Sunday, March 22

Today is Sunday, March 22.  There are 14 new confirmed cases of covid19 in NZ today, following 13 new cases yesterday (on Saturday – one was counted twice).  This brings the total to 66. The good news is that no one has died here yet, from Covid 19, and the infection rate is not yet growing exponentially. However I think that when our youngest son arrived from the UK on 12 March, there were only three confirmed cases in NZ. Many thought that we had this thing here in NZ under control. Then we heard about the cruise ships which had stopped here. I, for one would not be sad to see a huge decline in the number of cruises (or tattoo parlours, beauty salons, tanning salons etc).

On Friday evening we spoke to our daughter in Hawkes Bay. Thankfully she sounds well and happy. She is riding her bike a lot. We were going to visit her for Easter, but we received email advice from Hohepa that family visits are not welcome at this time, and that they’re thinking of closing the workshops. They’ve already eliminated the “fun” things they used to do.

But I guess this makes good sense. While we wouldn’t want any of the people Hohepa supports to get sick, we certainly wouldn’t want any of the wonderful people who care for them (or anyone in their families) to get sick either.

I am so grateful that our daughter has moved to the lovely house in Jervoistown (near Taradale), in a semi-rural area, where there are fewer staff and there is more independence.

Thankfully, the Fundraising Dinner and Auction have been postponed.

Yesterday I went to buy bread. The local supermarket was extremely busy. The bread is delivered at 10 am. At 11:20, I bought the second to last loaf of Vogel’s toast bread. The Molenberg was all gone, but I bought a Freya’s sour dough loaf and some ciabatta rolls. The check-out operator wondered if I was buying too much.

Today I went again. Many items are restricted to two per customer. All the Sunday Star Times have been sold, and again there is no Molenberg bread. It is quite busy, and there are many empty shelves.

There are plenty of fruits and vegetables, though. While, sadly, apricots, nectarines and black doris plums have now finished, you can still buy raspberries! And they’re good, often large, and keep quite well. At $4.99 a punnet, I think they’re a great buy. And now beautiful big feijoas are in stock, peaches and plums are still around, and varieties of pears are coming.

Yesterday our youngest son visited with his wife, and brought some lovely goodies for us. All much appreciated.

Back to Covid19. I am not 70 yet, my asthma is under control (at present), so in theory I will be free (from 26 March) to go to the medical centre to have a flu jab, to use public transport, go to the movies, and patronise shops and cafes that are still open. I really appreciate Alfred’s giving me a bottle of hand sanitiser, since I still haven’t found the one I bought some time ago. You haven’t been able to buy hand sanitiser here in Wellington for several weeks now.

This morning I heard (from several sources, including Dr John) that 50% of us are likely to get Covid 19. That is truly alarming.  While one doesn’t wish to panic, or overreact, I think we all should take this seriously.

Yesterday the NZ Government advised that over 70’s should stay home, and there should be only essential domestic travel. Not only should we not drive to Napier, we shouldn’t drive anywhere for a break away. Also, there are four levels of risk, although I couldn’t find out which one we are on. Apparently, we are on level 2, a fact that I found out today. The schools have five levels of risk. Bother those parents who travel overseas, and let their children keep going to school, and go on school trips! One would like to think the schools here are safe.

I confirmed today that the Wellington mayor has deemed that libraries, pools and other council facilities are to close indefinitely. Libraries, again!  We mourned the loss of Wellington Central Library (an earthquake risk), which closed suddenly a year ago. The new library in Johnsonville, Waitohi, recently opened, to huge public appreciation, although I was used to libraries being quiet places, which this one isn’t. Nevertheless, it had an elevator, plenty of comfortable seating, a wonderful children’s area, helpful staff, and I could wait for the #19 bus inside the library, instead of outside in the cold, windy, street. There is no safe access, unfortunately.  One has to use a pedestrian crossing, up the road a bit, in a very windy, busy road. There is no bridge. There is no controlled crossing. And they’re pleased to call this area a “hub”.

I used to request books, which would then turn up in the request section (email notfiication), where I would use one of the self-issue machines to borrow them (these machines are much improved, and the library seems to have cancelled the $1 fee for reserves). Oh, and there’s quite a nice café beside the library, which opens at 7:30 am and stays open till 6 pm on weekdays. The only downside is that the café is really busy, and seating is very close. Clark’s at the old Wellington Central Library had well-spaced tables, making it a good place to meet people, and offering some privacy.

Perhaps the Porirua Library at Pataka will still be open, or the Lower Hutt Memorial Library. Any library is a great place to sit comfortably and read The New Yorker magazine. There are many books to read or reread at home, although I try  to keep up with new ones that interest me.

This morning I found out that Tai Chi classes are cancelled indefinitely. This is so sad. It’s a non-contact activity, so apart from greeting each other and socialising during the break, we are apart from each other. On the other hand, most folk are older, and most have health issues and challenges, so this news is not really surprising.

I am wondering if my weekly hymn singing in Khandallah will continue. I do enjoy this half hour. We sing wonderful old hymns to the organ there (up in the organ loft). Sadly, as many have found, prayer and church-going does not necessarily protect one from catching or passing on infection. It is sad to hear of embracing, shared chalices, and close interactions happening under the supposed cover of religion. After all, if you knew you had cholera, or had been in contact with someone who had, you wouldn’t go to church, would you? It seems to me that the Lord has protected us by the fact that we know Covid19 is extremely infectious. Fortunately one can still pray, and one can still sing, and one can still play the piano.

We are in a new world of pain, and I doubt it’s going to get better any time soon.

It has been good to have contact with close family recently. We are all social animals, for the most part, and while one enjoys one’s company to some extent, it is a great pleasure to interact with others.

I am thankful not to be responsible for young children, and not to be 70. I wonder what news tomorrow will bring?

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