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Social distancing at last? Bring it on!

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21.03.2020

Social distancing! Bring it on!

We are all required to self-isolate to fight the pestilence. This will be an ordeal for the gregarious, the party-going, the social animals, the stop-outs among you.

But for those of us who already in our daily lives practice a kind of reclusiveness, an enjoyment of our own company, of curling up for hours on end with a good book (or thanks to digital miracles like YouTube, a good opera or play), a period of slightly-more-intense-than-usual self-isolation hold no fears whatsoever.

Cutting short a holiday in New Zealand, I have just skedaddled home. And when at the airport in Christchurch a Qantas damsel instructed me "Handsome, you know you will have to self-isolate for a fortnight once you get home," I answered with a merry "What bliss, thou crisply uniformed vision of loveliness! I'll get so much great reading done."

I don't know what it can be like to not love books, to never read fiction, to never have make-believe pump one's imagination up to the size of Skywhale.

Even while in New Zealand and so as to deepen my immersion in New Zealandishness I did a lot of reading of the alarmingly wonderful and sometimes upsettingly punch-packing short stories of New Zealand's Katherine Mansfield. In Wellington and walking on air (for I had just been watching my political heartthrob, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in action in New Zealand's parliament) I walked to Mansfield's childhood home, now a nifty and poignant Mansfield........

© Canberra Times