6 Hours or more per week.

IMG_1263lake Alexandra

We, in Australia are now reaping the benefits of a prolonged Lockdown. There is a gradual lifting but visiting friends and family in Sydney is still not allowed. I am sorry if this subject is a repeat of previous tales on this blog, but so be it. Lockdowns has been the major occupation for not just me, but for millions of people. The benefits have been that a comparative few victims per capita have suffered in Australia compared with the rest of the world, but we also now have had the distinction of two cities with a world record time for lockdowns. Perhaps we will yet get a critical review on this record in time to come.


I am still in a kind of lockdown, still unable to visit Sydney to see friends or family although one visit was surreptitiously sneaked in to see my daughter under the exemption based on compassionate grounds. Even this visit was done with some trepidation as some better equipped than me in the art of understanding the complication of Governmental Stay Locked Orders, felt that my visit could be seen as opportunistic and that I should also at least keep myself in a fortnight of self-isolation on my return.

And it is this self-isolation that I am now so much in awe off. Get a bit closer to the screen and I will tell you the reasons of this self-awe-ness. As you know I am living by myself together with Bentley, an irresistible Tibetan-Spaniel dog and good companion. Apart from Bentley and my twice daily walks, my main other event is the coffee sipping at the famous Bradman cricket café in Bowral. They last till all our words have been said, and the coffee has been drunk. That’s usually an hour or so, and then we leave with a ‘see you tomorrow’. And that’s that then for the day. That’s been about all the social contact I had over three months now and continuing. Roughly seven or eight hours a week of human contact. It’s not much, but better than nothing.

IMG_2472 three wise ducks

I take my cap off in the mirror and am proud of this achievement of still being in a reasonable state of mind. Of course, there have been bits of small talk in the supermarket and the cashier girls and boys always let me ‘have a nice day’. Then on my dog walks, there are many who will ask about Bentley, questioning his age and how nice he looks and exchanges of that nature, the ducks quack in a friendly matter and even the black snake last week looked friendly and non threatening.

Thank goodness for the iPhone and internet. I am not strong in TV watching and somehow feel the aloneness more while watching TV. Bentley is not all that verbal when a particular show such as the Queen’s Gambit makes me utter commentary to a room filled with quietness. As for TV news, the Covid numbers and fatalities are the main bulk of news and does not really fill the hollowness of the days…

All in all, with my gardening and friends on the internet and iPhone I am proud of having survived these over 110 days so far on about an hour a day of human contact.

Of course, nothing unique. many are doing the same.

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23 Responses to “6 Hours or more per week.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Good summing up of the situation, Gerard!

    I could write something similar since I too live on my own. In my area, The Illawarra, there are still too many cases of COVID, The lockdown is ongoing. Being 87 and not very mobile anymore, I am now supplied with four hours home help per week. My home help always walks around with a mask in my home. She does a very good job in looking after me and is always talking to me a bit about things that are important to both of us. She is a real treasure. So, when she comes on Mondays and Thursdays for 2 hours, that is from 10 to 12am, doing some cleaning, gardening and shopping for me, these days are very special for me. Plus one of my daughters usually sees me for up to two hours on Sundays. She knows her way around the Internet better than I and pays for instance bills for me online. She is also organizing now for me to get a badly needed new washing machine!

    For one hour a day I usually go for a walk in the nearby park. I like to walk with my rollator! 🙂 I have a beautiful deck at the back of my house and like to spend time there, especially on sunny days! 🙂

    There are always very few people around in the park. But sometimes I can talk to a person for a bit, for instance a person who walks a dog. Ah, and I have very good neighbours, living in a complex of ten villas. The neighbours are always very friendly. Still, I am longing very much for an ending of lockdowns so that friends and family are allowed to visit me again! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Uta. Thank you for your reply and the lockdown is at least easing. Your area is still part of lockdown and so are the Sydney regions. I am never sure when they mention regions and cities. The city of Shoalhaven has yet to be shown on maps that I can see. Where is this city? What is the Sydney region. It sound Anglo Saxon vague.
      Glad that you can still go for walks. It is the main part of my day apart from my coffee drinking with friends. I was most fortunate to have come across this by the invitation of one man who has since passed away.\
      There is a saying in Dutch that a good neighbour is better than a far away friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        Gerard, I found this in the Illawarra Mercury:

        COVID case numbers in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area continue to drop, with 23 residents testing positive to the virus overnight, down from 38 on Tuesday.

        Of the new cases, 17 were from Wollongong (eight linked to known cases), with five cases in the 2518 postcode, three each in 2506, 2526 and 2500, two in 2530, and one in 2502.

        My area is 2530!


      • auntyuta Says:

        Gerard, you say: “There is a saying in Dutch that a good neighbour is better than a far away friend.”

        Yes, I think this is very true, especially when one needs immediate face to face help. In this situation a neighbour would be of more help than an internet friend for instance.
        I have found a very interesting Canadian friend on WordPress the other day. People like this do help me when I loose a bit of confidence. I mentioned him here:

        Confessions by Trent Lewin

        In the comment section is something he had been commenting to me. This is what Trent Lewin said: “. . . .Writing is a gift for me. It soothes me, puzzles me, and ultimately uplifts me. You seem to want that too. That uplifting feeling where we ascend to something, whatever we may call it. I try hard to bring the dark parts of people to the fore, but I refuse to let people stay there. I refuse to think we’re destined for that. We are better. You are better. And I’m glad to know you.”

        So far nobody has made any comments to all this!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. DisandDat Says:

    Good post. Am sure many feel the same. I wonder if I am allowed to visit you now. I Will try and look it up.

    Sent from Herman Oosterman’s pad


    Liked by 2 people

  3. bkpyett Says:

    Sounds familiar Gerard! Glad you have a wonderful dog to keep you company. We’re still in lockdown in Victoria, but there’s light with the numbers decreasing. All the best! B xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Thank you Barbara. xxx.
      The numbers are coming down but in Victoria it is still a fine balancing act.
      On the news tonight on The Drum they say that as a result of lockdowns many people did not bother to get their medical issues diagnosed. They obeyed and stayed home in lockdown.
      As a result the numbers of people normally seeking colonoscopies and breast scans went down a lot. A doctor stated; there is a perfect storm waiting to happen in the rise of many people with cancers.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    What gorgeous photos! I’m so glad you have Bentley to keep you company and get you out for walks. 🙂 Plants, wildlife, birds, bodies of water, moon and stars, rain, rainbows, etc. have all been good spirit-lifters for me the past 18 months.
    Keep up your good activities! Yes, YAY, for computer, phones, etc! A god-send to keep in touch with friends and family. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) and PATS and RUBS!!! to you and Bentley! 🙂
    PS…I talk aloud to the TV sometimes! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    All the alone time has to be a challenge, Gerard. Good you have Bentley even though he may be a bit verbally challenged. Still, one tail wag can be worth a thousand words in dog language. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. It is still a challenge and very confusing. The rules change daily and are sometimes challenged by the same people that made the rules.
      Entire independent cities are now coming under regions of a single city. Wollongong and Newcastle are now under the Sydney region.
      People are shaking their heads and are muttering but wearing masks.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres Says:

    I’m proud of you for having survived too, Gerard. I suppose you’ve figured out my opinion of the lockdown business, but there’s nothing I can do about it, so on we go. I did notice this sentence: “The benefits have been that a comparative few victims per capita have suffered in Australia compared with the rest of the world.” That’s true, of course, but it’s also true only in terms of a fairly limited sort of suffering. Six hours of sociality per week makes for a different sort of suffering.

    It is good that you have Bentley. I was extremely lucky through the whole of this debacle to be able to keep working. I’ve thought a time or two about what it would have been like to be locked up without Dixie Rose to keep me company. Granted, the birds and squirrels are nice, but they’re not much for relationship!

    The biggest news here is that a cold front is approaching. We’re going to lose our heat and humidity overnight, and finally have some truly autumnal weather. None too soon, says me. I’ll be more than happy to don a jacket in the mornings, and not have to change sweat-soaked clothing once or twice a day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Linda, I too am proud of myself and all those millions that have seen this almost through now. It has been over four months since I have seen Annette.
      Yes, pain and suffering can be varied and of course death is final, while dying while living is suffering at its worst.

      Recent figures have come out that the number of people normally seeking breast scans and colonoscopies have plummeted and one doctor stated; ” It is a perfect storm waiting to happen.” Stay home at all cost was the advise!

      My brother is coming tomorrow and half my friends are saying that he is still not allowed yet others, including a geography teacher and archeologist are saying that under the revised rules he can, provided he doesn’t stop over except for petrol.

      I have tried to ring the info Health line but the waiting time is beyond normal or my endurance so I gave up. Mental health lines are running red hot, people sobbing their hearts out in vain, shaking their fists.

      You can have some of our cold fronts, terrible storms, yet I went for my walk. It has kept me and Bentley sane. I have the heater going.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rangewriter Says:

    I applaud your resilience and adaptability, Gerard. Of course I have a theory to explain why you are surviving with minimal complaint while so many others seem to be bonging off the walls. As I see it, were/when you were born pretty much sorted out the weak-kneed and the weak-minded. Those of your generation who survived are strong, wise, adaptable, and have abundant common sense. I hate what you had to endure to come by these attributes, but I wish more people shared your attributes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, complaining doesn’t achieve much in the world of lockdowns.
      Things have become a bit easier depending on which region one visits or get visitors from.
      It is complicated and one can now download ‘apps’ which shows vaccination status and combined with ‘logging’ on at cafes and shops lets you in.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. algernon1 Says:

    Are those your Iris’s Gerard. They look great. Ours bloomed last month after thinking we wouldn’t get any. a joy in the drudgery of lockdown. We enjoyed ourselves this week, catching up with family where we only managed a picnic in the howling wind last month. The joy of a hair cut on Monday, a simple pleasure. The travelling out of our LGA felt strange.

    But the dog walks are a constant and a joy to dog and I.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Algy. They are my Irises grown from bulbs. Gardens and walking dogs with domestic chores is what pulls us through. Of course, the writing on blogs or connecting with others has also been important.
      Cafes are back again and we can sit down for our coffee and the tapes from public seating arrangements have also been removed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. freefall852 Says:

    A Fool’s Errand.

    ‘Tis a fool’s errand, surely,
    This waltz into old age.
    When accrued knowledge,
    Ought to grant a wily sage
    Better fare than oaten porridge,
    And a babbling forage into senility.

    Any old fool would prefer, surely,
    Less respect for ageing gracefully,
    In trade for a little more disgustingly
    Behaving in a depth of decadence,
    Equalling those days of youthful exuberance,
    To become just a dirty-old-man of no consequence.

    A close friend passed, not a year ago,
    Diligent..thoughtful, of humble ego.
    Their health a primary concern,
    A spiritual person in a mortal coil,
    All their careful attention to no avail,
    When that death-stroke hit like bludgeoned hail.

    So ‘tis a fool’s errand..surely,
    This stumbling into old age.
    Where neither wisdom, knowledge nor eloquent sage,
    Spares us the fear of certain pain,
    Of a litany of illnesses, failing bones or brain,
    And turns a once youthful beauty into a babbling drone.
    ‘Tis a fool’s errand…..I’ll own.

    Liked by 2 people

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