvia Park ended when we discovered that the caravan was taller than their carpark's 2.2 metre height limit. Backing and turning a caravan in Auckland's largest shopping mall presented some challenges and we decided that we didn't really want to buy anything anyway. We were "just looking".
The advantage of living in a mobile bubble is that if you tire of where you are you can move your bubble. We were headed for the seashell beaches of Miranda, on the Firth of Thames.
The godwits had flown to Siberia, they hadn't observed the lockdown.