Monday, 23 March 2020

Locking down ...

Gradually more and more aspects of normal life have gone on hold due to Covid-19.

Pubs, cafes restaurants are closing or are takeaway only and the post office has red stripes on the carpet a metre or so apart to help you keep your distance from your neighbour.

This morning, the last before cafes and restaurants had to shut up shop, you could see people having a last coffee with their friends and enjoying the autumn sunshine. By 12 they were gone and the town was as quiet as it is early on a Sunday morning.

On Saturday, we did a dash down to Benalla to get some art paper for J in case we went into a restrictive lockdown.

People clearly hadn't got the memo about staying home and keeping your distance. There were a lot of caravans heading for the mountains and people in Benalla were standing around in knots socialising as people do on a Saturday.

We played by the rules - parked by the library, walked up to the art shop to get J's paper, and drove home. No visits to the art gallery for a coffee, no side trips to a bakery for lunch on the way back.

This morning, I went over to the Coles supermarket in Myrtleford. It's really just a bigger version of a country supermarket, but is has reliable fresh veggies, and a wider range of stock than our local IGA.

I thought that the announcement last night of a partial lockdown might spark another round of panic buying, so I decided to avoid the bigger stores in Wodonga or Wangaratta, but head to the Myrtleford Coles, which in saner times usually has most of what we need.

On the way over it was again noticeable just how many caravans there were, but this time they were heading away from the mountains towards the Melbourne-Sydney freeway, and presumably home.

Coles was not too bad. Toilet paper, strangely all the yoghurt except the big kilo packs of Greek style vanilla,  as well kitchen roll was out but they had some tissues and some kilo bags of brown rice, not too mention most of the fresh vegetables we needed, as well as the cat's preferred brand of cat biscuits.

More important that you might think - you can't explain to a cat that his favourite kangaroo flavour nibbles are in short supply, he just sits and looks aggrieved, and then circles his bowl in a disconsolate 'I suppose this will have to do' manner and crunches listlessly on a couple of the inferior substitute nibbles before mooching off.

Even of the cat had been difficult, at least people were trying to be sensible, saying please and thankyou, trying to keep their distance and asking if they could get access to something on a particular shelf you were standing beside.

What was novel was the presence of security guards watching people at the checkout if anyone started causing trouble and walking round the store to make sure no one picked up more than their quota - and apparently the self service checkouts have been reprogrammed to refuse to process any purchases over the limit.

On the way back I stopped off at our local IGA to see if they had any of the items we tried to get in Coles.

Fresh vegetables were sparse, but they had fruit and fresh orange juice, and apart from some hyperactive children, most people were sticking to the rules.

If people hadn't got the message on Saturday, today was definitely different ...

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