Last year my husband and I were lucky enough to spend several months travelling Australia. Although many places, nearly all should I say, were drought stricken, the small towns we stopped at all through Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland were still making a go of things. Australian’s always seem to find somthing to be positive about.
For example, in Boomi, NSW, about 728 kms north west of Sydney, just below the Queensland border was as dry as the proverbial camel’s backside. Yet it has the most delightful artesian spa. Many travellers stop for several days at a time to partake of the hot springs, taking at least one dinner at the pub and enjoying lots of chats in the spa. The community of Boomi own and run the spa and it keeps the town on the map and viable even during the driest of droughts.
We also trekked to Streaky Bay on the western side of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. After a delightful week fishing and catching up with family, we returned via Port Augusta. There we were camped next to a couple from Dortmund in Germany who had just completed the trip from Darwin via Uluru and Kings Canyon. We chatted as everyone does and the following day we went on our way.
Ten days later, in the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, in a delightful town of Auburn, we again came across our German tourists. This time we got to know eachother better. They advised they would be back in 2020 and coming up the east coast of Australia. They would drop in. Great we replied.
And you guessed it, they arrived the day before lockdown. It was already clear that things were taking a turn for the worst with Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne. Our guests now had nowhere to go as campsites were closed and they, initially headed for Cairns, could not take their camper further.
So, what for everyone else was a bit of a shock and horror, here we were, with guests who had no idea when or even if, they could get back to Germany.
As the first week eventuated and things got tighter and tighter, yet we were still able to walk along our local beach, over local headlands and get takeaway coffee’s from the Boatshed (exercise of course). They had to go to Canberra to the German embassy, (which turned out to be closed when we got there) so we took the scenic route via Larry’s Mountain road and Araluen. As we were technically a family living in one house, we thought it legit.
We all remained well but the pressure to get back to Germany began to increase during the second week for our guests. The Australian Govenrment wasn’t having anything to do with repatriation flights and it took the German Government a while to get things organised. There were thousands of German tourists all over Australia and New Zealand. Eventually our guests got away very early last Monday (6 April 2020) and arrived back in Dortmund, very tired and jet lagged, some 40 hours later. Their flight hand no entertainment, no coffee or tea and only minimal rations. Luckily they packed a bag with goodies before they left.
So, we have been so busy during the first two weeks of lockdown, we’ve hardly noticed it. Not out much except to get excercise, yet still being able to show off our lovely coastline with exercise walks in the sun and wind.
As soon as we were again alone, hubby and I began the erection of the new shed, the replacement for the one we lost in the fires. Three days of manhandling sheets of thin metal and luckily, excellent instructions, and we got it up. Hubby spent the next two days putting in screws and making it watertight. Now he is out there hooking up the new water tank (another fire loss).
I think our house is like many others in this odd and troublesome time; getting all the long outstanding jobs done and dusted. I even had a short story published in a local online newspaper. https://www.beagleweekly.com.au/post/the-beagle-covid-19-lockdown-writing-competition-christmas-comes-but-once-a-year
For our little household, now just the two of us and our two old rough coated Jack Russell/Iris Terrier crosses, Jack and Russell, it is very quiet. Our German friends advised they are fine with no nasty symptoms now they are home in Germany. They are also in lockdown there but can find forrest walks that are nearly deserted to maintain their exercise regime. We maintain our Pilates, do odd jobs, housework and I am writing more than ever.
There is a bright side to being kept in lockdown. We just have to look for it. I feel for all those parents who are having to keep kids entertained without parks, outside friends and entertainment venues.
For any of you who might read this, I hope you are all finding ways to get through this strange time. It is clear our world won’t be the same one we left on New Year’s Eve 2019. The drought, the fires, now Covid-19 and possibly a depression after all this and 2020 is ‘Annis Horriblis’ for every single one of us.