Easter Monday

Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound by Philip Markham

Kia Ora Katoa! Kia Kaha!

Today is Monday. April 13.  It’s another quiet day, here. It’s fine outside but quite windy.  We enter another week of lockdown. People are finding this hard, but are philosophical about it.

It is boring, today. At the 1 pm briefing, Jacinda  warns us that the next two weeks will be hard. Although most people think this lockdown is worthwhile, let’s face it, it is very boring, especially on a Monday without the NZ Listener.

My trainers are wearing out. I will have to wear some old shoes, before I can buy some new ones.

This afternoon it was sunny and we went for a different walk around Churton Park, as did many others. There were cheery waves and avoidance strategies as we all tried to maintain a safe distance. I didn’t shop today.  We had hard-boiled egg  and salad sandwiches for lunch, and corn fritters and lettuce salad for dinner.

This morning we spoke to our daughter in Hawkes Bay, and this afternoon we had some lovely photos. Two of her house-mates have had birthdays, so she has had lots of treats.

At the 1 pm briefing Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield both showed up. Towards the end one reporter asked him what he thought about being named New Zealander of the Year. He replied that it was great to be a member of a wonderful team. Jacinda remarked that he was very modest about the song about him, too. Jacinda and New Zealand’s approach to Covid 19 have made the Washington Post, the Guardian, and CNN; they also feature in several of the podcasts I’ve listened to. So the secret is out, now. Let’s hope the borders remain closed and safe, and the idle rich don’t use this as a bolthole.

The 1 pm briefing is encouraging. There are 19 new cases of Covid 19, taking the total to 1349. Of these, 15 are in hospital, and 4 in Intensive Care, one of them critical. Sadly, there has been another death, a man in his 80’s, linked to a rest home cluster. That brings the total deaths to 5.  One of the medical staff nursing the rest home folk who had been moved to Christchurch’s Burwood Hospital has also been diagnosed with Covid 19, in spite of using protective equipment (PPE). That is really sad, and just shows how infectious this virus is.

Nevertheless, these figures are encouraging. The US is way out ahead with over 20,000 deaths, and the UK has over 10,000 deaths, although both these figures are probably understated.  This is just so sad. One would like to think that most of these deaths could have been avoided. There will be a great deal of grieving to be done in due course.

More people involved in food preparation and selling in the US are ill or dying. Really, good, safe food is critical, essential to our very existence. You don’t need a hedge fund manager, or even a fund manager, for that matter, and your private jet or yacht won’t be much use seeing as you need to be able to stop and replenish fuel and supplies. Basic existence is now very basic indeed.  Even the “wooden tent” where we live has its advantages. We can be in different rooms.   It’s fascinating how some people who should know better decry science, yet rely on it to produce a vaccine, fast, instead of acknowledging that this takes time, at least several months. In the meantime, we should all do something to limit the suffering and loss.

This morning we listened to Andrea Bocelli singing A Message of Hope in, and later outside, the beautiful Duomo cathedral in Milan. I find this very affecting, and post it on the family messenger chat. JD and I very much enjoyed our fleeting visit to Milan in 2010. We saw the Duomo Cathedral, the Pinacotera di Brera, Leonardo da Vinci’s Cenacolo, and Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta at the Castle Sforzando.  What a day! Then we caught a train to Venice.  This was a very ambitious day, and a wonderful one. Everything worked out just fine. We went to di Brera because they opened early, and we had come on the train from Paris.

This art gallery had many wonderful paintings. I remember best a painting of the Last Supper by Rubens, and Mantegna’s The Dead Christ, but there were many others.

My favourite poem today is a well-known by William Wordsworth.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Last night we watched Go South on television, a repeat of an earlier episode which ran from Auckland to Greymouth by train across Cook Strait and Arthur’s Pass to Greymouth, then by road down the West Coast to Milford Sound, and then by boat exploring the Sound. The water-colour above is a painting of Doubtful Sound, which is nearby.

That’s it for now.

Nga Mihi

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