Hi everyone. The newsletter is coming to you a little bit late, though I did do a rough mind map thinking about the sorts of things I might write about this month.
We’ve had an interesting second half of August, with the country going into a “snap” full lockdown for several weeks, after we got a case of the Delta Covid-19 variant in the community. Because New Zealand’s approach to the virus is that of elimination, the response has had to be a fast and hard one. Lots of newspapers around the world were mocking us a bit, but two weeks in, we are up to 685 cases, and tens of thousands of close contacts and hundreds of “places of interest.” If we’d waited until we started to see more cases, who knows what the state of things would be like right now. Maybe like Australia.
In any case, it has been a bit distracting; we went back to a lot of our old ways, including tuning in to the 1pm “Jacinda and Ashley show”, where the PM and Director General of Health give us all the stats and latest information on what’s going on. Life has centred around food, basically; what we ate, what we’re going to eat next, when and how we do the next supermarket shop. It was a bit dramatic for a while when we thought we were running out of cheese, but Steve made a quick bike ride to the dairy (masked-up, of course!) and we were right for a few more days.
Now everyone apart from Auckland has moved to level three, which everyone describes as “level four, with takeaways.” We’re due to be moving to level two tomorrow, with school resuming on Thursday. It’s good timing: I’m due to get my first Covid jab that day, so at least I don’t have to worry if it takes a while to get through.
Lockdown’s been different this time around; there was the same usual shopping panic when they first announced it, but for the most part it feels as though people have been a bit more relaxed about the whole business. (But with masks now!)
Last time around we really had no idea what was going on; the Covid situation was unfolding and we couldn’t believe what we were seeing in places like China and Italy, especially when we were all the way down here in the South Pacific. More than once I thought about picking up On the Beach by Nevil Shute, but in the end thought it might be a bit too grim. (It's a bloody good book, by the way. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.)
It’s looking as though our approach to elimination is going to work again this time, though in writing that I hope I haven’t jinxed it. People are still really keen for the government to see this through; it protects our most vulnerable societies, as well as our health system. Simply, it feels like the right thing to do.
My writing’s been pretty limited to journalling, catching up on backdating my Hobonichi, with a bit of sporadic fiction writing. But I do find it difficult to squirrel myself away to write, knowing Steve has to work, and Leila, if left to her own devices, will just sit in front of endless YouTube videos. I’m hoping to get back into my writing routine once school starts up again, though school holidays start the first of October.
In any case, this is a bit of a departure from the usual newsletter format, but it’s already so late I think this will have to do.
And so, for my public broadcast announcement: If we all mask up and get the jab we can help protect the people we love.
Until next time,
P.S. if you enjoy horror and want to support another kiwi writer, my friend Denver Grenell’s first book is out: The Burning Boy. I’ve just grabbed a copy and it looks really good :) Here he’s reading an excerpt, so you can have a listen and see if it’s your thing!