The upsides to COVID-19

As Melbourne goes into week three of our second lockdown, it’s pretty easy to get mired in melancholy. Our movement is restricted, we’re wearing masks, and parents are once again having to pretend they understand Yr.9 maths. Where in the first lockdown, young children would occasionally appear in video meetings in cute and endearing cameos…they now crawl all over their parents yelling into whatever microphone the parent is using, and no-one bats an eyelid…because ultimately…who could really give a sh1t! And we’ve all come to the realisation that going on a holiday anywhere that involves a plane, is about as likely as ever returning to the office…with all of your co-workers…who have arrived on public transport and are just looking to book a meeting room.

So I think it’s my duty to focus on a few of the good things about these COVID times, because there have definitely been a few silver linings to all of this.
I will stress that these are MY silver linings, and may not match up with yours. For example, when you’re telling me how much you miss being able to just give your friends a hug when you see them, and I’m smiling and nodding as if I agree with you. Rest assured I am actually thinking that I feel like someone who is two thirds of their way through a conversation with a Genie that has already resulted in; not having to do that ‘kissing on the cheek’ thing with people you know, AND not having to hug people you vaguely know when you see them. I’m not sure what the third wish will be…but it will probably involve someone un-inventing social media.

So with that in mind, here are my upsides to COVID.


Now I realise that for those of you who like to play team sports, this has been pretty tough. But for those of us who enjoy running alone for 1.5hrs listening to Neil Gaiman audio books, and sitting on a cycling trainer in a shed watching episodes of Snowpiercer on Netflix…this has been a true renaissance.
You may say ‘But Chris you could have done these things in pre-COVID times! This is not a win for anyone!’ But that’s just not true. With an 8.30am work start-time and at least a 40min commute, outside of waking at 5am everyday, there was no way I could work everything in. But now that I’m working from home everyday, I can get an hour long run or ride in EVERY morning and still get to work on time!

Selfish portrait.


At the other end of the working day…it’s only an 8 second commute from my workstation/dining room table to the kitchen. So suddenly it’s possible to cook dinner every night!
If we, as a family, want to spend our lunch-break making slow cooked Wallaby shanks, and smell them for the rest of the day…then damn it…that’s what we’ll do!
If we want to cook vegetarian meals for the week, then we’ve got the time to actually find some good recipes, rather than panicking at the end of the day and just throwing something together.
Best of all, with ‘after school activities’ severely curtailed, the kids are available to begrudgingly assist. There is no happier face, than that of a child who has been dragged away from their screen to cut up vegetables for a meal they didn’t particularly want to eat in the first place!

Wallaby Shanks…a great dinner…and even better movie character name.
We should never have let her watch those Gordon Ramsay shows!
So angry.
So much swearing.

Visit Victoria

Half way through last year, we were offered the opportunity to stay at our friends place in France again as we did in 2017, but this time it would be for Christmas 2020. By December of last year we were looking at airline tickets and biding our time to get the best price. By January I’d told my Manager that I would be taking some long-service leave at the end of the year. By the end of March we were letting our friends in France know that we were still coming over…but were just going to see how this COVID thing goes. Now…well I think there are only 4 planes left in Australia…and we won’t be going on one any time soon. So it was pretty awesome to get away during the brief lull in lockdowns to a few places around Victoria.

Walking on water at Sandy Point
Fox in Porepunkah
Sunrise at Lorne

There’s nothing like necessity to focus the mind…and so if all holidays for the next year or so are in Victoria, I reckon I can handle it.

‘D’ya like dags?’

There comes a point in any lockdown (usually about day 3) when everyone in the household gets PRETTY sick of everyone else in the household’s shit. But do you know who doesn’t get sick of everyone else? Dogs. Do you know who will be excited by your return…even if you’ve just been outside hanging out the washing? Dogs. Do you know who will fall asleep in hilarious positions just to remind you that there is still fun in the world? Dogs. Do you know who provides the best reason to get up off your arse and go for a walk? Doctors, Physios, Life Coaches, OH&S reps, Personal trainers…but also, Dogs.
For a pack-dog like a Beagle, the idea of having all of her people constantly around her, and with 70% more baking being done in the house (and with all of the scraps that this entails)…Marnie couldn’t be happier!

Beagle therapy


I can pretty much guarantee that when you think of me, ‘Hirsute’ is not one of the words that jumps to mind. Nor ‘Rustic’, or ‘Rugged’…or ‘Man’. I think that at least 83% of this can be levelled at the fact that I’ve never managed to grow a beard (the remaining 17% is a combination of the very soft skin on my feet, my obsession with pronouncing both ‘d’s in ‘Wednesday’, and the fact that I quite like the new Taylor Swift album).
As this tragic video shows, I am simply not not designed for facial hair.

Well that’s not strictly true…I am capable of growing facial hair, it’s just that without the crutch of ‘I’m doing this for charity’, it’s very hard to withstand the humiliation of that first 4 weeks of looking like someone with a fake ID trying to buy a 6-pack of Vodka Cruisers from a bottle shop.
In fact the only way I could contemplate growing a beard is if somehow it transpired that I was restricted to only seeing my immediate family for 4-6 weeks, and everyone else saw me via a webcam that could be turned off…or set up with so much backlight that I may as well have been a mafia informant trying to hide my identity.
Well that has transpired!
And while I don’t think I will be confused for Ned Kelly or Gandalf anytime soon, I do think I have achieved ‘Detective from Scandinavian TV series who has seen too much of the evil that lies in the hearts of men, but dammit, that’s what makes him such a good cop’ level of beard. And that will do…that…

‘Prestön’ – Starring Kristof Rjordanson

It’s oh so quiet

This September will mark 20 years since Katie and I moved to Preston. In that time there have definitely been some improvements; our ratio of $2 shops to cafe’s has definitely improved, Courtney Barnett has written 100% more songs about it, we now have 12 trees across the entire suburb (up from 9 in 2000), and bike commuting has become marginally safer as as result of traffic being in a state of perpetual gridlock. But one thing it has not become is quieter. Every time a house gets sold, it gets bulldozed and replaced with 308 apartments. So there are more people, more cars and more hard surfaces to bounce the sound off.
Plus the upward mobility of bogans across the board, means that the roar of a HRT/FPV V8 along St. Georges Rd, is now ensembled with the delightful sound of a Mercedes or VW DSG having the guts floored out of it.
It’s enchanting.
But the COVID times have lead to a LOT less people being out and about, and so while the Preston Market does now have a slight ’28 days later’ vibe, a walk around the streets of Preston is now so quiet you can actually hear the birds…or the podcast your listening to.

So yeah, it’s tough at the moment…and there’s no foreseeable end to it. But there’s still plenty of good in the world, and plenty of things that we can look to maintain once we return to regular programming.

Stay safe, and wear a mask.

9 thoughts on “The upsides to COVID-19”

  1. Great to see the face behind the camera and the keyboard, Kristof.
    And the truth about dogs.
    Thank you for all the joy!

  2. Hahahahahha! Love the 8s commute. No excuses for Lite and Easy family packs from the freezer anymore. 🙂 🙁

  3. Excellent Chris. Asking for a friend – what % of any given day does this optimism possess you? But seriously, the bit about the presence of a dog really resonated with me.

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