I’m not sure about you, but recently I’ve been suffering from an overwhelming feeling that I’ve done all this before. This inkling of having previously experienced the present situation began last Wednesday when New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield appeared on TV at 1pm and announced the latest Covid 19 figures. Since then, my deja vu has only escalated. Prime Minister Jacdina Arden appears on TV with Dr Bloomfield most days at 1pm, former All Black John Kirwan is interviewed reminding us to look after our mental health, I have to queue to go to the supermarket (which I’m still banned from doing), I’m now in need of a haircut having missed my last appointment, I find myself checking the supply of toilet more than usual, my cookbooks have been dusted off, I’ve reacquainted myself with Zoom and people cross the street when they see me coming. This abrupt change in direction from my fellow walkers is by far the most unsettling of my deja vu symptoms.
The latest occurrence of this automatic person swerve happened this morning while out walking in my local neighbourhood. Having gotten several blocks into my walk, I looked up the footpath and around a slight bend to see a lady powering towards me. She automatically stepped into the middle of the road, gave me a look that said something along the lines of ‘I don’t know if you have the plague but I’m gonna assume you do’. Then, moments later we exchanged a friendly hello that suggested we had known each other for many years before disappearing down the empty street. However, the strangest thing about this interaction is the fact that it is especially common.
Later on, as my walk was reaching its termination and I had successfully slalomed around the dog poo on the footpaths, I began to wonder if I should be keeping a pointless lockdown diary to monitor my daily movements for moments of symptoms of deja vu. Take today for example, my diary entry world read as follows;
Diary Entry:Wednesday, 25th August. Walked around the neighborhood and avoided dog poo. Weather mild.
Of all the things I’ve learnt from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the last 24 hours, by far the most interesting and useful is that the Coromandel has a Bead Shop. Taras Beads to be precise. After the PM suddenly announced that we were going into lockdown for three days, and while the rest of the country dashed out the front door to restock the booze cabinet and beer fridge before grabbing a takeaway, I raced for my keyboard. You see, I have a very bad track record of buying dud Christmas presents for my wife and a Bead shop voucher would just be the item needed to avoid a 2021 disaster. After a quick search online, I found the Ministry of Health locations of interest list, leading me to Taras Beads, Arts and Crafts. Unfortunately, I discovered that Taras Beads didn’t have a website. This raised a further question; why was a 58 year old man in a Bead shop in the first place? I could only assume that he was wandering with his wife in the hope that they would soon give up lingering around, comparing prices, discussing and haggling and go for a drink. It was 3:00pm after all.
A bit of a change today from my usual creative adventures on the Esplanade. This is St Paul’s Anglican Church in Arrowtown, which is inland from Dunedin in Central Otago. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a road trip so I might need to organise one once the weekends become free. St Paul’s in Arrowtown was built at the time of the Otago gold rush in September 1871 which makes it 150 years old. Before it was the built many of the miners wanted a dedicated Anglican Community and once they had raised the necessary funds and found a piece of land, the church was built. It has been holding services in the same place ever since. @johncaswellnz#lovindunners#majesticdunedin#johncaswellnz
It seems lots of people had the same idea around 4pm today, head to the beach. While it’s still winter and the temperatures is sitting in the low range, there’s a just a fraction more light at the end of the day. It’s almost as if mother nature is hinting at spring!! @johncaswellnz#lovindunners#majesticdunedin#johncaswellnz
This is an image from my series titled ‘from the Esplanade – 30 images in 30 days’. It wasn’t included in the initial series of images, however it’s an image that I wanted to give life too. This spot is at the Long Dog Cafe which is at the end of the Esplanade also the entrance to the Salt Water Pool which is currently closed for the winter. It’s also an amazingly stunning spot to start the day at. @johncaswellnz#lovindunners#majesticdunedin#johncaswellnz
Back at Easter I had the pleasure and delight of watching the original 1939 movie the Wizard of Oz. It reminded me that there’s something quite wonderful and charming about watching a movie that was actually filmed on a set with real actors, backdrops that ever so slightly moved, props that wobbled and most of all no overly complicated storyline that seems to be the feature of any modern day classic film. Yes, I must confess to having enjoyed every second of the 101 minutes that Dorothy spent trying to get back home to her Kansas farm with her dog Toto to see her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. I even found myself quite delighted when she clicked her heels together and said “there’s no place like home.”
It suddenly occurred to me the other day that Wednesday was quickly rolling around and I didn’t have anything to write for my blog. Without realising it, I had once again unbalanced myself and spent a bit too much time taking photos while not really thinking about what to write about. This happens to me from time to time, grasshopper brain I think it’s called.
To reconnect with my fascinating weekly insights into life in Dunedin I took a quick glance back over my blog. The intention had been to explore the themes of culture and identity in Aotearoa by investigating if Ōtepoti reflect it’s Scotish roots of Kilts, Haggis and Robbie Burns poetry? Are we a nation still obsessed with Fush & Chups, The Edmonds Cookbook and Hokey Pokey Ice Cream? Do we still have a No 8 Wire mentality? Are these items symbolic of life in Aotearoa or just of an urban myth sold off to tourists who drive on the wrong side of the road and decorate bushes with loo paper?