We’re now entering the second full week of Alert Level 4.

They still surprise me, all these phrases, now so commonplace, unheard-of a month or two ago. Essential services. Social distancing. Zoom meeting. Bubble bubble bubble. Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

We no longer have days of the week, just days of the Lockdown. Today would have once been Monday. Now it’s #12.

Our team has had more contact than many as we’ve worked to pull together our new online service, and amidst the video meetings, texts, Trello updates and phone calls, the BB gang have told me of their intentions for their Autumn at Home.

Photographer Florence Charvin and her daughter Lulu (pictured) are locking down to get musical. Trumpet is the instrument of choice for them both.

“One advantage of the lockdown is that we’ve been able to practise lots,” she says.  “Our teacher is Matt Mear and we’ve been doing our weekly lessons with him on Zoom.  We’ve had to learn to control our sound level to not burst his ear drums… that works for our neighbours too!”

BayBuzz editor Tom Belford seems to have spent the first week-and-a-half sorting a fresh approach to getting The Buzz put together and out to you. Perhaps now that we’re up and running, he’ll get back to the plans he had back at the start.

“After doing some pine harvesting, we re-planted with heaps of manuka trees. They’re doing well but threatened by resurgent baby pines eager to reclaim their turf. I aim to be out there regularly with my lopers as my primary mode of exercise and mental distraction.”

Then there’s his neglected reading list of ‘How societies and civilisations decay and die’ books:

The Plague(Camus)

Black Mass(Gray)


Guns, Germs and Steel(Diamond)

Collapse (Diamond)

The Coming Anarchy(Kaplan)

The Next America(Taylor)

People, Power and Profits(Stiglitz)


When China Ruled the Seas(Levathes)


“Unfortunately, I haven’t migrated to audio books yet, so I can’t listen and lop at the same time.”

Designer Giselle Reid is hitting the books too, but not quite like that.

“I’m really enjoying reading to my youngest daughter at bedtime every night, in normal life we are often too late or too tired to manage it. Katherine Rundell is my new favourite author. Excited about all the children’s book authors (David Walliams, Oliver Jeffers etc) who are putting free readings of their books out via their websites, plus Audible have made all their children’s books free “for the duration”.

Elevenses with the World of David Walliams:


Oliver Jeffers Stay at Home Storytime is on Instagram


Apart from that, Giselle and her family will be keeping busy and sane with a mixture of walks, app-based French language learning, cleaning and Marie Kondo-ing.

“When we’re not tidying, cleaning, reading, walking, bear hunting or speaking French I’ll be cooking. Making all the basics as I love cooking from scratch and am very grateful for the luxury of time to do it.”

Designer Max Parkes is locked down at Te Awanga working studiously on transforming into a bona fide rock star, in particular, a guitarist.

“So far it has taken me 30 years to be really average. This could be the turning point. I recommend anyonecanplayguitar.co.uk as a really great free resource.”

He’s also working on a multitude of half-done DIY projects, without the distraction of regular mooches around Mitre10, he’s sure he’ll actually get them done!

Writer Bridget Freeman Rock has no plans to blob in front of the TV.

“Along with keeping the kids constructively occupied and educated, we have heaps of home projects: from saving seed and extending our bee blossom corner, to tiny house renos and building a sauna.”

And then there’s the reading (not to mention the writing – Bridget is bringing us extensively researched material on the virus throughout the lockdown).

“I’ve borrowed stacks of books from a friend who has the best eco-literature library in Aotearoa, so I’ll be busy learning how to save our world and souls, as well as binging novels.

“For amusement, Nils and I will go back to dancing tango, shifting the furniture to create an intimate milonga in the lounge – with wine and imagination, we’ll take ourselves to Buenos Aires and Berlin. No time for Netflix.”

Writer Keith Newman says he’s well equipped for isolation. “My wife, who would prefer to be hanging out with friends over coffee, even used the word hermit.”

He had plans for reading, streaming, personal writing, and even alphabetising his extensive CD collection.

“But then in the midst of the shutdown I see media under threat; public TV on the brink, journalistically dependable and classic magazine titles closing and BayBuzz mag being challenged as ‘non-essential’.

“Gardening and maintenance may have to wait. I’ve rediscovered my inner news hound, determined to stick with the online version of the magazine I’ve written for across 53 issues in the hope that on other side of this Covid crisis we’ll have an even stronger platform for well-researched local long-form journalistic explorations.”

Hear, hear, Keith!

Columnist Jess Soutar Barron has lofty goals too.

“While in lockdown I shall be focusing on deconstructing the concept of time.”

“I have already taken 40 minutes to make cheese scones; this usually takes me 12. My normal everyday dog walk is a 30 minute whip-around; today I walked for 2 and a half hours, exploring byways and country roads I’d never been down before.

When my daughter’s trousers rip on an ordinary day, I do a quick flick with the sewing machine to patch them; today I spent all afternoon making new ones from the scrap fabric bag. A discussion I would normally have over text in 3 minutes I now phone in and spend 40 minutes chinwagging with a friend.

I have eradicated “Hurry Up”, “I’m too busy”, and “Move faster” from my lexicon. I am monotasking, not multitasking.

“Other than this, I’m doing what everybody is doing … finishing my novel.”

Me? I’ve removed the scarves and sweaters from their storage space – the oven – and am attempting to bake. Yikes. Plus, there are weeds out there in my garden that are taller than me. And these titles currently still waiting on the bedside table:

Actressby Anne Enright

Three Womenby Lisa Taddeo

Catch and Killby Ronan Farrow

Here We Areby Graham Swift

A Thousand Moonsby Sebastian Barry

How to Do Nothingby Jenny Odell

Whose Story is Thisby Rebecca Solnit

These are a mix of books borrowed from Bridget, and books panic-bought the day before lockdown when I literally ran to Napier’s Wardini Books. I always trust Nigel’s recommendations.

Notable mentions from other friends:

  • Rebuilding a car – creating an “Armageddon Vehicle”.
  • Finding a wealthy wife online, “so that there’s a cushier buffer from the next global pandemic.”
  • Keeping a diary “so the kids will always remember living through an historical moment.”
  • Making an artwork per day, “my way of tracking my moods and outlook.”
  • Resisting the urge to murder loved ones (now known as ‘bubble buddies’).
  • Sorting that second draw in the kitchen, “you know, the one everyone has, and also investigating the box that has never been unpacked in the last several house moves.”
  • Conceiving a baby.
  • Not conceiving a baby.

We’d love to hear from you. What are you focusing on, or trying to teach yourself, or REALLY diving into during Lockdown?

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