The Frozen Chosen

Prince Louis steals the show at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee RAF Fly past

It’s now Sunday May 29th, 2022.  Kia ora!

This morning it wasn’t quite as cold as yesterday, but the sun emerged and it’s a fine, sunny day.

This morning I zoomed into a church service, being unwilling to expose myself to too many people. Again, there was a violin performance (by a visitor) that I found excruciating. For any of my children, their teacher would have said it wasn’t ready yet!  I suspect many of my fellow church goers have children, now grown up, that are wonderful musicians.  I almost think it’s disrespectful to play badly. There, I’ve said my piece.

On Monday afternoon two of my cousins came to visit, and brought some quince paste. Yum!

It’s now Tuesday May 31st.

It’s not so cold today, but it rains off and on.  Prime Minister Ardern’s delegation to the US has a third person sick with Covid 19, and her Air Force plane has broken down. Evidently Gavin Newsom, Democratic Governor of California, has Covid 19.  That’s a shame, but what an honour to have our Jacinda deliver the commencement address at Harvard, be awarded an honorary degree, appear on Stephen Colbert’s late show (in three blocks!), and have a meeting with President Biden (still to come); and wear the korowai.

I haven’t written about Covid 19 here in New Zealand for a few days. Today there are officially 8,436 new community cases, and there have been 18 deaths. I think the numbers were fewer over the past two days. There are 389 people in hospital, and 9 of them are in Intensive Care.

It’s reported that three of those who died were from Northland, two were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, two were from Midcentral, two were from Nelson Marlborough, three were from Canterbury, two were from West Coast and two were from the Southern region. One was aged in their 50s, two were in their 60s, one in their 70s, eight were in their 80s, and six were over 90. Ten were men and eight were women.

It’s reported that the new community cases are located as follows: Northland (247), Auckland (2746), Waikato (679), Bay of Plenty (240), Lakes (115), Hawke’s Bay (231), MidCentral (274), Whanganui (84), Taranaki (243), Tairāwhiti (58), Wairarapa (63), Capital and Coast (682), Hutt Valley (242), Nelson Marlborough (367), Canterbury (1285), South Canterbury (176), Southern (597), West Coast (105), and two in an unknown location. Officials also reported an additional 79 imported (border) cases.

To me, those numbers are still far too high. We are still looking forward to a lessening of this disease’s bite, and the fear it causes.  I had a report from Hōhepa Hawkes Bay recently, and this was far more upbeat than previous ones. There are two residents with Covid 19; one of them is being cared for at home.  There are still daily cancellations of Metlink public transport services: they’re using Covid 19 sickness as the reason.

I’m rereading more of my Stalingrad book and understanding it better this time around.  While there is great fear of the fascist (German) troops advancing ever further east, there is an awareness that the tide has turned; that the Germans are ever outstripping their supply lines; that the Russians are fighting back rather well; and of course the individual stories are fascinating. Of course, there is still great bloodshed to come, as we get ever nearer to Stalingrad.

Meanwhile, in the real-life war in Ukraine, it’s reported that Russian forces are pounding cities in Eastern Ukraine, so much so, that some commentators are saying Putin’s doing rather well. Europe has agreed on a Russian oil embargo (excluding Hungary and Slovakia); Russia is to stop supplying the Netherlands, who refuse to pay in roubles.

It’s now Wednesday June 1st.

It is very stormy here, although we’re a bit more sheltered where I live. I went to hymn singing this morning:  we sang We sing the praise of Him who died and The King of Love my Shepherd is, amongst others. We really value this opportunity.  There was some flooding on the way there; I was due to go to a friend’s house for lunch, but she’s postponed, and I can see why –  it’s pretty wild weather, with sunshine sometimes, heavy rain storms, with horizontal rain, and some thunder.

The world is gradually coming back online after the US Memorial Weekend holiday. The Bulwark podcast was on again, with Charlie Sykes speaking to Ryan Busse, the author of a new book called Gunfight. He worked in the gun industry, and clearly knows what he’s talking about. I have heard him on other podcasts, notably the Skullduggery podcast. I also listened to the American Scandal podcast, talking about the Dupont chemical industry and its “forever” chemicals and consequent lawsuit; this story was also told very effectively in the film Dark Waters (2019).

Today’s Covid 19 report is out: there are 8,182 new community cases, and there have been 13 more deaths. There are 373 people in hospital, and 8 of them are in Intensive Care. It’s reported that Hawkes Bay has 208 new cases, and has had one death. There is concern that Covid 19 re-infection is not being recorded, and that you can get Covid 19 again within 8 weeks, not 3 months, as was formerly thought.  Once again, at 3 pm it’s not easy to find Covid 19 details online. It’s reported that teachers are more susceptible to (re)infection.

Of the people whose deaths reported on Wednesday, four were from the Auckland region, two were from Canterbury, and one each from Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Hutt Valley, Capital and Coast, Nelson Marlborough, and Southern. One person was in their 40s, two were in their 70s, five were in their 80s, and five were aged over 90. Of these people, six were female and seven were male. 

The locations of the new community cases (PCR & RAT) are reported as follows: Northland (223), Auckland (2,534), Waikato (623), Bay of Plenty (245), Lakes (99), Hawke’s Bay (208), MidCentral (335), Whanganui (105), Taranaki (234), Tairāwhiti (45), Wairarapa (60), Capital and Coast (716), Hutt Valley (286), Nelson Marlborough (334), Canterbury (1,322), South Canterbury (146), Southern (592), West Coast (69), Unknown (6).  That’s still alarmingly high for Wellington. There are 89 new imported cases.

Cases in hospital are reported as follows: Northland: 11; Waitemata: 36; Counties Manukau: 34; Auckland: 66; Waikato: 22; Bay of Plenty: 7; Lakes: 4; Tairāwhiti: 6; Hawke’s Bay: 14; Taranaki: 11; Whanganui: 2; MidCentral: 14; Wairarapa: 1; Hutt Valley: 4; Capital and Coast: 37; Nelson Marlborough: 9; Canterbury: 52; South Canterbury: 13; West Coast: 1; Southern: 29. 

It’s reported that in Wellington, a wave of Covid 19 has hit Parliament, with 15 people isolating.  Did we let down our guard too soon? Probably.

It’s now Friday June 3rd.

Yesterday I went to singing. The weather was still pretty wild; there were only 16 of us there.  Afterwards JD gave me a lift home.

Today there are lots of videos of the Trooping of the Colour and the RAF fly past in the shape of 70 to celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  There was very affecting film of her lighting a beacon.  I watched a film last night, and thought some of the marching was a tad untidy; perhaps they were practicing. There were a handful of protesters, dragged away and dealt with; it didn’t rain; Her Majesty lookedwonderful, and the spectacle is pretty amazing.  There’s been a lot of fun in the dressing up department.  One can’t help feeling a bit sorry for Prince Charles, who, at 73, is still waiting to be king.  I think many people would prefer the throne to go to Prince William and the lovely Kate when the queen dies, as she must, some day.  One thing’s for sure, there won’t be another platinum jubilee for quite some time; as Tina Brown says, there probably won’t be another jubilee in ten years’ time. The frail monarch has already pulled out of attending the service of thanksgiving to be held at ST Paul’s Cathedral (where Charles and Diana were married). The Sussexes are in London, but so far, thankfully, little has been seen of them. The odious Prince Andrew has been diagnosed with Covid 19, and so, thankfully, is absent.

It’s now Saturday June 4th.

Today we had lunch at the lovely Gipps St Deli, where I had the beautiful quiche again, with salad. It did not disappoint.  They’ll be closed on Monday; there weren’t many people there today, and we enjoyed sitting almost in the sun. There was a cold and overcast start to the day, but then it warmed up quite a bit and was sunny. Nevertheless, I was glad to wear a warm jersey and a woollen jacket. 

After lunch we went to New World in Thorndon, where it wasn’t too busy.  I bought raspberries, coffee beans, tomatoes, bananas, bread, and salads.

During the day I’ve been watching more videos about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the UK.  I was a little surprised in Karori to see no sign of British royalty. I have to admit I’m quite entranced by all the ceremony, which the British do so well; mind you, it must be trying!  Shaking hands with all those people must be challenging at times. I watched film of members of the Royal Family going into, and out of, St Paul’s Cathedral, for the service of thanksgiving. I would like to watch the service itself, but so far it has been denied. Then there was more film of members of the RF going in and out of the Guildhall for a special lunch. Woe betide eating or drinking too much; and, of course, I have to wonder about comfort stops, since that has become a preoccupation of mine as I’ve grown older.  All this pageantry must be great practice for HM’s funeral, and for Prince Charles’ coronation; and perhaps Prince William’s, not too long afterwards; after all, Prince Charles is already 73 years old.

The pageantry is a great distraction, and a wonderful reminder of how well the Brits do this stuff. Compare the US motorcades – where’s the romance in that? It’s fun to watch the ceremonies, and, not least of all, to see so many flying saucer hats worn at odd angles; the way they’re worn looks so uncomfortable, as though a breath of Wellington wind would blow them right away.

It’s now Sunday June 5th.

It’s very cold and frosty this morning, and it doesn’t really warm up during the day. I zoom into the church service, thinking there would be visitors there today – which there aren’t.  The minister has a new/old nickname for us: the Frozen Chosen. It sounds very British, although it may be American (he’s just been there, goodness knows why). In the US, they’re obsessed with guns and their history of slavery, but most people still believe in God. There are multiple contradictions there. There’s trouble with the sound again, but eventually it comes right, although it cuts off during the organist’s final piece. JD and I have to go out; we have a very nice lunch at the café at the top of the Cable Car.  I must say they do good food there. 

There are more videos of British Royal Jubilee celebrations – not so formal, now.  There are wonderful addresses by Prince Charles and by Prince William. I have never heard Charles speak so well –  he sounded quite human, even calling his mother Her Majesty, and then Mummy. I found both speeches very moving.

Today’s Covid 19 report is down to 4,400 new community cases and 8 deaths,, with 371 people in hospital and 6 in Intensive Care. There were 50 new cases identified at the border. 11 deaths and 6,291 new community cases were reported yesterday. We’ve become so blasé about these daily reports that it’s hard to find them, soon after they’ve been delivered;  I still find it creepy if I’m in a social situation where someone’s not wearing a mask. There are very few QR codes being displayed at present. There’ll be no report tomorrow (it being a public holiday); Monday’s figures will be included in Tuesday’s report.

In the Ukraine, received wisdom is that Putin’s Russian forces are doing rather well, as they seek to dominate Eastern Ukraine. However it’s reported that Ukrainian forces have taken back parts of Sievierodonetsk, a key Donbas city that had been captured by the Russians.  It’s feared that the West will grow weary of this war; but the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians is truly remarkable. 

That’s it for now. We will go and see my daughter again later this month, DV. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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