This post first appeared in my Licencedtoretire blog in March
It’s been almost two weeks since we were all locked into our place of residence. For those of us who live in a motorhome. There was the struggle of finding somewhere to see out the lockdown, with every second place closing faster than you could drive there. For others, there was the rush back to their base before they became trapped somewhere. Then there are people like Sarah and I who had planned to get away only to have other circumstances prevent any travel.
Wherever you are, you are in the government’s words living in your own bubble. With restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Last week it was time for me to head out of our bubble for a blood test. Thankfully I thought to check online about which of the collection places where open. With my usual collection place closed, it was a trip to Balmoral, well outside our local neighbourhood.
Setting out with Sarah riding shotgun, I felt like a naughty child breaking the rules. Having seen an item on the TV news about police checkpoints along part of our intended route. I had made sure I was carrying the blood test form along with cancer documentation, in case we were stopped. My fear of running the gauntlet proved unfounded with us arriving at Labtests without issue.
Of course with almost no cars on the road finding somewhere to park was simply a matter of taking your choice of spaces. Getting through the door of Labtests was quite another matter with one of their staff guarding the entrance like her life depended on it. Which in all reality, it probably did. After what seemed like a never-ending set of questions, admittance was granted. Straight into the testing room and before I even knew what was happening, it was all over. Back out the door to make our way back to our bubble.
Sarah chose to drive back home, and I took the chance to take a couple of video’s of just how empty the roads were. Above is footage taken on St Lukes Rd, which for those of you who don’t know Auckland is one of the busiest there is. We also drove past one of the Covid 19 testing sites which had quite a queue of people waiting in their cars to be tested.
We have also taken the time to get out and about within our neighbourhood and stretch our legs. Ponsonby Road looks like a scene out of the movie Quiet Earth with the lack of cars on the road. Although the shot doesn’t show it, there are, however, plenty of people out walking. Despite the wide footpaths, it’s often necessary to step onto the road to allow for social distancing. Just as well, the streets are so quiet.
Since Z Pier, a nearby camping area to the city is within a 2km walk from home, we decided to wander down. It seems so different exploring what feels almost like a ghost town. I should have taken a photo of the non-existent traffic on the motorway as we crossed the bridge that takes you to Z Pier from where the main picture is taken.
Actually, it doesn’t look that different than last time I took a photo for my blog about the place. Although in fairness that was in the middle of winter, so the small number of motorhomes is easily explained. Usually, the 15 available spaces are taken at this time of the year.
One of the things a lot of people will find difficult during the lockdown is not being able to order pizza. Sarah and I have always enjoyed making our own with this effort from a couple of nights ago. I then texted the photo to my oldest son, telling him we had found a delivery place open (he loves pizza). Next minute my phone is ringing asking where from? No, we didn’t eat it all that night! Lunch the next day was just as delicious.
We have been really blessed with the weather during the first 10 days of the lockdown. This has made getting out to reduce cabin fever much easier. On another walk in a different direction, we decided to stroll through Western Park. We have lived in the area for over 30 years and never walked through the whole park.
Turns out, we have been missing out on a lovely park. With plenty of green space, well-established trees and a fabulous kids play area. Although the photos don’t show it the park was full of people out enjoying the fabulous weather. Taking the chance to stretch the legs.
We wandered back up Howe St under the welcome shade of the trees growing alongside the footpath. With a little excitement on the other side of the road with someone being carted away by the police. There are a number of apartment buildings in this area, but at least it’s only a short stroll to lovely green space. I think without that, living in one would be impossible.
Back along the famous K Rd and into Great North Rd where it looked like the local Ford dealer had been cleaned out. We realised that the cars had probably just been moved into a secure place to prevent theft’s occurring during this time. It must be a worry for many businesses at this time, both big and small with so much uncertainty around things.
I haven’t talked here about our trip to the local supermarket, but we were lucky to find it queueless upon arrival one morning. Of course, I stayed outside while Sarah went in to do the shop. Whatever you are doing with yourself, I hope you are coping well. Hopefully, there is only just over a couple of weeks left to run. Then we can maybe start getting used to what will be a new reality for all of us. We have also been impressed with how each of our neighbours have stayed in touch to make sure everyone is OK. All looking out for each other.
For those concerned about distance here. We stayed within our neighbourhood bubble, never walking further than 2 km’s in a straight line from our house. We obviously drove further for the blood test but had no other option for what was essential for me.