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Life in Lock Down: Day 2



Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations


March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four;



Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly deserted. I tried to estimate if vehicular traffic had lessened; increased, or was roughly the same. It was hard to tell, so I’m guessing it was possibly the same. (NZTA road sensors would probably reveal traffic flow stats?)

The ride through the Terrace Tunnel was notable in  one way: mine was the only vehicle! It felt as if the NZTA had built this billion dollar infrastructure solely for my own personal benefit. If so, thank you very much, NZTA. I owe you guys a beer (when/if the bars ever re-open).

The latest James Bond movie’s title seemed like a dire warning to all of us;



Photoshopping my little bit into the bottom of the image  (“Keep 2 metres apart!”)  gave it even more relevance.

Once again, near-deserted streets through Wellington. Once again, a few individuals out strolling, jogging, biking… After all, it’s not like humanity itself is under threat from an unseen menace that could be anywhere at any time.

And once again, throughout my entire journey from the Hutt Valley to Miramar – not one police car was spotted. Not until about 11.20AM – nearly two and a half hours since walking out my front door – did I witness a police car stop on Park Road in Miramar and a policeman exited to talk with two pedestrians.

On Kent Terrace, two young women jogging side-by-side passed within elbow-touching distance of a hapless pedestrian struggling with two heavy bags of groceries. No effort was made to implement a two metre space with the grocery-lugging pedestrian.

People who are still oblivious to the need for safe social spacing and to keep to our own “bubble“, are both ignorant and selfish to a degree that is hard to fathom.

Contrast with the orderly queue to gain entry to Miramar New World. Nearly everybody seemed to conscientiously observe the two metre rule;



At  11.45AM another (or the same?) police car drove past the New World outlet;



More near-deserted streets in Kilbirnie. Two young people rollar-skated past Colonel Sander’s visage staring down from the artery-hardening business he had founded. For four weeks, all New Zealanders will be free of the “joys” of cholesterol-laden, fat-dripping, highly processed bits of fowl that KFC peddled to the masses;



Apart from the three supermarkets in Kilbirnie, plus a Dairy or two, the only other food vendor open was this outfit;



Despite the sign –



– I wondered if they had permission to be open. A “spice emporium” does not strike one as being an “essential service”. (And I say that as a committed, adoring fan of Indian cuisine…)

A police car driving past at 12.10PM seemed unconcerned or did not notice the retailer’s open doors. (There was no signage on the retailer’s second door, around the corner, notifying the public of their “one in, one out” policy.)

And again, in Hataitai, people were out, strolling or riding, enjoying the sunny day. Two joggers ran past; two bike riders, followed by another jogger sprinting closely by a mum and her two young children. The jogger was well within the two metre social distancing.

Question: what is it with joggers and their apparent disregard to others on footpaths?

Next question: would those same joggers tolerate similar careless behaviour from motorists as they cross a road and evade drivers who are oblivious to their presence? I’d like to put it to the test.  Purely for academic research purposes, of course. No malice involved, of course.

Meanwhile, this young lad took social distancing to the Nth Degree, walking up the middle of Waitoa Road;



Throughout the day, as I drove from one client to another, people continued being out and about in the sun. Sometimes observing social distancing, other times not. Watching how close some passed to others made my teeth clench.

Until 2.30PM, when the heavens opened up with a sudden downpour. The heavy rain persisted for a solid half hour. It forced the few people of the streets and a little while later, driving through the eastern suburbs, I noted about 17  people (including one wind-blown biker) along a five kilometre stretch, braving the wintry blast.

It occurred to me that the only force that will get people of the streets is not the cold, hard facts from our medical professionals and scientists; nor our much-lauded Prime Minister who, more and more, is faced with being the “mother” of a million recalcitrant ‘children’ – but the weather. Take away the sun; replace with gale-force winds and horizontal rain and – voila! – people stay indoors.

Thor has indeed heard our implorings…

Four weeks of bad weather and the covid-19 virus might finally be defeated. Nature vs Nature – with mere humans standing impotently on the sidelines. Yes indeedy, the gods have indeed given us mortals a much-needed swift kick up our pants for our hubris.

Later that evening, a crisis. Only two days into Lock Down and it appears I might be “out of the game”…

One of my clients began exhibiting symptoms. Fever, heavy perspiration, a  slight cough… Checked the covid19 website. Symptoms are… fever, a cough. Place calls. Alert colleagues. Keep others well away. As if time is being dilated by a nearby Black Hole, the minutes stretch out and seem to last hours…

We take his temperature… 36.7. Take it again; 37.0. Normal. Yet he is perspiring profusely and his forehead is hot… Temperature taken again; 36.7.

We don’t get it.

He’s also not coughing consistently and says his throat is not sore or dry (a prime symptom of Covid19).

Until one of my colleagues notices where he’s been sitting. Under the heat pump.

The temperature has been set at 25 degrees, which is mild and doesn’t seem too hot. But he’s been sitting under it all evening. We dial it back to 21 degrees and wait.

Sure enough, his forehead is now much cooler to the touch and is no longer perspiring.

For a scary hour it seemed that all out precautions  have  been for nothing. The entire premises is under total lockdown. No or comes or goes except for rostered staff. Even managers are banned. Anything purchased from outside (groceries, supplies, etc), are wiped down with disinfectant-laden cloths. All staff are in their strict bubbles – I won’t be seeing my partner for The Duration.

We take this shit seriously.

The “bubble” ain’t perfect and is probably larger than I’d be comfortable with, but it’s what we have. The premises are lovingly referred to as “Stalag 13” – though there are no tunnels leading out under the locked gates. And no cuddly, lovable nazi called Sgt Schultz.

It was a scare and I drove home that night wondering how many more false alarms there might be. No wonder pedestrians and joggers who ignore the two metre rule really annoy the bejeezus out of me.

It was 8pm by the time I was on the road home. The motorway leading out of Wellington  was even more deserted than this morning. At some points along SH2 I was the only car on the road. (Cue opening scene to the 1960s paranoia-sf series, The Invaders.)

Again, not one police car or constable was sighted anywhere along my 40km drive home.

This weekend, except for brief walks along my street (observing a strict 2 metre distance protocol), I will be staying home. No going out. No recreational activities. No pretending that this global pandemic doesn’t affect me because [insert daft reason here].

I just wish others were following the rules.

As wits superior to mine have pointed out;

“Our grandparents faced World War 2, rationing, shortages, and their loved ones going of to war and die.

Our job is to stay home and watch TV.

Let’s not fuck it up.”

Lives depend on it.

Meanwhile, one Twitter-user made this witty observation about the unending, gormless, repetitive questions from those who, as another user described as, “people looking for a rule or for a loophole”;






The Spinoff:  Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris – You’re waking up in lockdown New Zealand. Here’s how it works

Twitter: Bex – 27.3.20

Twitter: Dr Bex – 27.3.20


Mediaworks/Newshub: Former Prime Minister Sir John Key praises Jacinda Ardern’s ‘faultless’ COVID-19 communication

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

Life in Lock Down: Day 1




Acknowledgement: Sharon Murdoch



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