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Mamma Mia! Here we go again - Marlborough Covid Lockdown 2.0

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Last Modified: 18-8-2021 19:06

Plum blossom
Plum blossom
When in lockdown you learn to appreciate the things around you
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

On Monday, equipped with instructions provided in a letter from the Ministry of Health, I went online, and booked my spot to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. On Tuesday morning, on a grey, cold, miserable day, I drove into town, parked my car in the Countdown supermarket car park, and walked the short distance to where bright banners pointed the way to the Blenheim vaccination centre. The building itself had a bland grey concrete exterior, as grey as the day, and probably not out of place somewhere in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union, but it was functional, and a steady stream of mostly older people were braving the elements to turn up for their injection. Marlburians really seem to have got the message, and the local vaccine rollout seems to be well organised.

I dutifully scanned the QR code on the door on the way in, although nobody else seemed to be doing so, as it struck me that although there would be a record of my visit anyway, a place where a diverse bunch of people were congregating would be the perfect environment for spreading anything contagious that might be about.

On the inside, the building was more cheerful, with two women seated at computers in a reception area, their desks piled with masks that nobody was using, registering people and sending them to a waiting room with brightly painted walls, a vibrant green if I recall correctly.

I gave my name and date of birth, and then went joined the other people waiting for their turn.

Mostly elderly people sat about in the waiting room, some individuals, some couples, as names were steadily called. I was probably one of the youngest people there, my age group only having qualified in the last few days.

After a few minutes waiting, my name was called and it was time to head off to a room where my name was checked again, then it was time to bare my arm and take the jab. The syringe was small with only a modest volume of liquid in it, and although there was a short, sharp pain from the syringe entering my arm, I didn’t feel a thing from the actual administration of the vaccine. It was all over in seconds, but as a precaution it was time to go off and wait for twenty minutes to ensure I didn’t have the unfortunate distinction of being one those very rare people who have a strong reaction to vaccines. After twenty minutes, nothing eventuated, so I made my way out into the weather and back home. By the afternoon, my upper arm started to feel as though I’d banged into a wall a bit hard and bruised it, although nothing unbearable.

Today is Wednesday, and I woke up knowing my wife and daughter would be staying home with me, rather than the usual routine of them going off to their respective schools, and me having the home office to myself. It turns out it was a good thing I didn’t delay booking my vaccine, as SARS-Cov-2 seems a bit like one of those insidious stalkers in horror movies; just when you think you’ve beaten it, it turns out it’s still out there lurking. Having some company at home during the week is a pleasant change to my normal routine, so lockdown doesn’t bother me, but I know other people will find the situation harder.

My biggest worry is that with another lockdown, government intervention in the economy will continue to push house prices further out of reach. If there’s any stress that living through a pandemic has caused for me, it’s the worry that at some point in the future there’s the real risk that I could lose the roof over my head. I rent, but I’m fortunate compared to many tenants in that I rent from family, so I have more freedom than many, and my landlords would sell to me in an instant if I could afford to buy, however I’ve seen my savings go backwards in the last 18 months relative to house prices, and since I have siblings, my parents can’t sell to me below market value without showing me preferential treatment. In addition government rules prevent elderly gifting away their wealth in the event that they might need care, although as far as I understand it, they could sell up and go on a wild spending spree, as dispersing your personal assets through decadent living and then expecting the taxpayer to pay for your care is perfectly legal, but supporting your family is not.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition; on one hand, as kiwis, we’re pretty good at coming together as a ‘team of five million’ when it comes to Covid, but when it comes to other big issues like housing or climate change, we seem to be more divided than a team.

I prefer to be an optimist, so in spite of another lockdown, a house I can probably never afford, dire warnings of climate change, and the present miserable weather, I look outside to the beautiful spring flowers in my messy garden, and try to remind myself of the Fred Dagg song, ‘We don’t know how lucky we are’. Hopefully that will prove more accurate than the Warratah’s ‘Fools Paradise’.

Daffodil
Daffodil
Being stuck at home isn't so bad with plenty of these around
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Grape Hyacinths
Grape Hyacinths
No need to feel blue when you've got these
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Cite this page

Cookson, C. (2021). Mamma Mia! Here we go again - Marlborough Covid Lockdown 2.0. Retrieved September, 24, 2021, from https://www.marlboroughonline.co.nz/marlborough/information/commentary/mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-marlborough-covid-lockdown-2.0/

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