We have a sign on our front gate which says “snail zone.” This is because our kid loves snails (and all sorts of garden mini-beasts) and the garden is a no-kill zone for critters, especially her beloved slimy friends. It has certainly raised some questions among our guests, but generally gets a laugh, or at least a bemused smile.
It seems like we are definitely in the snail zone now. Hamilton Guesthouse at the Pring is one of countless small businesses around the country – and the world – which has closed down to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While some hotels are able to stay open, using additional cleaning and sanitizing to keep their guests safe, our shared spaces make us particularly unsafe for guests. We made the decision to close on March 23rd – we allowed existing guests to stay until the end of their reservation, but accepted no more guests, and cancelled all reservations until the end of April.
At this point, it looks like we (and everyone else) will be closed down longer than that. And, like everyone else, all we can do is follow the rules and best practices given by medical experts, stay home, and wait. We are hoping that maybe our space might be useable by medical workers who need a place to crash – but as yet nothing is organized.
In the meantime, we non-essential workers can only keep ourselves and our kids occupied. Local schools will be rolling out remote learning, and that will keep the kids busy for a little while. There are games, and crafts, and chatting with friends on the phone or online – staying connected with those we love. There will be a lot of gardening. There will be experimental cooking. There will be a huge amount of cleaning, sadly.
One unfortunate side-effect of this virus is that people cannot always afford to take care of their pets, and therefore shelters and rescues are getting some new arrivals. This week, we took in three new foster guinea pigs – Zelda, Impa and Louna. They are in quarantine for two weeks, and then they and our three girls can make friends. Well, we hope they will make friends! And after that, we hope they will find a wonderful forever-home. Watching guinea pigs eat can be incredibly relaxing.
With the hostel closed down, money will be a concern. However, we are hopeful that we will get by and we will continue to support Hamilton’s people and businesses. We are looking forward to getting delivery from as many restaurants as we can, for as long as they can safely stay open. We are looking every day for ways we can help our community through this difficult and truly weird time.
Hopefully, by next month, we will be able to report that we will soon be welcoming the world back to Hamilton. Until then, we live in the snail zone – taking everything very slowly, and not leaving our home. Stay strong everyone – and stay healthy.