Lockdown diaries, day two: The seven signs you’re back in iso

As Victoria enters a snap seven-day lockdown, four writers – Karl Quinn, Melissa Singer, Amanda Dunn and David Allegretti – keep us up to date with how they are spending their days: the good, the bad, the ugly. This article will be updated daily by 12pm with their latest entries. So, bookmark and come back tomorrow.

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The lockdown diaries.Credit:Illustration: Dionne Gain

Day Two: Saturday, May 29


By Karl Quinn
Senior culture writer, The Age

Seven ways you know you’re back in lockdown:

“You feel a little like Will Smith in I Am Legend, only not quite so buff.”

By Melissa Singer
Fashion editor, The Age

What do you do with old pillows?* This seems to be my biggest challenge today, as hardcore nesting instincts kick in (hello, third trimester!). The bone broth was a success, and now the slow cooker has pivoted (couldn’t help myself) to making muesli. Yes, you can make granola in a slow cooker, and this wasn’t even something I learnt in lockdown. Fortunately, my friend whose birthday is today lives in my building, so we will split a steamed carrot and orange pudding I’m making.

“I think we deserve the fancy stuff. Because if not now, when?”

Today feels less heavy, more like a “normal” Saturday when you don’t have plans, which for us was some time back in April. How did life get so busy, so fast? Trying desperately not to watch the news; will keep watching Halston on Netflix about the famed fashion designer of the ’60s and ’70s. My big outing today will be to the staple store to stock up on dried fruit – I think we deserve the fancy stuff. Because if not now, when?
* Email me if you have any solutions on the pillows, please.

By David Allegretti
Freelance journalist

I woke up at 5am again. But rather than lay in bed and fight for a couple more hours of peace, I got up, made a passable instant coffee, and stood in the morning silence of my dim kitchen, sipping my coffee and watching my dog as he watched me with his dopey adorable face. He loves lockdowns.

“[I stood] watching my dog as he watched me with his dopey adorable face. He loves lockdowns.”

I tore my ACL playing soccer back in March. It’s been a long, arduous journey of daily strengthening work at home and the gym in preparation for my surgery, scheduled for May 31 – this Monday. Yesterday afternoon I received a call from the hospital. My surgery was cancelled; the next window could be months away, but they won’t know for sure until lockdown lifts.

David Allegretti’s dog Lupo: “He loves lockdowns.”

It was a punch in the guts, but I understand. After the call, I sat down and counted myself lucky. Yes, it sucks, but many out there have it much, much worse. If anything, it gives me more time to keep strengthening the muscles around my knee before the big cut comes.

By Amanda Dunn
Politics and society editor, The Conversation

Ballet class on zoom for the seven-year-old throws up a challenge: how to position the computer so her teacher can see her arms and legs at the same time, but not the state of my dining table behind her? In the end, like so much with lockdown, I decide not to care, and at my daughter’s insistence, I watch her do her class just a metre from the action, like the world’s worst stage mum.

We go for a scoot to our favourite cafe, the daily ritual that has been so important to both of us for all four lockdowns. They are doing OK, adapting quickly to takeaway. I am acutely aware, though, that others are doing it tough – businesses on the brink, relationships strained, mental health under pressure.

“We go for a scoot to our favourite cafe, the daily ritual that has been so important to both of us for all four lockdowns.”

I send check-in texts to my mum, and a couple of friends. As we wait for the next set of numbers, we all fervently hope this lockdown really will only be for seven days.


Day One: Friday, May 28


By Karl Quinn
Senior culture writer, The Age
Today, at least, feels calmer. I spent a good chunk of the last day of our phony lockdown in line at The Alfred. My 17-year-old daughter had symptoms, and a COVID-19 test was in order. Her sister had been tested a few days earlier, came back negative, but in these times you can’t be too careful. Four hours in line was enough to send some snifflers home without a test, but the promised 72-hour wait for results proved unduly pessimistic. By 10pm she had a result: negative. Phew.

“No trouble scoring a seat on the train today, or in the office: there’s five of us here, and almost as many tumbleweeds.”

Woke up today feeling fine, three days after getting my first AZ shot. So far so good. Well, apart from the sore leg, but I think it’s safe to blame that on the whack in the shin I got at soccer on Wednesday night. Still allowed to come to the office, so to give my wife a bit of space I did. No trouble scoring a seat on the train today, or in the office: there’s five of us here, and almost as many tumbleweeds. Roll on next Friday.

By Melissa Singer
Fashion editor, The Age
Woke with an incredibly heavy feeling of sadness. Sad for my city. Sad for my friends who are celebrating birthdays this week. And a little sad for myself. At the risk of self-indulgence, I had been due to fly to Sydney tomorrow, for part two of our babymoon (Hamilton! Dinners! Sun!), and for Australian Fashion Week, which in my round is akin to AFL Grand Final week. It’s our Superbowl, and now I’ll be watching it from my study.

Of course there are silver linings, including not having to live out of a suitcase for a week. But I like living out of a suitcase. I love the adrenaline rush of running to make a show, only to arrive and realise it’s running 30 minutes behind. Of course, the show will go on, it must. Just without me physically there.

“I’m a little sad for myself. At the risk of self-indulgence, I had been due to fly to Sydney tomorrow, for part two of our babymoon …”

So, today, I am doing my best to cope by reverting to my Lockdown 2.0 playbook: I have just put beef bones in the oven to make broth. I hope the scent that will waft through my apartment over the weekend will be a salve that will calm my feelings of grief and loss, lamenting what could have been.

By David Allegretti
Freelance journalist
Day one of lockdown No. 4 and I’ve woken up two hours before my alarm, tired but unable to fall back asleep. I feel like I’m stuck in line for a broken roller coaster I’ve already ridden 112 times before. This ride sucks, but there’s no getting off. The upside is I’ve got some leftover Red Rooster takeaway in the fridge to look forward to.

“Seven days – that’s doable. Just. But if I hear the phrase “You’ve got this Melbourne!” one more time today …”

David Allegretti gets a FaceTime call from his friend in the shower.

Last night my friend FaceTimed me from the shower. He told me Wednesday night’s big moon was a bad moon, a bad omen. Lockdown affects people in different ways, I guess.

Yesterday, I didn’t have time to properly check my phone till about midday, and by then the lockdown news was rampant. I could feel it coming though. In a strange way, the announcement was a relief; a tangible timeline to hang on to. Seven days – that’s doable. Just. But if I hear the phrase “You’ve got this Melbourne!” one more time today, I’m going to shave my eyeballs.

By Amanda Dunn
Politics and society editor, The Conversation
I’ve never been more excited about getting an injection in my life – now if only I could make a booking. But since it was announced the 40+ group could finally get “the jab”, the hotline has been constantly engaged. This seems, in its way, to be good news: finally a sense of urgency about getting vaccinated. I will persevere.

Meanwhile, we are back with our old “friend”, lockdown – that same heavy feeling, the same daily anxiety waiting for case numbers. Just four today from 47,000 tests – do we dare be optimistic?

“My second-grader has a pupil-free day and has already nestled down with her quarantine co-parent, the iPad.”

My second-grader has a pupil-free day and has already nestled down with her quarantine co-parent, the iPad, for some quality time. Her teacher has sent home some worksheets and books for the kids to look at if they want, but the messages have been mercifully stress-free. So today I am trying to work while fitting in some scooting, a spot of LEGO, and some discussions about the difference between llamas and alpacas. Twitter is also providing its usual rants and wits. This is my favourite so far:

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