Isolation diary day 6

Today kicked off with a real expedition. We had to be out of the house to give our cleaning lady an open go. I hadn’t driven the GT for over a week, so I decided to give it a run up to the Dandenongs. So we headed up the highway through Ferntree Gully and took the familiar left turn up the mountain.

The last time we had ventured this way was about eighteen months ago, when we had the loan of a very large Benz for the weekend. Readers will recall that I won sixth prize or so in the annual 3MBS-FM prize lottery. A free hire of a Benz was the prize that time. We had requested one of their sedan models. That weekend, though, they were trialling a Sunday opening for the Grand Final, and consequently wanted to keep a few smaller models for any punters who wandered along. Consequently we got a monstrous GLC four wheel drive, all $90,000 worth. I liked it rather a lot, but it was too large for my beloved, so we thankfully gave it back to the dealer the next day. Mercedes Benz Toorak must have known we weren’t prospects, as they never called us to ask whether the experience made us feel like putting it in our garage for keeps. 

Back to this morning, and the GT proved just the vehicle for the windy roads leading up to Mount Dandenong. We stopped for a coffee at Olinda; my beloved made the purchase, which we consumed in the car. (It was drizzling, and quite parky for, err, is it late summer? Early autumn?) Our return was as uneventful as the outward leg had been, and the route led us conveniently to Canterbury Road. My beloved went to the pharmacy in Maling Road, and joined the queue lining up to be served in the doorway. (This pharmacy is only a small establishment; I think the idea was to regulate the number of punters per square metre to the present rather draconian level.)

While she was thus occupied, I leaned against a post on the far side of the road, trying to look as if I had something useful to do. This charade was bolstered by the appearance of an elderly gentleman, who headed in my direction carrying a white cane, then did a 90 degree turn a few feet in front of me, obviously intending to cross the road. I was able to scuttle up to his elbow, scan the traffic in both directions, and advise him that it was safe to cross. (As Dad would say, quoting G&S: giving artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.)

Back home, my beloved got to work, like all her colleagues — only the CEO is physically in the building today. (Is this allowed under OH&S? At RMIT, if you wanted to work late, at least one other person had to be there , in case you fell and broke your leg or something equally inconvenient. But CEOs appear to be invulnerable.) Phone calls were fielded by us both. In my case it was my writing buddy Graham, a fellow labourer in the memoir writing vineyard. We are guide, mentor, philosopher, and friend to each other in this intermittent endeavour.

This evening our very first online grocery order is to be delivered. This service is not available to any except the most deserving, into which category we appear to fall. A few of the things I requested are not available, something about which I was forewarned. (Substitutions have been made in a couple of cases.) Yesterday we received a delivery, also a first for us, of fruit and vegetables from our local greengrocer. A couple of the mangoes were sub par — fortunately, we have ordered some from the supermarket as well. With this exception, getting our grub this way was extremely convenient. The order was placed by SMS, the payment effected (as real estate agents like to say) by bank transfer. So we are managing to keep ourselves fed without a lot of effort.  

Libraries are all closed not, of course, so I have reactivated my Overdrive account from our local public library for reading e-books. There is a fair number that I have either downloaded or placed holds. I am going a bit slowly with our current book group book. (Meetings of the group are suspended, along with most other things, until further notice). The book is No friend but the mountains, by Behrouz Boochani. It has undeniable authority and terrific urgency, but I find I can’t read it for very long. 


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