Day Twenty-five


Queens Gardens

Sunday in alternate reality. All the components are in place but in a slightly too shiny, too unpopulated way, like an episode of that excellent New Zealand drama This is not my life or The Truman Show. The button from the latter 'How does it end?' seems particularly apt.

For many years my Sunday morning has been marked by Quaker Meeting and this is no exception. The Meeting takes place on Zoom as it has the past few weeks. We're doing well with this, but our in-person meetings at our turangawaeae in Nile St usually have more attendees and a friendly morning tea to follow. It will be some time before we can resume in that way but I look forward to it when we can.

After the meeting and short discussion, I look out the window to assess the weather and decide it's too unpredictable to paint outside. I pick up the knitting instead and later have a chat with my sister. She's come off her bike and I'm sympathetic about her injuries. More that once she says, 'It's a shock' so I know she's been shaken up as well as bruised and grazed. She's brave though and we talk about other things, laughing at the creative Zoom meetings her work group has, enlivened with funny hats and puppets.

In the afternoon I set off for a walk and decide to go through the city to the Queens Gardens. The sun has come out and it's warm and quiet. A few passersby say hello in a Truman kind of way and the shops and cafes are closed giving the town a historical Sunday air – remember how a decade or so ago no one came into town on a Sunday?

There's a family sitting on the grass inside the gate of the gardens, flanked by bright pink and red begonias in slightly unkempt flowerbeds. The rose garden which surrounds a 'little boy' fountain has a few late blooms and a woman reading on a park bench. I sit a while in the sun and take photos before walking back via the supermarket where I buy an ice-cream which I eat by the river.

Back at home I listen to a live NZ Symphony Orchestra concert online – Beethoven chamber pieces. The musicians have done marvellously well to play together in threes and fours from their separate homes.

All the components of a lovely Sunday – Meeting, a walk, the gardens, ice-cream, a concert – are there but in an eerily empty, slightly techy way. I'm not complaining but I will be very grateful when a bit of normality resumes. For the foreseeable weeks, I'm not expecting any great change. I know for people getting back to work Level Three will be a huge relief but it won't be very different for me. I need to get a second wind and carry on, knowing that my day to day life is safe, enjoyable and has some purpose and that friends and family are just a phonecall away.