Saturday, 19 September 2020

Confined to quarters in a Canadian Covid-19 quarantine

Calgary airport. a log fire.


Welcome to Canada!

A fake log fire and view of Moraine lake at Calgary airport. 

When I saw this I felt I had arrived. Flying to Vancouver via Calgary to see my family for the first time in many months. 

But first there must be quarantine. 14 days. No going out. No shopping. No visitors.

So I set myself up in an air bnb beside the sea, in the belief that being able to see the sea would keep me sane. Which it has. Almost.

All flights to Vancouver had been cancelled. So I immigrated through Calgary. I had a tense discussion with the immigration officer as I justified my visit.

She told I must stay put. 

I told her I knew that I must, and would...... 

She advised me that people would check up on me. Others also advised that officials would check up on me. Twelve days into the endurance test I am still waiting to be checked up upon. Not a peep.

So while I wait I am being obedient. And not having to wear a mask for 14 days is a treat in itself after wearing it for almost 24 hours on the journey over. 

The airport was eerily empty.

Cafes and shops closed.

Calgary airport . a mountain

When I finally arrived in Vancouver on a hot sunny evening it too was deserted.

Luggage carousel

I arrived to an early September evening in full sun. 

The view from my balcony blue and calm.

The view from my balcony

The quarantine had begun.

And the smoke from the wildfires had yet to arrive. Two days later everything was grey, visibility poor, and so it has remained for the last 10 days. Apparently the air quality is such that I am smoking the equivalent of three cigarettes daily. Luckily it is not permanent... all we need is some wind and rain, which will come soon enough.

So how does one occupy oneself for 14 days when not allowed to go for walks, shopping, talking to friends or visiting the forest that lies tantalisingly around the next bend in the road.

I can only say that somehow the days seem to pass.

Opportunities for photography are very limited. I have never been that interested in photographing indoor scenes.

I photographed my novel. only because it was brilliant. 

Lanny; by Max Porter

And the light at the window.

Before the sun disappeared.....

But my heart was not in it.

I decided to make a daily sculpture.

That plan lasted 2 days, as I had no access to materials, and didn't want to use garbage ( when in Canada.....).

berry and driftwood quarantine calendar

So I resorted to making small books with paint and ink on paper.

I have with me a supply of paper, a few tubes of paint and a couple of bottles of ink.

They have sustained me through a selection of dodgy creations, all looking remarkably similar; lines, dots, grey and red..... I am stuck in a rut.

And when not making books I am keeping fit . Thanks to Youtube I can take classes in ballet, yoga, meditation, cardio work outs and for a mad 10 minutes some good old fashioned line dancing.

My food delivery turned up, and I am now eeking out my rations for the last three days. Breakfast is taken on the cutting mat, surrounded by paper and glue.

Lunch is a picnic on the balcony with my book, and dinner a Netflix TV affair. 

I have learned that some things on my 'to do' list are never going to get done. 

And if they don't get done here, they will NEVER GET DONE. 

I have photographed some prints from book pages and worked them into imagined landscapes.

It all seems quite dark.... the pandemic lurking behind every corner. 

Horizon book

Imagined landscape  1

Imagined landscape 2

I have tried to write a daily Haiku, without much success. 

I have drawn a picture of a cave with pack rats for my grandson.

I made a video on how to make a book..... but couldn't sum up the energy for episode 2.

You can view it here..

I have also created a video for yesterday's book "You are the Sky".

I came across these words by Pema Chodron on a yoga video, and  they resonated strongly with my isolation situation and changing moods. 

"You are the sky. Everything else- it's just the weather"

Anyway, the time is passing and I am still well. If I were quarantining in some other other countries I would have been allowed out for a walk, or even to buy food. 

But I am in Canada so I am not.

14 days it is, even though the incubation period of covid-19 is much less than this.

And don't get me started on the need to quarantine when I return home....

Next time you hear from me I will be having an all Canadian Covid pandemic adventure. 

I can't wait!!


  1. Thank you for sharing this Caroline, I think you are being incredibly creative given your current circumstances! It can't be long now before you see your family. I hope you have a lovely time and that you are able to indulge and be indulged. Sx

    1. Thank you Sarah; I think that I am at my most creative in circumstances like these, as there are no distractions of normal daily life!! I am released tomorrow and can't wait!

  2. Caroline I so enjoyed reading this and empathise having had to quarantine myself. Your photographs are beautiful: moments so well seen. Your creativity is inspiring despite your confinement, what talent!

    1. Hi Antonia

      Thanks so much for your kind comments; they mean a lot.

      Now for quarantine number two!