No Filter, no shame

Today is Wednesday June 9th. Kia ora katoa.

Not a lot’s been happening, not here, at any rate. Our vaccine delivery, which was supposed to take place after Queen’s Birthday Weekend, has now been further delayed, although some folk have had theirs – it seems to depend which medical centre you’re with. I keep explaining to people that other countries (who are now suffering a third (?) wave, need it far more than we do, and furthermore, the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to have few side effects, so that must enhance its popularity. Still, the blame game is doing well here – why are we waiting? Although thankfully there don’t seem to be many anti-vaxxers around. And we still can’t go anywhere, anyway, so there’s really no rush. Still, many people feel they should really have been vaccinated by now.

Masking, on the other hand, is a quite different issue. On public transport you’re supposed to wear a mask. Whenever I go to catch a bus or train, there are three things to remember: put a mask on, have my gold card ready, and have my phone ready, to register the QR code, or add a manual entry. But you see fewer and fewer masks around, even on a bus or train. Perhaps half the passengers wear them? Even some of the staff don’t wear them.

I think most people tend to want the easy way out.  Hand washing, or even hand sanitising, is just too much trouble.

I am enjoying my regular activities – tai chi and singing.  Tai chi has become easier, for some reason. Last time I could even balance on one leg. And the form we do has suddenly fallen into place for me. It all makes sense, now (years on).

Last weekend was Queen’s Birthday. I went to an organ recital on Sunday afternoon at Old St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s a beautiful church, now open again after some earthquake strengthening, but it was pretty cold there, and the seats, although cushioned, are quite narrow and uncomfortable. Kneelers have been removed, so there’s nowhere to rest your feet. I didn’t particularly enjoy the recital, but was pleased that I’d been. Afterwards, I walked up to the New World supermarket in Thorndon and met JD there, after doing some shopping.

On Monday ( a public holiday) we met another couple at the Golf Club. It was beautiful out there: fine and warm, a lovely day. We had a great time. My friend and I explored, and went for a walk, before having a cup  tea while the men played golf. I joked that we’d been left out of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, yet again; we felt as though we should have been reading Country Life magazines.

It’s  now Friday June 11th.

Last Monday we heard of the new Royal baby’s arrival, and the stunning choice of names – Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.  Fallout continues, of course, the Harry claiming he’d consulted the Queen before announcing the names. We knew the new baby was likely to be called Diana, but really, calling her by the queen’s very intimate nickname, which I imagine very few people ever used, apart from the recently deceased Prince Philip, seems insulting to me. I firmly believe one should call children proper names. If they wish to shorten the name, or use a nickname later, that’s well and good. Perhaps the Queen thought they were asking permission to call their daughter Elizabeth, after her. I cannot imagine that she gave them permission to saddle their daughter with her own nickname. My family use a nickname for me, but I get quite upset if others use it, and I certainly wouldn’t want a descendant of mine to have it. The fallout continues, with English people particularly alarmed and offended by this. What do Americans think? Who knows. Harry’s stating that the First Amendment (of the US Constitution, that of the right to free speech), was “bonkers” already earned him several bad marks. I wonder what he thinks of the Second Amendment? Who cares?

The domain name, Lilibet Diana, was registered the day her birth was announced.  It seems that the Sussexes, not permitted to use the brand name “Sussex Royal”, have found another way to get back at the 95 year old monarch. I do have to admit feeling some sympathy for her in this situation. Who knew things would turn out like this? Not that Harry ever had a chance of climbing out of the hold/hole that had been dug for him. I’ve tried to be rational about the Harry/Meghan story, but frankly I am disgusted by it, and the lack of shame on their part. Surely the Queen and the now deceased Prince Philip should have been allowed to live out their last days without all this carry on.  Given Brexit, British politics, Covid 19 and the Northern Ireland situation, one cannot help but feel for them.

In other news, there was a computer outage on Tuesday (our time), causing trouble for several websites. This was not caused by hacking, it seems, but it reminds us again of just how vulnerable these platforms can be. It’s scary to think just how much we rely on them, and how difficult it would be to go back to paper records – in may cases, they simply don’t exist. The vulnerability of a ransomware hack was brought home to us recently when medical systems were grounded for the Waikato DHB, causing them to postpone surgery and raising privacy issues. There have been major hacks in the US recently, of the Colonial Pipeline and JVS meat plant, seemingly permitted, if not actually sponsored, by Russia.

Then there were many arrests relating to the transport and sale of illegal drugs, coordinated across New Zealand and Australia, using an ap created by the FBI! The NZ police chief spoke very well, I thought, giving a press briefing with the Head of Customs (who had a strange accent).  The Australians bragged long and loudly about this, but I guess I’ve just watched too many episodes of Rake, which have done nothing to endear me to the idea of police in Australia being beyond reproach.

And then, one of my husband’s brothers announced his engagement over the weekend. This will be his third wedding, and many family members rushed to offer congratulations, and look forward to the party. There were notable omissions, most notably from his five children. I have been to his two previous weddings, and met many of his girlfriends. I have to say I remain sceptical about this coupling. Some in this family have a lousy record for commitment, and many in it have led chaotic lives, although they’re all good people. JD and I went to a wedding in Australia a few years ago. It was notable for the rather grand party, the expense, and the fact that I felt rather dowdy there, although I wore an outfit I’d worn to one of my son’s weddings. Despite the expense, and the grand celebrations, and the honeymoon cruise, the marriage didn’t last a year. Ho hum.

We also recently had a situation where an acquaintance wanted help with getting an annulment of one of his marriages. Having known the couple in question rather well for a time, this upset me a great deal, and I declined to be interviewed. Did X really know what he was getting into?  Do any of us? I do know that he cheated on his wife, at the time. Is that a reason to annul the marriage (which produced three children, by the way)?

Auckland has been judged the world’s most liveable city, whatever that means. That seems just crazy. The traffic there is terrible; the city stretches far and wide; it’s built for cars with crazy roading networks; the inner city is not a vibrant space. House prices are even crazier than in Wellington. I have several dear friends there, but there’s no way I’d want to live there. Auckland, like many places, has people ranging from seriously rich to deadly poor. It has some pretty awful crimes and murders, too. While many of us are alarmed at the further stratification of New Zealand society, I like to think that in Wellington things are a bit more even. We are more alike than we are different. There aren’t such big discrepancies. The most desirable suburbs (Khandallah, Roseneath, Seatoun) have pretty awful winding roads to get to them, with little parking available. Karori’s quite a long way away, and is another world, itself.

That’s it for now. See, I haven’t mentioned US politics once! Next time I’ll write about US politics, and the G7 summit in Cornwall. Let’s hope President Biden stays well.  Ngā mihhi.

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