10 THINGS TO DO: Coronavirus edition
As events get cancelled across the Clarence because of coronavirus, here are a few things to do while keeping your (social) distance.
Play an instrument
WHERE: At home, in a park, on the beach
DETAILS: For all those people that gave up playing guitar in high school, now could be the time to get back into it. With tens of millions of people locked down worldwide, there could be a lot of people coming out the other side of this pandemic as piano impresarios or harp masters. For those looking for something unique, try the theremin. Cost varies depending on the instrument of choice.
WHEN: At night
WHERE: Balcony or backyard
DETAILS: Getting to know the stars is a wonderful experience, at night you can use a telescope, binoculars or just your eyes to pick out old favourites like the Milky Way or the saucepan. For the super-keen, get your hands on a star map to study during the day. In just a few weeks you will be able to identify Ophiuchus without a telescope. Costs range from free to crazy-expensive.
WHEN: Check the tides
WHERE: Beach, headland or river
DETAILS: The Daily Examiner's fishing expert Dick Richards said that fishing was very much a solitary activity, with plenty of space between anglers. And with kilometres of river and coastline in the Clarence, there is plenty of space for everyone. It is also a bonus if the supermarket aisles are empty - you can head to the river and catch dinner. A basic handline set up will cost around $20, but for a rod and reel you can pay significantly more.
WHEN: 24 hours a day
WHERE: Bedroom or loungeroom
DETAILS: With so many people spending time at home, there has never been a better time to get into gaming. Keep up that friendly office banter with a workmate by shooting them repeatedly in a game of Call of Duty. For the more gentle out there, perhaps Super Mario, Bejewelled or a strategy game might be more suitable. You can pay upwards of $500 for a console and decent second hand games can be bought for around $50.
Adopt an animal
WHEN: Check with local groups
WHERE: Happy Paws, RSPCA
DETAILS: In these uncertain times, having a companion to keep you company can be invaluable. While this decision should not be taken lightly, having a pet can be lots of fun. For the budget conscious, a small tank and an axolotl is better than a pet rock. Pet rocks are free but dogs and cats can be expensive.
DETAILS: Much like fishing, gardening has the added bonus of producing things to eat. That means fewer trips to the shops and more time to enjoy fresh vegetables. You don't have to grow produce though, much fun can be had by growing plants that attract native birds to the garden. The more adventurous could try kokedama. Growing dandelions is generally free but the seeds of anything more exotic can cost a few dollars.
WHERE: National Parks
DETAILS: There's nothing like a hike to take your mind off an economic downturn. There is plenty of wilderness around the Clarence Valley and with so much space, bumping into a coughing human can be easily avoided. So take a deep breath of fresh air as you listen to the sound of the birdlife on the epic Yuraygir Coastal Walk. Free to walk, $12 to camp.
DETAILS: Whether it is a simple journal or poetry, there is a lot to love about this lost art. Start by writing about what you know or love and gradually move into different themes and forms. By the end of the pandemic you can sell your sci-fi rock opera about talking axolotls to Disney. Pens and paper are free if you borrow them from the stationary cabinet on the way out.
DETAILS: Depending on the level of isolation, you might like to learn the cha-cha with a partner at home, or choreograph a dance routine with friends online. This can also immerse the dancer in the world of music they might not have ever listened to. It will always be free to dance.
Learn a language
WHERE: At the computer
DETAILS: Because of the global spread of this virus, there are millions of bored people looking for something to do. So why not help your new international mates by participating in language exchange. Online platforms such as Busuu can help by linking people together.
By engaging with others in their native tongue, not only will you learn faster, you can learn all the naughty words the books won't show you. Busuu has both free and paid content. However, finding a stranger to talk to on the internet is never a challenge.