Once more into the breach, dear friends

Live: New community Covid case in Auckland - PM to speak
Panic buying in Auckland

Today is Tuesday August 17th 2021. Kia ora katoa.

It has been quite an eventful day, after several eventful days.  This afternoon soon after I returned home, I learnt that a new community case of Covid 19 has been confirmed in Auckland. I don’t know yet whether it’s the Delta version. The Prime Minister is returning to Wellington, and she and Dr Ashley Bloomfield are to hold a press conference at 6 pm.  We wonder just what will happen, having been warned that there may be a sudden, severe lock down if the Delta variant of Covid 19 is diagnosed here. In Australia, the current wave of the Delta variant is running amok, with increasing numbers of cases being diagnosed in New South Wales, and most of Australia’s large cities are noe under lock down. Here, there is apprehension.  Our daughter had her second vaccination jab yesterday. JD and I are due to have our second jabs next week.

But there is other big news today. The weather was wild last night, after being quite calm and mild during the day.  This morning a train derailed on the Waikanae line, just south of Paekakariki. This has resulted in closure of the south-bound lane of SH1, and the Waikanae line trains running only between Wellington and Plimmerton. There was traffic chaos, with some trucks and trailers using the Paekakariki Hill Road (not suitable for long vehicles); surprisingly, we had a smooth run to my Tai Chi class at Mana, and I actually got there early. There were just six of us there – far fewer than usual.

But the weather’s not the only big news. The wonderful couple who hold it all together are leaving soon to return to the South Island, and although the other tutors aim to continue, the brand Tranquil Dragon is to cease here, and the Tuesday classes will stop, in favour of Thursdays only. So that’s really a double whammy. While I’ll miss Geoff and Pat, of course they have every right to do what’s right for them. They’ve been more than generous with their time and teaching, sharing their love for Tai Chi and inspiring us all.  But Thursday classes aren’t good for me. I love to sing on Thursday mornings.  I suppose I’ll have to find another Tai Chi class. Since I was so ill, almost ten years ago, learning and practicing Tai Chi has been a very important activity, and a nice segue from my earlier practice of yoga. I’ve met some very good friends there, and everyone has been very kind and accepting. It’s also very low cost.

It’s been a busy few days. My daughter and a carer were here for the weekend. We had a party on Saturday evening, which was a huge success. It’s been quite a busy time, though! I was very apprehensive beforehand, but I guess that’s all part of the fun. It’s been lovely to see so many friends, and our children have all been wonderful, including the ones overseas, who sent messages via video. Although I had reservations about this, I now think it was the right thing to do.  No one could come from Australia, sadly, but we were able to go ahead, whatever the future holds.

The 6 pm press conference announced, unsurprisingly, that New Zealand is to go into a level 4 lockdown at midnight tonight for the next three days, and Auckland and Coromandel  are to be at level 4 for one week. The person diagnosed with Covid 19 is an older male (58), from Devonport, a suburb of Auckland, who went to Coromandel over the weekend. It should be known tomorrow whether her has the Delta variant of Covid 19, but he probably has. At this stage there it’s not known how he caught the virus. He had visited his GP, having symptoms of coronavirus. His wife has tested negative, although her test will be repeated. Some of the spots he visited have been published.

Everyone is to stay home, except for supermarket workers; the schools will be closed. You can go to a supermarket, and shop individually (one at a time); everyone should wear a mask outdoors. I didn’t go shopping today, mainly because of the terrible weather; I rather wish I had, now.  Never mind, it’s only for three days (we hope). We hope a rash of cases won’t pop up like they are in New South Wales. It’s partly because the Delta variant of Covid 19 is wreaking such havoc in Australia, (and the US), that the Prime Minister has imposed such a drastic, immediate lock down. I’m relieved that she’s taking it seriously. In the main, Kiwis are obedient, sensible people who comply with the rules. There’s no need for panic buying, she says.

Thursday’s nurses’ strike is off (or perhaps, it’s on?); vaccinations have been paused for 24 hours. Yes, we can do this. Thank the Lord that we had our party last weekend, and that this Covid 19 cases didn’t emerge from our gathering. What’s more, almost all the guests are safely home. The two that aren’t were going to visit the Tongariro Chateau; perhaps they’ll go there later. They’re probably more able than other guests to manage this situation. Thank goodness we had dinner with them last night.

There’s a sense of resignation; that this had to come, sooner or later; that we’ve been incredibly fortunate up until now. Let’s hope it is “nipped in the bud”, as they say.

There are harrowing pictures of people trying to escape from Afghanistan. President Biden spoke on television about his reasons for continuing the withdrawal of US forces. It transpires that the previous regime made a number of commitments regarding withdrawal of troops. I would have to say I agree with him; the US should never have gone there in the first place (twenty years ago).  The present situation is tremendously sad, and indeed harrowing, but what about all those countries who don’t want Afghani immigrants?  One feels so desperate for the women and girls in particular; but remember, the former president wanted to meet with the Taliban at Camp David, of all places. There’s a photo of Mike Pompeo with a Taliban leader, which I gather has been hastily removed. Some US attitudes to women, while not quite as mediaeval as those of the Taliban, are hardly modern.

I had been quite looking forward to tomorrow’s activities: hymn singing, morning tea, and a movie and lunch at Khandallah Town Hall, after which I was going to shop at the rather nice New World supermarket there. I would see many of my friends. Hymn singing has been cancelled, and I’m sure the movie morning will be too, as will singing on Thursday morning.  That’s sudden, and rather sad.  I was looking forward to going to the movies, too.  There has been a very nice newsletter from Hohepa. They are closing their school and all day activities, and going back into their “bubbles”, bless them. Our daughter has now had both vaccine jabs, so at least she has that level of protection.  I guess there’ll be no church newsletter on Thursday, either. Or takeaways.  Thank goodness for our new coffee machine (and plenty of cake from the party).  I had a cheese scone for morning tea this morning – I enjoyed that, and the cheese rolls we had last night.

We’ll get through this! What’ll we do this time, I wonder?  Ngā mihi.

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