Moving Forward

Today is Friday May 15th. Kia ora katoa.

We are now in level 2, officially from midnight on Wednesday New Zealand went into level 2. Strangely, although it offers much more freedom, there was more excitement about going from level 4 to level 3, two weeks ago.

For two days we had no new cases of Covid 19, and then the one we have today is one of the Marist College cluster that was a probable now confirmed, I think – I guess we’re just not worrying nearly as much now, seeing there are so few new cases, and none that are not linked to an existing cluster or to travel from overseas. There have been no new deaths, either, or anyone in Intensive Care, so we can afford to be very proud and thankful.

It’s been odd, really. By now many of us are used to slowing right down. The first thing you notice is the noise – aeroplanes flying overhead, earth-movers, traffic, some really loud machines – weed eaters, perhaps? In between it is quiet. I went shopping at our local supermarket on Wednesday and again today, and it’s nice to be so much more relaxed, while maintaining a level of social distancing. There are far fewer masks being worn around here.  You can buy just about anything again now, there are few, if any, shortages.

This morning we ventured to the Johnsonville Shopping Centre (sad, I know). There were several people there, but some shops still closed. There seems to be some confusion about opening stores and cafés again.  We went to Whitcoulls where I bought the new Hilary Mantel book. Although it’s such a large tome, the price was very reasonable, and although I didn’t have my Whitcoulls card on me, they looked it up for me and credited me with some points.

Yesterday we had our Wellington family over for afternoon tea, where we had a birthday party for my eldest granddaughter. Locally, there were ten of us, so it was quite legitimate, and very special to get together again – see the new baby, get out some new toys…How lovely to see them all, and how thankful we are to be here, again.  All the men are pretty keen to get haircuts again.

In the morning I had singing via zoom. It really works quite well, and it’s lovely to get together again, even if it is always tricky setting up zoom! I think I’ve got the hang of it, but it’s always a bit different. It’s always good to sing, especially when no one can hear you! Having said that, I do miss singing in a group, I’m not so great on my own.

At level 2 community centres can’t reopen yet, so we can’t join together to sing in the hall yet, as we used to.  Some libraries are open again, and some cinemas. I am anxiously looking forward to newsletters telling me what they’re doing again, as things get up and running again. Hohepa says we’re welcome to come and see our daughter, but we’re a bit nervous about all the interactions along the way – eating somewhere, staying in a motel, going out in Napier…we’re looking forward to it, but it now seems a bit unfortunate that she’s so far away.

There are stories about older folk losing condition, throughout the lockdown, and I fear I have too, but I do feel it’s better than getting this disease, and we will be able to resume most activities again, I hope. I trust I can be a bit more content with life in the slower lane, now.

Yesterday the budget came out, with its focus on jobs, and it seems to have met with fairly wide approval; or not downright condemnation, anyway. I would like to see more done about childhood poverty, but I guess if there’s a focus on jobs, and more houses built, and more money for District Health Boards, then that will help everyone’s well-being.

So, all in all, things are good here, as we head back into a new reality, where jobs around the house must be done, and we need to make plans and set goals, again. I have realised, with sadness, that overseas travel is off-limits for some time; my mother-in-law’s funeral in October 2018 was probably the last family get-together for some time to come.

Overseas, things don’t look great, Again, it seems that for whatever pain is being endured overseas, there is not much gain yet to show for it. Some collective madness seems to have taken hold in the US, where many folk seem to have a death wish of sorts – is it something in the air? Poisoned water? Poisoned food?  There are many people who do take this disease seriously, but it seems just like politics – polarisation is rife, everything is political…it is very sad for us to see that not only does the federal government have no plan, but Trump like a naughty, hyperactive child is deliberately encouraging unwise and foolish behaviour, as good people get moved out of the way.

The UK is not much better, although they have a different set of problems. In Russia the rising number of cases is causing concern, and many medical staff are sick themselves; in St Petersburg five patients on ventilators died during a recent fire; there was a suggestion that one of the ventilators had overheated. Meanwhile, Putin is opening things up again.

One gets the feeling that human lives are expendable – especially if they’re not “regular folk”, but presumably at some stage you run out of people who are prepared to work closely together in meat processing plants, or clean houses, nurse sick people or care for the elderly….presumably once the illness and death rate reaches a certain level, there is financial pain to the well-off who rely on these services, or rest home owners and hospitals who rely on fee income? As has been pointed out, while prisons are potential grounds for infection, the people who work there go back home to their families and communities after their shifts.  It is very hard to see what kind of normalcy may return. It’s generally accepted that this novel coronavirus will probably be around for some time to come.  Of course, for many, they will have to go back to work for their weekly pay packet, no matter how unsafe they may feel – they don’t have the “luxury” of taking sick leave, paid or unpaid.

This morning I didn’t write down the totals as I usually d. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Tonight we had a nice chat with our son in the UK.

Nga mihi nui.

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