After a weekend that turned into seven weeks, Dougal will be going home on Friday – all being well! It’s been a long seven weeks not helped by the government instructions to stay at home. We have gone out for walks but in the early morning. It hasn’t been a burden, really, except for going out walking and the fact that he goes ballistic if he hears another dog bark – just about pulling my arm off. Also, in the morning Benji just stands still if I feed the Magpies whereas Dougal tries to have a go at them — no point in telling him that he would come off second best.
The cruise ship, Ruby Princess has been allowed to dock at Port Kembla. Kembla is an industrial port away well out of the way. The ship will be allowed to stay there for 10 days to refuel and restock
supplies, food and so forth for the 1050 crew remaining on board. Those who are sick will be treated, and it is believed that about one fifth of the crew are showing symptoms of coronavirus. At the end of the ten days the ship will be ordered to leave and as far as we know she has been allowed to dock on that understanding. The Home Port is Bermuda but it is unlikely that there will be a welcome mat waiting for it there. In Australia there is a Criminal Investigation into the decision to allow it to dock and disembark 2700 people into the general population in Sydney. At least 600 of the present cases in Australia, along with 12 deaths have been linked to the Ruby Princess. There a lot of people in and around Port Kembla who are very unhappy with the present decision to allow the ship to not only dock there, but remain there for 10 days.
Western Australia has closed its borders. I found it interesting that the W.A. State Government were comparing the closure of their borders in less time than it took the UK to activate Brexit. On the subject of the UK, I watched the Queen’s Address and I noted that the Prime Minister ( Boris Johnson) has been moved to hospital. Actually to update that, the latest news this morning ( Thursday ) is that he has been moved out of the ICU, which sounds good and quite encouraging. Here in South Australia the spread of the virus is slowing down, which is s good sign. It does not mean that we have beaten the thing – far from it. The general prognosis from our medical people is that the virus is going to be in the population for a long time and the only way we can actually defeat it is to develop a vaccine. I genuinely believe that when this is over we really should give serious thought to our trade and financial relations and arrangements with China and the Chinese Communist Party, who control every aspect of life in China and however you look at it, no matter who you think you are dealing with, the CCP is controlling the play.
One of our ladies died on Saturday (4th) and we are trying to organise a funeral on Wednesday 15th. But we don’t know what is happening. It was a sudden, unexpected death so there may be an inquest. Her son has managed to get out of Western Australia and the idea is to stream the service to WA. Having said that we have no idea how or when Kenneth (son) is going to get back home with the WA Borders now closed. He will have to go into two weeks quarantine before he will be allowed to go back home. The funeral will be Wednesday 15th – private funeral with only 8 invited people
The number of new cases in Australia is declining- which is good. Our growth factor regarding the spread and new cases is 0.85 and provided it stay below 1.0 we are getting on top of the crisis. The growth factor for the UK, for example is 1.05 with the USA being 0.99 These figures are as 8th April. On the subject of April, I celebrated my Birthday sitting right here – no outing – no visitors. Andrew was still in Roxby Downs and I did get a phone call from John. Andrew did phone last night when he got home. I got a card from Annabell, which was lovely.It was my only card. Today is Friday and I took Dougal back home just after lunch. He was pleased to see his people as much as his people were pleased to see him. – Sam was looking and sounding well. I don’t think this can happen again. If things are back to what passes for normal and I head off to a Church Conference, Annabell is not able to look after two dogs on her own.
This is a photograph I took when I was out with the dogs last night. I took it as my phone was on its last gasp because I forgot to charge it after my facetime call with my son and grandson. I thought it was a very odd looking sky. Generally I would have waited until I had cleared the houses but I didn’t think my phone would go the distance. (it didn’t)
Yesterday I attended church – well sort of – I attended the Moderator’s Service on line. He also found it odd because although he had conducted a service in a church with several hundred members and a church with only 20 members, it was the first time he had ever conducted a service in an empty church.
I sometimes think about life some years hence when we might be sitting around a table having a meal and a drink and the conversation turns to “The Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020″and I will be forced to drink more to cover my embarrassment at not being able to join in the conversation because I never bought 100+ toilet rolls a week. However, I console myself by thinking that some of these people will buy empty 40 gallon drums and light fires so they can quietly burn all these hundreds of toilet rolls so no one will ever know how stupid they were. LOL I sleep well at night. Dougal is still here and we had a call from Adelaide this afternoon to say that they will be home next Thursday and will come and collect Dougal on Friday. I went over to the supermarket for dog food and since that was all I had, I was asked at the checkout if I had missed the toilet rolls. I said no, I didn’t want any. I got some very strange looks.
Apart from the smaller shops, most of which are closed anyway, actual cash money it no longer acceptable and paying by card is the accepted way these days. The Pay Wave on my card is not working since so I have been using my credit card. I am due for a new card next month so I can wait for that rather than order a new card now and have to pay for it. I can still use the card in the normal way since only the pay wave function is not working. However, Annabell raised a point with me in discussion – can these stores legally refuse to accept cash as payment for goods? i.e. can they refuse to accept legal tender? Interesting, my answer was no, I don’t think they can, but I really don’t know. —- I do now– and according to a Reserve Bank Statement on this very issue – a refusal to accept Australian Banknotes and coin in payment for goods is not unlawful. A business can request that payment can only be made by using a card.
I put the clock thing in to amuse: the clocks actually go back this weekend and I think going back about four years would be good.
The Cruise Ships off the coast of New South Wales, have been refused permission to dock. They are believed to be a hotbed of the virus. There is one off the coast of Western Australia again with foreign crew and
foreign nationals. It has been instructed to leave Australian waters but refuses to do so. The ships are registered in the West Indies so they have been instructed to go home. – they refuse to leave. Navy ships are on standby, although just what they can do is anyone’s guess. But on the news this morning there is a new virus case in South Australia – again from the Ruby Princess. Nearly half of the deaths in South Australia are linked to the Ruby Princess and the idiotic decision to allow 2700 people to disembark from the ship in Sydney and disperse to their homes without any checks, is at the root cause of this. There are a number of cruise ships (8) off the Australian Coast several inside Australian waters that have been ordered to leave. They have refused to do so and right at the moment there is really not a lot we can do about it. The spectacle of Naval Warships forcing a cruise ship out of Australian waters, does not bear thinking about. Judging by what I am reading in the news I have concerns that the European Union will survive this crisis with a number of the Eastern European countries,using the crisis to gain control of power and on the path to becoming right wing dictatorships. That’s a worry.
Day 1 of the new arrangements: The alarm clocks did not go off this morning. The reason is simple, I changed the times. Over these last few days Annabell has been concerned about me wandering around the district in the
early morning darkness – even with two dogs. This is a quiet and I believe, generally safe area, but I decided to delay our walks from 6am to 7am when it is starting to get light. I changed the time from 05:30 to 06:30. Did it work? Well for me it did – sort of.. I was awakened by noises at the side of my bed and before I could investigate there was this heavy thump on my chest and a little brown face looking at me and demanding to know why I was not getting up and dressed. At 5:50 I was up but we did not go out. Why? Well it was raining and still is. However, nothing daunted, I opened the back door and told them to do as they pleased. They ran out only to turn around and run back in. We are not in lockdown, so I will probably take them to the wetlands (depending on the rain) later in the morning. Still no word from Adelaide so we still have no idea how much longer Dougal will be here.
Well that changed quickly and it has been suggested- officially – that while we are not on lockdown, movement is restricted and it is probably best that we don’t go wandering in the wetlands or on the beach for the time being. Unless necessary/essential movements outside the house have to be limited. This should be fun. No walks today because of the rain and to say the dogs were bored is an understatement. What are they going to be like after a few days with no outside trips? Anyway, I dare say we’ll manage – somehow.
Made three trips to the shopping centre in the last two days. Trip 1. Go to SA Pathology for blood tests requested by my doctor. Sit in Socially Distanced Waiting Room. My turn. Question- “Have you fasted?” Reply “No – I was not instructed to and there is no fasting marked on the form”. “Sorry but the test your doctor has asked for requires fasting” “OK I will go home and come back tomorrow”. Trip 2. SA Pathology, sit in socially distanced waiting room. “Oh, good morning John. Nice to see you, how is Annabell? “Annabell is fairly well.” “Errrrr, I think I have forgotten to bring the form” “Never mind we’ll take blood anyway and you go home get the form and we will see what we need and for what” Enough blood to float a battleship later I went home and collected form which was on the fridge.. Trip 3 SA Pathology. Place empty. Signed form and nurse sorted out the necessary blood samples. Went home and made bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast. Went to room. One dog on either side of me looking up. No way, not getting share of my bacon and egg sandwich. I showed them who was boss as I finished my egg sandwich on my own…..
Andrew came back from Roxby yesterday. He’s not sure how long he will be home for. He has Connor but they will not be coming over here nor will we be going up. Andrew is going to set up Skype or
facetime so we can chat to each other. Well I re-set the alarm clock again. The dogs have to go out and the back garden is not enough. In the interests of Social Distance, I took the dogs back out at 6:15 am – not a single person – not even a kangaroo – around. A few cars passed but that was about it. We completed our walk in isolation and returned home for coffee and treats- coffee for me treats for them——–or was it the other way round?? not sure, everything is just so confused at the moment. Apart from the trips to SA Pathology I have not seen much of the shopping center, but reading the on-line news I see a number of national companies have closed down their outlets, the latest being Strandbags. Of the three stationery shops in Adelaide, two have closed – Smiggles and Kikki.k : Typo, I think, is still open. Kikki.k is a Swedish company that has gone into liquidation, so they wont re-open. I don’t know about a Brave New World, but it is certainly a Sad Old World at the moment.
News has come from the State Government in Adelaide that South Australia will close its borders. This will take effect as from Tuesday giving the government time to set up new border control stations and for people already in South Australia to go home. I can’t say that I am all that surprised after 8 American Tourists , visiting the Barossa Valley were diagnosed with the virus. The way things are developing I don’t think a lockdown is very far away.
Any crisis tends to bring out the best in some people. However, conversely, in some people it brings out the worse and worse is when you steal things from a medical facility. Like all hospitals our hospital has a bottle of hand sanitizer at the end of each bed. The nurse or doctor makes use of this when they move from patient to patient. Visitors may also make use of it. There are hand sanitizing stations at the end of each corridor and at the entrance/exit to the hospital. Why all this information? Well I am certain you know where I am going with this – people have been stealing the bottles, not just from the corridors but from the patient’s beds. One of our ladies in church has a small dog she takes to visit the elderly in the nursing homes. She kept a bottle of hand sanitize to uses in here visit to the different patients. She also lets people use it if they have been petting the dog, her bottle was stolen when she was distracted. In the news this morning there are reports of a busload of people travelling several hours to a country town outside of Melbourne and stripping the local supermarket. We are not in lockdown but if this continues we should be.
I have just been watching a National Broadcast by the Prime Minister in which he outlined some of the measures that the National Cabinet have taken overnight and he was quite adamant that schools should not close. The best medical advice available is that the closure of schools would cause more harm than good and apart from which the virus seems to act differently with young people than it does with adults. He also pointedly attacked the whole process of panic buying that is happening as stupid and completely unnecessary – we have sufficient stocks of food and we have the ability to manufacture most of what we need. The pointless panic buying of stocks of toilet paper needs to stop – it is unnecessary. I mean only last week there was a fight in a Woolworth Supermarket over rolls of toilet paper and security were forced to deal with it. It has reached the stage that people are stealing rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizer from hospital toilets . I think, really, it’s sort of legal looting. What is the “National Cabinet”? The Premiers of the other states, the two Chief Ministers of the Territories and the Prime Minister meet twice a week to formulate a National Response for all Australia, not a piecemeal State by State response. We are all in this together and the States, Territories and the Federal Government need to work together as one. Great exercise in unity. I hope it lasts.
A few days ago the Catholic Church here in South Australia suspended their Easter Services and their Mass in response to the Virus. This morning the Presbyterian Church has suspended services for the moment. This also to include all meetings of boards of Committees. I guess the Congregational AGM, which was due this coming Sunday, will not now take place. The General Assembly Emergency Meeting will keep us up to date by daily emails as the situation develops. This afternoon will be spent sending out emails to those of our congregation who have them and telephoning those who do not. Also this morning was an email and letter from the CEO of the RFDS which has suspended all fundraising activities until at least 31st June. Annabell attended the Ordination Service of the new Pastor at the Lutheran Church last week and we were thinking that it was good that it was last week whilst there was still some sense of sanity about the place. Oh and by the way, she said the new Pastor is very young —- Only a boy – were her words :o)
I have also decided that this might be the last time I will have Dougal here. Yes he and Benji get on fairly well, but when I have to go away it means that Annabell has to look after both dogs for two or sometimes four days, depending on where I am going. She is really not able to do that anymore. As it happens I didn’t have to go away this period but that’s not the point. This time was only to be for a few days- this coming Monday it will be Five Weeks since he came. There is also the problem when we are out walking. A dog barks and Benji ignores and walks on. Dougal, on the other hand, goes ballistic and just about pulls my arm off. But, but, the other day I had had enough, got Benji, put him in the car and he and I drove off to the Wetlands and then the beach It was nice out walking just Benji and me.