Today is Friday July 23rd. Kia ora katoa.
The Trans-Tasman travel bubble has been paused (thankfully). For two months, from 11:59 pm tonight. Here in New Zealand, there are still no community cases of Covid 19. In Australia, the Delta variant of Covid 19 continues to wreak havoc (there were 136 new cases in NSW today, and 14 in Victoria, 158 in total). Having said that, it’s not nearly as severe as in Indonesia, Fiji, or South Korea, but the numbers are bad enough for them, and this surge seems not ready to abate yet. Kiwis in Australia are encouraged to return. There will be special flights for them over the next seven days.
It’s now Saturday, July 24th. It was very cold here this morning. It’s fine now, but the day started with heavy cloud cover. Apparently Covid 19 has been detected in wastewater in New Plymouth, but this has been explained away – perhaps someone who had tested positive for Covid 19 had later travelled to Taranaki, and was still shedding some of the virus.
In Australia, it’s a different story, with 162 new cases reported today, and 14 in Victoria. It seems the Sydney lockdown “isn’t working”. There are no new cases in Queensland. A National Emergency has been declared in New South Wales. There is increased criticism of the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, amid the slow vaccine roll out, and difficulties in getting financial support. Are the 162 new cases in NSW, or in Australia overall? It’s really hard to tell. Meanwhile, there are large anti-lock down protests in Australia’s largest cities. The police think this is really stupid, and I do too, by the way.
Here in Aotearoa, we are fine, thanks, but rather than being locked down, we’re locked in. I don’t know where you can travel to without quarantining when you get there, and you certainly have to quarantine when you return, assuming you can get a place in MIQ. So, we’ll have our jabs (which is now happening, and it’s free), and sit tight, not going anywhere abroad. No one can really come here, either. Isolation continues. I remind myself that we’re thankful to be here, and thankful that our borders are closed. Prime Minister Ardern was being ribbed about a plan for reintegrating with the rest of the world; such a plan looks more foolish, now. We’re sorry for Australians, but where would we rather be? Here, where we can still go to church, cafes and movies, and see our friends and family who are here.
I learnt tis morning of a third death of someone I knew. We had the funeral iin Havelock North of a first cousin of JD’s father, then a local person who was, with his wife, a good friend of mine. Now an acquaintance has died, suddenly, who was a bit younger than me. That makes three.
Yesterday my grandchildren came. It was a beautiful fine day. They did some painting. This time I was better organized, with new paints, some new glitter, and a new plastic cloth. I thought it went rather well. My granddaughter did a beautiful painting of a large flower in a vase, and sprinkled glitter in the centre. She wanted to take it home to her mum, but it wasn’t dry, so I held onto it for a couple of days. It was nice to have new tubes of paint that worked. In the morning I went for a walk.
Next week is looking very busy, with term three activities starting up again, a dental check, my first vaccine jab, and several other things. It’s strange how when you book the first appointment the calendar is clear, and then it’s suddenly full, and you’re trying to fit things in. I remember that despite the cold, this tends to be the best time of the year for me, before the spring allergies come on, and continue through what we call summer, before the autumn chills and breathing difficulties begin. These are the good times.
It’s now Friday July 30th. There are various issues to be dealt with. Today it’s not so easy to be calm about things. It’s been quite a busy week, with quite bad weather (heavy rain) on Monday and Tuesday. Thankfully the last three days have been fine and sunny.
Tai Chi started again last Tuesday, with a good turnout, despite the price increase and the bad weather. I do find whenever I wear a mask now (when using public transport) my glasses get fogged up – I haven’t found how to stop that happening.
On Wednesday I went to hymn singing, and then had lunch with a friend and watched some of the Olympics on her Sky TV. On Thursday morning my other singing restarted – that was lovely. Some of us had coffee afterwards.
In Australia, NSW continues to be in a bad way from the coronavirus. Yesterday they recorded 239 new cases; today, it was down a bit, to 170 (205 for Australia in total). So they continue to be in a bad way. I had my first vaccination injection on Monday afternoon, in the old Paper Plus store in the Johnsonville Chopping Centre. They seemed to have a very efficient, well-run operation there. I do appreciate their contacting me (several times!) to ensure I knew the vaccination was now available.
In Tokyo, the Olympic Games continues with no spectators; some athletes testing positive for Covid 19; Simone Biles has pulled out; and there have been some surprises. The Opening Ceremony was amazing, despite the lack of crowds.
In the US a House of Representatives Select Committee has begun, first hearing some alarming evidence from police officers (and seeing not previously shown footage of the insurrection). Several things struck me: I heard several interviews from Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker about their new book, I Alone Can Fix It, about Trump’s final (hopefully) year in office. I was horrified at the fact that he was watching the insurrection on television, taking no responsibility for keeping anyone safe, least of all his Vice President Mike Pence. I was also aghast to learn that he regarded his biggest failure not as not preventing over 600,000 deaths from Covid 19 in the US, but not firing on Black Lives Matter protesters after the death of George Floyd. I was also struck by the fact that the Select Committee is indeed bipartisan, in a way that few if any predicted; and that some policemen were terrified for their lives. It occurred to me that no doubt many black men are also terrified for their lives, when shot by police. There are surely many lessons here.
It’s now Sunday August 1st. We had a busy day yesterday, visiting some friends for afternoon tea (a beautiful cheesecake), and some other friends for dinner out at their lifestyle block in Te Horo. Thankfully, all went well. It was a beautiful warm day. Everything was delicious, and we got there and back again safely.
This morning I went to church. I was feeling very anxious about various challenges, but thankfully I experienced some peace there.
In Aotearoa, people are getting their Covid 19 vaccines. Everyone I’ve talked to bar one person is eager to get vaccinated. Everyone is very responsible about getting both jabs, and recording any side-effects. We have waited a while, but thankfully, it’s now happening.
In Australia, Covid 19 (Delta variant) continues through communities; Victoria seems to have their outbreak under control and reducing; Queensland is having a three-day lockdown; in Sydney, they had 239 new cases today. It seems that “lockdown” means something different in different places. Here in NZ, we remain locked in, not locked down. No one can come here – it’s very difficult to get places in MIQ; and where would one go? Assuming you could go somewhere, that looks not too bad for now, it may well be struggling to cope with the virus by the time you get there, assuming you can get a visa. I must post this episode now. Ngā mihi.