Grinding On

Today is Tuesday June 7th, 2022. Kia ora!

I didn’t blog yesterday. It was a public holiday here for Queen’s Birthday (not her actual birthday, of course); in the morning I had a lovely chat with my son in the UK about the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and who was booed, and so on.  I watched more videos about it all – I thought the drone show was quite marvellous.

In the afternoon I visited a friend and had a lovely time. She lent me a book to read; I also have Stephen Fry’s Troy, which JD bought me (as if I needed more books to read!)

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week I have lots on. Today is a quiet day, although there are lots of things I should do.

Yesterday was rubbish collection day: you put out your council-collected bag, or your bin, and your recycling on alternate weeks: the glass crate one week, followed by the recycling bin containing paper and plastic suitable for recycling and clean tins. Contractors do this work, so it continues, even on public holidays. Yesterday, however, the recycling bin collection was really late – well after 4 pm; and Waste Management didn’t turn up at all to empty the bins lining our street. There was no message from the Wellington City Council or from Waste Management to indicate any changes to normal arrangement. Waste Management where are you? Thankfully it’s not very windy, or they’d be blown all over the place.

I walked to the local supermarket at midday, and it was quite busy there, but there are some good specials. You have to be careful, though: I bought croissants for lunch, eventually finding a pack dated 7 June well behind lots dated 5 June and some dated 6 June (which was yesterday).  I was going to buy my favourite pies, which were on special, but I couldn’t find a Best Before date anywhere on any of them, and I couldn’t find anyone to ask, either. I had to wait to be served, it was quite busy there.

It’s quite mild today. I must say it’s frustrating to be too hot, when you’ve rugged up to keep warm in the cold.  Those thick winter jerseys may languish again.  There’s something quite nice about wearing warm clothes, scarves and gloves, as long as it’s not wet and not too windy.

The Covid 19 report is out (there wasn’t one yesterday). There are 10,191 new community cases, and there’ve been 14 deaths. There are 372 people in hospital, including 9 in Intensive care.

Of the people whose deaths were reported today one was from Northland, two were from the Auckland region, one was from Waikato, one was from Taranaki, five were from Canterbury and four were from the Southern region. Two people were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, four were in their 70s, five were in their 80s and two were aged over 90. Of these people, eight were men and six were women.

With winter here, a surge in Omicron cases is expected and already close to 100 Kiwis are dying with the virus each week. Auckland still dominates New Zealand’s Covid cases, with 2997 new infections over the past two days.

Of those in hospital, four are in Northland, 47 are at Waitemata, 39 are at Counties Manukau, 58 are at Auckland, 27 are at Waikato, 17 are at Bay of Plenty, five are at Lakes, one is at Tairāwhiti, ten are at Hawke’s Bay, nine are at Taranaki, one is at Whanganui, 13 are at MidCentral, 15 are at Hutt Valley, 21 are at Capital and Coast, seven are at Nelson Marlborough, 54 are at Canterbury, eight at South Canterbury, three at West Coast and 32 at Southern. The average age of people in hospital is 62 (largely unchanged).

It’s reported that there were new community cases reported over the past two days in: Northland (248), Auckland (2,997), Waikato (747), Bay of Plenty (343), Lakes (152), Hawke’s Bay (266), MidCentral (367), Whanganui (147), Taranaki (257), Tairāwhiti (51), Wairarapa (80), Capital and Coast (990), Hutt Valley (399), Nelson Marlborough (401), Canterbury (1,704), South Canterbury (144), Southern (770), West Coast (126), Unknown (2)  Officials also reported an additional 111 imported (border) cases.  That’s very high for Wellington (990), although it is for two days.  It seems that these numbers aren’t going down nearly fast enough.

On Friday, it was announced cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants have been detected in the community with no clear link to the border, as well as cases of BA.2.12.1.

Everyone, it seems, is down on President Biden – sleepy Joe meets with Prime Minister Ardern; Biden is tentative in Asia; Biden shouldn’t go to Saudi Arabia; and he should/shouldn’t cancel crippling student debt. He made an impassioned speech about guns in the US. He was accused by Mehdi Hasan of not going far enough, while the editor of some right-wing publication called his speech worthy of impeachment.  Charlie Sykes wants a return to what he calls normalcy, but that ain’t going to happen: you can’t turn the clock back. Things cannot be “normal” (whatever that means) after Trump’s presidency, and the January 6 riot; mind you, they were pretty awful before that, with Obama’s presidency being one bright spot in years of tragedy.  The seeming miracle of having a black president only aroused more hatred and resentment, and more buying of guns.  The British just celebrated HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, after 70 years on the British throne;  in America, after Buffalo, and after Uvalde, and after Tulsa, there has been yet more gun violence.  People are not safe at a concert, at a picture theatre, at church, in hospital, in a store, being a politician, or having their children in school.  Joe Scarborough remarked how it’s strange how the Pro-Life party doesn’t care about you once you can draw breath.  In San Francisco the Catholic Cardinal has denied Nancy Pelosi mass.  They are so fortunate to have a great president in Joe Biden. I wish they’d appreciate him more.  To my mind, the US is added to Ukraine and Taiwan as the three most dangerous places in the world.  I’m sure there are others, but those three will probably do for now.

I have to say something about British politics. After the Jubilee celebrations going very well, and being a great success, Boris Johnson has survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament – and it seems there’s no ready successor; and the Harkles did not necessarily bring their children to England. (Where’s Archie, by the way?)There’s reportedly been no sighting of them.  But the odious couple did turn up to the Service of Thanksgiving, and kept a low profile (for which much thanks will be given, I’m sure).  There are newspaper articles about how far they’ve fallen, being no longer “working royals” and relegated to less important seats, but they did major trashing of the Royal Family on the Oprah interview and in other moves, and after that they’d hardly be welcomed back into the fold, especially as so many people bent over backwards to welcome Meghan and give the couple a very expensive wedding. If I were Archie or Lilibet, I’d be furious at not meeting the Queen; we’ve only seen one photo of the daughter, and couldn’t see her face properly, so we’ve no idea what she looks like. This morning’s Dompost had a cartoon about Paddington Bear having tea with the Queen, and Harry wishing he’d been treated to the same encounter.

Actually, I’m wrong. I just checked the stuff website, and there is a photo of Lilibet, to celebrate her first birthday. While all babies are lovely, I don’t find this one particularly appealing.  Her hair is untidy, and she’s not nearly as beautiful as Princess Charlotte.  And what about Thomas Markle?  There seems to be no consideration of him, or of his condition.  Evidently Harry has never met him.  I think that Archie and Lilibet will have a lot of questions for their parents, like, how come we didn’t see our grandparents, or our cousins? And face-painting for a 1st birthday? A tad inappropriate, I think. Quite scary, even. Some children might find it quite frightening.

I am reading Stephen Fry’s book Troy.  Mercifully, it has short chapters. I thought I knew quite a bit about Greek myth; evidently not!  I have been reading for ages, and I’ve just got up to the birth of Helen.  Boy, it’s already such a complicated story. I did an Honours paper on Troy and the Trojan War; I hope that it will become more relevant as I go on.

It’s now Thursday June 9th.

Yesterday I got up early to go to hymn singing. It was wonderful, as always. Afterwards, finding I’d missed the bus I had hoped to catch, I had morning tea -a long black coffee and a cheese scone. I caught two buses home, and in the afternoon I went with a friend to see Downton Abbey – A New Era. There was hardly anyone there.  I quite enjoyed the film, although I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who everyone was. I then marvelled at how much it must have cost to make this movie. Afterwards, we went to Moore Wilsons (they had no raspberries or feijoas there, sadly); and then walked to Courtenay Place to catch a bus home. I was pretty tired afterwards!

That night it was quite wild: there was heavy rain, and a very dramatic thunderstorm early in the morning. I listened to lots of podcasts:  The Rest is Politics, We Have ways of making you talk, Hacks on Tap, British Scandal, and the Bulwark podcast.  Dear me!  The most interesting was the Skullduggery podcast, with Norm Eisen on.

This morning I went to singing. It was a dreadful way, weather-wise, but there were 17 of us there.  Towards the end of the session there was severe thunder and lightning, and the lights went off at one point! Very exciting. It was quite mild this morning, despite the wild weather, but now (late afternoon), it’s quite cold. The days are very short now. It gets quite dark around 4 pm.

Today’s Covid 19 report isn’t great. There are 7,927 new community cases, and there have been 27 new deaths. There are 373 people in hospital, and 12 in Intensive Care.

On the deaths reported today, nine were from the Auckland region, three were from Waikato, one was from Lakes DHB area, one from Taranaki, one from MidCentral, five from the Wellington region, one from Nelson-Marlborough, four from Canterbury and two from the Southern region. One person was in their 40s, two in their 60s, seven in 70s, nine in their 80s and eight were aged over 90. That’s 5 deaths on the Wellington regions.

Today’s new community cases were in Northland (165), Auckland (2,239), Waikato (558), Bay of Plenty (261), Lakes (96), Hawke’s Bay (273), MidCentral (319), Whanganui (125), Taranaki (223), Tairāwhiti (45), Wairarapa (58), Capital and Coast (877), Hutt Valley (372), Nelson Marlborough (337), Canterbury (1,177), South Canterbury (132), Southern (594), West Coast (73) and the location of three was unknown.

That brings the seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today to 6059 – last Thursday it was 6937. There were also 96 new cases reported at the border today.

Yesterday, the ministry announced 7050 new community cases and 24 deaths of people with Covid-19. There were 361 hospitalisations.

I find those numbers quite shocking. While they’re not as bad as when omicron peaked here, they stubbornly refuse to decline as fast as I would like them to.

I’m going to leave it there. The war in Ukraine grinds on.  The Covid 19 figures here stubbornly refuse to go down by much. We all know people who’ve had Covid 19, as it gets ever closer to us.  Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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