(More) Memories

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin

Today is Sunday November 20th, 2022. Kia ora!

This morning I went to church. The weather here has been really weird, with fine, sunny spells interspersed with heavy downfalls of rain. It was nice to get to church early.  It’s Christ the King Sunday, today, and we had Psalm 46 “Be still, and know that I am God”, and Luke 23, where it speaks about  Jesus’ crucifixion, and his grace towards one of the thieves: “Today you will be with me in paradise”.  The Minister pointed out that after crucifixion, everything went quiet; in other words, perhaps the peace we seek came at great expense.

In the afternoon I spoke to my daughter on the phone. She’s doing fine, and seems to have no symptoms of Covid 19, despite being diagnosed positive. She’s also coping well with taking Paxlovid, with no apparent side effects, so that’s great news. She should be testing negative soon.

In the evening we watched the movie Fishermen’s Friends on Eden. I had seen it before, but it was worth while seeing it again.

It’s now Monday November 21st.

In the morning I rang Pacific Radiology to arrange a bone density Xray. The cost is now $215.00!  That’s steep, but I’d be interested to see if there’s been any change since last time – perhaps in 2019? I’m in a position to pay for this, at the moment, but last time I had one it cost $130, I think.

It was quite a busy day. I wanted to go to my exercise class at 10:30 in Ngaio; but we were also to go to a funeral at Tipene Funerals in Kenepuru Drive. at 1 pm. I was to catch the train back from Ngaio, and JD was to meet me in the carpark near Johnsonville Station. I had arranged that I would change in the car: I had thought this out carefully, and had put a different top, a black silk scarf, shoes and sock liners etc in a bag. In the event, I did get changed in the car. It was a rainy, windy day, although the rain held off at times.  We parked outside Ninness Funeral Home, and walked to Tipene Funerals. Although we were several minutes early, there were hardly any seats left.  People kept coming, and more seats were brought out. We didn’t get an order of service. It was good to be there, although personally I’d make some different choices!  I was amazed how young our friend was.  She had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Afterwards we did not join the family at The Borough in Tawa, going instead to Kaizen Café for lunch. They were open, although the kitchen was closed. We had very nice food: I had a quiche, and JD had macaroni cheese. I took my rhubarb shortcake home to have later.

I had watched several seasons of The Casketeers on television, greatly admiring the way Francis Tipene and his wife Kaiora handled funerals with great sensitivity and dignity. They’ve been in Kenepuru Drive for a while, so I was surprised that they didn’t have better facilities, with more seating, and an organ or a piano, and the ability to offer refreshments afterwards. I was checking out this funeral venue, but I doubt if I would willingly use it at this stage.

The Covid 19 report comes out early this afternoon. There are officially 24,068 new cases, there’ve been 40 deaths, and there are 344 people in hospital, including 3 in Intensive Care.

Of the 40 deaths being reported today, seven were from the Auckland region, four were from Waikato, one was from Bay of Plenty, two were from Lakes, three were from Hawke’s Bay, one was from Taranaki, two were from MidCentral, three were from Whanganui, four were from Wellington region, two were from Nelson Marlborough, nine were from Canterbury, two were from Southern. One was less than 10 years old, one was in their 50s, five were in their 60s, eight were in their 70s, 15 were in their 80s and ten were aged over 90. Of these people, 18 were women and 22 were men.

The seven-day rolling average of community cases is 3434 – last Monday it was 3079. Of the new cases, 4874 are reinfections. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2182 deaths can be attributed to Covid-19.  So we are definitely enduring another wave, although one sees very few masks around these days.

It’s now Tuesday November 22nd.

First thing this morning we learnt that the Hōhepa Family Day scheduled for Saturday 3 December has been postponed till next year. That is such a shame: while the day’s schedule tends to be exhausting, it’s a lovely chance to meet other staff members without making an appointment to see them, and to meet other parents. It’s been almost three years now that Covid 19 has dominated our lives, our mental health and our relationships; it’s so sad that we now seem to be in the midst of another wave.  Around this time of year, as well as our daughter’s birthday, there used to be a Christmas market, and one of the Christmas Plays.  I am sorry to miss these again.  We had been booked to go there for 5 nights; now we will have to change our schedule and our booking.

I feel a bit flat now after yesterday’s excitement!

It’s now Wednesday November 23rd.

This morning I got up early to go to hymn singing. We had a good turnout! It was lovely, as always. Afterwards, though, there was lots of drama. Early  this morning I got a message to say that today’s Te Reo Māori class that was to run from 10 – 11 am had been cancelled. That meant that I would have more time to go to a movie Compartment No. 6 at the Lighthouse Cinema Petone.  I found that the movie was on at he Lighthouse Cuba at 10:45 am, so I should be able to make that session, provided I caught the 10 am #25 bus from Khandallah.

I was waiting with several others when a bus pulled up, and the driver had some serious news: there was great disruption in Featherstone St, and all bus services were running late. He’d been on duty without a break for 4 hours. Then he drove away. Metlink wasn’t telling us about this disruption.  A bus stopped across the road, and several people crossed to catch it. A woman said it was going into town, so I got on.  I wasn’t sure what number it was, and I couldn’t figure out the route; I wondered if I could get off in Lambton Quay to catch a #3 bus up Taranaki St. I was worried about the time, too. In the event, the bus stopped at Wellington Station ahead of the Airport bus stop. I crossed the road, seeing a #83 bus to Eastbourne at the stop there. I wondered, again, why this interchange is so risky and difficult. But this seemed to be the best solution, I caught the #83 bus, which was nicely empty. It made good speed to the stop just after Britannia St, at right angles to Jackson St, Petone.

I headed to Caffiend for a long break. I was much too early for the 12:15 pm movie. So I had morning tea: a long black coffee and a cheese scone. The café was steadily busy but not crowded. I had a nice break there, spending time on my phone, and doing some puzzles in the newspaper. I also learnt that Saudi Arabia had beaten Argentina in the soccer world cup in Qatar, an upset indeed, this probably being Messi’s last world cup.

Eventually I made my way to the Lighthouse Petone, in nearby Beach Street. I saw the movie with two other people. In the really tiny theatre that seats perhaps 8 people.

I was glad that JD hadn’t come. I was glad to see the movie, but it wasn’t quite what I expected; I did enjoy it, though, and although it was sub-titled, it was easy to read and watch the film. Afterwards I looked up the petroglyphs of Murmansk – I didn’t know they existed!  It’s good to learn something new, and after watching the movie I feel less need to go on the Trans-Siberian Express.  I thought about various train journeys JD and I have done, and they were all more salubrious than this one!

Afterwards I caught #83 bus back to Wellington. I got off at the Railway Station, and caught a bus to the library at Johnsonville and then the shuttle home. There is great confusion about the changed placement of bus stops.  I had got used to the way things worked; it’s now all changed, and there seems to be no easy way to transfer buses or trains at the Railway Station. That’s presuming one’s bus hasn’t been cancelled.

It’s now Thursday November 24th.

This morning someone came to paint the other side of the house, so I couldn’t pull my curtains back. It seemed quite warm, but the wind got up and I was quite cold at my Thursday morning singing. There was a good turnout, although I did not actually count how many were there. Afterwards, it was really cold and windy outside.

After  lunch we spoke to one of our sons overseas, and then another son arrived with his daughter. I had left the Christmas presents spread out on our bed – I hope she didn’t look too closely.

In Ukraine, the ghastly conflict continues. As a cold winter approaches, Putin’s missiles have taken out many of the utilities. Many videos show Ukrainian success at blowing up Russian munitions; on the other hand, these limited successes have to be ranged against Russian success in occupying areas of Ukraine, and firing missiles at non-military outlets.

Watching the movie on Wednesday afternoon, set mostly in the Trans-Siberian express, made me think of things that happened in the past, and most probably won’t happen again: in the early 1970’s, we took the hovercraft from Dover in the UK to Calais, and the caught the train to Paris. The train said Paris Nord – I did not realise at the time it meant the train was heading for the Gard du Nord. In that same trip, we stayed in West Berlin, visited East Berlin, and went through Checkpoint Charlie.

In 2106, we caught the Eurostar train from London to Paris; I doubt if that is as easy now, given that the UK has left the European Union; I have been to Nȏtre Dame Cathedral three times, before the fire; it was awesome each time.

I doubt now that I will ever go to the Hermitage Museum at St Petersburg, or visit Lyiv, or Kyiv; however, there are plenty of wonderful places still to visit.

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

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