Local Heart, Global Soul

March 27, 2020

COVID19 And The “New Normal”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have had a few readers ask if we are OK during the current Covid19 / Coronavirus Crisis, so decided to make a post to let everyone know at once.

I have to say that we are doing ok… cautiously though.

Many of you know I have COPD, having lost 35% of my lung function to printing industry chemical damage due to a faulty air-co system, and also have severe asthma.

For this reason I actually started “social distancing” over four weeks ago since Himself and I expressed private doubts very early on that this was  “just a flu” as some people said was the case. At that stage the Netherlands didn’t even have it’s first case and Italy had a dozen or so cases..

Because even a ‘normal’ flu can put me in hospital, we thought it wise to take no chances.

As frequent air travelers we also know how quickly you can get sick from air travel, how quickly this was likely to have spread, especially working out that there were probably “carriers” of COVID19 moving around the world during the time that China was trying to stop word getting out about the diseases’s existence. We were skeptical about the numbers China first admitted to as well.

My colleagues thought I was a bit too cynical, and bonkers for getting permission to be excused from meetings, asking them to phone or email instead of making personal visits etc… I am sad that Himself and I had to be proven right.

Himself ran a very popular half marathon  (21km) in the city of The Hague three weeks ago (…with not nearly enough training as he should have done, due to work and family stuff) and the next day had a cold. Actually he has a cough, but a wet one, NOT the dry COVID19 cough, and no temperature.

Because  his cough sounds bad (clear out a supermarket in 10 second bad) , he decided to self isolate, as not to worry other people, also, “just in case” from me.  Therefore he’s been banished to sleep in the guestroom, we keep 2 metre distance as much as humanly possible, etc. If he is in out tiny galley kitchen, then I am not. We also disinfect door handles, light switches every day and have gone from being a habitual hand-washing family, to an OCD fanatical one.

Luckily we have a Calvinistic government who learned from the 2008 financial crisis and tightened down the banks afterwards with a heap of regulations. They heavily reigned in borrowing and actually have a current 90 Billion Euro surplus. The 1st Minister went on TV early on and guaranteed funds for everyone who would be effected by this, self employed people, small-middle businesses with staff etc. It’s taken Tax dept between 48 hours and four days to get first payments into bank accounts after proof that you are self employed etc. It probably helps that like most of Europe, we don’t do cheques, It’s not even possible to have a chequeboek here, we operate on bank transfers for decades.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several supermarket chains have now put in place a sort of “early-bird hour”, where from 07;00 a.m. to 08:00 a.m. they are only open for people with health problems like me and elderly people.

I was there yesterday and staff severely told off a 40-ish year old man in painters overalls wanting to buy lunch on his way to work whilst I waited making it clear in no uncertain terms that these early opening times were to protect the vulnerable against people like him, so he wasn’t welcome.

This morning slot was chosen to that shelves would be as stocked as possible and there are limits on how many are inside at once. The Cashiers now have a large sheet of perspex between them and the customer, you put your stuff on the end of the moving band, then go to the other end to pack, coming closer to the cashier only at the moment when you need to pay at the card terminal.

At work I work with paper dossiers (too many to take home) and with treatment and codes from those, convert the work into electronic form to supply about 100 other people, who can use that to work digitally from home. To that end the office has done an emergency roll-out of laptops, large screens and equipment for hundreds of staff to work from home, I am one of the last.

I was still safe though because now there were only three of us in two entire wings, the office is empty, and I have my own isolation! Yesterday, they started sorting out a way for me to receive electronic lists of files and not the actual paper files, so now I’m about to work from home too.

I’m assuming that if they can get everyone home then they may even close the office doors? Not sure if that’s possible yet. One thing I am fairly certain of is that this is not going to be a short time thing, I’m sad to say that I think this could easily go six months or longer. … or maybe until a reliable vaccine can come to people like me.

I am deeply saddened to say that I fear greatly for countries like the USA and Brazil who’s leadership is not taking this nearly seriously enough, or who’s healthcare systems will be over run. The poorest people will suffer the most, and the self employed, small/middle sized businesses, those with the least savings. I fear that USA Govt will bail out big businesses and not the “little people”. I really worry for America.

I know it’s a luxury to live somewhere like the Netherlands, a society which is far from perfect (no society is) but where people are coming before all else and who’s Government is stepping up in a way I can be proud of right now. “Socialism” doesn’t mean “communism”, it means a society acting like a Family who all chip in to look after the weakest members: the disabled, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, small children, mentally impaired, and those who can’t find work, or can not work because they found themselves with health issues like cancer etc.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Right now “Socialism” means not having to have sleepless nights worrying about hospital bills, I pay about Euro240,- a month for our entire family of four to have one one of the best health insurances in Europe (it’s the one designated in my work contract) and we are 100% covered for hospital bills, 80% of most drugs.

It’s mandatory to have health insurance in The Netherlands, even the unemployed have it taken out of their benefit. It’s a system where everyone looks after one another … and that’s how entire countries need to be now, looking out for it’s own Citizens and then, if at all possible, stepping up to help other, poorer countries in need.

From what I see the New Zealand Prime Minister has also stepped up, taking proactive steps to safeguard Kiwi’s. I worry about the citizens of other countries who’s Governments are listening less to the science, the pleas of Italy to learn from their experience, and to leader’s who are in denial.

Humanity needs to be kind to one another right now, we need to work together, not hoard any PPE product that could keep a health worker on the front-line safe. We should be stocking the fridges of Doctors and Nurses with fresh fruit and veg so that they can stay healthy because they are exhausted, they should be coming home to supplied home cooked meals that can be heated up.

We should all be doing whatever we can to protect those who need protecting, phoning the elderly who live alone so that they are not lonely, getting the message through to young people that they need to do their bit to keep others safe. We need to offer assistance to our fellow countrymen and to our fellow citizens of the world.

Last weekend we had friends do shopping for us since Himself is able-bodied but self isolating.  We are lucky to have an excellent support system and lot of people asking to help us if we need it.

Himself got strong medication yesterday from the Dr. for his cough so will hopefully see a breakthrough in his illness within a few days. I think we need to err on the side of caution since so much about this terrible virus is yet unknown. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but rather realistic. Many counties will have to to a LOT more if they want to save as many citizens as possible. Let’s hope that humanity rises to the challenge this disease presents. Please stay safe one and all.  We need to take the view that we are all global citizens of the World Family and work in everyone’s best interests. Take care. Virtual HUGS.. kiwi 🙂

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. Glad you are ok and live in a country where rationality still exists

    Comment by Su Leslie — March 27, 2020 @ 6:01 am | Reply

    • Su,
      Yes, Ok, I have to confess that there have been some idiots hoarding toilet paper, pasta and some tinned foods (we are not amongst them) but on the whole most people have been pretty good in taking this seriously. (yes there are always those who think rules don’t apply to them but police have been hard on them, I heard there were big fines, not sure how much that actually means though).
      I hope You are taking care and staying stafe too!

      Comment by kiwidutch — March 28, 2020 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

  2. We’re fine thank you. No fines for idiots yet, but it may yet come. I think wilful stupidity should be an offence all the time 🤨😉

    Comment by Su Leslie — March 28, 2020 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

    • Su,
      …that last part of your comment made me giggle! I could not agree MORE! 🙂

      I hope that you continue to be safe as this situation continues, take care!

      Comment by kiwidutch — March 29, 2020 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

      • Thank you. We are well isolated inside our “bubble” — well stocked with food and wine and the list of craft projects I’ve never quite had time for!

        Comment by Su Leslie — March 30, 2020 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

        • Dear Su,
          it’s a pity my pain meds mean no alchol, Himself can enjoy the wine however. We also have a cupboard with a weeks worth of food and we are not hoarding anything like a few people are.

          I’m not crafting at the moment but am slowly getting back into drawing again: messy a little frustrating at times,and NOT what I really want to convey, but starting off after a long break (25+ years!) it’s hardly surprising.

          Maybe I could pick up a crafting project for when the drawing isn’t going well… Thanks for the inspiration and idea!

          What is your crafting project? Can we see any photographs of progress? (please, please!)

          The main thing is that during these lockdown situations we all need to do everything we can to protect ourselves and everyone else around us.
          If we ALL act responsibly: by taking this virus seriously, practicing social distancing, washing our hands very regularly during the day for a minimum of 20 seconds, not getting into ANY groups that are not people currently LIVING in your household, practicing the 1.5-2 metre distance between people in the supermarket, park etc etc.

          I hope that all people around the world can stay safe, keep to the rules and together we can keep the death toll as low as possible until a vaccine is found.

          Take care, stay in that bubble, enjoy the wine, stay safe and healthy!

          Comment by kiwidutch — April 2, 2020 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

          • I’m so glad that you’re drawing again. Those first few attempts are also so frustrating, but keep them and enjoy the moment when you can see how far you’ve come!
            I started making beeswax food wraps a while ago, and have finally (I think) found a method that works for me, so I thought I’d make a batch as Christmas presents (thinking ahead). A friend gave me a huge quantity of wax that still has honey attached so I have been learning how to separate honey and wax (using only what I can find at home). It is slow, messy but weirdly relaxing. And of course, the kitchen smells lovely.
            I also want to make some fabric hearts (again as Christmas presents), and got all the materials out, but got sidetracked with the honey.
            Take care and stay safe.
            Nga mihi nui.

            Comment by Su Leslie — April 2, 2020 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

            • Dear Su,

              Sorry for the late reply, I got completely and utterly side-tracked because I had no clue what bees wax food wraps were, so went to Google, then Wiki, and ended up looking at YouTube tutorials … What a rabbit hole THAT was! All the different methods, melted wax on tray, the grate and sprinkle method etc etc.
              Let’s just say that I ended up spending a LOT of time looking at tutorials for something I am never going to get around to making myself!
              At least I now know what a bees wax food cover is though, so that’s something.

              The most frustrating thing about drawing at the moment is that I’m so sloooow.
              Years ago, even with really detailed pen drawings, I was naturally fast and could draw two/three times faster than I do now so I keep muttering to myself things along the lines like “Rome wasn’t built in a day“.

              In place of speed I’m trying to increase the frequency of my drawing, whilst the Journal (News) is on etc.

              I know I will “see” the progress one day, but I’m not anywhere near there yet!

              Comment by kiwidutch — April 14, 2020 @ 5:56 am

            • I think frustration is one of creativity’s biggest enemies. We have the vision but whether fore reasons of speed or accuracy or whatever, we don’t achieve as much or as fast as we’d like. I think we women beat ourselves up about this more than men. Maybe because we have less time to call our own.
              The beeswax wraps are a bit of a minefield. On Country Calendar last week I saw someone using an old takeaway hotplate. She put the fabric on it, brushed on the wax and the heat from the plate spread it evenly. Genius!

              Comment by Su Leslie — April 14, 2020 @ 10:38 am

            • Dear Su,
              Genius idea about the hotplate! Cool! (or should that be “hot”?!)

              You are SO right too about the frustration and difficulty about art, It hadn’t really thought about why but you hit the nail on the head. …a bit of a revelation, and clarity, for me, Thanks!

              P.S. …. Su,
              I just remembers that I used to LOVE watching Country Calender, but have watched the BBC equivalent called “Country File” for years now, … just a pity that it’s not in a New Zealand context. I always have a giggle when the UK weather forecasts predict expected 20 C weather as “hot” though! .

              Question too.. Do you maybe sell the beeswax covers? I wouldn’t mind to try a couple out and I have a few friends who are trying, like us, to cut down on plastic cling film usage too.
              Not sure if I can convince Himself to use them, unless cling film originates in China because we are not keen on supporting products from there at all after all their lies etc especially beginning/during this Coronavirus pandemic. Himself can be set off on quite the anti-China rant at the moment. ( Note though: We are anti the Chinese leadership, not their poor oppressed citizens)

              Comment by kiwidutch — April 19, 2020 @ 6:35 pm

            • You’re welcome.

              Comment by Su Leslie — April 19, 2020 @ 9:36 pm

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