Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson manages to look as disheveled as ever at a recent Remembance Day event

It’s now Monday November 14th, 2022. Kia ora!

It’s been a busy time, fine and warm for the most part but it rained on Saturday morning and Sunday morning, getting fine in the afternoon. On Saturday we drove to Otaki to visit an old friend who has moved there from Auckland. It’s nice for us to have him closer, and he now lives next door to his daughter and her family, but it has been quite a wrench for him to leave Tamaki Makaurau. While we were there, the weather brightened up, and we admired his new house and garden.

On Sunday I went to church in the morning, and then JD picked me up from the supermarket across the road. In the afternoon we went to the “Splash” watercolour exhibition at the Fine Arts Gallery where two friends of ours were demonstrating. It was our second visit there: again, it was well attended, and it was good to see the paintings again.

In the evening I collected some food to take for the foodbank collection in Ngaio. Sadly, many of the expiry (“Best before”) dates were years ago! Oh dear. Some things don’t deteriorate in my view: golden syrup, dried pasta, brown sugar, white vinegar.  I feel bad giving away foodstuffs that are past their best before date; I also feel bad throwing food out!  I don’t wish to cook these foods, or even keep them. When I had a large family, and regularly entertained, things got used up, and replaced; one didn’t look at the dates. Now it’s really important to look at the dates, since my local supermarket often sells foods that expire that are past their best before date, and even green potatoes. They really shouldn’t do this: some supermarkets discount the looming-expiry goods.

This morning we heard that our daughter has tested positive for Covid 19. We had heard that several of her flatmates had tested positive, as had the lovely woman who rang us on Friday morning.  She’s doing all right, but I was quite shaken by the news. I decided not to go my exercise class in Ngaio.  I was sorry to miss it, but the public transport is challenging, as is the traffic.

There have been 21,595 new community Covid-19 cases reported in the past week, as officials say they believe approximately three-quarters of infections are being reported. The Ministry of Health gave the update, covering the period from Monday, November 7, to Sunday, November 13, on Monday afternoon. There were 325​ people in hospital with the virus as of midnight on Sunday, seven​ of whom were in an intensive care or high dependency care unit.

The ministry also reported 56​ deaths over the past week. Of these, 35​ were attributed to Covid-19 (either as the underlying cause or a contributory cause). Categorisations of the other 21​ were not yet available. What does this mean, I wonder?

Of the 56 deaths reported on Monday, two people were in their 40s, two in their 50s, seven in their 60s, 18 were in their 70s, 17 in their 80s and 10 were aged over 90. Twenty were women and 36​ were men. The total number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 to date is 2154​, the ministry said.

Of the 21,595 new cases reported on Monday, 3881​ were reinfections (nearly 18%). Of these, 191​ were in people who had reported having Covid-19 already in the previous 90 days. Waitematā (north and west Auckland) had the highest number of new reported cases in the past week at 3061, followed by 2418 in Canterbury and 2327 in Counties Manukau.

The Ministry of Health’s latest Trends and Insights report, released on Monday with data from the week ending November 6​, said overall the key measures of infection – levels of viral RNA in wastewater and reported case rates – were stabilising, after “substantially increasing” since early October.

I caught up with a very dear old friend this afternoon, and saw photographs of her beautiful new grandson. He’s so like his father and grandfather!  What a thrill. We had such a nice time.

In the evening I met with three other women and we had such a nice discussion, about Christianity, mainly. 

It’s now Tuesday November 15th.

It’s another beautiful fine, warm day. If it could stay like this, it would be perfect!  This afternoon I spoke to my daughter on the phone! She’s taking Paxlovid, and so far is tolerating it well. Deo gratias. Also, we have a new great-niece in Australia. In addition, the gubernatorial election in Arizona has been called for Democrat Katie Hobbs, not her Republican opponent, Kari Lake. So much good news!

There’s been footage of the recent Remembrance Day ceremony in London and other parts of the UK.  It’s very different having King Charles as head of the Royal Family now, instead of the Queen.  So it was all a bit different. But, as usual, among the line up of former British Prime Ministers, Boris Johnson managed to look dishevelled, and did not wear a black suit. Liz Truss and Theresa May don’t dress particularly well, either, in my opinion.

It’s now Wednesday November 16th.

It’s another beautiful hot, fine day. This morning I went to hymn singing. It was wonderful, as always.  We have a new person!  I hope she’ll come again. Another person is back after staying away for a long time. Afterwards, seeing that I’d just missed the 10 am bus, I had morning tea before catching the 10:30 one.  I perused Unity Books – always a treat.  Then I bought some food to share for lunch, and caught a bus home.

Tomorrow we are to sing not at the Khandallah Town Hall but at the Malvina Major Retirement Home, at last! I think we’ve been trying to do this for ages, while Covid 19 has kept putting us off.

Meanwhile. case numbers of Covid 19 are up – yesterday daily recorded Covid 19 cases topped 4,000 for the first time since August.  It’s estimated that numbers notified are about three-quarters of actual cases reported, according to wastewater testing.  At Hōhepa there is a severe spate of cases, but our daughter is still doing all right, as are her flatmates: they’re up and about, playing games, watching movies, and being checked by the local nurse and doctor. The House Manager is also checking oxygen levels and temperatures. So that’s very good news.  There are still many train services cancelled each day, due to staff shortages; only some of them are replaced with buses.

It’s reported that a cruise ship that visited New Zealand is to land in Sydney with 900 covid-infected passengers on board.  It seems that there are no covid protections here any more; on the other hand, some people are having Covid 19 very mildly. Surely we don’t need cruise ships here again.

Meantime, it’s a busy old time here, with a concert and a family birthday tomorrow; Mozart’s Requiem on Friday evening; babysitting on Saturday…and then a new week.

In the US results from the mid term elections are still trickling in. Democrats will retain control of the Senate, with Vice President Harris’ casting vote; of course, if they win the Georgia run-off election between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker things will be that much easier, and Manchin and Sinema’s possible objections not such an issue.  Meanwhile, we get the enjoyment of Herschel Walker’s campaigning for a further few weeks.

It seems that Republicans will gain control of the Congress, by a very small margin – maybe two or three seats.  Already there is republican infighting, sparked by distress at how badly they did in the recent elections, contrary to their expectations, and the polls.  Kevin McCarthy’s victory may indeed be a Pyrrhic one, as he tries to control potential divisions within his politicians; it’s accepted that Nancy Pelosi has been masterful in her role as Speaker of the House.  Senator Rick Scott is to challenge Mitch McConnell for minority leadership of the Senate.  Wasn’t it Rick Scott whose spending of election funds was being called into question before the election?

Donald Trump has announced he will run for President in 2024, to the dismay of many republicans, who now see him as a loser.  Will they take this jumping off point?  Who knows? Many of us rather enjoyed the Murdoch-owned New York Post article: Florida man makes announcement…see page 36.

I have been listening to a podcast about the Russian retreat from Kherson. While this is a wonderful move, scenes of devastation, torture and mines have been left behind, leaving a potentially harmful situation. It’s not a surprise, then, but very sad that the occupation was so brutal The Russians have certainly not tried to win the hearts and minds of Ukrainians.

I am reading Dominion by Tom Holland, and what a marvellously interesting book it is! I reserved it at the library; of course, it’s a big tome, but I think I will finish reading it by the time it’s due back.

It’s now Saturday November 19th.

On Thursday morning the group I sing with were to sing at the Malvina Major home.  I was surprisingly nervous about this, mainly about the unpredictable nature of these performances. One never knows what’s going to happen – where we are too warm up, where to sing (will there be enough seats?), will one be able to see the conductor/pianist?  I think it went well, although I found all these aspects tricky, and I couldn’t sit next to my usual friends. I was extremely tired afterwards, and took a long time to “come down”.

On Friday someone was due to come from Access and do some cleaning. In the event, there were no dramas and the usual person turned up.  Early that evening,  friend was going to pick me up for an early-evening concert at the Michael Fowler Centre. It was very warm, and we decided not to take coats. It was nice not to carry lots of gear!  We found a carpark; parking cost $15.50, to my amazement. As the crow flies, it was a short distance to the MFC, but cones and fencing got in the way, and we ended up backtracking, crossing the road several times, until we got there – really early. We took seats for the pre-concert talk. 

It was a wonderful concert. The main feature was a performance of Mozart’s Requiem, with the NZSO conducted by Gemma New, and Voices New Zealand providing the choir. Perhaps Voices was enhanced by extra voices, but they sang so well and beautifully.  Their entrances were bang on time; their dynamics extraordinary, their sopranos superb. This was a wonderful performance. I have never seen so many people at the MFC!

Afterwards, it was raining quite strongly, so everything was wet (and consequently slippery). My friend and I had decided it really didn’t matter if we got a bit wet, but we carefully wove our way back to the car, and she drove me home. What a wonderful experience it was!

This afternoon we went shopping in Thorndon. Sadly, there were no pies, and no salads that I like to buy; no afghan biscuits either.  But we did get bread, lettuce, and strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. We also got nectarines, but there are still no apricots. There were no Jersey Bennie potatoes either.

It was raining this morning, but this afternoon it’s fine, although not as hot as it was yesterday.

The ”game” of US politics is really annoying. The polls predicted a “red tsunami”, meaning that democrats would lose badly to republicans; on the other hand, several democratic governors have been elected, and election deniers who had been endorsed by Trump lost in the main. A few outliers predicted that democrats wouldn’t do so badly. In the event, democrats continue to just hold the senate, with Vice president Harris’s casting vote; if the runoff election in Georgia between Warnock and Walker goes to the democrats, they’ll be more comfortable. Republicans now have control of Congress, by a very slim majority;  now there’s plenty of Republican infighting between different factions and different individuals. Nancy Pelosi has now decided to step down as head of the democrats in the house, as House Speaker when democrats had the majority.  It does seem to me that the media hugely helped to magnify this so-called fight; it has been quite annoying listening to wise heads pontificating endlessly about it all, first up, then down. Who’s surprised, then? Me, not so much, partly because the polls are notoriously unreliable. I’m pleased, though, that it wasn’t worse for democrats, given the amount of gerrymandering that goes on. In Michigan, not only has the democratic governor been re-elected, but the state senate has gone democratic as well.

In Indonesia, the G20  has been gathering, and some interesting meetings have taken place. Notably, Putin has not attended. Zelensky is calling it the G19.

I’ll leave it there. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.

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