Folk Behaving Badly

Ukrainian stamps celebrate explosion on Kerch Bridge

It’s now Friday October 7th, 2022. Kia ora!

This morning someone was supposed to come from Access to do some housework. It wasn’t the usual person; the arrival time was put back to 12:45 pm, and then 3 pm. I cancelled – I was really tired, and didn’t feel like showing a complete stranger the way around our house. However I did change the sheets and towels, put the rubbish and recycling out, picked up the camellias in the drive, hung up JD’s clothes, folded his washing and put it away, and did some general tidying up. No wonder I was exhausted!

I checked my phone at some stage and found that Access was sending someone new to me at 3 pm.  I rang and cancelled, since I was very tired, and didn’t want a stranger in the house.  Nevertheless, someone turned up at 2:30  pm, and JD let her in!  Oh dear, I told her that I’d cancelled, since I really didn’t feel up to showing her where everything was. Apparently Access hadn’t told her that I’d cancelled. As I had settled into reading, writing and having a rest, I didn’t feel like having a cleaner here, although the house certainly needs cleaning.

I slept very well last night, and I don’t seem to be coughing so much today, although I still need to blow my nose heavily quite often. But I feel as though I’m improving.  Last night we watched another episode of Bite Club on Eden.  We missed last week’s episode. Sadly, the lovely Dan has been arrested and charged with his girlfriend’s murder. It seems that Zoe (Dan’s ex) and her new fiancé have had a big row, and he is on the point of moving out. Meanwhile, the creepy Stephen is creeping around, now dressed in a suit and tie, helping the homicide team. After that I went to bed. My cousin in Christchurch retires early, and I am glad to too – and avoid falling asleep in front of the television.

In the evening we watched two episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey.  It is very well written, and well acted, and even has some beautiful music and Rumpole quotes poetry, and even the Bard!  He criticises the judge, who does indeed seem very partial. We just heard that Peter Ellis’ conviction for child sexual abuse was overturned, on the grounds that the evidence was unsafe.

It’s now Saturday October 8th.

Last night I slept well, although I’m still coughing quite a lot. 

After I woke up, I listened to several podcasts: The Lincoln Project podcast, where host Reed Galen was talking to Alexander Vindman; The Rest is Politics, with Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, who have a great deal to say about Liz Truss and her Anti-Growth Coalition. It seems a bit like former president Nixon’s Enemies List:  Am I on it, and if not, why not?  Oh dear, Margaret Thatcher was a piece of work, but Liz Truss may be even worse, if that were possible; her giggling Chancellor isn’t much better, and he can’t seem to take that smirk off his face.  Then there’s Suella Braverman, the new Home Secretary, looking forward to the first flight of would-be refugees/asylum seekers to Rwanda. Where did these people learn to be so cruel, so inhumane?

Lastly, I listened to the second episode of a British Scandal podcast about Mary Whitehouse, who performed a kind of Patricia Bartlett role in trying to clean up the British media.  The climax of the second episode is when, on the point of retiring, she is invited to meet the newly elected Conservative leader, Margaret Thatcher.

Then I got up and got breakfast, did the Saturday morning puzzles, and tried to catch up with the telegraph’s Ukraine The Latest podcast.

Going back to the Herschel Walker story in Georgia:  he says he’s been forgiven for the incident that he says didn’t occur; he’s also said that abortion is murder, a position that he now holds; there are all kinds of anomalies here, but it seems the Republicans are willing to condone whatever he’s done, whatever his personal failings as a husband and father, whatever his mental health issues, and yet accept the views he now espouses. He claims to have been forgiven, yet expresses no regret, no remorse, for his actions. Nor do any of his supporters. One of them called the girl a “skank” – and that was a female, too.  Yet – yet – yet – there is no sympathy at all for women here! None, whatsoever.  The grief and shock and potential indecision over having a foetus take over one’s body for a time, and the consequent feelings of nausea, pain, regret, whatever, just don’t exist. Women who seek abortions – for whatever reason – just don’t deserve to be alive themselves!  The perilous state of maternal health care in many places in the US confirms that. And yet, everyone has or had a mother at some point. A woman gave birth to Greg Abbott, Ron de Santis, and even Trump himself, and probably did most if not all of the work involved in raising a child.  How is it possible that women aren’t held in higher regard?

During the week, as we were driving to see the opera, we listened to a news report about the protests in Iran, occasioned by the death of a woman in police custody, arrested for wearing her hijab incorrectly, i.e. having some hair showing. I thought then how far backwards we are going, when women are fighting to have some hair showing!  We are surely going backwards, when violence of any kind is increasingly seen as being all right, even justified; and women are feared and hated in many places, and still seen as someone’s property, whether that be a man, or the state itself.

People are endeavouring to see and say how they were wronged in the past, and seeking for anyone they can lay guilt on; apologies are not always accepted, and the fact that “things were different back then” doesn’t really cut it. Yet they’re prepared to do enormous hurt, even bullying, towards others.  Why can’t we just all be kind to one another? I sometimes feel guilty about car carrying conditions when my children were small not being as strict as they are today; I then remind myself, at least they had booster seats, and safety belts, whereas when I was a child we had no seat belts at all, and helmets were not routine the way they are nowadays. 

Today we went shopping at New World in Thorndon. It’s become a bit of a ritual now, We did get raspberries – two punnets, some asparagus and lettuce. We also got coffee beans, tonic water, yoghurt, some frozen vegetables, salads, and bread. Sadly there were no pies to buy. But we had a good trip. Quite a few people were wearing masks, along with me!

In the evening we set out to watch Capote (2005)  on Te Whakaata Māori, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, where he travels with Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) to interview two men charged with a grisly crime, the murder of four family members in a remote part of Kansas. I had watched the 2006 film starring Toby Jones called Infamous, which deals with similar material.  I found this too sickening, so we switched to watching more episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey.

During the afternoon we heard that Tory Whanau was to be the next mayor of Wellington.  Well, I know little about her, but at least it won’t be Andy Foster. In the early evening we heard about the blast on the Kerch bridge linking the Crimea to Russia. This would be the Crimea that was annexed by Putin after the war with Ukraine in 2014. This is a very long bridge over the Kerch Strait built by Vladimir Putin, with a rail and a road component. This bridge was opened to great acclaim – Putin even drove a truck over it, unlike Trump and Johnson, who only pretended to drive big trucks. As the evening wore on, more information and more video footage came to light.

It’s now Sunday October 9th – White Sunday.

I was to go to church this morning in Johnsonville; JD was due to play golf, so he dropped me off early.  Of course, he was running late, so I ended up much too early for church, but with not quite enough time to have morning tea first, as had been my plan.  As it was, I got to church on time; there weren’t nearly as many people there as there had been on Fathers’ Day, when we had been there previously.  The Samoan service was taken primarily by children and families. Many wore white shirts or tops – I wished I had worn my Polynesian lei. Afterwards, I just missed a bus home, but a dear friend gave me a lift home.  It’s now fine and sunny after an overcast start to the day.

Turning back to Ukraine now, the Kerch bridge has been damaged by a blast – perhaps delivered by a missile?  A train crossing the bridge was seen to be on fire.  There was lots of dramatic video footage; apparently 3 people died, and a section of the 18 mile bridge has collapsed. This bridge was the main means for Russia to supply weapons to its troops in Crimea; this must be a heavy blow. The Ukrainians have not claimed responsibility, but dare I say it they’re not displeased. There’s talk about shoddy Russian construction. Part of the bridge has collapsed – evidently one road lane is still open. Others say it will be closed for at least two months. Some wit has added film of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday, Mr President to the then president Kennedy; President Putin was 70 yesterday. A stamp has been produced in Kiev showing the burning bridge.

I have to opine some more about the Herschel Walker scandal in Georgia.  It transpires that the woman who had an abortion became pregnant again, and decided to keep the child, although Walker wanted her to have a second abortion; he has however kept up payments for child support, although he hasn’t been a part of this child’s life either. So Walker, who claims forgiveness for the thing he says he didn’t do, had a child with this woman, whom he doesn’t remember, and has continued to pay child support. Although he promised to sue The Daily Beast, which first reported these incidents, this has not yet happened either. But he now claims abortion is murder; so much for any human life, before, during or after pregnancy, huh?  The news keeps getting worse for the would-be senator. How can the mother’s life be worth less than that of an unborn child? Doesn’t motherhood matter? And fatherhood?  For the republicans, alas, it’s all about power, it seems.  Any election is fraudulent unless the republican candidate wins!  Character and integrity evidently don’t matter.

I have finally finished reading Stalingrad, by Vasily Grossman, translated from the Russian. It ends not with some dramatic surrender but with the following words: “…the German batteries were no longer firing. A well-coordinated salvo of Katyushas had silenced them once and for all. With eyes, ears, and joyful heart Krymov understood all that had just happened.”  The fighting is not quite over, but it is almost over. Krymov is about to visit Stalingrad and has just made the terrifying boat crossing of the Volga river. What a powerful book! It has been well worth while reading it again.

There is quite a long Afterword, which I really should read. In the meantime, last night I started reading Aftermath, an account of Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich 1945 – 1955. It is an account of the restoration of order out of chaos, and I am looking forward to reading more of it.

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

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