It’s Back

Today is Wednesday August 12th. Kia ora katoa.

“It’s Back”, reads the front page of today’s Dom Post. Sadly, we know what “It” is.

Last night, while I was watching another episode of “Succession” on Neon (thanks to its merger with Lightbox we have lots of new viewing options), we heard that there were four new cases of Covid 19, that are apparently due to “community transmission”; in other words, they aren’t returning travellers, or at risk people dealing with travellers from overseas in compulsory quarantine. We have an online discussion about this news with our son in the UK and a local son.

This is alarming news. The Prime Minister takes charge, and again acts quickly. She advises that Auckland will go into a level 3 lock down from midday Wednesday, for three days, and the rest of New Zealand will go into level 2 from the same time. I get my first Civil Defence alert on my phone at 10:12 pm. I email the organist I was going to sing hymns with today (Wednesday), and warn our choir leader that the concert we had planned for Thursday (rescheduled from April), may not happen. Malcolm emails back saying he will go ahead, but the next morning, I find the session is cancelled.

I slept fitfully again, like I did the night before. I needed to go to the new pop-up library in town, to return a New Yorker magazine I had borrowed. I reserved making a decision about going to hymn-singing on Wednesday morning, but I was fairly determined to go. Another Civil Defence alarm goes off before midnight, ensuring that I am wide awake. It makes a lot of sound and light – just what you don’t want late at night.  People in the Auckland area (from Pukekohe through to Wellsford) are advised to work from home if possible, unless they are essential workers. The PM advises against panic buying, but there are reports that night of panic buying at supermarkets.  This is only a three-day lockdown, people!

I listen to several podcasts during the night, in an effort to go to sleep. I remember the beginnings, but not how they ended, so I will have to listen to them once more. I do listen to one about Susan Rice, and it occurs to me, again, that she does not have a chip on her shoulder; she seems to be quite comfortable in her own skin. That is a rarity. I think she would make an excellent candidate for Vice-President, and the choice of her as Biden’s running mate would leave the other useful senator candidates in the  Senate, where they are very worthwhile. I find out later that day that Biden’s pick is Kamala Harris.

Things get active online very early in the morning. The CD siren goes off again (by now I’ve had quite enough of it. It doesn’t go off on my husband’s phone). Malcolm send an email advising that hymn-singing is cancelled for today, and Thursday’s concert at a Retirement Home is cancelled as well. I wonder if we can still sing at our usual venue. Our leader will find out.

Meantime, plane after plane after plane  flies overhead. Air NZ can’t be doing too badly with domestic flights. I am glad we didn’t go away this week as we had thought of doing.

JD and I go into the CBD. I try to return my magazine at the popup library Te Awe, but the Brandon St entrance is closed, and we have to drive round to the Panama St entrance. Needless to say, there is nowhere to stop in these narrow streets, and cars are banked up and honking their horns at us. At the Panama St entrance there is a return slot, so it doesn’t take long to achieve this task.

Then we go to the Sustainability Trust shop in Forresters Lane, and buy our new heater, as recommended.  I determine that we will have lunch at Prefab in Jessie Street – who knows when we will be able to eat out again? But Prefab is closed (according to their website, they closed at midday, and hope to reopen on Monday), and other “hole in the wall” places are doing take-out only.

We go L’Affare, where it is very busy. We sign in, use hand sanitiser, and wait in a queue for a table. Soon we are shown to a table with high chairs, but at least they are backed, and the table has a footrest. There is no salt, pepper or sugar on the table. While we are there I learn that the Khandallah Town Hall is closed until Monday 17 August at the earliest, and that Thursday’s singing and Friday’s Art Group meeting are off. I also learn that while libraries are to stay open, one is required to wear a mask, and limit one’s visit to 20 minutes, while maintaining social distancing.

After lunch, we go to Moore Wilson’s, where it is very busy, we see shopping baskets being sanitised, and we are asked to keep 2 metres from other customers. While it is possible to keep some distance, forget about 2 metres; it’s not possible here. Unusually. there are lots of empty car parks in Tory Street.

On the way home, we drive up Wakefield Street. Cafes are closed, and Commonsense Organics have moved out of their store that used to be here. I didn’t know that was happening. I get the sense that the city is closing down. I would like to go to Unity Books, but I don’t suggest it.

We stop at Lewis’s show room at the bottom of the Ngauranga Gorge to have a look at their fabrics for new curtains for our bedroom, with a heavy lining to provide more inslation. We are assisted by a nice young woman who gives me her card and offers to give me a quote.

Then we stop in Johnsonville to pick up a repeat prescription. It is quite busy here, although the play areas are now closed. There are very few masks being worn, although people seem to be reacting as though we in Wellington are going to level 3, not level 2. We still have 3 masks between us.

When we arrive home I learn more about the 4 new  Covid 19 cases. I had thought they were all from one family, but it seems not. One person worked in a plant at Mt Wellington; one woman, while symptomatic, but not yet tested, had visited Rotorua, and several tourist attractions and eateries there. Just how stupid can you be, one wonders. I suppose it had to happen sometime, just when we were enjoying things again. Back to the future. It’s still only Wednesday, although it feels like Friday. I watched Wellington close down. What does the future hold? A sudden complete lock down could occur at any time. We’ve done this before; I guess we can do it again, if we have to.  Meanwhile, we’re back in a different mode. Still the planes fly overhead.

What can I still do? What should I still do? How long do I have? That is unknown. When can I go to Hawkes’ Bay again? I don’t know. It’s cold now, although we’re well past the shortest day. Let’s hope the schools in Wellington don’t have to shut down again. We can do this, whatever this may be!

That’s it for now. Nga mihi.

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