Walking to the dairy each day to buy a copy of the Guardian was a ritual Les Gee had enjoyed for many years.
But with the arrival of Covid-19, the sprightly 90-year-old decided the time might have come to take the easy route to newspaper readership, by becoming a subscriber.
And in opting for home delivery he and wife Sylvia may well have earned themselves the honour of becoming one of the oldest first timers on the Guardian’s subscriber list.
The ex-stock firm manager is a life-long avid newspaper reader.
He’s bought the Otago Daily Times and the Guardian for more years than he cares to remember.
“We lived and grew up in Otago and it was good to keep up with what was happening – and to read the death notices to see how many of the people we knew had left on their final OE,” he said.
Walking to the dairy was part of his daily routine, and while he’ll continue to take a walk each day during the Covid-19 lockdown, Gee said he felt going to the dairy was one exposure risk he wasn’t prepared to take.
Rather than give up the paper, he decided home delivery was the answer.
“If you don’t get it you’re stuffed because local news is very important.”
The prospect of four weeks at home doesn’t faze Gee.
He has a stack of books to read, he and Sylvia play Scrabble most nights, there’s television to watch and gardening to do.
He’s not anxious or afraid.
When you’ve lived through a world war, you understand what it means to live in difficult circumstances, he said.
He recalls the day World War Two was declared.
As a 10-year-old, the concept of war was pretty frightening, Gee said.
“As kids we were wondering what the future held for us.
“We had to use building paper to black-out our windows, and we had ration books. Darwin was bombed and that threatened New Zealand.”
However, no one should under estimate the severity of the current crisis, he said.
“In that situation we could see our enemy, with this one you can’t. It’s time for us to live quietly.
“These steps are the right ones to take and we will beat this.”
As a couple they’re well prepared and they have no concerns about life without visitors.
“Sometimes the best company you can have is your own,” Gee said.
“We’re fine, we have no fears about this lockdown. Wash your hands frequently, breathe through your nose and you’ll be okay.”
– By Sue Newman