I Still Remember School Monitors

When people go borderline, tattle-tale urges bubble to the surface.

a feather, maybe from a black-backed gull, looking airborne but in fact being held up by blades of grass

Day Five of a nationwide self-isolation. I could get used to this. Kind of. Of course, not seeing family (apart from on-line) is not preferred. But full days spent indoors with no outside commitments or appointments – apart from a daily walk, weather permitting – is painless for an introvert like myself.

a rose from our garden, gamely flowering through pestilence and a season of discontent

While on our walks we see things.

looking as if they’ve just shaved their legs

We see nature. Black-backed gulls and shags. A grey heron and spoonbills. Trees. Sky. Water. The tide rushing in under the over bridge. The tide rushing out under the over bridge.

on Saturday I autumn-pruned the geraniums; worth it just for that peppery scent the broken stems release

We see a man in an orange hazard vest carrying out repair work on his boat shed, an older woman in an olive-green top who stops – less than two meters away from him – to chat (later as she passes us, she attempts to engage us in a conversation too.)

familiar neighbourhood scene of clouds, reflections and mud …
a photo I took the day before lock down, when we took our granddaughter for a walk to the inlet for some low tide investigations

We see a group of six or seven young people out walking in a group; we hear their foreign accents. We see a frisbee-tossing duo (father and son?) and two lots of tennis-players on separate courts playing a game of doubles.

It seems that the lines about what is permitted while outdoors remain blurred.

Cycling is okay – so why not golf or surfing? Two pursuits family members are having to give up for the foreseeable future.

When people go borderline, tattle-tale urges bubble to the surface. There is a number to call. But nah. I still remember School Monitors at primary school who then appeared to morph into prowling High School Prefects perched at the bike sheds, ready and avid to report any pupils arriving late (like me.)

this house-Bugs looks like he’s desperate to escape the great indoors
my Peter Rabbit looks out at the drizzle – reports it’s a perfect day for writing
Smirnoff Bear just inside a neighbour’s gate

Most houses in my street have a soft toy in the window – puffed and stuffed full of cabin fever – they’ve been placed there for any children walking past. I feel like I’m walking through a horror movie set.

yesterday we had a visitor – kereru; Aotearoa’s native pigeon – who sat awhile picking at its feathers. I have heard that they get bothered a lot by lice … as long as they aren’t pathogens …

On book news: the last edits are being carried out for my poetry book. Once printers are back in action, the book can then be printed. Of course, no-one has any idea when this will be. Meanwhile, the team at The Cuba Press are keeping in touch, keen to get my book publication-ready. Yes, this is exciting – even if any excitement is by necessity modified by present circumstances.

one section of one of our bookshelves …

Show your books. Bookshelfies. Maybe our shelves are more about photos and trinkets. But keep looking – the books are there.

and another …

So while we wait for borders to open and restrictions to lift, we can always take a look at a book.

One more thing. I do NOT want to feel obliged to say, ‘Hi,’ to everyone we pass while walking and (albeit in a lighthearted manner) ticked off my husband for saying something like, ‘What a lovely bubble,’ to a trio we passed. No. Just no. ‘Please don’t do that again,’ I tutted. But he just laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry, I never repeat things I’ve already said.’


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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