Jane Berney in conversation with
Jane’s cousin James lives 98 kilometres from Wellington, where Jacinda is steering New Zealand out of CoVid’s way. A train manager, his work is deemed ‘essential’ during lockdown. At the beginning of this year he bought his first house, and is as proud as a first-time father.
Note 1: March-May
When he heard that lockdown was on the cards, James’ first response was ‘elation’.
“This is going to be pretty sweet. No one else in the house. It’s just me. Someone who has been alone a long time. The thought of not going to work for 4 weeks didn’t frighten me. I don’t invite people over because I need their company.”
“Then it dawned on me that I was ill prepared. That I wanted ‘old fashioned stuff’, not Netflix.”
He’d heard about the Guinness Book of Records – the world’s longest game of chess was 52 years, the opening move sent on a postcard on Christmas Day between Australia and England. “That’s a year between moves. I was inspired by this record.”
As lockdown loomed, James found all the games in town had sold out.
Things shifted when the first case of CoVid in a nearby town was announced.
“That morning the world changed. Patient X could have been on my train. People look at you; ‘Have you got it? Is it you?’”