12 months on from when the pandemic shut down Wollongong

Selections from March 2020.

Dear me! Self-portrait as high-risk category….

Posted on  by Neil

So Victoria and the ACT have just declared State of Emergency! Meanwhile I am still able to self-isolate (kind of) in the Diggers Club…. In some countries this would not be possible. Imagine: Paris with no cafes!

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Plenty of fish and chips left for us!

Posted on  by Neil

To think, it’s only a few months ago that I was celebrating sights like this here at City Diggers in Wollongong — squillions of Chinese tourists experiencing our $12 fish and chip special! O tempora, o mores! No longer do they come…

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Today’s Sydney Morning Herald included a supplement from the China Daily, which today bears quite a similarity to our own press! And one hopes indeed the upbeat news is true.

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Officials in Iran meanwhile tell us one person is dying there every ten minutes. And then there is Italy:

A total of 427 deaths were registered in Italy over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 3,405. By comparison, 3,245 people have died in China since the virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year.

However, Italy has far fewer confirmed cases — 41,035 as of Thursday against 80,907 in China. Italy’s outbreak did not come to light until it was first reported in the north of the country on February 21.

So my reading becomes more and more poignant.

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So here we are in shutdown…

Posted on  by Neil

And here, thanks to Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris in NZ, is one good reason:

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And “At 8.00pm Sunday, there were 669 confirmed cases of coronavirus in NSW — an increase of 136 in 24 hours.”  And “A major crackdown on gatherings will see the closure of indoor venues, including pubs, clubs, sporting and religious venues from midday today in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

So this morning Wollongong City Diggers posted on Facebook:

Dear Members and Guests, due to an announcement overnight that Clubs will be shut from midday, we have decided not to trade for a short 2.5 hours and then close again. This means Bingo is off, cafe, bistro, bar and gaming are all closed. Anyone with functions still booked will be notified of cancellations. However we will be using this time to commence shutdown procedures and thoroughly cleaning all areas. Obviously, we are unsure when we will reopen, this will be up to the Government and health authorities. We apologise for any inconvenience

And Ziggy’s House of Nomms, to choose just one of the regular Friday lunch haunts of Chris T and myself.

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So here I am in Wollongong Library. Do recall that I don’t have the Internet at home, though if this goes on long enough I may change that. Meanwhile, expect thanks to the Library at least one update a week, maybe more…

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And in 2021

City Diggers no longer serves the famous fish and chips, having been taken over by Wollongong Golf Club and installing a kitchen crew that not everyone is happy with. An early review by one of Diggers’ most eminent regulars said it rather forcefully:

The staff were friendly, the food up and down but never bad. It has been really good of late. Now terrible. The Club has a new menu. Looking at it, it has all the hallmarks of a short order cook set up. Prices have dramatically increased, selection dramatically decreased. Reflected in nobody being in the dinning room at 1.45 pm. Tried the cheeseburger. $19.00. Served in a little red plastic tray. You have to be kidding! Tasted not as good as a McDonald’s, and I gave up McDonald’s 20 years ago because they were rubbish. Nothing healthy except Greek Salad. Sad very sad. Not coming back in a hurry. This is not a reflection on the staff who have been amongst the most friendly and courteous we have come across. — December 2020

They have responded by reinstating $12 specials with free drink lately — rissoles (not good), chicken (not good) and baked fish (very good). Salad=cabbage.

Sadly the takeover has also led to the closure of what had been one of the club’s great assets — the coffee shop, seen here in 2011:

And also to staff retrenchments. One of the ones many of us have been saddened by is the loss of Sharyn, particularly hard as all through the lockdown last year Sharyn, working from home, kept our spirits up with regular games and puzzles (and prizes) on the City Diggers Facebook page. Seems that was not enough.