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Self-isolating in Cherrybrook makes you realise just how small the suburb really is.

After the first week you begin to realise that no matter what direction you start walking you will somehow always end up on County Drive or Castle Hill Road. Not to mention the realisation that there seems to be more than the average amount of hills in every inch of the suburb. Halfway through this week is when you realise you need to actually look presentable when going for these daily walks, you will bump into at least five people you or your parents know. Timing is also key for these daily walks, and if you actually want to social distance this is a schedule you must stick to. Walk before or after school and there will be traffic jams on every street corner.

By the second week you start to realise the limited amount of food delivery options. Depending on which side of the suburb you live on you will have the choice between Castle Tower’s finest selection, or the questionable food Pennant Hills station has to offer. If you want something truly local, the trusty Cherrybrook Noodle Hut has decided this is as good of a time as any other to close for refurbishment, so the options are limited to the local Vietnamese or Indian. The Brooke is too fancy for isolation and only good for showing off to friends what Cherrybrook has to offer.

At some time during the third week of self-isolating is when you decide to shake things up and walk at Cherrybrook Oval instead. You quickly realise this was a big mistake. As literally one of the only parks in Cherrybrook not closed off to the public during this pandemic, Cherrybrook Oval has quickly become the hottest new social spot. The walking trail that loops around the whole park is filled with friends jogging, people riding bikes and mums pushing prams. The ovals themselves are filled with more people walking, kids playing soccer and cricket, mothers’ groups, and people practicing discus which is a strange and dangerous mix. The basketball courts are filled, and groups swarm the skate park. If you’re lucky you might get a carpark.

The start of the fourth week in isolation is when the true nature of Cherrybrook locals begins to emerge thanks to the entirely necessary three separate community Facebook groups. Facebook posts plus scared people isolating (or not isolating) leads to numerous arguments between the locals. From outspoken posts about the amount of people using the footpaths, to the calls to police to dob in neighbours with unknown cars outside their houses, the Facebook pages have become a distinctive way for locals to communicate. As more and more days pass with no clue as to when lockdown ends, the community pages are now a new and exciting form of entertainment. People suggest the start of a local community watch group and vigilantes take photos of underage children at the skate park to send to police.

Facebook isn’t the only place you can learn the true nature of Cherrybrook locals, Cherrybrook Shopping Village has quickly become a place where people bring their kids for a break. People will either death stare you as soon as you come within 12 feet of them or will breathe down your neck whilst waiting in the queue to get into Woollies. Again, don’t forget to actually put jeans on because everybody knows everybody, and you will definitely see someone you know. Be prepared for the obligatory iso catch up on how you’re getting along.

It’s not too bad really, isolation has momentarily stopped Cherrybrook locals from complaining about the new metro line, how much better the “old days” were and the councils restructuring proposals. It has also given too many children the chance to make group Tiktoks on the oval and led to the realisation that the suburb 100% has the cutest dogs in Sydney. Most of all it has reiterated the fact that Cherrybrook locals really do live in a bubble.

This article was originally published in the 2020 issue, HOMECOMING.

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