Covid-19, Testing, Testing

Journal: 054

SF Naked Women

Why have I commenced with three naked women? Because I can? Maybe. Or because WG and I and Neil@ Kallaroo diverted ourselves in the Comments on a recent Monday Musings to a discussion of old time SF covers and naked women in bubble helmets. A quick survey of my shelves brought up these just in the Vs and Ws but not any bubble helmets, and in fact I would say the majority of my 1960s and 70s covers were space ships, as below.

Jack Vance The Face

So, does this presage a change in direction of my reviewing. In short, no. I’ve been blogging more than five years without exhausting my stocks of pre-War Australian women writers, and with judicious up-topping will easily manage another five. To even make a dent in my shelves of SF would take me another lifetime.

But to the matter at hand. I am home, in Perth. Let us put up a truck pic and restart.


When last we spoke I was masked up in Melbourne, loading for home, looking forward with some trepidation to crossing from Victoria into SA and more particularly from SA into WA. I loaded three trailers with steel, topped up with cars and set out once more, on Thursday, up through the Mallee to Ouyen and into SA at Pinnaroo. SA require drivers to obtain an entry permit on line. I’d submitted an application but been refused. I complained. Two very nice clerks from SAPol phoned me separately to get me going. Turns out my permit for my previous trip was valid for six months. Problem solved.

The WA border was just as easy. In the two or three weeks since my last crossing WA had instituted an online permit called G2G, presumably Good to Go. I got one. The policeman at the border – police people are so young these days – scanned my phone with his phone, issued me stern instructions to get a virus test within 48 hours of that minute, 9pm Friday, and another on the eleventh day – I was given a chart showing that the eleventh day after a Friday is a Tuesday – on pain of a $50,000 fine.

I forgot to say I’m not allowed in SA without a test every seven days. Seems to me the chances of WA’s eleventh day and SA’s seventh day being the same day are pretty slim.

I had my 48 hour test this afternoon (Sunday) at Royal Perth where I was met at the door – separate from the main door of course – by two preliminary surveyors, passed on to a receptionist who took down much the same info and then after a short wait, to a serious senior woman, nurse or doctor I don’t know, who was at some pains to discuss my situation, the situation of truck drivers in general, and to explain the procedure – swabs from the back of my throat and from each nostril. It’s meant to be uncomfortable rather than painful but the back of my nose was still stinging an hour later.

I had been concerned that if I was ever going to get infected it would be in a waiting room full of people waiting to be tested, but as I should have guessed from WA’s usual daily zero cases, I was the only customer.

Homer, the friendly manager of the transport company I load out of Melbourne for, has a new client and wants me to do the first load from Perth to Melbourne (probably because his own drivers refused). I’m loading one trailer tomorrow just as soon as I can get it unloaded and I think I’m expected in Melbourne Friday. I hope he’s not reading this because I can’t get away early enough to be there before the following Monday.

The big problem of course is that as of last night Victoria has declared a ‘State of Disaster’ and tomorrow will start closing businesses. I can always unload at the transport depot if the client is unable to receive me, but will I then find a load home? And having loaded will SA let me transit, will WA let me back in?

Tune in this time in ten days for the next exciting episode. Chicken Man! (oops, sorry, wrong promo).

37 thoughts on “Covid-19, Testing, Testing

  1. $50,000 fine? That’s reason to set a few reminders on your phone! Will be interesting to hear what happens for businesses in Victoria tomorrow – I think once that’s announced, it will become clear what goods we will be getting from other states.

    The stage 4 restrictions won’t have a huge impact on us – I have only been shopping once a week anyway (and for six people, that is an enormous shop!); and we’re working from home. Biggest change is that my two hour long ‘therapy walks’ will have to be reduced.

    Stay safe.


    • I worry that I’ll get to Victoria and find everything closed, but realistically the businesses I carry for don’t involve lots of people in close proximity so I should be ok. I still feel lucky to be one of the ones who gets out, though it’s obvious now that I am going to be increasingly restricted. Perhaps I should stop out on the Nullarbor and do some serious walking.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, this is so complicated – I’m so sorry. I mean, our local lockdowns are a bit perplexing but this is a whole new level. Wishing you calm roads and the right number of loads there and back again.


    • Did I mention my load has to do its own border crossing with a different set of officials to make sure there is no fruit & veg and to put the used cars into their own quarantine so that they can be inspected for foreign dirt? WA- always on the verge of secession.

      Thanks Liz. Covid certainly keeps the roads calm, no caravans! I think the right number of loads to Melbourne might be zero, but … if the steel mill I load out of stays open I’ll probably keep running there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The last episode of your travel update was complicated enough but now the state of emergency has made it even more fraught. Hope the people who are receiving your shipments show their appreciation on your arrival.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen, I’ve been out all day in the rain doing deliveries, and no, no appreciation was shown. But I do get paid and that will have to suffice (interestingly I have seen no evidence of a rise in the prices people are willing to pay to move goods to/from Victoria. But the price of fuel is down 20% and there is likewise no movement by shippers to claw some of that back, which there would be in ordinary circumstances).


      • Fuel prices fell here for a while when there was that news story about the oil glut. But that story seems to have disappeared from the news media now and prices have crept back up. Food prices have gone up though since the start of the pandemic. One of the big supermarket chains has told all its suppliers it is cutting the price they pay them which is disgraceful because the supermarkets were one of the few sectors whose business boomed during lockdown


      • The price of diesel was around A$1,50/L before the pandemic, dropped to close to $1.00 and is now $1.15-$1.20 (or $1.30 if there are no other outlets around). Supermarkets, which are an oligopoly of two in Aust, have a history of gouging suppliers.


  4. I have started reading this three times over the last 12 hours and have kept getting distracted. Today with did the main move of furniture from my parents’ place – a three way move bringing some stuff to here, and then picking up the other half of their lounge suite that we’d being storing to take it and the rest of Mum and Dad’s stuff to a friend of my brother’s who is thrilled to have some good furniture for her new place.

    Anyhow, I enjoyed your journal. I do hope you get to do the job – presuming you want to do it. The Victorian situation is stressful but I think they are doing the right thing. We don’t want to end up like the US. But, I know, this is easy for my to say in currently COVID-free Canberra. I’m frustrated by feeling stuck, but I know we are very lucky (touch wood!)

    Do we have to wait 10 days for the next episode?


  5. True, the new restrictions make very little difference to me personally but that’s not the case for some of the people I care about.
    And I am anxious about the politics of it. I hadn’t realised until I read the Guardian this week, just how much vitriol and abuse is going Daniel Andrews’ way. Apart from the human toll on a decent man and his family, I am concerned that we may transition from silly women in Bunnings to something nastier.
    Plus, we all know that there’s a section of the community for whom enforcement fines mean nothing: they don’t have the money to pay them, and the justice system is reluctant to send them to gaol for a day or two to ‘work off’ the debt. These people know this and they go on breaking the law with impunity.


    • I feel pretty sorry for Daniel Andrews given the hard line it took early on, but it seems Victoria may not have had the right regimes in place for good tracking when this second wave started, which is a huge shame. (Or, am I wrong about this.) Nonetheless, I still feel sorry for him. People are cruel. I do worry that misdirected anger might sway voters next election though, as you imply I thin k?

      Re that section of the community, there will always be those who take advantage of any situation, but I can’t imagine there are a lot of them or that we should focus on them. It’s like the old dole-bludger cry. Of course there were dole-bludgers, but you just have to forget them and focus on what is right and good?


      • TBH I don’t know how we an trust what we are told about any of it. Today the ABC is running a piece headlined ‘experts calling for more transparency in Victoria’s reporting’. Watch it carefully and you see that it is just one *former* expert lobbying for access and claiming that the public will trust the government’s messages more if he gets it, as if that would somehow influence the idiots who’d rather believe anything but science if it interferes with their lifestyle. Listen carefully and you will hear him say that there is a protocol about what info is released that was agreed to by the national cabinet, so really his quarrel is with them but he’s blaming Victoria.
        And then on top of that, the ABC is promoting a 4Corners program about the 5G nonsense and they’re giving air time to some loony doctor in the US as part of the promo. We can only hope that they counter this in the actual program, but in the meantime, people are watching this rubbish and maybe being influenced by it. A day or so ago they ran a piece about the ruses a family used so that they could witness a wedding. As if people need encouragement to think of ways to flout the rules! I despair, I really do, because this is the ABC and no doubt the other media I don’t watch/read is even worse.


      • I can’t say I never see trolls, but I see them very rarely, probably because I don’t go down the comment rabbit hole when I’m reading political opinion. And as for talk back! I have enough opinions of my own without listening to other people’s as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh this made me laugh out loud Bill. “I have enough opinions of my own without listening to other people’s as well”! I agree – any time I start reading comments on political posts I become so apoplectic that I give up. I just don’t have time for people who can’t think rationally.


    • Yes I think the Andrews government is doing a good job, shame the inherent idiocy of private unregulated police forces brought them undone, not to mention unregulated (by the feds) nursing homes.


      • The hypocrisy of people criticising the decision to use private providers is breathtaking. Every government of either stripe has conformed to the mantra that everything the public service used to do is done better and cheaper by the private sector, and with as little regulation as possible to cut red tape. The mantra is, don’t tell the provider what to do, tell them what you want done, and let them make the decisions about how to achieve it. (I know this, I’ve proofread (and discussed) numerous Regulatory Impact Statements that are *required* to follow these principles.)

        Not only that, Melbourne and Sydney had to cope with the bulk of overseas travellers coming back, (NSW saving $$$$ by letting the Ruby Princess passengers skip quarantine). So where do people think the quarantine workforce should have come from? Open the prison doors and free up the prison guards? People who by their own actions have already shown that they don’t respect the law, let loose to ignore the rules to spread the virus further?

        And there is a massive silence about the fact that cost-cutters in the Federal Government ditched the planning for a possible pandemic…

        I tell you something else. My little patch of suburbia has historically had an extremely low level of crime, including petty crime. It’s a place where a kid can leave a bike on the nature strip and it will still be there in the morning. But in the months since the pandemic there has been a steady growth in petty crime: pot plants, groceries delivered unattended, thefts from cars and even garden furniture. Why? because the thieves know that the police are not doing what they normally do, they’re deployed to enforcing restrictions on the other side of the Yarra and our law-abiding suburbs are on skeleton staffing.

        Yes, I am starting to lose my equanimity…


      • I get the impression that heavy vehicle inspectors have been moved to Covid duties too.
        My test result was negative. Which means Milly might go out to dinner with me on Wednesday.


  6. These book blogging websites do cross pollinate don’t they – hello again to everyone here! Bill, I think doing some serious walking out on the Nullarbor sounds wonderful.

    Lisa people here who read a certain newspaper/listen to certain radio commentators, are saying very unpleasant things about Dan Andrews, and the last thing we need now is nastiness. I feel so sorry for the man, he looks desperately tired and disheartened. I find myself worrying about him. I don’t know why we always seek out someone/something to blame, instead of just getting on with the job. Mistakes happen, I wish we would just get on with fixing things as best we can.

    You’re right, Four Corners is about 5G, eeeeeek.

    Bill, I hope you travel OK.


    • Hi Sue, thanks for coming over for a look, and bigger thanks for commenting. I do the same, follow commenters I see on other blogs and so yes there is pretty much a circle of the same people following and commenting on Lit.Blogs around the Anglosphere.

      I read the Age and I think I might also (without knowing how) follow Daniel Andrews’ Facebook page. It’s disappointing that the state that imposed the strictest restrictions first time round ended up with the biggest outbreak, and that must be causing him more than a little pain.


      • Yes, I do feel sorry for him – and I was just wondering today, Sue, about his mental health. I hope he’s strong. I don’t know how the poor man sleeps at night. I hope he has a lovely supportive family.


  7. I know I read this post several days ago, but apparently I didn’t delete it from my email or comment! Apparently, I just thought about the Australian government bayonet-ing your brain over and over in the name of safety. Ugh. And didn’t you say you have to stay in the area until the test results come back?

    I’m with you about waiting rooms in medical facilities. My cousin went to the hospital many years ago for treatment of one thing, caught a horrible disease while in the hospital, and died. It was like something straight out of a horror movie.

    I’m glad you’ve got some old science fiction. The stuff that would come in the super cheap paperbacks and the monthly magazines are so fun to read. I’m not old enough to have experienced such books and stories when they came out, but many are anthologized, and I read those.


    • 6.30 am here and I’m out loading to go back to Melbourne which is all but shut down. I’m assured I’ll get in and out but I think it might be the last one for a while.

      I read English SF at school but the student union library at uni introduced me to Galaxy, Astounding, Amazing, magazines that ran monthly serials with writers like Robert Heinlein, and I was hooked.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie, I really hope WA sticks with its current rules and all I require when I return from Melbourne is testing (day 2 and day 11) but it’s all more hassle and more risk than I need, so I might just stay home when I get back and see what local work I can get and do some reading and writing. Hotel quarantine is not on the cards for truck drivers, yet. Couple of thousand bucks for a two week stay would make driving to Melbourne pointless financially.


  8. I’m reading your posts backwards, so I know your test is negative.

    I don’t know how you keep your calm with all the rules, stops, tests and other hurdles on the road.
    Bon courage, as we say here and stay safe.

    Here too, the fuel prices have decreased. (1.25€/l compared to 1.45€/l before Covid) but food prices haven’t increased.


    • Tonight I am on my way back east. The big carriers have been complaining bitterly about SA’s 7 days rule because it forces drivers to get tested along with infected people in Melbourne and Sydney. There was no clear story about how the rule was being interpreted for untested drivers, but some suggestion they could enter SA if they got tested within 24 hours (which if I push hard would see me all the way across the state). So I got tested again in Perth this evening and will have to hope I’m unloaded, reloaded and out of Melbourne by Tuesday, and back in WA within the week. It’ll be close.


      • Hm. Most unsatisfactory. I suspect Vance is more fun read than listened to. Might be hard to find in second-hand book stores, he’s been dead for a while. But do chase up “The Moon Moth”, it’s a great short story.


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