Our home sits on a hill around 60 m (approx 200 ft) above the township, and we have a splendid view eastwards towards the ranges in the distance. The main floor of the house is around 6 m (20 ft) above the street, and the bedrooms are a further 3 m (10 ft) above that. This provides us with a good amount of privacy as all the homes we can see from within are below eye level, allowing us to leave the curtains open in the evening to view the nightlight.
Since the lockdown, we’ve noticed how quiet the streets are in the evening. We’re not exactly a bustling metropolis, but even so, there’s normally a moderate of traffic throughout the evening. But not now.
West Street, which runs along the foot of the hill is a major thoroughfare in and out of the town, and also caters for traffic that’s simply passing by the township. After most sensible people are in bed, West Street still has a regular flow of heavy vehicles carrying goods to and from the various freight hubs in the region. We see little now.
The Palmerston North airport, which we can just make out in the distance some 20 Km (12 miles) to the southeast, normally has evening and early morning passenger flights, and freight-only arrivals and departures through the late evening and early hours of the morning and we can observe the landing lights of aircraft as they take off and land. The only aircraft we seem to see or hear now is the occasional military aircraft from the Ohakea airbase, about 19 Km (12 miles) to the west
A pilot training school is also located in Palmerston north, and it’s not unusual to see a many as five to ten light aircraft flying in large circles doing night time landings and takeoffs. But not now.
However, there is one event that now occurs more regularly than on pre COVID-19 nights. The photo below was taken from our bedroom window at close to midnight and illustrates the event. I’ve circled it so that you can more readily identify it
What I’ve circled is the flashing blue and red lights of a police car that has pulled over a car (it’s always a car and never a commercial vehicle) on West Street. As it happens regularly now, I presume the police are doing random checks to ensure motorists have a valid reason for being out and about instead of in lockdown.
Of course it might be that I now spend more time gazing out the window than previously, and that’s why I notice it more, but I don’t think so. Sure, it’s not that unusual to see the occasional lights of police and other emergency vehicles at night, but they’d appear at random spots around town, seldom in that section of West Street we can see from our house, and certainly not almost nightly.
What else has changed? It’s quite clear we don’t use our car much as we used to. I went to put some items into the recycle wheelie-bin that sits beside the car under the carport, and came away with my hair and beard smothered in spiderwebs. Never had that happen before!