Today is Monday September 5th, 2022. Kia ora!
Last night I did not sleep very well – too much coffee, I fear. I went to sleep during Brokenwood Mysteries, as I often do, but it’s not a good sign for getting back to sleep. It was colder this morning, and quite windy and drizzly.
I had arranged to go to an exercise class in Ngaio this morning. Firstly, I learnt that several local train services had been cancelled. JD dropped me at the railway station in good time to catch the10 am train, but the trains were replaced by buses. The so-called shelter had no seats. Then, having alighted in Ngaio, it was a bit challenging to walk to where the class was; there was lots of traffic, and one had to cross the road more than once. Nevertheless, it was lovely when I got there, and everyone was very welcoming. There was a big turnout. Most of the exercise was seated, with some standing; it focused on breathing, and exercising each part of the body. There was some stretching and balancing. Afterwards there was tea, coffee (brewed coffee!) and refreshments – cheese and crackers and some cake, I think.
Afterwards I walked to the bus stop, which had no seats. Eventually the bus came (presumably there was a better shelter at the railway station); I got the bus to Johnsonville, but then the next two buses home were cancelled. I was too tired to face spending over an hour at the library. Fortunately JD was on his way back from town and could pick me up.
After all this I was very tired indeed. I didn’t blog on Tuesday (yesterday), feeling I needed to recover and get my strength back. In the early evening we delivered a birthday present for my grandson, which had been sent from China, and we went to the supermarket in Churton Park. I bought two packets of decaffeinated tea bags. They taste like tea, but having the caffeine removed seems to make quite a difference. I still drink coffee, however, caffeine and all.
It’s now Wednesday September 7th.
After two nights’ good sleep, I wake up feeling much better, and get up to go to hymn singing. I’m a bit early, so I post a birthday present to my son in the UK. Hymn singing is lovely, as usual, and I miss the 10 am bus into town, so I have morning tea – a long black coffee and a date scone.
Then I caught a bus into town, noting that the Wellington Railway Station Bus stop A has moved – to in front of the famous wooden building – quite a long way from the Railway Station; if you were catching a bus to Wellington Hospital, you’d have to allow at least five minutes to walk the distance – there are no shortcuts. I went to Unity Books – always a treat, and then to the Metro New World supermarket in Willis St. Walking back down Willis St, I bumped into an old friend – another treat. Then I caught a bus home – via the scenic route, and JD picked me up in Johnsonville. It’s a lovely fine day, after a very cold start, but there wasn’t a frost this morning, thankfully.
Today there are no disruptions to the bus service, thankfully, although I get several emails telling me that the trains services are disrupted.
This afternoon I’m trying to catch up with all the news: the Sussexes’ visit to Manchester (yes, I have to get up to date with some of the news of the dastardly duo); a Trump-appointed judge has granted Trump’s request for a special master to oversee the issue of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago – this has caused an enormous upset; meanwhile, the Washington Post has a story about stolen papers having details of the nuclear arsenal of a foreign nation, which is, again, upsetting, especially with the decision to appoint a special master, and thus hold up the judicial investigation; and then there’s Ukraine’s efforts to take back some areas captured by the Russians around Kherson. There’s a lot happening.
It’s now Friday September 9th.
I didn’t blog yesterday. I went to singing in the morning. JD had to drop me early, so I had a long black coffee and a cheese scone beforehand. There was a great turn out there – the singing sounded wonderful. Afterwards a friend gave me a lift to Johnsonville, and I had lunch at the library café. Unfortunately something I ate didn’t agree with me, and I didn’t feel well once I got home.
During the night, I went to sleep and woke at about 1 am. When I looked at my phone, members of the Royal Family were making their way to Balmoral Castle; it had been said that Her Majesty should be under medical supervision. Just hours earlier she had met the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss. I went back to sleep – listening to something. When I next woke up, sometime after 5 am, I learnt that Her Majesty the Queen had died. Prince Harry had gone to Balmoral, but Meghan Markle had not. Well, it’s a shock. Although the monarch was 96 years old, I think my respect for her, and the respect of others, grew greatly over the past few years, especially as she was evidently struggling with her health, and the devastating criticisms of the dastardly Sussex duo, and of having Covid 19. At least the Brits had a wonderful jubilee recently; at least the Brits have a profound sense of occasion and ceremony, and you know that everything will be done just so. The ceremony will be extraordinary.
I went to have lunch with a friend of mine, who comes from England, and has Sky television. I watched much footage on Sky News. Together we realised that this is a big moment. Everything changes. I’m just waiting for my favourite British podcasts, The Rest is History and The Rest is Politics, to drop new episodes; after all, they rushed into not print but speech when former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to stand down.
There’s other big news too: in the US, the Department of Justice has decided to appeal the Special Master ruling in relation to the classified papers Trump took to his private club, Mar-a-Lago, and Steve Bannon is to surrender himself to the court system on suspicion of fraud – specifically a charity called “We Build the Wall” that collected money towards building Trump’s promised wall on America’s southern border, which was then used fraudulently for Bannon’s personal benefit.
On the war front, Ukraine seems to be doing rather well in its efforts not only to resist Russian occupation, but to take back some territory held by Russia.
It’d now Saturday September 10th.
I have been digesting news of the Queen’s death, and news from the US, as mentioned. The historians at The Rest is History have put out two episodes about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, and perhaps her place in history. I listened with great interest. Apparently King Charles has made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife the lovely Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales.
We bought a new stove. This had been promised to me as a Christmas present, which did not happen at the time because JD didn’t feel quite comfortable about it. I have very mixed feelings about getting a new stove. The salesman asked me what I like to cook? I said I like to cook as little as possible. Still, I guess the new oven will be good for heating pies! The current stove takes ages to heat up, and is then super-hot. The contents are either burnt or under-cooked. I wanted a new stove for ages, but it didn’t happen. For years I couldn’t cook a turkey and a ham in the stove at Christmas time, because it’s not nearly big enough. It doesn’t have a warming drawer, either. I guess when we go to sell the house it will be good to have a working stove, and JD did get a good price. One of my sons still cooks for us sometimes – at least he’ll have a good stove to cook in. Ah, progress! I found it nerve-wracking.
After this scary spend we went to have lunch somewhere. The traffic was quite heavy. We went to a favourite place in Lower Hutt, but it was full, and we then went to the very busy café at the Dowse. It was very busy, and quite dark, but we did get a table. We got served quite quickly, but there was no coffee afterwards. Afterwards we had a look at the museum. It used to be a nice place to go, with a nice restaurant! It’s totally different now.
I’m still digesting the big news of Her Majesty the Queen’s death. While she had lived a very long life, and retained her mental faculties to the full, it’s quite sad that her close family members don’t really have time to mourn her privately. The timing is critical – even the timing of advice of her death. It’s hard to get used to saying King Charles (III). I remember, sadly, what happened to Charles I; I think Charles II was a better king. Charles III has been proclaimed king now, so the few hours where he could choose a different regnant name are now gone. Some things happen automatically, for example, Prince William becomes Duke of Cornwall automatically, but the titles of Prince and Princess of Wale had to be formally bestowed on the Duke of Cambridge and his wife by the new king, and I gather some formal ceremony will follow. King Charles has a really busy few days ahead. Will his wife be Queen Camilla? I rather hope she’ll take another name.
King Charles III and his queen consort, Camilla, arouse very strong feelings in many people, especially now that Queen Elizabeth II has died and her very long reign is over. Many of us have not known another British monarch, or were very young when she became queen.
I watched the new King’s speech, and I have to say I was impressed. He seems to be growing into the role. He vowed to continue his mother’s commitment. Prince Harry was summoned, and went to Balmoral Castle when told of the Queen’s fading health; he didn’t arrive in time for her death, and it seems his father stated that Meghan shouldn’t come.
This still seems a sad and shocking time. I wouldn’t have considered myself a Monarchist, but surely we’re better off with Elizabeth, Charles, or William as our Head of State rather than Luxon, Albanese, or whoever the current governor-general may be. I was very impressed by Prime Minister Ardern’s very quick and gracious tribute to Her Majesty.
This is a strange time. Despite the British tradition of maintaining a stiff upper lip (while shedding a manly tear), and not displaying emotion, the British people went wild when Diana Princess of Wales died. They are now going even “wilder”, if that were possible. At that time Queen Elizabeth II’s and the Royal Family’s popularity were quite low. Three of the Queen’s children’s marriages and her sister’s marriage had ended in divorce, there was a fire at Windsor Castle, and there were questions about HM’s parenting style – which seemed to leave a lot to be desired. The television series The Crown portrayed the then Prince Charles as a strange, lonely young man who seriously irritated his father. Fancy sending him to Gordonstoun in the north of Scotland (“Colditz in Kilts”) and then to Australia to school! How could you do that to a child? He in turn came across as a cruel and uncaring husband, although I’m sure Diana was a handful – she came from a seriously dysfunctional family herself, and was much younger than her husband. Isn’t Prince William rather wonderful, though?
Prince William visited New Zealand soon after the remote Pike River Mine disaster on the West Coast, where 29 miners died in November 2010. I remember how impressed I was when he spoke. He spoke well, saying New Zealanders did not realise that the rest of the world holds us in high regard. He also said that his grandmother had warned him that grief is the price we pay for love. At the time he was engaged to Kate Middleton. He seemed a nice young man, and not nearly as stuffy as one might have expected.
One of our sons living overseas rang us last night, and we remarked that, whatever JD’s and my faults, our children have all turned out to be quite wonderful, and have all chosen lovely young women to be their partners. They’ve been chosen by these wonderful women too.
In the US in 2020, when Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, and when Trump said he had Covid 19, all the podcasts I listen to rushed into action with their emergency podcast systems, to talk about what this might mean, and what might happen. I’ve been expecting the British ones to do the same, but they’re taking their time. The Rest is History dropped a double episode yesterday about Queen Elizabeth II, and We Have Ways of Making You Talk dropped another, about the Queen in wartime, when she was a teenager. As of now The Rest is Politics (Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart) has yet to comment. I do find that surprising.
The History episodes were very interesting, noting how the Queen encouraged the colonies of the British Empire to become independent, and forming the British Commonwealth. Independence hasn’t worked out so well for them -sadly – and while the British did some truly awful things, at least they got out of ruling their former colonies. Most, if not all, colonial powers were cruel and thoughtless. It upsets me to hear USA Americans talking (on MSNBC) about Britain having to reckon with its colonial past – and look who’s talking here! The way the Americans treated their indigenous people was just ghastly, and the shiploads of slaves they brought were treated very unkindly, for the most part. This terrible legacy continues today; the death of George Floyd sparked many protests, and many podcasts, where coloured people, many of them well educated and supposedly doing all right, spoke movingly about what they and their families had suffered. So, would you rather come from Puerto Rico, off the coast of the US, but not a state, or Guam, or from somewhere that was British like Jamaica? While the USA did not actually colonise many if any states (what is the status of Guam, I wonder?), it certainly interfered with many governments, especially in South America. I think we are so fortunate here in New Zealand. Goodness knows, our record is by no means perfect, but at least there was a treaty, the Treaty of Waitangi, between Queen Victoria, Maori leaders, and God. There was the Waitangi Tribunal, chaired by the then Sir Douglas Graham, which sought to compensate Maori tribes for the land taken by European settlers, and now there are serious efforts to include Maori in decision making; the Maori language is being fostered. Many signs are in Maori.
Next week is Maori Language Week here, and on Wednesday morning I’m going to a morning tea to celebrate and learn some more Te Reo.
That’s it for now. The Ukrainians are doing rather well in deceiving the Russians and taking back territory seized and occupied by Russia. The Covid 19 situation here is much improved, with fewer new infections, hospitalisations, and deaths. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.