Day of Level Three (Take Two)

As soon as I open my eyes I remember that we’ve moved into Level Three today. It puts a spring in my step.

There is a flurry of activity across the road from us. Our neighbours house was in the middle of being painted when lockdown came and tools had to be put down. The painters are back with gusto, and the weather is perfect for them. It is a lovely reminder of all the businesses that can now reopen.

Our local park has been overrun throughout lockdown; so overrun that it is quite stressful trying to maintain physical distancing. We have preferred to use side streets for our walks, but I do miss wide open spaces. We are now allow to travel to parks and beaches in our region as long as we are careful to maintain distancing, so we decide to head to one of my favourite spots in Wellington, the Botanic Gardens. It is a short car ride away, but too far to walk to with children, and I can’t tell you how much I have missed this place.

There is definitely more traffic on the roads, but the gardens are not unduly busy. Most of the other walkers are elderly, who give Rev G and I grins as they watch our children playing.

The gardens have many tracks snaking through them, and we take the tracks leading off the main one. They are quiet, we meet almost no one. The children have the ‘dell’ entirely to themselves and play there for quite some time, swinging on vines, performing shows on the stage, and generally just running around a big, wide, open grassy space. It is just what they have needed.

Miss E wants to see the rose garden, and she is intrigued to discover each rose has a different name, and many have different smells and shapes. Both children visit each rose in turn, giving it a sniff, and reading out the names. We decide ‘summer dream’ is our favourite name. This is learning at its best.

The day is warm and sunny, and I feel so much better for being able to get out here. We will definitely be back over level three.

We decide to celebrate level three with a takeaway meal – I can’t tell you how glad I am for a break from cooking. Rev G is a good cook, but he takes an age to get any dinner on the table and invariably injures himself while cooking – cutting himself with a knife, scalding himself with boiling water, dropping a pan on his foot…it is usually less stressful to just cook myself.

We want to support the small businesses in our suburb, so we get dinner from our local pub and are pleased to see it comes in recyclable and compostable packaging. Takeaway is not something we have often, but this certainly feels like even more of a treat than usual.

I tune into the news – mostly to make sure we are following the ‘rules’ correctly. There are beautiful stories of families being reunited. One of the women in my prayer group is grateful that her inlaws are taking her young children for a few days as they have extended their bubble to include them. She and her husband have been incredibly stressed, trying to juggle working from home with looking after a 5 year old and a 9 year old. My friend is actually working on something very important for kickstarting our economy at her government job, so I am also grateful she is getting this break!

Level three. The end of this mess is in sight.

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