Category: stories

Fifty, and nearly 50

Coronavirus lockdown day 50

View from Queen's Reserve, Nelson
Dusk on Day 50.

Day 50 was a budget preview day. Big Norm got a mention. It will be a real change to see an investment budget.

Work has been slower the last couple of days (that is not a complaint) and I had time to do a few online tutorials about After Effects.

New neighbours arrived, although there’s no sold sign on the house next door.

The sunset, and the sunrise today were magnificent. it is my favourite time of year.

And soon, my birthday. So what will I do? Probably, a few folk over on the night. Shashlik. A vodka or two, snacks and the like. Singing perhaps.

But I am tempted to do a 50 at 50 thing. Something creative, something different. Something I wouldn’t normally do.

50 zoom meetings with friends old and new… this could be a good podcast … 50 bike rides? 50 rambles and rants? Hmm, thinking cap on!


A few minutes after writing this I posted on social media. I had 10 people within about 30 minutes.

Folks, your attention. Soon I am 50.

I can only have a few people over in person on the day, so I’m thinking of a way we can celebrate together.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll schedule a zoom chat (or similar) and we’ll swap a memorable story with each other.

It might be how we met, some hijinks, things that went well, things that spectacularly didn’t, or any of the nicks and scars we collected through our lives. Memories, hopes, dreams.

Or you could mix a drink for me and we’ll share it virtually. Or something else fun and creative.

Here’s the catch – I’d record it, and make it a podcast.
Who’s in?? Like for yes!

Richard Liddicoat – celebrating 50 years.

Mother’s Day

Coronavirus lockdown day 47

A trip to the supermarket last night yielded ingredients for the Mother’s Day breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, banana, maple syrup, icing sugar, lemon … and it was good. Not quite as good as the birthday pancakes, probably because I didn’t have help this time …

Anyhoo, it was another lovely day and we went for a drive to take the dog for a walk. It was good, but the dog puked in the van on the way home. Yummy!

After that delightful task, came inside to find a a new mix of the song we have been working on waiting for me, and man, I am proud of it. In less than a month it’s gone from very raw to almost finished product. There’s still finesse work to do, but it’s got a great feel, and my bubblemate said it was ok – which is high praise indeed.

Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics:

Ooooooooooo (Four bars)


Ted’s dead

Coronavirus lockdown day 42

42: The answer to life, the universe and everything. Ironically, also a miscalculation.

One thing you couldn’t get wrong though was the temperature today – after a couple of days of rain, some cold southerly snaked its way up the island and dumped snow on the hills.

We put the fire on and – well I was going to say chilled, but we , um, warmed. It always feels luxurious, and the day sped away with work tasks and an episode or two of Scrubs.

That was the theme song of course, sped up for tv (or slowed down for the album).

Another element of the show I always liked was Ted’s band:

Hey Ya!
Take on Me

Close harmony is hard, and these guys are masters. Sadly, while researching this I learned Ted (Sam Lloyd) died at the end of April in the US. Very sad, such a talent and a new Dad too.

Counting the lucky stars

Coronavirus lockdown day 40

It was another slow day. Some editing, some voiceover work. Some editing of zoom meetings.

Reflecting a lot though on an email from overseas and how differently the lockdown is being handled around the world.

The Moscow Times says Russia’s curve is climbing steadily:

This image from the Moscow Times show’s every corner of Russia is affected.

The curve is looking exponential.

Moscow Times graph.
  1. Russia confirmed 10,633 new coronavirus infections Sunday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 134,687 and marking a new one-day record increase. Russia is now the seventh most-affected country in terms of infections, having surpassed China, Turkey and Iran last week.
  2. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been diagnosed with coronavirus, he said during a video meeting with President Vladimir Putin broadcast on the state-run Rossiya 24 television channel Thursday.
  3. President Vladimir Putin has extended the national “non-working” month through May 11 as Russia continued to see sharp daily rises in new coronavirus infections in recent days. Moscow’s coronavirus lockdown has also been extended until May 11.

You might have guessed I was planning to visit Moscow, hence my interest. That won’t be happening in the foreseeable future. I don’t know when international flights will start again, and can’t imagine how much they will cost… One less thing to worry about, I guess.

But more worringly, no-one really knows the full extent of the spread of the virus in Russia – or many other countries around the world. Here, there is much higher trust in the stats, and we are counting our lucky stars we live на краю света – on the edge of the world. Also the lockdown there has different implications from what I can tell: digital tracking for transport and phones; arrest and actual jail if you pass the virus on, or criticise the response.

Here, we are are own worst enemies: Fishermen getting stuck on islands in the middle of a river, people crowding beaches or takeaway joints. Level four was easy – there was no wiggle room. Now, people make their own assessment on safety. We’ll see in a week or so if we can go down to Level 2.

The days go slow, the weeks go fast

Coronavirus lockdown day 35

I was talking to a friend today and we were both feeling a bit dislocated. Because we are working from home, we have what feels like much longer days. Domestic tasks are mixed in with professional tasks; house language and office language are blurring.

You do some work, then oput on the washing. A bit more and you meet up for a cuppa outside on the deck. A little more then lunch. You creep through doorways hoping to not disturb the zoom meeting.

You crawl into the kitchen to nick the kettle and take it to another part of the house where you can boil it. You chat to your neighbour, then strategise with the boss, then pat the dog.

But that dislocation is also a symptom of uncertainty; we are in a holding pattern. I note that already I repeat myself from a few days ago. It’s like time is closing in on itself.

I’m upbeat because the pandemic is a reminder that time is precious and we shouldn’t waste it. Despite all that, lockdown suits me. I have done more work on creative projects and music and collaborations than I have in ages.

I genuinely hope that some things don’t go back the way they were. At the same time there’s the fear of not knowing how much things will change and how bad things might get. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Or is it level down?

Coronavirus lockdown day 34

Who can tell any more? It’s Level 3, anyway. It was a slow day. Work meetings got postponed, so I did some audio editing, some coding and other tasks. Lots of things are in the nearly finished pile. Made a bit of a plan for the month ahead.

Already the city is busier. More sirens, more traffic noise, more shops open. Not heaps, but it felt more normal, which was great. Bit of port noise, although some of that was a person loudly pleading not to be handcuffed which we overheard whil on our walk.

More rescue helicopters, and a couple of planes overhead. I’ve noticed the lack of planes the most from our place. Nelson’s airport is usually busy and we are on the northern approach flight path.

Time to level up?

Coronavirus lockdown day 33

Here it was, the last day of Level 4. Not much will be different of course, but we’ll probably feel better.

It was a Monday, the Anzac Day holiday, so it was a cruisy day. Mow the lawns, talk to the nighbour, forget what I was was meant to be doing kind of day. Bit of a bike ride up and down the hill.

Stayed up till midnight to see Level 3 in, like a poor cousin to New Year’s. Had stayted up to midnight to see the lockdown in, so felt right.

A stand at dawn

Anzac Day 2020

Dawn over Nelson on Anzac Day 2020.

We don’t usually go to the official services on Anzac Day – while we commemorate, we don’t celebrate. Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful to those who served and fell, the pomp and ceremony isn’t my cup of tea.

This year we did. We all got up and stood at our gate at dawn, looked at the stars, got uncomfortably cold and reflected on history and the stupidity of war. We felt the sadness of all those lives lost and the damage done to ordinary citizens.

We heard the last post played a few times from the surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as on the RNZ broadcast on our phone. Maybe half a dozen neighbours stood on our street, sharing a historic moment before all retreating to our bubbles.

Coronavirus lockdown day 31

I guess we wanted to mark history – the first time there haven’t been services, is the time we should remember.

Four weeks down

Coronavirus lockdown day 28

So busy again, keeping on keeping on. Today though, I was ever alert, watchful and waiting for the alcohol delivery … The driver had to sight ID, so I taped it to the door in the hope that if I didn’t hear the knock, the package would be left with the ID.

In the end it didn’t matter, but it was a really weird situation. I was outside picking feijoa. I head a car pull up, and make a call – the volume was so loud I could hear it across the road. Then I realised it was my phone!

So I ran to get the guys attention, and sure enough, result. but then when I got inside – there was a bottle of Malibu in the package (Which had a life size copy of my driver licence photo taped to the package). So I sprinted outside to let him know of the mistake.

Long conversation short, like some Cold War spy exchange, I left the bottle on the ground and backed away. Crouched, he crept forward, took a long lunge toward the bottle, retrieved it, and put it in the boot of the car. The music was still going really loud, so the neighbours were all looking by this stage.

The driver shouted a cheery ‘Seeya!’ and we went our separate ways. Tomorrow the rest of the order should arrive.