Getting through it

Protesters lined the street at Marine Parade on Monday to meet the convoy. Photo / Warren Buckland
Protesters in Marine Parade, Napier meeting the convoy

It’s now Friday February 4th, 2022. Kia ora!

We just got back from Hawkes Bay. It is very hot!  At least it’s not raining, we don’t have forest fires, and the electricity is working.

I got formally released from isolation on Wednesday morning. Someone called from Healthcare, agreed that they did have my Covid 19 negative test result; after they’d run through their check list of questions, I received an email saying I was formally released. I wasn’t having a good day, but we took off, heading to Hawkes Bay via the Remutaka Hill and the Wairarapa. We normally go north using SH1, but the northbound lane is closed between Levin and Shannon, necessitating a detour. It seemed a long way through the Hutt Valley, before climbing the Hill, although it was interesting to go a different way. We had lunch in a café at Carterton. It closed at 2 pm; we got there not long before this. We had to show vaccine passes; there was hardly anyone there. We sat outside, and were glad of the breeze.  I had a frittata with salad: salmon and asparagus, and a long black coffee. It was delicious.

We stopped in Waipukurau, buying more drinks; we got safely to Napier in the late afternoon. Our motel was very good, with plenty of room, a spa bath and a shower, and a mini-bar. Normally one doesn’t use the mini bar, but this time was different. I am super nervous now, realising that having a negative test result on Tuesday does not mean that I’m immune from future exposures.

We had lunch at the lovely Birdwood’s Gallery and Café in Havelock North. It was lovely there, we were very well looked after. We sat outside, and although it was hot, there was a lovely breeze. I had a vegetable quiche and salad, and lemon tart.  We had pizza for tea on sitting on the balcony, enjoying the sea breeze, and drinking juice and wine.

Coming back to Wellington, we stopped at Dannevirke for lunch. We sat outside at first, but the heat, combined with the flies and traffic noise, drove us back inside. Everything was well spaced, and we had to show vaccine passes.  Then we stopped again in Shannon. It was very hot there, too.  Driving back to Wellington, the expressway extends ever further north towards Te Horo, and south to the end of Transmission Gully. Around Otaki, there are huge road works, and we look forward to being able to use more of the new road that is being built. There’ve also been improvements between Waipukurau and Waipawa, and beyond Waipawa.  There’s also a dividing line for much of the Napier expressway. In Wellington the Dompost is making a big issue over the delays in opening the new Transmission Gully highway. I figure that while this part of the highway is not open yet, the extensions around Paekakariki and Otaki are coming along well, and deliver more usable road each time we drive north.

It was lovely to see our daughter in Napier. We were very careful about where we took her; I’m very careful whatever exposures I have, seeking to limit them as much as possible.

Today there are 209 new community cases of Covid 19, and still only 9 people in hospital. The vaccination gap has been shortened to 3 months, between one’s second vaccination jab and getting a booster jab. Holidaymakers for this long weekend are warned that they may have to isolate if they’re away from home, and they should allow for this.  The government has also announced that it will open the borders from the end of February, first to Australia, and then to the rest of the world; vaccinated visitors can self-isolate for a week, before going their merry way; unvaccinated incomers will be required to spend time in MIQ.  That seems fair enough, as long as people abide by the rules. I do have to put in a plug for the loathed MIQ, which has kept us safe for a long time! When we went to my friend’s funeral in September 2020, her sons were able to get places in MIQ. Sometime after that it became hard to get into to. People seem to forget this.

It’s now Saturday February 5th.

Friday night was very hot, although it rained, gently, off and on. But the next day, Saturday, is much cooler, to my relief. The rain has become steadier, and it continues, gently, more or less non stop. I enjoy cooler weather.  In the early afternoon I picked up some KN95 masks which I’d had on order from my local chemist. They’ve finally arrived. Then we went shopping at New World in Thorndon. It was extremely busy there, but everyone seemed patient and kind, except for the folk who kept standing over the ice cream trumpets!  JD did a great job of packing the groceries.  I was able to get yoghurt, cheese, salads, coffee beans, tonic water, salad greens, more fruit, hummus and prepared salads.  No doughnuts this time.  Thank goodness it’s not threatening flooding here, as it has on the west Coast.

On the way home I learn that there are 243 new cases of Covid 19 today, the most community cases since mid-November (222 on 16 November). Most of them are in Auckland. There are ten people in hospital, one of them in Intensive Care.

It’s now Sunday February 6th, Waitangi Day.

This morning I went to church, in person, wearing one of my new KN95 masks.  I kept it on during the service, finding that I could sing quite well with it on.  People seem to be more spaced out than usual.  There is a lot of Te Reo in the service and the singing, but my friend plays the organ before and after the service. I enjoying singing How Great Thou Art – in Māori and in English.It’s a nice blend, I think. It is much cooler today – my computer says 15C, but other readings have given 9 or 10C Celsius.  I enjoy its being cooler, but this is much cooler, and necessitated getting out corduroy trousers, and proper shoes and socks. It was nicely warm in the church.  I still feel pretty tainted by my imposed  isolation experience, so I used the namaste sign when we pass the peace of Christ. Afterwards, JD picks me up at the supermarket across the road. Thankfully, there aren’t many people there.

Last night we watched a very good film on Māori Television: Dark Horse, starring Cliff Curtis.  It’s about mental illness, and the game of chess. I found it very moving. I am reading The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, which I picked up from the library on Friday after we got back to Wellington. It’s very thought-provoking, as her books tend to be.

Today there are 208 new community cases of Covid 19 (lower than yesterday’s total), and 12 in hospital. There are 19 new cases at the border. The new cases are reported as being in Auckland (128), Northland (7), Waikato (49), Lakes (1), Bay of Plenty (11), Hawke’s Bay (5), Wellington (3), Nelson Marlborough (3) and South Canterbury (1).

On Sunday evening we watched McDonald and Dodds on TV1, the final episode of the current series.  That makes three that we’ve watched: perhaps we missed the first one. I must say that having four episodes in a television series seems like short-changing us; in a Netflix series, they have heaps of episodes: sometimes up to 14, at least 10.  You don’t get the annoying advertisements, either, although it can be good to have a short break to draw the curtains of finish loading the dishwasher. This episode of McDonald and Dodds didn’t start till 8:50 pm and then ran for two hours; I have to admit I struggle to stay awake for these two-hour episodes, especially complicated detective plots.

It’s now Monday, February 7th, a public holiday for Waitangi Day (which was yesterday).  Yesterday it was reported that Erdogan, President of Turkey, had tested positive for Covid 19, as had 19 ministers in Iran. In China, a city is under lockdown for a few cases of coronavirus. At the Winter Olympics in Beijing, there is some frustration over the restrictions and the cold. Ukraine is still on a knife’s edge with Russian troops seemingly poised for invasion.  In the US, we learn more and more terrifying details of just how far Trump was prepared to go to retain the Presidency after the November 2020 election, to say nothing of his heinous helpers. Meanwhile, the RNC has censured Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.  Mike Pence has come out boldly to the effect that Trump was wrong to argue that he had the power to overturn the election, but said nothing about President Biden being legitimately elected, or the January 6th events being a riot. He did not condemn what is now known as “the big lie”, and it was offensive that he stated that Kamala Harris (not Vice President Harris) would not be permitted to overturn it after 2024; as if she would stoop to do so. I find that implication really offensive.

Yesterday it was reported that there were six cases of Covid 19 in Wellington, but some had their registered address in Auckland. All very strange. Today there are 188 new community cases of Covid 19, and 27 cases at the border. There are 14 people in hospital and one in Intensive Care. It’s reported that at a Christian School in Hamilton, 80 pupils and staff are isolating after a pupil tested positive for Covid 19 last week. Meanwhile, the numbers of tests is down – by about 6,000. There are no new cases in Wellington. Of the new cases, it’s reported that 117 are in Auckland, 16 in Northland, 15 in Waikato, one in Tairāwhiti, 12 in Lakes, 20 in Bay of Plenty, one in Hawke’s Bay, one in MidCentral, two in Hutt Valley and three in Canterbury. The Restaurant in the Copthorne Hotel in Wellington has been confirmed as a location of interest, as has the Tahuna Beach Holiday Camp in Nelson.

The week ahead looks interesting:  do I meet with a son and grandchildren tomorrow? Go to hymn singing? Go to town to get my watch fixed? Go to Tai chi? Dare to go and see the movie Belfast? Will my cleaner come on Friday?  Who knows, it’s too soon to tell. Ngā mihi.

N.B. a convoy is driving to Wellington to protest vaccine mandates. Once again, it has rained on the parade, and there’s been some social media interference, confusing protesting groups.

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