Ukraine is to hold a war crimes trial. In the US, males who sire unborn children are nowhere to be seen.

Today is Tuesday May 10th, 2022. Kia ora.

This morning I met an old friend for coffee. The café where we had agreed to meet was closed, so we went to another one. It was quiet when we first went there, and we had a lovely time.

The rest of the day has been very quiet. The Covid 19 report was worse than yesterday’s: there are 9,173 new community cases and there’ve been 14 deaths. There are 385 people in hospital, and 13 in Intensive Care. There have now been over one million cases in New Zealand: that’s about one in five.

Of the 14 deaths reported on Tuesday, six were aged in their 70s, three were in their 80s and five were over 90. Six of those people were from Canterbury, two were from Auckland and one each were from Northland, Waikato, MidCentral, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Southern DHBs.

It’s reported that the new community cases are as located as follows: Northland (265), Auckland (2945), Waikato (625), Bay of Plenty (254), Lakes (175), Hawke’s Bay (274), MidCentral (348), Whanganui (97), Taranaki (255), Tairāwhiti (75), Wairarapa (105), Capital and Coast (600), Hutt Valley (264), Nelson Marlborough (339), Canterbury (1397), South Canterbury (164), Southern (889) and West Coast (98). The location of four cases is unknown.

Wellington is seeing more cases this week than last week.

It’s reported that Russia held a march in Moscow yesterday for Victory Day, with no fly-past. Putin made a very odd speech, blaming the West for his invasion of Ukraine.  He didn’t look well, and had a blanket over his legs. In Ukraine, Dr Jill Biden has visited Kyiv, and also Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. The misery grinds on. 

In the US, there is still a great deal of talk about the Supreme Court draft decision to revoke Roe v Wade, depriving women of the right to an abortion. I am still amazed that there is no talk of male responsibility. I know some men are very upset if their partner chooses not to go ahead with a pregnancy, but in all these discussions male responsibility is not discussed at all – “My body, my choice” is therefore a logical conclusion for American women.

I was further amazed when listening to The Bulwark podcast, when Charlie Sykes reiterated his opposition to democrat proposals to cancel student debt.  He sees no connection between the two issues. Most people see having a good education as a key towards bettering one’s opportunities, but if poorer women have to bear and raise children they can’t afford, it’s extremely unlikely that those children will get a good education.  In my opinion, Americans have very black and white views about issues, whereas most issues are very grey, with all kinds of different viewpoints on them. 

It’s now Wednesday May 11th.

This morning I went to hymn singing. It was heartening, as always. Afterwards I was going to catch a bus into town, but the bus wasn’t at the stop till well after 10 am, but it did turn up. I had my first long black coffee for the day in town, with a toasted cheese scone.  It is much cooler today – closer to 10 degrees C. Today’s Covid 19 report is not so good. There are officially 7,970 new community cases, and there’ve been 28 further deaths.  There are 381 people in hospital, and 10 of them are in Intensive Care. 77 cases were identified at the border, but the borders are to fully open earlier than expected. In Auckland, one high large school (Albany Junior High School) has taken up online learning again, seeing that they have 200 students impacted by omicron.

It’s reported that of the new cases, 2633 were in Auckland. The rest were in Northland (252), Waikato (594), Bay of Plenty (254), Lakes (151), Hawke’s Bay (256), MidCentral (261), Whanganui (95), Taranaki (209), Tairāwhiti (75), Wairarapa (87), Capital and Coast (498), Hutt Valley (190), Nelson Marlborough (282), Canterbury (1172), South Canterbury (152), Southern (744), West Coast (62), Unknown (3). So those numbers are not decreasing as fast as we would have hoped.

Of the cases in hospital, 167 were in Auckland. The rest were spread across Northland: eight; Waikato: 44; Bay of Plenty: 17; Lakes: 5; Tairāwhiti: 1; Hawke’s Bay: 14; Taranaki: 10; Whanganui: 1; MidCentral: 23; Wairarapa: 1; Hutt Valley: 4; Capital and Coast: 12; Nelson Marlborough: 6; Canterbury: 44; South Canterbury: 2; West Coast: 4; Southern: 18. The average age of those in hospital is currently 60. Eleven of the deaths of people with Covid-19 were in their 80s, eight were in their 70s, five were in their 90s, two were in their 60s, one was in their 50s and another was in their 40s. 12 in Wellington! 

In the US Bill Gates has Covid 19, and New York Governor Kathy Hochl has Covid 19. Journalist and author John Dickerson and his family have had Covid 19. We all know lots of people who have had Covid 19. But you can get it again. No one in my immediate family has had it so far, but it has come very close.

In the US, the reaction to the leaked Supreme Court decision drags on. It transpires that one of the reasons for the decision to overturn Roe is that the stock of babies to adopt is very low, way below the demand. 

It’s now Saturday, May 14th.

On Thursday morning I had singing.  It was very enjoyable; we had a committee meeting afterwards.  After that I got a lift into town and bought some more corduroy trousers – they had a special with 30% off everything. Then I caught a bus home. After school, two of my grandchildren visited, and we attempted to tidy up the yard with sweeping and gathering up leaves into the rubbish bin or into plastic bags (dry-cleaner covers). It was fine and warm outside, but I found it hard not to pull weeds out as well as tidying up.

On Friday someone came from Access to do some cleaning.  I changed the sheets and towels. Afterwards we went into town to pick up a delivery, and had a delicious lunch at the Tasting Room. Although it was quite late, they were happy to feed us, and there were few people there. I enjoyed it.

Today we had lunch at Gipps St Deli.  I do like their quiche – the custardy filling reminds me of the baked custard my mother used to make, a flavour and texture I’ve been unable to replicate.  We had nice salad too, and I had a beautiful cup of coffee. On our way back, we stopped in Brandon St so that I could change the trousers I’d bought at Farmers.  It was raining, and there was lots of traffic. After this, we stopped at the supermarket in Thorndon, which, again, was super busy. There were no potato topped pies left, and they didn’t have my favourite salad, but we did get more feijoas and coffee beans. The kind staff were allowed to pack our goods again – which is much appreciated. It has been raining off-and-on all day, and much cooler than previously.

The Covid 19 report is so-so; sadly, Prime Minister Ardern and her daughter have tested positive for Covid 19. A good friend of ours in Auckland has tested positive for Covid 19, and has recovered. Today there are officially 7,068 new cases, and there’ve been 18 further deaths. There are 398 people in  hospital, and 8 of them are in Intensive Care.

Of the new cases, it’s reported that  2409 were in Auckland, and the rest were in Northland (202), Waikato (507), Bay of Plenty (200), Lakes (120), Hawke’s Bay (219), MidCentral (237), Whanganui (55), Taranaki (198), Tairāwhiti (57), Wairarapa (75), Capital and Coast (459), Hutt Valley (228), Nelson Marlborough (209), Canterbury (1,096), South Canterbury (105), Southern (619), West Coast (69), and Unknown (4).

Of the deaths reported on Saturday, two people were from Northland; four were from Auckland; three were from Waikato, one was from Lakes DHB, two were from MidCentral, two were from the Wellington region, one was from the West Coast, one was from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury and one was from Southern. One person was in their 40s, one was in their 60s, five were in their 70s, five were in their 80s and six were aged over 90. Of these people, nine were women and nine were men.

That’s still an alarming number of new cases, and an alarming number of deaths, although the numbers of those hospitalised or in Intensive Care has reduced significantly. I guess we were hoping that numbers of new cases and deaths would have reduced more than this by now.

In Ukraine, the news of Ukrainian forces’ achievements continues to be amazing. Yesterday I heard that Russian forces had attempted to build a pontoon bridge and were transporting equipment across it, only to be attacked by Ukrainian forces; the Russian equipment was greatly damaged, if not destroyed, and many Russian soldiers (Ukraine claims 1,000) were lost. It seems that Ukrainian forces are making great strides, but Russian forces are focussing on Eastern Ukraine, and their brutality continues.  Putin has threatened to cut the supply of electricity to Finland in retaliation for its joining NATO. Sweden intends to join too.  The President of Turkey has expressed reservations about this. Ukraine has reportedly taken back more towns that Russian forces occupied; the Russians seem now to be concentrating on the Donbas area in eastern Ukraine. The BBC reports that Russian forces have been driven out of Kharkiv.  Senator Mitch McConnell has visited Kyiv.

North Korea has finally admitted to a Covid 19/omicron epidemic. First there was one case, then 2 deaths, then 5 deaths and thousands of cases; now 21 deaths. It seems their population is unvaccinated. Leader Kim Jong Un has called it a time of “great turmoil”. They have limited testing capabilities, too, it’s reported. A lockdown has been imposed, which will no doubt cause huge problems in a country which already has trouble feeding itself.

It’s now Sunday May 15th

This morning there was quite a strong earthquake felt in Wellington, centered to the east of Kapiti Island. There was an initial light shake, followed by an alert on my phone to expect more shaking, and then immediately there was some quite strong shaking.

This morning I attended church via zoom.  They were due to have visitors today, and the omicron numbers are rising, so I chose not to go in person. I think the organist was having a day off too.

That’s it for now. I have discovered that I missed the Scandi Film Festival. I am determined to show brave and go to some of the French Film Festival films. Last year most of them were wonderful.  Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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