Guilty Pleasures

Dom Post Cartoon 24 June 2020

Today is Monday July 13th. Kia ora katoa. It has been 8 days since my last blog. Here in Aotearoa, we continue to paddle our own waka.

It is now Wednesday July 15th. Todd Muller is out as leader of the National Party, and Judith Collins is in, with Gerry Brownlee as deputy leader.

The news continues to be – interesting. “May you live in interesting times”, a Chinese phrase says. Well, we certainly do.

Here in New Zealand, we continue to get one to three cases of Covid 19 diagnosed most days. Some days we have no new cases. Thus far, all cases are returning New Zealanders; there continues to be no community spread. This continues to be a pretty amazing situation. My Tai chi classes are to restart next week.

Sadly, things are bad in Australia’s State of Victoria, where restrictions have been reimposed, including a shut down first in Melbourne, where some residents in tower blocks were not allowed to leave their apartments, and now I believe the whole state of Victoria is in lock down. Many Australians are returning, and they are required to stay in quarantine for 14 days, but they have had some serious breaches. There remains confusion about just what the rules are. Confusion seems to be a key factor in various governments’ ways of managing this pandemic situation. The other feature, sadly, seems to be chaos.

It seems that just about everywhere else, numbers of infections are increasing again, and some restrictions and even lockdowns emerging.  Even in South Korea, which has been a magnet for how to manage this virus, there continue to be infections.

That makes New Zealand’s four security breaches, where in each a person left their quarantine  facility to go shopping, seem not  quite so bad, although one of these people tested positive for coronavirus. I find the breakouts extremely frustrating. It is a privilege to be here! How dare you endanger us here? How hard is it to be in quarantine for 14 days, at the government’s expense? This is just exasperating.

Last week something rather wonderful happened. On Wednesday morning I sent to hymn singing, and really enjoyed it. In the evening we went to an NZSO concert at the Michael Fowler Centre – “Pastorale”. What a wonderful experience. We mused over how to get there, and where to park, given that so many parking buildings are now closed on account or earthquake risk. We also considered catching the bus, but it was a really cold, nasty evening, and we would have had to change in Johnsonville – not an enticing prospect. I had bought that day something to reheat for our evening meal, but this turned out to be past its best-before date, so JD decided that we would go early and eat in town.

In the event we parked in Victoria St. The first three places we tried to have something to eat were full!  At the fourth, a hotel, the environment looked rather unattractive, but they served us beautiful meals. Afterwards, we walked to the Michael Fowler Centre. I had forgotten how close the seats are there, and it was quite warm, but we were very comfortable.

The first item was Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto, with soloist Deirdre Irons. She played very well. Apparently she’s 75 years old! It was very special to be at a concert, and to hear the music live. Deidre played the Beethoven with great dynamics. It was very enjoyable. After the interval, the orchestra played Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the Pastoral. This was great too, although I was a little disappointed to see that the dress code has been relaxed!

After we got home, we replayed the concert on the television set (it was live-streamed), but the recording, while great, is just not the same as being there.

On Thursday I went to the Johnsonville Library. On Friday, we attended a workshop on perspective when our art group reconvened in Khandallah. Although there were only a few of us there, it was nice to get together again. We had coffee afterwards.

In the US, coronavirus is rife in California and the southern states – worst in Texas, Florida and Arizona.  Georgia is in a bad way, too. States with Republican governors (who said “This is not New York”),  have been really stupid about the risks of the virus, which has broken records in the last few days, with thousands of confirmed infections in these  states, despite the difficulty of getting tested. The death rate (now over 138,000) is now following the huge number of infections. Contact tracing is virtually impossible in these circumstances.

Still, Republicans plan to go ahead with their convention in Jacksonville, and the President has said that schools must reopen in the Fall. Some octogenarians have said they won’t go to the Republican convention. Some say they must go. There is talk of it being held outside. Humph.

Now Dr Fauci is being further discredited. Honestly, how can this pandemic be politicised? It just seems so crazy, in the year 2020, that a blind eye is turned to a huge number of infections and deaths, with a lack of awareness that to have a healthy economy, you first need to have a healthy patient. How is it that people cannot be sensible and compassionate about this?

The news that schools are to reopen in the Fall (whatever that means) is truly frightening. Perhaps this will change. This morning I posted another parcel of face masks, filters and gloves to the US. Apparently there prices have sky-rocketed. I hope it gets there soon. One feels so much for people that continue to go without, and be very afraid, while seeing the situation around them worsen. We went through a severe lock down here, but at least we saw results, with the number of new infections falling. Now, touch wood, it’s only returning kiwis coming in (to quarantine) that bring the occasional infection. We are so thankful to be here, and going about our lives and activities.

That’s it for now. Nga mihi nui.

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