A Mild, Wet Winter

A slip at Wellington’s Wilton’s Bush

Today is Friday August 19th, 2022. Kia ora!

Last night again, was not a good night. I figured after a while that I was too hot!  It’s raining, and foggy, of course, but not cold.  I woke up at 2:40 am, much too early, and I listened to a The Rest is History podcast about Victorian Holidays; I also listened to a Real Dictators podcast about Napoleon in Egypt; I heard about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone (which the British obtained and which went to the British Museum); after that I must have gone back to sleep.  At some stage I listened to a Hacks on Tap podcast episode which featured David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, with Maggie Haberman of the New York Times as their guest. Then I listened to the daily  Bulwark podcast with Charlie Sykes talking to Philip Bump of the Washington Post.

There’s been very heavy rain and flooding in parts of Nelson and Tasman, and in the far north of Aotearoa.  Hundreds of homes have had to be evacuated.

At midday someone from Access came to do some housework. I changed the towels and sheets. It’s still raining.

In the US, Trump seems to be in a whole heap of trouble, as arguments rage about unsealing the affidavit that was part of the search warrant. It seems that three acts were cited as possible reasons for the search, including the Espionage Act.  His CFO, Allan Weisselberg, has pled guilty to 12 (15?) charges in New York. Weisselberg accepted a plea deal in terms of which he is expected to testify against the Trump organisation. And it seems that before the insurrection ono January 6, there was warning of threats against Nancy Pelosi, which were suppressed by the Trump organisation.  In primary elections, Liz Cheney lost her chance to represent the voters of Wyoming, but has vowed to see that Trump does not become president again.  While many admire her political courage, let us not forget that she almost always votes  republican, and has voted against Biden’s landmark legislation.  Still, good for her in standing up to Trump, and serving on the January 6 committee, where she has been very effective. 

In Ukraine, the war rages on, with great concern about the bug nuclear plant at Zaporizhia. It was pointed out that the reactors need a lot of water; if there’s a power outage for some reason, the water for cooling systems may be imperilled.

It’s now Saturday August 20th.

It’s been another day of rain and low cloud, with some very heavy falls overnight and this morning. The newspaper was quite sodden this morning, although it comes in a plastic bag. I had to dry it out before doing the puzzles – which are always best on a Saturday! I registered online that the newspaper was wet, and I should receive a credit. Another newspaper will not be delivered. Again I’m asked if I’d recommend the newspaper to someone else. I would not, I just get it for the puzzles and the obituaries. The newspaper seems to get thinner every weekday.

It’s been flooding overnight in the Nelson area, and there are many slips. Thankfully we’re not affected by flooding or by slips.

JD had to go out in the morning, and then we both went out, firstly to the library at Johnsonville. As usual, the carpark is busy and difficult to manoeuvre in. as usual. The café is full, with people sitting at the tables outside the café in the wide passageway.  I return one book, and pick up another which is on reserve. The number of reserves is huge – many people must have twigged to this rather than mastering the weird shelving system at Waitohi.. The self-issuing machine is occupied, so I go quite a long way in search of another. Then we go to New World in Thorndon.  It’s quieter than usual, probably because it’s lunchtime.  We get all the things on my list except for psyllium, which we cannot find.  I buy some rhubarb stalks to cook – I’m so tired of not having rhubarb or raspberries for breakfast, We also buy some gold kiwifruit, the last lot were very ripe and I had to throw most of them out. Avocadoes are 3 for $5, which seems like a good deal to me: they’re quite large. Avocadoes have been marvellous, lasting from last summer. We don’t get salads this time, but we do get a potato-topped pie. There are lots of pies today!

Last night I slept much better than usual. I listened again to a Real Dictators podcast episode about Napoleon in Egypt. While I thought I knew a bit about this time in history, I find there is a great deal more to learn! 

It’s now Sunday August  21st.

Today it isn’t raining. The country can start cleaning up again. I went for a walk to the local shops, but they don’t have psyllium husks, which is rather annoying. I  zoomed into a church service this morning. 

I have started reading Agent Sonya, by Ben Macintyre.  It’s a rollicking good read. I reserved this at the library, and it came right away. Of course, it’s quite a long book, so I push aside all my unfinished books in order to read this now.

Today’s Covid 19 report is as follows: there are 2,100 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today and 15 virus-related deaths. There are 436 people in hospital with the virus, including 7 in intensive care.

Of the 15 people whose deaths were reported today: four were from Auckland region, three were from Waikato, one was from Hawke’s Bay, one was from Taranaki, one was from MidCentral, two were from Wellington region, three were from Canterbury.

The seven-day rolling average of hospitalisations today is 487 – last Sunday, it was 587.

The regional breakdown of the 436 people in hospital with Covid-19 is Northland: 16; Waitematā: 64; Counties Manukau: 38; Auckland: 55; Waikato: 68; Bay of Plenty: 17; Lakes: 10; Hawke’s Bay: 19; MidCentral: 30; Whanganui: 3; Taranaki: 11; Tairawhiti: 0; Wairarapa: 2; Capital & Coast: 15; Hutt Valley: 13; Nelson Marlborough: 7; Canterbury: 41; West Coast: 3; South Canterbury: 6; Southern: 18.

It comes as new wastewater results from ESR have revealed Omicron BA.5 is now by far the most dominant Covid strain across New Zealand.

It’s now Tuesday August 23rd.

Yesterday I didn’t blog; we went to town about lunchtime. It hardly rained all day!  JD was worried about the advertised street blockages in preparation for a protest, but we went to The Terrace, which wasn’t blocked. We went to Whitcoulls, and then had lunch at Sierra Café, one of my favourite places – not that there are many left.  It’s roomy there, and they don’t have loud music.  I had avocado on toast, he had corn fritters; I had a taste of his delicious date and orange muffin. Afterwards we went to Commonsense Organics at the top of Tory Street- it’s really hard to get to, although there is a carpark in that complex. I bought some psyllium husks (they’ve become really hard to get), and some Hōhepa Danbo cheese. Then we went home, and I found to my surprise that my new Listener had arrived.  The magazine competed with my reading of Agent Sonya, a very racy and interesting story. 

By the evening I had completed all the Listener puzzles – both sudokus, both crosswords, and the code cracker.  Last night Poi E was the movie on Te Whakaata Māori, which I’ve seen twice, so we watched an episode of Superpumped on Prime Television, about the rise of Uber.

In Moscow, Alexander Dugin’s daughter has been killed by a bomb in the car she was driving.  Dugin is a friend of Vladimir Putin, and has extremely far-right views.  It’s suspected that the car bomb was meant to kill him; Putin is blaming Ukraine.  No surprise there.

Today there actually is a protest in Wellington, led by Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church. Last night it was reported that 7 vehicles were to drive from Taranaki to join the protest.  Apparently there’s a counter protest too. Tamaki’s protest is said to be about Freedom and Rights. Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s caucus has expelled the troublesome Dr Gaurav Sharma. Will he keep quiet now?  He certainly has taken attention from the National Party’s problem child, Sam Uffindell. Luxon must be breathing several sighs of relief.

Today’s Covid 19 report is as follows: there are 3,693 new Covid cases reported today – and 35 Covid-related deaths, including four people in their 60s. Ten people were in their 70s, 13 in their 80s and eight were aged over 90.

Of today’s 35 deaths, six people were from Northland, six were from the Auckland region, two from Waikato, one each was from Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, MidCentral and the Wellington region, two were from Nelson Marlborough, nine from Canterbury, one was from West Coast, one from South Canterbury and one was from Southern.

Today’s figures show 402 people are in hospital and six people are receiving intensive care. They are in Northland (seven), Waitematā (57), Counties Manukau (35), Auckland (52), Waikato (66), Bay of Plenty (17), Lakes (nine), Hawke’s Bay (16), MidCentral (28), Whanganui (three), Taranaki (12), Wairarapa (six), Capital & Coast (15), Hutt Valley (12), Nelson Marlborough (eight), Canterbury (42), West Coast (four), South Canterbury (four) and Southern (nine).

Today is a beautiful sunny day. I walked up to the local store carrying, not wearing, my jacket.  I bought some croissants for lunch.

The protest, that marched to Parliament grounds, has wound up. It’s said that about 2,000 protesters marched, and there were about 500 counter-protesters. Tamaki is evidently launching a new political party. The protest seemed to be peaceful, and not nearly as disruptive as earlier protests. When asked by a journalist whether national would be aligning with Tamaki’s new party, Chris Luxon wisely said that it was too early to make any statements about political party alliances. He later received criticism for not ruling out such an alliance.

It’s now Wednesday August 24th.

Today is my eldest grandson’s 10th birthday, and the second anniversary of our special friend in Auckland’s death. This morning I got up early and went to hymn singing again.  It was lovely, of course, and I can still sing – somewhat, although I don’t have much breath. But then I didn’t before I had Covid 19, either. Afterwards some of us had morning tea, which was also a treat. I didn’t know the hymns although hymns are easy to pick up. One tune sounded very like Old Hundredth.

We had quite an intellectual conversation – about literature, music, opera, ballet and art.  What a treat!

Today’s covid 19 report is finally a lot more hopeful.  There are 3,140 new community Covid-19 cases to report across the country. There were 373 people in hospital with the virus, six of whom were in an intensive care or high dependency care unit, the Ministry said. There have been a further 4 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. That is far less than has been reported for weeks now. There were 147 cases in people who’d recently travelled overseas. There seems to be some confusion about the number of deaths.

It’s now Thursday August 25th.

I was really tired after Wednesday’s excitement, so I sent an apology for my Thursday singing, and went to tai chi instead. One of the tutors was away, but it was lovely, of course. Despite the forecasted rain, it stayed fine, and not really cold. JD was too busy to pick me up afterwards, so I caught a train into Wellington with a friend, and then a bus into town. I had coffee and a toasted cheese scone at Smith the Grocer café – delicious!  It’s a really popular place, so I left as soon as I’d finished eating – there was already a huge queue there. I walked to Unity Books, and had a lovely browse. They didn’t have Promised Lands by Jonathan Parry – they offered to get it for me, but at $90 for the hardback version I said no. I did however buy a book about Stalingrad by Iain MacGregor.  I listened recently to two podcast episodes on The Rest is History, where Dominic Sandbrook and Tom Holland talked to the author.  This book has lots of photos, which helps to understand the conflict. For some reason I’m fascinated by this battle.

I then went to catch a bus back to the northern suburbs. Usually there’s at least one every 10 minutes, but today two were cancelled. I waited for the next bus, which was several minutes late, and then despite my standing at the bus stop and waving, the bus did not stop! How very annoying that is.  I waited some more, and then caught a bus to Grenada Village, getting off at the Johnsonville Library, where I caught a number 19 bus home.  Boy, I was tired after all that, but chuffed that I could do it.

Today’s Covid 19 report is as follows: there are 2,780 new community cases, and 336 people in hospital, including 6 in Intensive Care. Apparently there have been a further 20 deaths.

Of the 20 deaths reported today: five were from Northland, two were from Auckland region, four were from Waikato, two were from Taranaki, four were from MidCentral, three were from Canterbury. One was in their 30s, two were in their 60s, eight were in their 70s, six were in their 80s and three were aged over 90. Of these people, 13 were women and seven were men.

It’s almost a week since I started this blog. Time to stop now!  Slava Ukraini! Ngā

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