Day 21 of lock down in Italy: It's Monday and today we started our fourth week in lock down. I'm feeling edgy and a bit out of sorts.
I went to the biggest of the four supermarkets in town today. It's not big like a normal supermarket in Australia, in fact it's probably only 1/4 the size of a regular suburban Woolies. Or maybe 1/2 the size of those smaller IGA stores dotted around the suburbs.
It was a palava and incredibly stressful. At 1.45pm I drove out of our little alley onto Via Roma, the main street running through the historical centre. Past the duomo (main cathedral), the closed restaurants, cafes and dress shops. At that hour even the shops that are allowed to open, like the tobacco shop, the butchers, the mini grocers and the pharmacy, were all closed as well. I didn't see anyone else on the streets as expected with everyone at home having lunch.
There were no police checking why people where entering and exiting the historical centre so I drove straight to the bank only to find big signs up saying 'By appointment only'. It took me a moment to realise that the signs didn't apply to the ATM. I withdrew cash and drove to Deco supermarket. There were what appeared to be four people in the 'queue' so I took a number and waited. The sign on the front of the supermarket said 'Only those wearing a mask can enter'. We haven't bought any masks, and I'm not sure where everyone is buying them from but my bandanda did the trick. Two of the men who were waiting, were in fact just waiting for their wives who were shopping inside. Only one person is allowed in to shop, and in fact as I understand it only one person from each family is allowed to leave the house unless it's for medical reasons. So why these husbands were hanging round is a mystery.
After a bit of a wait I was ushered in. I cleaned down the handle of the trolley, donned gloves and had my makeshift mask on. I then spent about an hour shopping, thoroughly checking my list and trying to avoid the other shoppers who seemed less concerned about the requirement to maintain a 1 metre distance as per the announcements every ten minutes. I couldn't buy eggs and only got one loaf of sliced bread as the shelves were bare. The sliced bread shelves are usually full as Italians generally big fans but desperate times....
The shops was full of massive, overwrapped Easter eggs. I bought a couple of smaller Easter goodies, but couldn't decide on which of the extravaganzas to buy. I'll leave it for someone else to sort out.
Miss S declared yesterday that she knows Santa Claus isn't real. I dare say the man of truths finally broke. So that means Easter Bunny is busted. Now her father will just put his name against the extra gifts and eggs and the magic will be gone. We had a good run of ten years.
Back to the shop. With my trolley overflowing, including a ten pack of toilet paper, ten packets of pasta, spare cheese, and a frozen pizza (all things we don't usually buy like that) I approached the check out and endured the agony of unloading the trolley and packing the bags by myself. This is a job that Gigi and I always do together. It's a real team effort. The checkouts at this supermarket are only small, but at the end they have a divider that gets swivelled across to demarcate one shoppers groceries from the next. My groceries just piled and piled and piled. I spent just over 100 Euro when our usual weekly shop costs about 40 Euro. But, of course, I wasn't shopping for a week, I was shopping for another month in lock down.
The whole experience was stressful and not something I will be repeating soon. After our LIDL and now Deco shop we are stocked up for a few more weeks, with only a visit to the fruit and veg shop hopefully.
There are a number of things we do need that we just can't buy at the moment. Many houses in this part of the world use some sort of moist absorbing device. We need to buy the refill packets of granules to use in the little plastic containers spread around the house. They help with the mould. The shops that sell this product are all closed. I need to buy underwear. Those shops are also closed...and please don't tell me to order it online. I'm going to resort to mending my undies that have split away from the elastic. I'd like to buy some face cream...something other than the small range available at the supermarket.
Miss S built a fort today. The whole loungeroom has been taken over and with the help of the ironing board as an integral part of the structure she has created a two room fort.
Without seeing a doctor I can't be sure but I think I'm peri-menopausal. And probably premenstrual. My back aches, I'm feeling irritable and instead of getting further apart my cycle is speeding up. As a result, I've spent a good part of the day self isolating, being creative while watching the rest of the second season of The Crown. Now I wish there was a third season.
812 lives were lost to COVID-19 in Italy today. The government is making a lot of noise about the lock down going on for an extended period. The whole country will be full of nut cases if this goes on for more than another month. I've seen no news about any proactive approaches to dealing with the mental health ramifications of being stuck inside with your family and/or alone for an extended period ... unlike in Australia where it's making headlines and the UK where the Duke aand Duchess of Cambridge are talking up mental health initiatives.
There number of infections in Italy has reached almost 102 000. 63 doctors have died. One day the news reports that he infection rate is slowing, the next day it reports that it's peaked again.
In other news around Europe ,a Van Gogh painting has been stolen from a museum near Amsterdam that was closed down to to COVID-19 restrictions. The painting was on loan from another museum! tT was stolen on what would have been the painter's 167th birthday! I wonder if the thieves knew that?
France is reporting a 30% jump in domestic violence cases since the lock down in France started. Surprisingly, "France already has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Europe."
Website Euronews.com is reporting that "The International Monetary Fund says the coronavirus crisis has caused a global recession. Although essential goods and services are still operating economic activity has basically fallen off a cliff."
Germany has increased its weekly COVID-19 test to 500 000. This helps explain why Germany despite it's infection rate of more than 36 000 has had only 198 deaths to date. The country already has a strong network of laboratories and is throwing 500M Euro at developing better links between the hospitals and laboratories.
The EU is struggling to come to an agreement about how to manage the COVID-19 project and need for financial aid and support across the conitent.
There are reports of police brutality, workers being hosed down with disinfectant and rising community tensions in India as it is shut down for a three week period. Countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific are ear marked as potential COVID-19 time bombs with poverty, crowded refugee camps an limited medical infrastructure all leaving the people in those areas particularly vulnerable.
This all feels like I'm caught up in some weird George Orwell novel where the underlyng theme is about respecting nature, living a life of meaning, and not letting the powers that be take full control of your life and movements.
And I taught Miss S how to use the washing maching as part of a Girl Guide badge challenge. She also uses the gas stove and helped prepare the burgers we had for dinner. Pretty soon she'll be driving Gigi's car and going to university.
Week 4 of lock down, here we come.
Day 22 of lockdown in Italy: The general feeling is blah. When you google 'blah' for a definition this is what you get: 1. used to refer to something which is boring or without meaningful content. 2. (North American, noun) depression. 3. (North American, adjective) dull or unexciting.
Miss S and I had a blow out over her attitude towards doing a spelling lesson. So I made her sit on a chair and stare at the wall instead. The spelling lesson was about homographs and she was complaining that the words were too difficult. She got 20/20.
After my English teaching work I decided to have a bath and came out to find Gigi had done no less than three Maths lessons with Miss S while I was soaking.
He keeps telling me that I'm being aloof. Perhaps it's because the alternative is to be full on PMS witch Men will never understand this crisis of personality and the feeling of impending madness some women experience thanks to hormones and the moon.
I'm over this whole situation. I'm ready to jump in the car and drive 3000 km, cross some borders and explore somewhere new. At the moment it is, once again, the not knowing that is dragging the chain. There are whispers that we could be locked down until July. It's just unimaginable that we find ourselves in such a mess. I know it's a mess all over the world, but we are in the country where the mess is the messiest.
Flags flew at half mast all across the Italy today, with a minute's silence (which minute is a mystery) for the victims. This is a respectful, sombre gesture except surely most of the flags have noone currently attending to them, and there is noone on the street to see them.
For the last week, almost every day, I've read a headline that says something like this "Peak in Italy in 7-10 days". I reckon the headline will remain unchanged for the next 2-3 weeks as the authorities and media try to give the general population a sense that things are getting better when in fact the stats continue to demonstrate that things are getting worse. 837 people died today. 66 doctors have died.
I'm looking for a hole to crawl into today. I haven't been a very attentive wife, or a patient mother and I'm certainly not feeling very kind or generous towards myself either. Hopefully tonight will bring the sleep that eluded me last night and tomorrow a renewed vat of acceptance, resilience and resourcefulness.
This is the only photo I took today. Inspiration has eluded me.