Isolated Thoughts 2020(2)

July 29 2020

I would like to thank everyone who contributed their articles for this information page, as I know for some it has not come easy for them to share.

Another four or how many more weeks in lockdown is a dreadful thought for many. All those weeks being camped up inside will affect everyone’s mental health in different ways, but there are things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing and one of these things is to adapt our environment. 

Colours play a big part in our mood and how we perceive our environment. The overuse of dark or dull colours can make us feel depressed, unproductive, or unsafe. On the other hand, overly bright colours can cause discomfort and make us feel like we can’t relax. 

The colour green, while not a widely favoured colour, can help to alleviate mental fatigue. Science also shows us that spending time outdoors, be it in the garden, the park, or other natural environments, can improve mental wellbeing. So, while you may not be willing to paint your walls green, getting some indoor plants or using green décor can make a difference.  Also, using a combination of fresh or warm colours, like whites and beiges, are perfect to create a cosy and welcoming feel in your home. 

Indoor plants are also a great way to help improve air quality in your home. Opening the windows from time to time is also helpful, but not always ideal in winter. Spending time outside to get fresh air is also important, even in the cold. In fact, the cold crisp air can make you feel invigorated and energised. 

If you’re looking to create a more relaxing environment, try using a candle or incense that you like, or even a perfume, and make sure that the temperature in your home isn’t too warm or too cold.  Every person has a different ideal temperature but overheating or under heating can have a negative effect on mental well being and mood. Make sure everyone in the home is comfortable with the temperature inside, but if there’s a conflict in interest, wearing layers and using throw blankets can help (and can keep the electricity or gas bills down too).


“Hi everyone it’s been very lonely!!

I miss everyone and everything but lucky that I have been kept busy doing my charity work plus lots of masks; keep safe and hopefully, this will be over soon”.

Franca Collareda 




I would like to share my experiences of which I am enjoying the time to the best of my ability. 

Luckily I have good quality programs on TV.

e.g.: “Super Singer” TV series daily which I enjoy the most. 

I have had more time to read several things that I enjoy.

I have increased my skills in sewing and cooking.

I have taken care of the garden more.

I have missed the fitness classes, and find that I am not doing enough by myself.

People who are close to my heart also had time to talk with because they didn’t have to spend time in driving.

For a change this is good, but not forever.

Thanking you,

Ambi Thangavel


If it can help anyone, my way of coping with isolation (no family members in Australia) has been a serious issue I’ve dealt for a long time

My remedies are music and walks. Both combined can lift any dark clouds from my thoughts



Stay well Lillian

Hi folks for those who do not know what happened to me; New Year’s Eve I ended up in the Austen hospital where with the help of an intensive care Doctor I had an operation to remove Cancer from near my voice and my breathing tubes.  At that time, I was breathing through a pinhole the nurses at the hospital were great and I got a lot of visitors and cards.

My journey has been an interesting one, not only with 30 days of radiation and 12 lots of chemo but with MRIs Pet Scans seeing if I could eat and talk well that was easy. I have now a trac in my throat and am hoping that it will be removed in a couple of months. For me, the lockdown has not been a bother because the only time I was allowed out was to go to appointments. I really felt sorry for you all because you could not go very far and catch up with friends and what we need now is to do whatever we can to get rid of this virus and get our freedom back.

Lillian Madden‘s story


I am a mad gardener with a big yard, so at every opportunity, I am out in the garden finding something to do, I admit I am going through withdrawal symptoms as I have only been to Bunnings 5 times this year, and anyone who knows me knows that Bunnings is my second home. In 2015, health issues saw me withdraw from WhittleseaU3A and tutoring a class in Photoshop Elements, by the time I was thinking about rejoining and maybe tutoring again the program had been updated and it would have meant going through all my lessons to update them and I didn’t have the energy for that, but I was kept informed with the WU3A world because Mary Renshaw and I are in the same volunteer group at Northern Health.

Last year Mary told me of a job that needed to be done at WhittleseaU3A and suggested I would be the right person for it. After some nagging at Glen and myself (as only Mary can!!) I was given the job of archivist; I know that sorting old papers, photos, etc., is not everybody’s idea of a good job but I am finding it interesting, seeing the amount of time and effort the founding members put into building a foundation for WhittleseaU3A to grow to what it is today. The meetings they attended, not just among themselves but with U3A and regional members, with Whittlesea Council and with other community groups, the new things they had to learn, like how to apply for grants, and the legal and government requirements they had to meet, their dedication and enthusiasm are impressive.

So when I can’t garden I read (I’m a who-dun-it fan), archive or use Photoshop Elements to colour in, can’t colour in by hand as my hand shakes but in Elements it is more forgiving and I can change it as I please…no rubbing out. Apart from not being able to see my mother who is in care, the lockdown has not impacted me too much as I can always find something to do.

Ruth’s story


– Essential Covid19 Non-essentials –

I wake up to the memory of yesterday’s Coronavirus infections in Victoria, four hundred and twenty-eight! Staring at the ceiling, I think that we are almost certainly heading for Stage 4 restrictions. Time for some decisive action, so I sit up in my nice warm bed and make a list. Then, I consider my options: medical centres, pharmacies, veterinary surgeries, greengrocers, butchers, and supermarkets will stay open, even in such dire circumstances, (Can’t let the populace starve to death before the virus gets them, can we?) but pet shops will almost certainly not be open. That decided, I leap out of bed, figuratively speaking, more like a cumbersome roll, actually, and head for my shower. For some reason, I’m sure some unforeseen disaster will prevent my shopping as panic sets in. I dress quickly and load Jess into the car.

She’s the second member of my two-people family, which consists of a two-legged person, me, and a four-legged person, her. She needs some new balls to tide her over any impending lock-down. Now, having seen Jess’s reaction to others of her species, some feeble-minded wit, thinking they are hilariously funny and original, might think that she has enough balls for six dogs, but I’m talking about the toy variety.

On the way to the nearest pet shop at South Morang, I suddenly remember that I have forgotten to eat breakfast. I have had no breakfast!! This is a truly disturbing indication of the severity of the situation! NO BREAKFAST! Never in the Frances Family Annals has such a thing been recorded, not that much has been recorded at all, of course. I fed Jess her chicken drumstick at the crack of dawn when she woke me up with an unblinking stare, several centimetres from my face, but then I forgot, an hour later, in the excitement of the headlong rush to the pet shop, to fortify myself. This is concerning. Is it an indication of an increase in the speed of dementia, which I’m certain is waiting around some corner to pounce on me?

Anyway, despite my enfeebled and unfed state, we make it safely to Best Friends Pet Shop. I leave Jess in the car since she would make short work of any other poor, innocent, furry customer, and I head inside, sporting my surgical mask. I feel silly wearing it. This is only the third time I’ve PPE’d up. The first two times my glasses fogged up, which is a bit of a deterrent. To my chagrin, I am informed that I have the mask on upside down, with the wire bit under my chin. It’s amazing how much better it works, now I have it on the correct way up. Three girls are hovering near the register, all anxious to serve me. Who knows, I might be the only shopper they see all day. Other customers might not realise the disaster they are inviting if we aren’t allowed to even walk our dogs let alone if they don’t have enough toys to keep boredom at bay. Watch out chair legs, especially expensive velvet covered ones! Not that I need to worry. Most of my pieces of furniture are Savers Specials

I can’t find the tough, pimply balls that Jess favours so one of the girls graciously consents to show me. But, the horror of horrors, there’s only one blue ball left. My baby will just have to put up with the only other inferior ball, a red one. Moved to guilt by my lack of ability to fulfil her needs adequately, as a responsible parent of a canine should, (“My German Shepherd, my responsibility”, my car sticker reads), I lash out on a colourful rope ball, a rope pull toy and a bag of dried kangaroo liver pieces. In principle, I am opposed to feeding pets parts of our beautiful national symbol, but needs must. This situation calls for extreme action and selfish self-interest wins out over ethics. I walk up to the register where the helpful girl eyes my mask suspiciously. ‘I’m smiling behind this,’ I say, pointing at the offending object, worn this time the right way up, and crinkling my eyes at her over the top. She is unimpressed. Hmm! No sense of humour. I make it out of the shop, pet trophies in hand, after handing over half the value of my house. Opening the car door, I toss the rope toy inside to a waiting Jess. She, too, is unimpressed and ignores it.

I sigh and head for the Bridge Inn Shopping Centre, to buy, what else? Mincemeat for Jess at the butchers there. I then head for Chemist Warehouse and spend the equivalent of the other half of my house on vitamins for me. Reaching home, I make a coffee and then unload my purchases. Jess has finally deigned to chew her new rope ball. Half an hour later, as I finish my coffee, having put my shopping away (I use my own bags of course), I glance at my girl happily gnawing away on her bed in the lounge room. To my annoyance, the brand-new tight rope ball has morphed into a strange creature with a round body and two hanging black legs. Jess’s mattress is littered with little discarded clumps of dark material. It took all of three-quarters of an hour for her to wreak this destruction. I point out to her that it’s just as well I love her! I’m not sure this translated very accurately into canine. She stops her chewing, wags her tail, and gives my hand a warm lick.

I glance at the wall clock. It’s too late for breakfast, so I cook myself some lunch, chicken schnitzel, and salad. Satisfied at last, I now feel up to dealing with the situation in the loungeroom. Jess has taken her strange rope creature outside. She wants me to play with her. I toss the soggy object a few times. Then I return indoors to gingerly pick the sad little remnants of her once beautiful rope ball off her mattress. And so goes another day in Stage Three lockdown. I wonder what ‘unprecedented’ events Stage Four will bring? Either way, even if the ball met the dust or rather the jaws, Jess and I are well prepared.

Maralyn’s story


For the last couple of months, I have slowed down with no market this month at Wallan and Bulla. I have created a lot of different jewellery e.g anklets bracelets necklaces earrings to keep my mind body and spirit uplifted. It is so nice to not be in the rut; I was in doing the same thing going to the same workshop or class every week month year, now being in my own space I like being home with my pure essential oils burning, my music to listen to for meditation every day and my thoughts are to help other people staying home has been the best for me. Being creative as well thanks to every other person that has stayed home not to spread flu/virus and to wear a mask is like using a seat belt in the car which nobody liked but it saved lives.

Willeke’s story


Isn’t it funny? I thought I would be a mental wreck due to the COVID isolation. The first and second weeks nearly pushed me that way because I felt I needed to be with people. How I missed their chatter and sit-down coffee. Now I have adjusted myself to the situation. It is nice to be alone with time to quietly do what I want, the gardening when not raining, reading, baking, and picking up the phone to talk to friends.
I have learned to appreciate myself and become more independent of myself. I give things a go, a proper go, as I cannot rely on others who are also in isolation. I have always appreciated my friends but have now found a new friend, me.
It will be nice to get together again and catch up with the various news and that cuppa  Friends are very good to have to exchange friendships and kindness as well as support but remember we have an inbuilt friend that is just as valuable and who shares the same journey in the lessons of life.  That friend has helped me during this isolation to become a stronger person.

Luisa’s story


My walk…

As the scales are lying to me with regards to my weight, I’ve decided on a daily walk – weather permitting – of around 5km. I’ve also adjusted my meal sizes and snacking… I’ve discovered Royal Gala apples go down well on a walk, although the Coles ones were mushy as opposed to the Woolies ones which are crisper. Needless to say, a shopping trip to Woolies this afternoon allowed a bulk purchase rather than my 1 a day selection as I passed by.

This map shows my clockwise version of the walk and yesterday I did the anti-clockwise version. Both days were foggy. I’m hoping the combination of diet and exercise will produce a drop-dead gorgeous figure for the upcoming Summer.

I’ve checked out the local birdlife…stunning… And have been amazed by spiders and their ability to survive regardless of the elements. Although the Pub is closed, it beckons as I pass, however, I must refuse her allure, as the goal is to reduce my weight by 12 to 15%. I will have the odd tipple here and there but for now, daily imbibing will be out the window.

I pass the local church and look forward to the day we can return to it. Covid-19 or not, I miss seeing the Sunday regulars and our catch up after Mass. Sadly, when things return, Mass will return the soulless hall next to the school on Mernda Village Drive. 




 Foggy day in Mernda–  

Photos were taken along Patrick’s route

Roadworks on Plenty Rd. Removing the Roundabout. 

The humble Shell servo… hasn’t changed in decades…

Fogged in Bridge Inn Hotel 

A hark back to the Gas and Fuel Corporation…when we, as Victorian’s owned our Utilities.

Cheers for now – Patrick Muldoon