I searched every room in my house during lockdown.

Well, can’t really call it a house, I exist in a small villa, but it is home.

Problem is, I couldn’t find my enthusiasm anywhere.

Or my sense of humour.

It’s called the COVID effect and for those of us who live alone, enduring many months of restrictions that dominated our world for so long, this isolation has had quite an effect on our mental state.

Nothing to look forward to, no meeting up with family or friends.

A quick excursion to a nearby supermarket became a highlight and I discovered there is a new form of communication that involved eyebrows.

A mask-muffled ‘do I know you?’ can result in a sympathetic crinkle of eyes or a scared widening.

During lockdown a crisis occurred in that I ran out of books to read.

Libraries closed, no op shops for pre-loved novels.

And I was not going to spend my day watching TV.

My small courtyard garden is done to death, so, now what?


One of the better COVID effects has been the enforced clearing out of cupboards and I came across a small jigsaw puzzle.

I’ve never been a keen jigsaw person but I actually enjoyed solving it so much that I decided to purchase another one.

I had noticed them in the newsagency when I was lined up, socially distanced, to buy a new crossword book.

It looked fairly straightforward, 1000 pieces, lovely rural scene.

I could hardly wait to get set up.

I carefully separated pieces according to colours and began to make the border, the supposed easy part.

As I progressed over the hours, I realised my table was only just wide enough to fit this puzzle.

It’s a card-table size in my so-called office, which has better lighting than my dining table.

I had tried using that larger table but my poor old eyes couldn’t focus on the shiny pieces.

I was making good progress, despite the ache in my upper back as I leaned over the table at an awkward angle. Border finished; picture taking shape, but one piece was definitely in the wrong place.

As I separated the two pieces that weren’t meant to be in union, I knocked the puzzle sideways and the whole thing slid to the floor, deconstructing on impact!

It is now back in its box, and was ready to go to an op shop when Freedom Day dawned and I was be able to return to books.

Zelda Morris, The Courier’s occasional columnist, offers some reflections on her time during the COVID lockdowns

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