Day Thirty-three


Fifeshire rock

The last day of Level 4. After medititation I set up for my music lesson. It's the beginning of Term 2, in the old notation – it's a bit hazy just what a school term is right now. The children of essential workers can go back to school on Wednesday but that will be only 5% of students. Most schooling will be done online as it has been for the past two weeks.

It's a challenge for parents who are also often working from home as well and there will be families where it would be much better for everyone's mental well-being for the children to go to school, not to mention some where the children are just not safe. Jacinda's message was, 'If you can keep your children at home please do [to help with physical distancing at school], but we won't be asking questions.' In spite of reassurance by experts that there was very little danger to children and teachers from Covid-19, and in fact even colds and flu will be at an unusually low level, school principals and the Ministry of Education pushed back hard, then expressed surprise that there were so few coming back to school. I feel they showed a lack of compassion for families.

My music lesson is definitely better than nothing but not as good as in person, especially as the video is slightly out of sync with the audio, making it hard for the teacher to give feedback on my playing. However, going over the theory is helpful and there are some tips for my new piece which I can focus on.

I time my walk to avoid the forecast showers and set off around the waterfront. I hear the 'ting, ting' of a bike bell behind me and there's my friend, taking a break from his redecorating projects at home to go for a ride. He dismounts and we step over to the deck where we can look at the sea and have a chat. The conversation is mainly, 'How are you coping? What happens next?' as it is with everyone just now, but it's so good to see him in person. I've been lucky these last few days to have seen a friend, or two, each time I go out. It's made this last phase feel quite bearable.

He rides on and I walk down past the fishing platform to the rocks which are almost under water with the tide nearly full. I turn back as the clouds are gathering and go home via the steps. At the top there's a huge dusky pink hibiscus lying on the berm. I pick it up but can't see where it came from. At home I put it in a vase on the table. It's an unexpected treat.

I spend the grey afternoon watching The Rhythm of Life, fronted by George Martin. It's an amazing documentary about music and this first episode covers rhythm itself. My sister recommended it and sent the link. It's so absorbing I'm barely aware of watching perched up at the computer.

I have a call with my daughter who has stories of the baby's growing skills and engagement. She says, 'I don't know much about babies, I'm amazed whatever she does.' It's delightful to hear the love and wonder in her voice. We talk about how things might start to open up and what she will be able to do, such as mother and baby music or storytimes at the library, bike rides and longer walks as a family and, most of all, visiting friends. It seems likely that I'll be able to visit before the end of the year. It feels so much more hopeful.

The afternoon ends with a shocked call from my younger sister. She and her husband have been in a bike accident, similar to the previous one when people with a dog ran across the road in front of them. She was aware what could happen and slowed down but her husband hit the back of her bike, bowling them both. He has a broken elbow and then went into shock at the hospital when he was given medication he reacts badly to. She's in tears, having had to leave him at the hospital where the staff couldn't let her in, and shocked that she might have lost him. We talk about it till she's feeling a bit better and can see her way to making a meal and getting some sleep.