It’s now Wednesday December 14, 2022. Kia ora!

It’s a week of final things for the year – my exercise class on Monday mornings, my weekly hymn singing sessions, and my Thursday singing.  All finish this week.  This morning we had a lovely hymn singing session. We sang, All Poor Men and Humble (I think I last sang this at wellington Girls’ College), the beautiful O Holy Night, Hark a Herald Voice is Calling, and Good Christian Men Rejoice to the beautiful tune of In Dulci Jubilo. What do the women do, I wonder?

Afterwards we had morning tea together. Although it rained during the night, and was cooler this morning, it became very hot and sunny.

Afterwards we got some documents signed by the JP at the Johnsonville Community Centre, and I posted a card to my friend’s bereaved husband.  Her funeral is to be held locally on Saturday morning at 10 am; we are due to go to a wedding at 1 pm. I am caught deciding what to wear for each occasion, what the timelines will be, and where we will park.  JD has no worries: he’ll wear a black suit, and I guess he should wear a tie, too.  That will do for both. All the time, covid numbers are rising, and we are hoping to see our daughter again before Christmas, although we won’t be there for Christmas.

It’s now Friday December 16th.

On Thursday we had our final singing session for the year, with a catered lunch to follow.  I was expecting to go shopping with JD afterwards, but the plan changed. Instead, I bought him some food for lunch, and we went home. I was due to be in Khandallah again by 4 pm, where I met a friend. We shared a cup of tea and I caught a train and a bus home. Many trains were cancelled, so I had to wait for a while. It’s nice and warm, at present, although drizzly, so it’s no harm to wait for a bit.

Everyday I get floods of email alerts of trains being cancelled, on the Johnsonville and the Kapiti lines; they’re not always replaced by buses. Thankfully I’m not greatly inconvenienced by these delays.  At the Khandallah Station, all three Snapper (sic) machines reject my card; on the bus, it’s fine.

Today was complicated. Someone was due to come from Access to do some cleaning, so I was rushing around changing sheets and towels, emptying the rubbish, loading and starting the dishwasher, and generally tidying up. I was due to be in town 10 minutes before 2:15 pm for a bone density X-ray, so timing was a bit tight. I had to complete a questionnaire, and provide a list of medications, but thankfully I was able to do this and put the sheets in a folder, so I was quite organised.  JD had assured me he would drive me into town, but I didn’t know if the lady from Access would be gone in time, since she’s often late. I really wanted her to come, since next Friday is no good and then it’s the “silly season”. For some reason. Access have not sent a newsletter asking what services are required over the festive season. We also had lovely but unscheduled visits from two sons and two grandsons – I regret that I was rather busy!  Nevertheless, it all worked out all right. I even had time to have a cup of coffee and crackers and cheese before the cleaning lady came. She was very efficient, so we had plenty of time to drive into town. I hadn’t realised there would be so many snags: a stop area in Middleton Road, and the right hand lane closed in Featherston Street;  nevertheless,  despite the traffic, JD was able to drop me off in Lambton Quay close to Pacific Radiology. It’s always tricky finding the right building, but I did. There were several people in the waiting room, but I didn’t have to wait long. The lovely lady who X-rayed me had similar issues with balance and double vision: what a treat to meet someone who looks quite normal, but has trouble with loud noise, vision, vertigo, climbing or descending stairs, crossing roads etc. It was good to share some of our experiences.

Afterwards, I had a club sandwich, a long black coffee and a glass of water, before going shopping at Farmers, where they had 20% off women’s clothes.

Afterwards, I caught a bus home, although I had to wait a while.

Tomorrow is another busy day: we are due to go to a funeral at 10 am in Johnsonville, and then a wedding at 1 pm.  Still, I’m sure it will all work out all right. I have to say that I’m pleased my duties for today are over.

It’s now Sunday December 18th.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a most interesting day.  It was hot during the night, and wet – not raining heavily, but drizzling.  I didn’t sleep much, agonising about what to wear to each event, assuming I’d have time to change in between. One cannot be late for a funeral, or a wedding (or so I thought).

We got up early: I finished my breakfast by eating leftovers from the day before, and showered, washing my hair, and dressed. I also put makeup on, although the lighting was really poor. We left home a bit later than I’d planned but found a carpark quite close by the funeral home.

The service was in the funeral home’s chapel, and was taken by a reverend, although it wasn’t a religious service.  There weren’t many people there: of course, it’s a busy time, there’s no where obvious to park, it was quite early, at 10 am, and it was being livestreamed. I was grateful to see several friends there, and sat beside one of them. There were no hymns, readings, or prayers; some beautiful classical music was played, however.  The service was mainly tributes, of which there were several gracious ones.  Although my friend who had died was a very private person, several people spoke highly of her ability as an artist, an academic, a cat and a book lover, and a keen gardener. At the end the Reverend gave a kind of blessing/commendation except God was not mentioned. My friend whom I sat beside is a Christian person, and it was good to talk to her.  Beautiful music is played, including Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, and Pachelbel’s Canon.

Afterwards, we didn’t stay for refreshments, but headed back home for a quick turnaround. I changed into a summer dress and jacket, and put on more bling. We had a cup of coffee and crackers and cheese, which was just as well, since we would not eat again for quite a while.

On our way to the 1 pm wedding, trying not to be late, our youngest son rang from the UK.  He is supposed to travel here for Christmas (and his fifth wedding anniversary).  There are problems with that plan, but I won’t detail what they are.

We got on our  way again, finding the isolated function venue; we got there a few minutes before 1 pm, and saw several care parked there already. As it was still drizzling, and might well be raining when we left, I took my raincoat, putting it over my shoulders.

We got inside, and apart from a welcome sign at the entrance, there were no decorations; no wedding cake; no obvious place to put the present we’d carefully chosen, wrapped, and brought; and nowhere to hang my raincoat. There were two sofas, occupied by elderly ladies, a grandmother and an aunt. There seemed to be no other chairs. Two young women behind the bar were offering glasses of champagne with a strawberry inside. JD asked about hanging my raincoat, and was advised to hang it near the restrooms.

I really needed to sit down, so JD moved a chair from a stack out on to the veranda. And there we waited, and waited. There was music being played through a boom box – very loudly, at times.  A bower was being erected, with a tarpaulin over the top, which kept being blown away.  Some people were on their second glass of champagne by now. Eventually other chairs were placed on the veranda, and everyone sat down, who could find a chair. We were in the front row, but were unwilling to give up our seats by now. My new pretty dress was being spotted by raindrops. Many people had their cell phones out, ready to film the wedding party.

The groom arrived, in a black suit, and four groomsmen, wearing cream trousers, white shirts, braces, and bow ties.  Most garments appeared to be rather tight.

Still, we seemed to wait a long time for the bridal party to appear. The music was very loud indeed, and it stopped and started as the wait continued. It was 2:40 pm when they finally began the marriage ceremony.

Eventually the bridal party arrived: two little flower girls, wearing tiaras, carrying baskets of rose petals, and wearing cardigans: I don’t think that was part of the plan, but it was quite cold by now. JD had a woollen jersey on under his jacket; I wished I had a cardigan on under my jacket. I was very grateful to be wearing the jacket, which was lined and had three-quarter length sleeves.

There were five bridesmaids, wearing burnt-orange full-length dresses, carrying bouquets.  Finally the bride appeared, on the arm of her father. I felt to sorry for her – her dress was a bit too long, and she, like the bridesmaids, had to lift it so as not to trip over it. The dress had a long train, with a lace bodice; she was wearing a tiara, and a veil held somehow on the back of her head.  There was a bit of a Crazy Rich Asians vibe. There was a celebrant, and a reading from 1 Corinthians 13 about love. There was a short homily, between the snapshots and stoppages for photos. There was some language confusion, and the celebrant confused things himself. Eventually the rings were produced, and then the paperwork. But it was evident that they hadn’t had a rehearsal – over what to do with the engagement ring; what to do with the bride’s bouquet; what the flower girls were supposed to do. Eventually the newly-weds came back inside, followed slowly by the couples formed by best men and bridesmaids – there wasn’t really a good line up of the wedding party that I could see.

All this time, the music was really loud – mostly Elvis’s I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You; but the real ear-splitting sound was a woman shrieking, firstly when the first ring went on, and then frequently.  I said to JD that my ears would never be the same again. But I couldn’t get out, either – it was like being on an aeroplane, you just have to put up with the crying babies, until they mercifully don’t have the energy to cry anymore.

Eventually we went back inside, where some tables had been set up, and chairs were slowly being moved to the tables, so some guests could sit down if they wished. We were served drinks, and mercifully, some food: spring rolls, felafel, grilled chicken on skewers, and delicious hot sliders.  I kept thinking there would be a sit-down meal, as there had been for the engagement party, but this was not the case.  There was loud, fairly hectic, music.

After a time we discovered that some food had been put out nearby (there was no Grace, no formal announcement). This consisted of corn chips, warmed ciabatta, beetroot hummus, and types of cheese – blue vein, camembert and another.  There didn’t seem to be nearly enough food for everyone. There was still no cake, and no speeches, although evidently more formal photographs.

I looked at my watch and it was 5 o’clock, so we’d been there for four hours. I was really cold by now, so we made our exit, having excused ourselves from our table companions – a lovely couple; we hardly knew anyone there. On our way out we did not see the newly weds, so although I felt embarrassed about not saying goodbye to them, I felt it was time to go, even though we’d missed the speeches and the cake. I hope the bride and groom enjoyed it all! I have been to Chinese weddings, Maori weddings, and Kiwi weddings. This was not like any wedding I’ve ever been to.

After getting home, we changed into warmer clothing, and I had more coffee to warm up.  One of my sons brought us soup for our evening meal – a most welcome gift.

This morning I went to church, where the theme is aroha.  There seemed to be a lot of people away already. While there, I got a message to say that one of my granddaughters has tested positive for Covid 19 (having had it a few weeks ago). My first thought is for her, but then her whole family may get it again too. There were various family events to take place over the next few days: now the timetable is further messed up, as we stand by and wait for re-planning. I had hoped not to do any cooking this Christmas, but I may have to cook after all.

Ah well, at least I got through last week and all its demands. I tried to log in to Manage My Health to see my bone density X-ray results, but I did not succeed – they must be messing around with it again. I took a Covid test yesterday morning, after having a head ache during the night and a bit of a sore throat, but it was negative, and I feel better now. But, who knows, I may have been exposed to Covid via my son, whom I think I kissed on Friday morning.

In Ukraine, brutality continues. There is to be no Christmas truce. The Ukrainians make amazing gains, but they are countered by Putin’s rocket attacks. People are still cold and hurt and hurting.

I am trying to stay away from the Harry and Meghan Netflix show, but I have been listening to a British Scandal podcast series about John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I have to say that I’m quite upset, as once again an American woman (although Ono was Japanese) wanders into a British setup that is doing quite nicely, thank you – after all, who would dare criticise the Lennon-McCartney set up?  They were already extraordinary musicians, but various things, and mainly Yoko Ono had a huge part in the break up of the Beatles.  One thinks of Wallis Simpsons romance with the then King Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor.  These American women seem so self-assured to the British, and yet most of them were unable to say No to Harvey Weinstein, or Bruce Epstein, or other predators.  They don’t have trouble saying No to the British Royal Family. That’s a strange thing, I think.

That’s it for now, What lies ahead for our whanau? Who knows.  Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.

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