An Interesting World Cup

The FIFA World Cup Stadium in Qatar

It’s now Sunday November 27, 2022. Kia ora!

It’s been a busy few days. On Friday someone came from Access to do some housework. Of course, I rushed around beforehand changing the towels and sheets and putting the rubbish out. In the afternoon I had to go to Khandallah. I caught the train back to Johnsonville, after walking from the village in Ganges Road to Khandallah Station. There I found that my snapper card did not work: the machine claimed the card had been blocked. When I got to Johnsonville I checked it at the library; it seemed just fine, I then used it without incident on the shuttle bus home.

We went up to the local pharmacy who were having a sale – 20% off everything. Sadly, they didn’t have a nail polish set, one of the things our daughter likes. We have to be careful about fragrances; I don’t wear nail polish, but she enjoys it, and is patient enough to let it dry. We did get some more masks.

On Saturday morning there was a birthday party, starting at 10 am. One of our grandsons turned five, and he chose to have a Frozen party. I found, and wore, a pale blue dress, but I was horrified to find how much weight I have put on! It’s pretty tight now. But it was a lovely party.

After this we went shopping at New World in Thorndon, where we did buy some stuff, although they didn’t have the salads or pies that I wanted. We tried to redeem two books of stickers to get some glasses, as part of the current promotion. Unfortunately, this took a very long time. Both the checkout operator and the packer were confused, even though the nice lady behind us in the queue gave us two stickers to make up the numbers.  Oh dear, oh dear, this took simply ages. I didn’t want my preferred glasses to run out, but I regretted making the decision to go through with this. Meanwhile, the queue backed up behind us, time went on, and eventually we were done. But, not so fast though: the person packing our goods had simply walked away, and although there were plenty of bags, she hadn’t packed all the goods. We did get the glasses to the car and then home without breaking them, however we had to reheat the hot pies we’d bought for lunch in the microwave at home before eating them.

The next day, Sunday, was busy. It also rained most of the day – thank goodness the party was yesterday, when it was fine, although rather windy. Since it was our grandson’s actual birthday, we were to visit his family for morning tea. To save time, I zoomed into my usual church service. It was the first Sunday of Advent, and the theme was Hope. The service went on rather long, and I had to leave after the sermon.

It was lovely to visit the 5 year old, and his family; afterwards, we had toasted sandwiches and a quick rest before going to the Artspace Gallery on the Petone Esplanade where we’d been invited for a celebration of Alan Collins’ 96th birthday between 3 and 5 pm. Alan Collins is a celebrated water-colour artist, and it was the last day of his latest exhibition. What a fine painter he is! It was a very enjoyable occasion, with drinks, delicious things to eat, and yet more birthday cake. There were people we knew there, and we met more really nice people.  JD had bought a painting of a setting in Eastbourne for his sister’s 70th birthday (yes, she’s having a party in the new year, and we’re booked to go).

We headed home, but the day wasn’t done yet. There was to be an ecumenical service for Advent in St Benedict’s Catholic Church in Khandallah, at 7 pm, concelebrated by the Anglican minister, our own, and the catholic priest. JD took me to this: I had doubts about attending, not knowing what to expect, but I felt bad about not going to church physically in the morning. JD wouldn’t come in, but it was warm and quite cosy there, although there weren’t many people.  It was a lovely service, with some beautiful singing, by a soloist.  Afterwards there was a very nice supper in the foyer. It was still daylight, so I walked to the nearby supermarket to wait for JD to pick me up. 

The service was quite poignant, too, because this church is to close and the parishioners are to attend the catholic church of St Peter and Paul in Johnsonville. I knew that such discussions were underway between St Andrew’s in Newlands and these two; evidently a decision has been taken. I would just comment that although the Johnsonville church is more central, parking is extremely scarce around there, and it’s in the same narrow street as the Johnsonville Uniting Church. Still, I am working my way through Tom Holland’s book Dominion; there’s a lot of church history here, but I guess the early Christians didn’t have much use for temples, of which I’m sure there were many. 

The next day, Monday, I did go to my exercise class in Ngaio, although I was very tired. It was lovely, and afterwards my friend and I found an easier way to walk to the Railway Station that wasn’t such a climb and didn’t involve crossing two sets of railway lines! 

The weekly covid 19 report was published shortly after 1 pm, and it’s not good news. It’s reported that there are 27,076 new cases of Covid-19 this week. There were also 58 deaths of people with Covid-19 and 328 people with the virus were hospitalised – 10 in ICU.

Of the 58 deaths being reported today, three were from Northland, 19 were from the Auckland region, six were from Waikato, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from Lakes, one was from Tairawhiti, one was from Hawke’s Bay, two were from MidCentral, one was from Whanganui, five were from Wellington region, one was from Nelson Marlborough, nine were from Canterbury, two were from South Canterbury and four were from Southern.

One was in their 20s, two were in their 30s, two were in their 40s, two were in their 50s, eight were in their 60s, 18 were in their 70s, 16 were in their 80s and nine were aged over 90. Of these people, 24 were women and 34 were men.

Last week saw 24,068 cases reported, and 40 deaths – including one of a child under the age of 10.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s reported that3383 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19. That number seems high to me; it took a long time to reach 2,000 and then 2,500. These numbers are alarming, but there seems to be a milder version of Covid 19 around, for which we are grateful.

In the evening I had a meeting. I hardly ever go out at night, but it was well attended, and it went well. Afterwards someone gave me a lift home.

I wanted to watch The Dissident on Te Whakaata Māori television, but there was a live softball game being screened, and The Dissident didn’t come on as advertised.

It’s now Tuesday November 29.  I decided to have a quiet day at home today, boring as it is. 

There are significant protests: the protests in some large cities in China demonstrate enormous bravery, in the face of rising cases on Covid 19. In one city, 10 people died in a fire, being unable to get out, being barricaded in their apartments.  These protests are major, and continuing, thus defying the Chinese authorities. Evidently the Chinese vaccine is not very effective; one had to wonder about their testing too, since so many asymptomatic cases test positive. The Chinese government is trying to suppress media coverage, but it’s getting though, none the less, and the world, of course, is taking notice.  Huge frustration is evident, as it is in Iran, where protests continue. It strikes me as so ironic that whereas the coronavirus supposedly started in Wuhan, and the Chinese coped rather well with it initially in terms of building hospitals quickly, their subsequent Covid Zero policy and their ineffective vaccine have been incredibly frustrating for Chinese citizens, and have done the Chinese economy great damage.  It’s been frustrating for us, too, of course, but we have had to learn to live with it.

Fierce fighting continues in Ukraine, where the cold gets more severe, there’s a shortage of power and clean water, and it’s raining and muddy.

It’s now Wednesday November 30.

This morning I got up early to go to hymn singing.  It was lovely, as usual. Afterwards I caught a bus into town, and then another No 3 bus up Taranaki St. This was in order to walk to Commonsense Organics at the shopping complex in upper Tory St. I wondered again why there isn’t a bus service to get one a bit closer to Moore Wilsons’, Prefab, or Commonsense Organics.  Marvelling again at the high prices, I bought some Hōhepa Danbo cheese, some gluten-free mince pies, and some Christmas cake, like they had last year. The “cakes” are really Christmas fruit  logs covered in chocolate, and what’s more, they’re vegan and gluten-free. While I really like rich fruit cake, these logs are a good compromise.

Afterwards I made my way to the Warehouse, where I looked at the kitchen tidies. I then carefully made my way upstairs to look at luggage. Sadly, they had none!

After this I really needed a cup of coffee. I went to L’Affare in Tory Street, but they looked really busy. I walked down to Courtenay Place, and along to the bus stop outside the St James Theatre.  Seeing the next bus was 4 minutes away, I walked to Sixes and Sevens in Taranaki St. The food looked amazing, but there was nowhere to sit, and it was a bit cold and windy outside. So I walked to the Dixon St Deli café, where although it was quite busy I could sit down. I  had a long black coffee and a cheese scone there. The scone was pretty bad. I didn’t eat much of it, but it was good to sit down and have my first coffee of the day. Again, I wondered why there isn’t better transport or more cafés, to say nothing of a Wishbone outlet, at this end of town. I caught a full No 2 bus to Lambton Quay, where I got off and went to the Wishbone in the James Cook Arcade. I got nice sandwiches for lunch, and a Thai curry to have for dinner. Then I caught a bus to Johnsonville.

It’s now Thursday December 1.

It’s much cooler, rainy, and overcast. We had a lovely singing session this morning. Thankfully, we weren’t due to sing outside,  that’s next week’s treat. We hope it will be fine and warm, but Ganges Road tends to be a windy place.

Most days I listen to The Bulwark podcast, mainly to keep up with what’s happening in US politics. These folk used to be Republicans, and while they’re not crazy, they tend to despise Democrats for not being more like republicans, and bewail the “good old days” when they could spend hours discussing what it meant to be conservative. They rarely, if ever, discuss any means of making people’s lives better, as in providing a better health care system, clean water for all, reticulated sewerage systems for all, and control of deadly chemicals in certain environments. They do sometimes talk about improving the life outcomes for the unborn, but to my mind these discussions don’t go nearly far enough.

The soccer/football World Cup is being held in Qatar, and continues to throw up surprise results, upsets, and a scary look at human rights, or their repression. Goodness only knows what all this air conditioning is costing, as well as the cost of building the five stadia in the desert, and the container accommodation. The podcast The Rest is History is posting a new episode every day describing the history of participating countries. This too is very interesting.

In the US, Stewart Rhodes, head of the Oath Keepers, and an accomplice, has been found guilty of sedition. That is significant.  So often, it seems to be a case of one step forward, and two backwards, but this consequence is meaningful.  The Georgia run-off election for Senate between Pastor Warnock and Herschel Walker is due on December 6, but there has been lots of early voting. That’ll be interesting.

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

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