11 days inside a 600-meter perimeter

Melbourne remains locked down and there’s little chance of us escaping our five-kilometer radius before the end of October, so we’ve decamped to Darwin. The Northern Territory must be a state/province unrivalled globally in terms of shuttering and escaping the pandemic, and it has a simple, smart system for welcoming (or not, depending on your viewpoint) visitors. From the airport, you’re bussed to a former miners’ fly-in-fly-out complex (it’s big, maybe 2,500 rooms?) and everyone gets a single room, a spacious verandah, 40 minutes of exercise time per day, and three meals delivered, all for a stiff price that discourages any who are not serious.

We arrived late Friday and have taken the weekend to familiarise and move towards a routine that protects sanity. I now have eleven days until we get out. Should I work? Definitely – otherwise I wouldn’t have come? Work on what? Well, I’m commencing the drafting of a chapter on reactor designs outside the mainstream options, back in the 50s. It’s exciting. I’ve brought along sufficient hardcopy material to work from (although I’ll need to bookmark plenty of issues/questions to resolve back home). I plan to do six one-hour writing sessions, each timed by use of an iPhone timer, each day, not being prescriptive as to when, flexing with the minor subtleties of quarantine lockdown timings (such as when meals get delivered, when Zooms are scheduled, when tennis is on TV, etc.).

Can I stick to this plan? Let’s see.

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