Haere ra

Today is Sunday April 11th. Kia ora.

Haere rā, Prince Philip.

Whatever one may think of the royal family (a waste of taxpayers’ money, a museum piece, great role models – or otherwise, an endless source of fascination), one has to admire Prince Philip, and feel some sorrow at his death. While this was neither tragic nor unexpected, he remains for me a source of inspiration, and a degree of admiration.

His legacy is fascinating, too. Some would argue that no-nonsense Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, is the best of his progeny. While there is some sympathy (and a great deal of disdain) for Prince Charles, there is no doubt that when the Queen dies as she surely must, some time soon), things will be very different for the monarchy, and perhaps for us all who are her subjects. It seems Prince Charles was rather an egg-head, to the great frustration of his sporty and energetic father, while his mother remained a distant, remote figure. The odious Prince Andrew has stepped back from public duties (thank goodness), and Prince Edward, while remaining colourless, has somewhat redeemed himself by marrying (and staying married to) the his lovely (and gracious and unassuming) wife Sophie.

Prince Philip, it must be said, has not been a great role model as a husband, either, given that three of his four children’s marriages fell apart. But then, none of them was married to the Sovereign, and they all seemed to lack his sense of humour. Anne perhaps inherited this, but hers has been acerbic, rather than laughable.

All this goes to show, I guess, that you can’t predict how your children will turn out, whatever their upbringing, however much time you spent (or didn’t spend), with them.  Thankfully, some of the next generation are marvellous, although there are huge contrasts here, too. Prince William and his wife, Catherine, don’t appear to put a foot wrong. They are unfailingly gracious, good parents, and provide a degree of being real people as well as being “royal”.  I do have to marvel, when photos of their “perfect” children are displayed, that they’re perfectly clean and tidy; there are no food stains (on their or their mother’s clothes), and, remembering my own children, I wonder at the effort that’s gone into making them look so angelic. Zara (no title) Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall seem genuinely nice and down to earth people; Zara’s brother, Peter, less so (his marriage has broken up, too). Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, especially Eugenie, seem to comport themselves well, despite their awful parents, and Eugenie’s marriage and baby photos have been a delight. She, too, seems to be a down-to-earth person.

I remember Prince William coming to New Zealand (before his wedding), and attending the mass funeral for the victims of the Pike River Mine disaster; he then visited Christchurch and addressed the crowd, speaking about the earthquake of 2011. I remember his saying something along the lines of “ You don’t realise how the rest of the world holds you in awe”.  He also said that his grandmother, the Queen had reminded him that the price of love is loss. He spoke in a very moving manner.

About Harry and Meghan, the less said the better. Any credibility for things she said in That Interview was shattered quickly when the Archbishop of Canterbury said that her legal wedding to Prince Harry was in St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle (despite her claim that she and Prince Harry were married privately three days earlier).

I went to church again this Sunday morning. It was a Harvest service, and I enjoyed it, but there was no Communion. That seems really strange to me; I thought Sunday Communion replaced the hallowing of the Sabbath (Saturday), that was a big part of the old covenant. Of Communion,  Jesus said “Do this, in remembrance of me”. It was a long service, and the minister spoke graciously about money, and about God’s gifts. I think it is appropriate to give something back.

We still wait for vaccines, although strides are being made with MIQ workers being vaccinated, and a vaccination centre opened at the Manurewa Marae. New Zealand has opted for the Pfizer BioNTech two dose vaccine, which I think is a wise choice, but it’s not happening any time soon. I had a message from Hohepa last week, and they still don’t know when they’ll be vaccinated. I wonder if any research has been done on special needs folk receiving the vaccine?  It seems not. Some research has been done on young people, suggesting vaccinations are safe for those over 12.

Australia has ordered the Astra-Zeneca Moderna vaccine, but there is now concern about this in many countries because of a slightly added risk of blood clots in some (very few) recipients. Well done, Oz!  That has cast further questions on their vaccination program. A Trans-Tasman travel bubble is now open between New Zealand and Australia; people don’t need to be vaccinated in order to travel (why not, one wonders?), but they don’t need to quarantine for 14 days as they have done to date. What will the fares be like, one wonders?

Meanwhile, the odd case of Covid 19 pops up, here and in Australia. Last week an MIQ worker returned a positive test, someone who had chosen not to have the vaccine for “personal reasons”. This person seems to have stayed in their room (and presumably watched television), and not to have gone to gyms, supermarkets, takeaway joints etc -there is no list of places where one might have caught the infection.

Overseas, rates of infection continue to increase. There is encouragement to get vaccinated, anyway, as the vaccine probably offers some protection – you may still contract Covid 19, but you probably won’t have it so badly, if you do. Severe variants abound – will they outwit the vaccines? Who knows?

Michigan is one state in the US that has been very hard hit, by this current “wave” (3rd? 4th?). At Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s insistence, they did quite well earlier on to avoid infections, despite armed protests against lock downs. Now, it’s suggested, the people there (Michiganders) are even more susceptible to the new variants of Covid 19, having protected themselves earlier. That could be very bad news for us in Oceania.  We have done well to date, but in future – who knows? Will loved ones from Australia be able to come to my party later this year? Deo volente. Covid permitting.

Here in New Zealand it’s school holidays again. Last week my grandchildren went back to school for two days – Wednesday and Thursday. We went to see The Courier (Benedict Cumberbatch) at the Penthouse, where there were a great many people, many of them children. It’s a good movie – very interesting, and Cumberbatch acted well. It’s an amazing story (based on true events).

I also saw The Father, with Antony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. This packed a real punch.  Hopkins is a wonderful actor, of course, but the movie has a way of drawing you into the drama while trying to puzzle out what is really happening. One is confused, presumably to resemble the confusion in Hopkins’ mind.

One thing I noticed (warning, spoiler alert here), was that the hallway of the flat, while always green, is not always the same. It’s shown repeatedly, but the pictures, the umbrella stand, the furniture, changes. There are several shots of the kitchen, but while it has to be the same kitchen, things are different – in ways that are difficult to put into words. There are several totally plausible situations, yet the same characters pop up in confusingly different roles. There is a carer (presumably) who looks very like Colman. The old man loses his inhibitions, and there is a desperately sad scene at the end where he cries for his mother. One thing I did learn from this movie: rather than joining in with the lie to humour the person (“Yes, of course she’s coming”), or deny their falsehood, one assures the person things will be all right. That seems to me a far better solution to getting through the day. It’s desperately sad, though, to see another’s confusion. I think that dying in pain but still lucid would be preferable to this confusion.

That’s it for now. Nga mihi.

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