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Out of the frying pan…

November 29th, 2020Out of the frying pan…

IT'S been an 'unprecedented' year and for most Central Highlands residents it's been one of lockdowns but also open spaces for enjoying masked walks. But for some former residents it's been a different year. Some better, some worse. "Out of the frying pan…into ???. In the second of our series, former Daylesford resident Helen Greenwood talks about life in Tasmania with her husband Andy and pooch Chewie.

ANDY and I had been happily living in Daylesford fully anticipating our retirement there, when he got offered a job at MONA. It was obviously, too good an offer to refuse.
What at first was a daunting move soon turned into an amazing adventure. Uprooting ourselves wasn’t easy, but it’s been so exciting – new jobs, new friends, new restaurants, cafes and bars and a new home. And of course, we’ve got the whole of Tasmania, with its many pristine natural wonders to discover and enjoy.
Not only has the change of scene been a revelation and one we’ve totally embraced, but it’s also been an important reminder that we shouldn’t get too set in our ways.

And just to prove that point, along came COVID-19. It quickly became apparent that we’d timed our relocation to Tasmania perfectly, especially as the premier Peter Gutwein went in hard to protect his island state.
Along with the national restrictions, penalties were high if anyone here was caught flouting them. A whopping $16,000 for some of the more serious breaches. It certainly seemed to have the desired effect, with Tasmanians quickly pulling together to support each other and do the right thing by emergency service workers. The police were also used to regularly check up on all home self-isolaters, which was also encouraging.
We were both so fortunate in not losing our jobs and being able to work from home. As we’d not long moved into our new house, all of our additional free time was spent planning and carrying out improvements and setting up the garden.
Luckily, the strictly enforced restrictions meant that Tasmania wasn’t in full lockdown for very long. Slowly, cafes, bars and restaurants opened, along with general retail stores.
We were all very relieved, when after 21 days of being COVID-19 free, we were finally able to book accommodation or visit personal beach ‘shacks’ for the Queen’s Birthday weekend (ironically, a week later than Victoria). It definitely was a turning point for Andy and I to start exploring Hobart again.
I suppose from the other side of the fence, we were totally shocked when Victoria announced they were opening up accommodation and decreasing restrictions. It was a week ahead of us and we hadn’t any cases for 14 days at that point. And then you guys were opening whilst you still had cases.
We also couldn’t believe how minimal the fines were for breaking the rules. The whole of Tassie was talking about it. So I’m pretty sure that other states were too. It cost the country a lot of money and also put its people through a lot of mental and financial anguish that could have been prevented if Daniel Andrews had just waited longer.
He should have done the first time around what he did for the second wave. I do feel sorry for him though. He knew he’d stuffed up big time and he did a good job of finally getting it sorted.
So yes, we know that you went through hell, although we can’t appreciate it. We spent a lot of time on Zoom with our Melbourne friends – three in particular who lived in one-bedroom apartments. One of them doesn’t even have an open view.
But hopefully, it’s over now. We are still anxiously hoping that it doesn’t return to any serious degree again. And for those who know us, you’ll not be surprised to hear that we’ve been doing our utmost to support the Tasmanian economy.
Meanwhile, in the UK, they’re having 20k new cases a day and they’ve not fully locked down. The country is in uproar…

Images: Andy Greenwood



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