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Lockdown in New Zealand

It wasn’t quite the holiday we’d planned.  When we left England on 8th February for a trip to New Zealand, the word “coronavirus” or “Covid19” was only beginning to creep into daily news bulletins.  It didn’t seem like there was much to worry about in the UK, and the only concern for us was that we were transiting through Singapore.  We had a very pleasant 24 hours in Singapore, walking by the river, having afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel, with the luxury of not having to share the experience with hordes of Chinese tourists who were not allowed into the country.

We arrived in New Zealand and enjoyed exploring the delights of that beautiful country.  It wasn’t until the middle of March that we suddenly realised that the world was beginning to close down.  New Zealand closed its borders to all but non-residents, but we were OK – or so we thought – to depart as planned on 27th March.  All was fine until a day or two before our flight when the Singapore Government suddenly imposed a ban on all transit travel.  This meant that we were unable to use our Auckland-Singapore, Singapore-London flights.

Like many foreign tourists, we were stranded, but managed to book a flight home with Qatar Airways for 8th April.  With the knowledge that we were going to be in the country for nearly two weeks longer than planned, we moved into an apartment in a pleasant part of Auckland with good access to shops and parks.  If we were going to be marooned anywhere in the world, we felt fortunate to be in New Zealand where the incidence of the virus was much lower than in the UK.  We were there for the first two weeks of the New Zealand lockdown and settled down into a cosy routine within the confines of our apartment – reading, corresponding with friends and family, watching TV, and going out for our permissible daily exercise.  And, just to prove that the show must go on, I began adding new articles to the Badsey website – thanks to members in England who kept submitting items, in case I was feeling bored!

But home is home, so we were relieved to be finally getting on a plane at Auckland.  After two days of travelling – New Zealand is a VERY long way away! – we made it home to Badsey on Maundy Thursday.  The weather has been glorious since we’ve been home and it’s been very pleasant adapting to a slower pace of life.  Reacquainting ourselves with all the local footpaths has also been enjoyable, and we usually get to chat (social distancing observed, of course) with one or two people we know.  It’s been great having the Spar, butcher’s and wayside veg stalls just round the corner and to have a weekly take-away from The Wheatsheaf.  It’s good to be back!

Maureen Spinks, Chairman of The Badsey Society

May 2020