Today is Tuesday August 18th. Kia ora katoa.

This morning it is very cold again, and there is a frost, but it is sunny too. I go to Tai Chi, which will be held outdoors, since the Hall we normally practise in is closed. I get there early and wonder just where we will exercise. Others turn up, and we find a lovely sheltered, sunny spot on the grass, which is still wet from the frost. Soon we warm up, and take off our jackets, scarves, and jerseys. It is strange that we have a large turn out today, far bigger than the five classes we have had so far this term.

It is truly lovely here. We don’t do the Walk, but we do some warmup exercises which involve swinging our arms around. Then we do the Flexibility and Balance Set, and then the set that we were supposed to do during lockdown. I have done it before, so it all comes back to me.

After a break we do the Lotus Qigong twice, then we do the Dr Lam form – the long form. Then we do our warm-down exercises and call it a day. I walked to Mana Station, where the electronic information sign said the next train was due in 15 minutes. I read my book, glancing up every now and again. The train was still due in 15 minutes. Then, all of a sudden, it was there! I climbed on and found a seat. There weren’t many masks around today, although the guard was wearing one. Most of the way into Wellington I read my book: Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. It’s a strange book, but very readable.

Back in Wellington, I went to Te Awe in Panama Street. A guard at the entrance showed me how to scan the QR code and register my visit. I then scanned it at the coffee bar. A friend of mine turned up, and we had a good chat, and took in the 1 pm news.

There are 13 new cases of Covid 19 reported today, but it is a more complex situation than previously thought. One of the positive cases is someone who did maintenance tasks in rooms where quarantined guests had stayed. He had worn full protective equipment. Six people are now in hospital. The rest of the cases are linked to the community cluster.  The source of this cluster remains a mystery. The Americold Plant has been ruled out as the source. Tonight we learn that a second New Zealand Post employee has tested positive. I assume both these people are part of  the community cluster, although it doesn’t say this specifically in news reports.

In the rest of New Zealand, I think we’re still pretty relaxed about this outbreak. Back in March, there were cases breaking out all over the place. This still seems managed, for now.

There was great mirth today about Trump’s noticing New Zealand, according to a story in the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Among other incorrect things, he claims yesterday’s nine new cases represent a “big surge”. For many American states, only nine new cases in one day would represent huge success. It’s also been pointed out that to date New Zealand’s death toll is 22, whereas the US has had over 173,000 deaths to date.

I caught a bus to the Johnsonville Library. There wasn’t any social distancing going on – most seats were taken, and I didn’t see any masks. At the library, I had 4 minutes to get upstairs, pick up a book I had requested, and issue it. But I had to sign in first. This time the scanner didn’t work, and I had to give my name and number to the person at the entry. I went upstairs, got my book, issued it, and came down the stairs. Fortunately, I was still able to catch my bus.

Tonight we went shopping at New World. There is a Gold Card discount on Tuesdays. This time, the Covid tracker/scanner worked just fine. It is very easy to use. Forget about privacy! I want to be notified in need.

Tomorrow, I have nothing on. My hymn singing is cancelled. I am very tired, although I really want to be doing things again and keeping busy.

Today Wellington seemed more relaxed than yesterday. Despite the need to sign in everywhere (or scan the QR code), there were very few masks around.

I think things are not back to normal, for many of us. There is a new appreciation of things we may have taken for granted before.  After all, where would you rather be? Even with the hiccups in Auckland, we are still far better off than our nearest neighbour, Australia, Europe, the UK and the US.

I listened to some of the Democratic Convention speeches tonight. They are truly uplifting.

Nga mihi. Ka kite ano.

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