Dear oh dear

A cartoon about Liz Truss’ longevity as PM

Today is Sunday October 16th, 2022. Kia ora!

Today is a beautiful fine day, after a cold start. I went to church this morning. Thankfully, the organist was recovered and played beautifully. There was talk about the power of prayer, and of persistence. The sign of peace has a new Māori phrase – it’s been moved up a notch, but it is quite beautiful: te Rangimarie o te Karaiti…and I can’t remember the rest, alas.

Afterwards, I saw that I had missed my bus to Johnsonville, and so would have time to have coffee before the next bus was due in an hour’s time. But JD picked me up, and we went into town to see the Spring watercolour exhibition at the Academy gallery.  We also had a good look at the lovely shop there, but we didn’t buy anything. Afterwards we had lunch at Arabica Café, where we each had an omelette.

Last night we had endured the annoying advertisements on Television One to watch the first episode of the final series of Doc Martin.  Suffice to say, the dialogue was really annoying. Martin and Louisa seem so unsuited, but, he, they’ve had a second child – a baby girl.

We also watched Sherwood on Television One. I had watched it online, but I was happy to see it again, with the lovely Lesley Manville.

I’ve also been listening to podcasts – about Ukraine. The nuclear question is being discussed and debated, again. There are some who think Putin should be given an off-ramp, a bridge to exit with some dignity;  well, I think, who started all this? Putin started this totally unprovoked conflict. He should just get right out of there. Goodness knows, he’s created an enormous mess: death and destruction, ruined buildings, damaged infrastructure, millions of refugees,  reduction in the gas supply, and enormous disruption of the world’s food supply; the world was just getting over the Covid 19 pandemic, and dealing with supply-chain issues, inflation, and rising prices – for everything.  Putin certainly didn’t need to make this situation worse; I guess one so-called benefit is the world’s military and retired military seeing and evaluating the weapons, drones, and military assault being used, in a detached fashion. There’s the climate crisis, too, of course, coming ready or not.

It’s now Monday October 17th.

Last night we watched This Britain on television one, starring Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson.  He acted the part very well, but with rather too much Shakespeare (I honour the Bard, but it’s not so great in the mouths of these men), and his hair wasn’t nearly messy enough. We watched as the covid 19 pandemic spread, ominously, as officials at first couldn’t believe that it would ravage the world so quickly.

This morning I went to my exercise class, and really enjoyed it. It’s been fine and mild today. Afterwards we caught the train, back to Johnsonville. I had just missed by #19 shuttle bus, so JD picked me up and we went to Nada Bakery in Tawa to buy some lunch.

The weekly Covid 19 report is out today. I’ve finished my course of antibiotics, but my cold isn’t completely recovered yet. I think any infection in my chest has gone, but I still cough sometimes, and need to blow my nose.  I try not to cough in embarrassing situations.

The Ministry of Health is reporting 14,311 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand in the past week. This is over 3000 more than what was reported in the previous week. The seven-day rolling average of community cases has increased to 2041. An additional 34 virus-related deaths have also been reported, and 185 people are in hospital – with two in ICU.

Of the deaths being reported today, nine were from the Auckland region, four were from Waikato, two were from Taranaki, one was from MidCentral, six were from Wellington region, one was from Nelson Marlborough, six were from Canterbury and five were from Southern.

One was in their 40s, three were in their 50s, two were in their 60s, nine were in their 70s, 12 were in their 80s and seven were aged over 90. Of these people, 16 were women and 18 were men.  At this point the total number of deaths is over 2,000 at 2,065. I got that figure from the Dom Post, but it stated there’d been a further 10 deaths, whereas Radio NZ was reporting a further 34 deaths.

It’s now Tuesday October 18th.

It’s a beautiful day today, fine and warm and sunny. JD and I went out to his golf club.  We took the new Transmission Highway, now SH1, to Pauatahanui, and then the Haywards Road to Upper Hutt. I had not driven on the new road this way before. It seemed fast, and wonderful. We played the game of So where are we? He played some holes, and for the first two holes we didn’t see another human being.  I had forgotten just how beautiful it is out there, and how wonderful it is; on the other hand, there’s quite a lot of traffic noise from the River Road.  He played a few holes, and then we wended our way back to the clubhouse. It was a long way back! 

It turned out that there was a women’s tournament there, (they couldn’t have it last year because of Covid 19 rules), but we had lunch and got served quite quickly: I had a tuna and cucumber club sandwich and a hedgehog slice; JD had toasted sandwiches. It was lovely and peaceful there.

It’s now Wednesday October 19th.

Today I went to see Mrs Harris Goes to Paris with a friend of mine. We navigated our way there on train and bus, and had time for a lovely cup of coffee when we got to the theatre. There were so many people there! I was relieved that I had booked online. What a charming movie! We both enjoyed it. Afterwards JD picked us up.

I’m waiting to see what happens to Liz Truss, still UK Prime Minister, presumably because senior Tories haven’t yet decided whom to replace her with. One almost feels sorry for her, and then I watched another interview where she comes across as totally useless.

Yesterday she didn’t come to PMQ’s, and was excused by a colleague, saying she had a very good reason for not being there. Then, however, she turned up. Labour Party politicians were concerned for her welfare. Jeremey Hunt, the new Chancellor, seems to be the one in charge. But when he put his name forward to be Prime Minister, he got only 18 votes and was soon eliminated. Nevertheless, he’s reversed many of her unfunded spending moves, even curbing the government’s household energy cap.

As again, Marina Hyde is very insightful:

It’s now Thursday October 20th.

This morning I find that Suella Braverman has resigned as Home Secretary in the UK.  Liz Truss is still PM, but I presume that’s just until they can agree who should replace her. There is a move to bring back Boris Johnson; this would be truly terrible, but I suspect he would continue to support Ukraine, so that would be a good thing.  In the US, there is doubt as to whether Republicans would continue to support Ukraine, should they take control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming mid-term elections.  These get scarier and scarier, as support for democrats seems to have increased, then dropped; are the polls reliable?  Not so, if they don’t so what you want them to say; but great if they are the other way round.  I listened to Morning Joe this morning, and they were saying President Biden’s support was up to 48%, the highest it’s been. On the other hand, Kevin McCarthy gave journalist Jake Sherman an interview in which he outlines the things republicans would like to do, like cutting welfare and being tougher on immigrants.  In Ukraine, Putin seems to be carrying out revenge attacks for the damage to the Kerch Bridge; much of the power has been knocked out, and he’s declared martial law over the four regions illegally annexed.  It will be a very bad situation if the US ceases its support for Ukraine. Residents of the Ukrainian city of Kherson are being advised by the Russians to leave – why? Some do, some don’t.

This morning I met some friends for coffee at a café. It was lovely. Then I caught a bus into town with a friend of mine, and booked some airline tickets to Australia.

It’s now Friday October 21st.

I am very tired after yesterday’s adventures.  We watched the new series Ridley on Eden starring Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar.  Well, it’s new to us, at any rate. This morning JD had a meeting he needed to zoom in for; needless to say, he needed my computer, and he had trouble firing it up.  I was expecting someone from Access to come and do some cleaning; first, of course, I tidied up, changing the sheets and towels, putting washing on, and emptying rubbish bins.

But today’s big news is that Liz Truss has resigned as British PM.  Thank goodness. There’s a feeling of here we go again, or rather, here members of the Tory party go again…to elect a new Prime Minister. Boris Johnson is said to have thrown his hat in the ring. Again.  I listened to The Rest is Politics question time, where they wondered, aloud, as many of us have done, about Liz Truss’s mental health; it seemed that the British parliament had some kind of brawl over voting for a motion to discuss fracking.  It was rumoured to be a confidence motion. Who knows, many people were disgusted by it.  One thing’s for sure: you can’t put  the genie back in the bottle; you can’t undo Brexit, Trump, Megxit, or the effects of Liz Truss and her erstwhile Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng. Unfortunately.

The Guardian’s John Crace put it very well again:

Various media have opined about Truss’s very short six-week reign as British Prime Minister; that’s including the two weeks’ mourning period for the Queen.  It seems to me that once her friend Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget was released, and had caused enormous turmoil, she was a dead (wo)man walking, and had no credibility at all. Her wooden statements at an interview and at PMQ’s showed that she had neither the appetite, not the ability, to lead the country. Some would say that despite her appetite to be Margaret Thatcher 2.0, she had no mandate from the English people to be their prime minister. Some gravitas is surely required.  Sir Keir Starmer had another great line: “The lady’s not for turning…up”, echoing Mrs. Thatcher’s statement that The Lady’s not for turning (this was based on the title of a play by Christopher Fry, entitled The Lady’s not for Burning. The Lady was a name used for Mrs. Thatcher (by those who were being polite).  The British press were very cruel to Liz Truss, as is their wont, but despite the levity (no one does comedy quite like the British) there is genuine dismay and consternation at the economical situation in the UK; the situation in the US represents chaos of a different sort, as they head into their mid-term elections.

 In China, President Xi appears to be heading into a third term as president, making noises about Taiwan being included in China; meanwhile, they are still dealing with Covid 19 outbreaks in the capital Beijing; a teenage girl’s death in a quarantine facility in Ruzhou has been hushed up.

In Ukraine, in the city of Kherson, the Russians are threatening to blow up a dam, which would cause enormous destruction and death.  The Ukrainians are already rationing electricity. There continue to be reports of conscripted soldiers being very ill-equipped, lacking even working rifles, let alone being trained in how to use them.

I am rereading Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. I did read it, very quickly, so, as usual, I am rereading it more slowly. What a joy it is! How cultured Count Rostov is!  It takes one into a dream world, where despite the events of the Russian Revolution, and consequent great privation, one can still enjoy fine food, good music, company, and great literature.

I have listened to several podcasts recently, but I tend to fall asleep during them, and so have to listen to them again.  It does mess with my dreams, but then they’re very informative. 

It’s now Saturday, October 22.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, after a cold start this morning. A friend visited and brought some beautiful flowers! How very kind of her.

This last week has been quite busy, for me. I booked tickets for JD and me to go to Adelaide and Melbourne. I hadn’t realised how expensive it would be, or how hard to get good tickets!  Silly me, I thought I had plenty of time.  Just as well that I got around to it.

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

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