“Mourning has Broken”

St Paul’s Cathedral Wellington, where there was a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II

It’s now Saturday September 24th, 2022.Kia ora!

I haven’t written since last Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I got up early to go to hymn singing. It was beautiful, as always; we sang a beautiful hymn to Sibelius’ Finlandia, Psalm 23, and Love Divine as sung at the Queen’s funeral. Afterwards I met an old friend for coffee. We had a lovely chat. 

On Thursday morning I had my other singing session.  JD could not take me there, so I had to Uber. Although it was a bit of a rush, I got there a few minutes early. In the afternoon I zoomed into another meeting I had joined.

Friday was quite a busy day.  JD had a meeting all day, and had to pick two people up from Wellington airport, and another from the Bay Plaza hotel, before driving to Hōhepa at Otaihanga for their meeting. He left at 7 am.

Meanwhile, I had a hair appointment in Mana at 12:45.  It was overcast, and drizzly, but not particularly cold. Nevertheless, I wore my big puffer jacket, and was glad of it. Thankfully, none of the buses or trains I planned to use were cancelled, although other services were.

It was all quite an adventure. I took some crackers with cheese in case I didn’t have time for lunch.  I caught the shuttle bus that left Johnsonville at 11:14 am; I then caught a bus from Johnsonville to Wellington Railway Station. I had to wait a few moments n Johnsonville, and I was glad of my warm jacket.

While I was waiting, I saw a truly amazing manoeuvre. Someone dropped a young woman off, at the bus stop, and then did a U-turn, in the middle of the busy Moorefield Road; the driver had to reverse to complete the U turn, and reversed into an oncoming car; that car couldn’t reverse, because there was traffic behind it; thankfully, the turn was performed without touching between cars. What an amazing sense of entitlement!

At the Railway Station in Wellington, there are workmen changing the main stops, so the bus stopped at the new temporary Stop A, past the wooden government buildings and almost at Stout St. I walked back to the Railway Station, where fortunately there were a few minutes to spare before the train left to Waikanae. It’s great to have information boards all around so you can tell which platform to go to.

The train was quite busy. It was supposed to get to Mana by 12:40 pm, but it was a few minutes late; it was then quite a walk to the hairdressing salon. Never mind, it was lovely when I got there, and I was given a long black coffee and two tiny biscuits individually wrapped – a nice touch.

In the event, I caught the last train back to Wellington before 3 pm, due at 2:53 pm. I had a few minutes before the train came, but not time for lunch, of course. I was thankful to have some crackers with cheese.

Once back in Wellington, I had something to eat at the New World Café.  It’s very basic, but I didn’t have enough energy to go somewhere more salubrious. My toasted salmon bagel was delicious, but it would have been nice to have some cutlery! After this, I was notified that several trains on the Johnsonville line were cancelled, but not the next one, thankfully. It left from Platform 1, quite a walk away. Like my train to Mana, it was busy. Using my snapper card, I logged on at the Railway Station.  It was raining by now.

I notice there is a good shelter at Crofton Downs station. I got to Johnsonville, just missing the shuttle bus home.  Still, it’s a bit of a hike from getting off the train, walking down the ramp, crossing the busy road. At least I could wait in the library. I finally got home, where JD had just arrived back.

We were due in town for dinner at 6:30 pm, so there was time for a short rest before getting changed and ready to go out again. Amazingly, I had felt very unwell in the early morning, but having survived the day, 3 bus trips, 3 train trips, rain and all, I felt up to going out for dinner, even though the venue was somewhere I’d fainted on an earlier occasion. In the event, it worked out well, although of course we couldn’t park anywhere nearby.  Never mind, we did get safely home, after having a nice meal at Apache. 

Today is definitely a rest day! No appointments today. A very quiet one.

It’s now Sunday September 25th.

Daylight saving started last night.  Thankfully, we’re not driving back from Hawkes’ Bay after an exhausting Hōhepa Family Weekend, and a short night. Actually we miss these events, but Covid 19 has forced many of them to be cancelled or postponed.

This morning I went to church. It was quite cold, and drizzling, as usual. But church was lovely. We had a mixture of organ music and piano and guitar. We sang “Guide me o thou great Jehovah (Redeemer?)” to the beautiful Cym Rhonda tune.

The texts were from Timothy 1, chapter 6, about the nature of piety and contentment, and about the love of money being the root of all evil; the gospel text was from Luke 16, about the poor man Lazarus and the chasm between Heaven and Hell.

I was getting public transport home, but needed to do some shopping first. I perhaps could have caught the next bus, but someone ahead of me at the checkout took a very long time, so I had a snack in one of the cafés while I waited for the next bus.

The latest news is that President Xi of China may be under house arrest, according to an Indian news channel. Well, that would be big news, if it were confirmed. (It is not).

Meanwhile, there’s bad news from Russia about the Ukraine conflict. Putin spoke a few days ago (when exactly?) about his intention to conscript 300,000 more Russians, his intention to hold referenda in the occupied territories, and a threat to use nuclear weapons to safeguard territory he regards as his; it’s thought that the referenda are a means towards calling more territory Russian, and then needing to be defended.  He looked strange and weary and rather unwell, while delivering this terrifying speech.

The call for conscription terrifies many. Evidently, the conscription papers were already drawn up, and were delivered almost immediately. Men aged from 17 to 65 are being called up, regardless of their health, or lack of military training. . This has sparked protests, especially in Moscow and St Petersburg, where 1,000 (later reported as 2,000) people have been imprisoned; people are also trying to flee in cars, causing huge queues, and on the domestic airlines that are still flying, to countries that don’t require a visa.  It’s caused huge upset, with sick and ill people being told they are fit to serve at the front. Meanwhile. Ukrainian cities are still being shelled, and there are reports of people at gunpoint being forced to participate in referenda.  Once again, the world sits in the nightmarish situation of the potential for nuclear weapons to be used, while nuclear power plants carry their own risk.  Meanwhile, some people are returning from being in Russian custody very thin and with marks of torture. There was a mass grave at Izyum, now abandoned by the Russians.  There’s no welcoming committee, then.  It’s suspected that lots of Ukrainians have been deported to Russia.  It’s a very scary time – continued, but up a notch.

In the US, things have been happening too.  Rod De Santis, governor of Florida and potential presidential candidate, used tax payer funds to fly a number of asylum seekers fleeing communism to Martha’s Vineyard, seen as a liberal enclave, without any warning.  It seems the migrants were lied to, about a welcoming committee to meet them in Boston with housing and job offers.

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, has indicted Donald Trump and three of his adult children for what she’s memorably called “The Art of the Steal”, for tax fraud over several years, where assets were greatly inflated in value to secure loans, and seriously undervalued for the purposes of paying tax.

There has been legal to-ing and fro-ing over the finding of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago; a special master was appointed, as Trump’s lawyers requested; but conservative Judge Dearie (yes, really!), a Trump appointee, has asked for specific evidence that the FBI planted documents, and the US Department of Justice has appealed Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling that would have put a hold on their document review, meaning they can continue to review these top-secret documents.  So it’s not going all Trump’s way.

The mid-term elections remain a toss up; polls are probably quite unreliable because of the limited group of folk who actually take part in them.

It’s now Friday September 30th.

We’ve been away for a few days, so I’ll write about that in my next blog.

Meanwhile, hurricane Ian is wreaking havoc in Florida, and now threatening South Carolina. On September 29 the January 6 Committee was to give another presentation on the events around that dreadful insurrection, but this has been postponed due to the impact of this hurricane. In the UK, after a period of mourning Queen Elizabeth II, there has been a bit of a meltdown, with the new Chancellor’s budget causing so much concern that the pound has fallen and the Bank of England is having to take corrective action. In Iran, huge protests continue over the death of a woman in police custody; she was arrested for not wearing a hijab correctly. In Italy, the head of the fascist party is about to become Prime Minister.

That’s it for now.  Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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