Saturday, 18 April 2020

There's a Rhine in my Bubble

It is Thursday in Week 3 of Lock-down. The days blur. It doesn't really matter what day it is to me as I have no work and few commitments.

Do I miss my orchard job? Yes, a bit. I miss the buzz of the harvest that is happening right now without us older workers there. Contract gangs of Indians, Vanuatuans and back-packers are doing all the tasks themselves. Covid-19 has resulted in so many regulations as to distances between workers, use of bathrooms, and well, every aspect of everything, it is far easier to leave it to them.

I remember last year's picking week with crisp dappled sunlight shining through a canopy heavily laden with gold kiwifruit.  And the Vanuatuans with their big smiles and happy personalities. How they manage to laugh, tease each other and sing all day while slogging for hours on end, emptying out bag after bag after bag of fruit into the bins amazes us locals who are more prone to zone -out in silence as we work. 

So, yes, I miss the hectic but fun atmosphere of the harvest but, to be honest, am still loving lock-down and the way it has slowed me down and given me time to embrace simplicity.

I could of course retire - each year I consider it - but orchard work keeps me fit and my work-buddies are such crazies that I feel as content as a weevil in a box of Fruit-Loops. And, as for our Smoko breaks at the boss's house with real espresso coffee, gooey caramel Tim-Tams, hot cheese scones and enough laughter to un-sink a battle-ship, well, need I say more?

Once lock-down is over, I'll just keep showing up at work until I get dishonorably discharged. 

OK, have you all noticed how the littlest things become high-lights in a typical lock-down day? For me it is things...

...like friends who cycle past our house and call out our names until we dash out to the mailbox for a chat.

...like making up our bed with fresh sheets and, while flinging them out, see Coss's underpants,  (sun-dried and fresh, mercy be) fly through the bedroom, having been catapulted from an elasticised corner of the bottom fitted sheet. ( Sad how amusing I found that.) 

...like delivering groceries to my friend at the beach car-park and then taking half an hour to drink thermos-flask tea together.  Yesterday there was a cold ocean breeze so she sat in her car and me in mine. We wound down our windows and chattered happily like slightly tipsy parakeets upon discovering our cage-doors are slightly open.

...like finally learning Internet banking because it really was long over-due that this technologically- challenged woman did so. I sat there with Coss at the computer and said, "Teach me but, if I see you roll your eyes even once, I am out of here and it's divorce." (of course I didn't mean a single word of that because I don't yet know how to access our joint bank accounts) 

....like partaking in the miracle of a ZOOM meeting with friends, another newly learned skill, although I forgot to undo the mute button last time and I could see them all but couldn't hear them for the first ten minutes. I suspect they were mocking me but I can't lip-read very well so won't get paranoid just yet.

...like the emails we get from a friend describing hilarious lock-down anecdotes - ranging from cutting his nervous wife's hair to traumatising his thighs attempting 'Youtube' exercise sessions. 

...like the splashy red poppies another friend has brought to life in water-colour paint - a relatively new hobby that she loves and finally has time for.

...like video-time with our grand-daughter this evening as she put head to pillow, sleepy eyed, while we sang ( a bit out of tune)  'Skinny Marinky Dinky-Dink".

...like the huge pile of travel books I got before our library closed that transport me to far-flung (yes, further even than Coss's underpants ) and exotic locations without  me even having to transgress any lock-down rules - there are no planes flying anywhere, anyway.

So far I have travelled up the Rhine from Hoek van Holland to Switzerland and been scared to death on wild hair-pin bends on a motorbike in Arunachal Pradesh. I might go to Italy next.

So much to like. 


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