Wild Weather

Ohariu Streaam

Today is Thursday July 15th. Kia ora katoa.

It has been another busy day. Yesterday I had my hair cut and coloured, meaning that I needed to be out at Mana by midday. JD had an appointment, so I had to make my own way there. It was a heavy frost in the morning, so the trains weren’t running for a time, but they were catching up by the time I needed to catch one. I caught a train to Mana, and just missed one coming back. Never mind, I didn’t have to wait long for the next one.

Back in Wellington, I was able to change the puffer jacket I had bought in a sale in Napier. I really wanted a different colour, and they had plenty in Wellington, so the swap was simple. Then I caught a bus home.

Thursday was cold and almost raining. I had my grandchildren over for a time. They did some painting, and I played Monopoly with my granddaughter. She did rather well!  They had both brought soccer balls, which I think they wanted to play with, but it was too cold outside for me to take them to the park.

Today (Friday) is not so cold, but very wet. My cleaner comes, and he’s very obliging.

Overseas, the Delta variant of Covid 18 continues to work its way around people, even vaccinated ones. In Australia, cases continue to rise daily in New South Wales (97 today), and now Victoria has entered its fifth Covid lockdown, with five cases reported today. The Premier of NSW, Gladys something unpronounceable, has been ridiculed by the Treasurer for her actions. Meanwhile, although you’re supposed not to leave your home unless it’s essential to do so, apparently all the shops are open and people are still shopping, according to an Australian doctor who reported on Dr John Campbell’s daily video update. Some of the purchases are certainly not essential. The Australians have mandated huge fines for some things, but seem prepared to overlook other breaches of Covid 19 protocol. Does big business have the main say here?

It’s evident that Covid 19 hasn’t done with us yet. The situation in the US is worsening in some states – Missouri, at the moment (and others), and non-vaccinated people are getting sicker, and dying in some cases. Younger people are getting sick, too.  In the US vaccines are available, but there is a great deal of vaccine hesitancy, with many (mainly in the South) refusing to get vaccinated. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham are leading the charge, advising people they’re free not to be vaccinated (and not advising them that they may well die).  I recently listened to another heated abortion discussion, centred around some Catholic bishops in the US wanting to deny Communion to President Joe Biden. Of course, executing prisoners is all right, for some Catholics, namely Bill Barr, even though one of the Ten Commandments says “Thou shalt not kill”.  The American Right seems truly crazy to me, but they have a great deal of support. How can an unborn (potential) life be so precious, and a born one “free” to be shot, free to die of coronavirus, or simply free to live in great poverty, without adequate healthcare? Where’s the support system for all people?

The British Guardian newspaper has now come out with a leaked document from the Kremlin which claims that Putin did indeed support Trump winning the 2016 presidential election, and did a number of things to make this more likely to happen; it also claims that the Russians have “kompromat” on Trump from his earlier trips to Russia.  This is hardly surprising to anyone; it’s what was suspected even before he “won” that election, but the US papers and podcasts have been totally silent on this, to me, really big news. They’re far more disgusted by revelations in Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig’s latest book, I Alone can fix It.  This, too, is shocking but not surprising. The revelations are interesting. The US came even closer than we had thought to completely losing what remains of “American democracy”.  Yet it seems to me that the latest revelations leaked from the Kremlin, like the Christopher Steele report (“the dossier”), are just as alarming too. I look forward to hearing more on this. I hope that I do.

In the UK, it seems they are still forging ahead with the proposed “Freedom Day” on July 19 (not far away now), despite increasing numbers of people infected with the Delta variant of Covid 19. Hospitalisations are up, thus deferring supposedly non-urgent surgery and treatment. What about urgent treatment? I guess everyone just has to take their chances.

In Europe, especially in Germany and parts of Belgium, there have been terrible floods, causing loss of life and great destruction. Looking at the videos it seems as though towns were struck by a tsunami, not just flooding. In the US, another heatwave is predicted, bringing with it forest fires. What a strange messed up world we live in, and how fortunate we are to be here in New Zealand, even if many of us are still unvaccinated.

With the advancing strides of Covid 19, especially the infectious Delta variant, it seems that protests are increasing too. One cannot imagine a near-universal  lockdown across the planet like we had in March/April last year happening again, although of course we couldn’t imagine it then, either, and came to look in wonderment at photos of popular spots overseas like St Peter’s Square in Rome, Milan’s beautiful cathedral, and Venice’s St Mark’s Square, all deserted. People have had restrictions “up to here”, and simply cannot abide them any longer. In Australia the Treasurer speaks out against State government who wish to be cautious. But the coronavirus hasn’t finished yet, and many of us are still very cautious. I fear for my loved ones overseas, still. 2020 was The Plague Year, but in 2021, despite the rapid invention of several vaccines, it’s still The Plague Year. Let’s hope we’re not in for The Plague Decade, that this doesn’t become the new normal for us.

We fantasise about our next overseas trip, and wonder if it will ever happen again.  Thankfully, we are here, and safe, if somewhat isolated, for now.

Here in New Zealand there is severe flooding on the West Coast, and in the Marlborough area.

It’s now Sunday evening. July 18th. The weather has been wild here. It rained heavily yesterday, but, nonetheless, I was determined to go to town. JD had an appointment in the afternoon; he was to drop me off in Johnsonville on the way. Eventually the appointment was postponed, and JD promised to drive me into town himself. It was still raining heavily, nevertheless, I was undaunted, and determined. It still wasn’t very cold, and better weather was forecast for Sunday. Well, silly me! We got down to Middleton Road, which, despite sloping down hill, was like a river. JD had trouble steering the car, and the driving rain made it very hard to see where one was going. I decided that our trip would be to Johnsonville only, but we had trouble driving up Middleton Road; there was an enormous slip, and we retreated up Churton Drive and home again. We really didn’t go anywhere. JD’s two evening appointments were cancelled.

The next day, Sunday, was calmer, with less rain, and still not too cold.  I went to church; the church was unheated, but all right; it wasn’t too cold. Afterwards, JD picked me up. It was sunny and clear for a bit, and then started raining again. It was a typical southerly storm here: a very intense few hours of wind and heavy rain, followed by intermittent almost fine and calm spells, then spells of heavy rain again.  It rained off and on during the afternoon.

We saw how desperate the situation had become on the West Coast and in Marlborough; how damaged houses are by the flooding; and there’s also been some quite severe damage in the Wellington area: the Ohariu stream burst its banks along the Takarau Gorge Road, destroying road works that had been done to strengthen it; the Nada bakery in Tawa was flooded for the second time in six years, and SH2 between Wellington and the Hutt Valley was closed for several hours. All quite dramatic, really, and yet we’re so glad not to have our homes flooded too.

In Australia, the coronavirus continues to spread, with a lockdown in Melbourne now, and the one in Sydney strengthened. We spoke to our son in the UK, and he told us of the virtual impossibility of getting a place in MIQ so that he and his wife could plan to return to New Zealand and see their loved ones here. I joked that his father or I would need to be dying for him to get a place, perhaps; we don’t want that to happen. It was good to talk to him, though.  The university where he teaches is being cautious about Covid 19 precautions, having had several students become infected with the coronavirus. That’s it for now. Today has been quite a busy one. Ngā mihi.

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