Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of St Thomas
It’s now Sunday April 16th, 2023. Kia ora!
Yesterday we went shopping in the afternoon, and had lunch at Smith the Grocer café. I had a salmon bagel, which unusually had quite a lot of red onion. We shared a beautiful cheesecake – raspberry and white chocolate. The kitchen was closed, so we couldn’t indulge our preferences, for avocado on toast with dukkha and an omelette. We also bought a new mattress topper, from Wallace Cotton, who were having a sale. This is a bit of luxury, but it is Oh so comfortable. I had slept on one when we stayed in Geelong in January, and I’m completely sold. You can’t get them in shops here (well, I tried the Warehouse, Farmers, Briscoes and Bed, Bath and Beyond and none of them had one). It gave us a chance to air and change the bedding: sheets, duvet cover, and something to cover the new duck down mattress topper. I am alarmed to realise the duvet inner we are using is well over 35 years old! It must be due for replacement. (I have since found another one that we can use).
I am relieved that the bus stops at Wellington Railway Station interchange have been fixed at last, I trust. The front one, stop A, has a hospital symbol (a cross within a circle, I think, but I couldn’t find one!), stope B has an aeroplane, and boasts the new Airport bus; and stops C (Brooklyn) and D are presumably for the others
Last night we watched Bernie on Te Whakaata Māori, a strange film starring Jack Black and Sally Field, based on a true story, evidently.
Today is a lovely fine day, although it was a cold start this morning, with some condensation. Despite the new mattress topper, I was quite cold (it was only 7 degrees C), and it was hard to believe the mercury would climb to 19 degrees C. There were not nearly as many people at church as last Sunday. I was privileged to read from Acts 2, Peter’s first sermon, where he speaks about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, as predicted by David in Psalm 16. Jesus is presented as being a descendant of King David, although actually has was born of the Holy Spirit. It must have been quite an ask for Joseph to accept this baby as his first-born son, when he and Mary were not actually yet married. The Gospel text was from John’s Gospel 20: 19 – 31. The Order of Service was a bit mixed up, as though several files had been copied and pasted. The problem with my reading (Acts 2:14 and 22 – 32) was that the lines were quite wide, and I sometimes confuse the beginning of the next line. I used another sheet of paper to mark each line as I went. What a beautiful text to read.
I caught buses home, and in between buses I picked up a book on reserve at the library: A Heart Full of Headstones, by Ian Rankin. I’ll add this to the pile of books on the go: my beautiful book about Ravenna, Huia Come Home, Seasons in Tuscany, A History of the Khandallah Church, and The View in Winter. Sometimes, though, it’s just too much effort to read and I’d rather listen.
It’s now Monday April 17th.
It’s fine and sunny today, but it’s not a great day for me. I should have gone to my exercise class this morning, but I didn’t feel up to it. Instead I listened to an item on Youtube featuring Tom Holland, Why I Changed my mind about Christianity. I found this very powerful. I recently read Tom Holland’s Dominion, and wrote about it myself. Here’s a link to Tom’s lecture:
The introduction is in Romanian, but the lecture is in English.
Today the Covid 19 report comes out. It is as follows: there were 14,242 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Aotearoa in the week to midnight on Sunday, and a further 21 deaths related to the virus. Another report says 32 virus related deaths. The 21 people added to the Covid-19 death tally brings the total number to 2716 people.
Of the new cases last week, 6061 were reinfections, according to the figures from the Ministry of Health today.
There were also 363 people with Covid-19 in hospital as of midnight Sunday, with nine cases in ICU. The seven-day rolling average of cases is 2029.
Last week 12,129 new cases were reported and eight further deaths were attributed to the coronavirus.
Professor Michael Baker says New Zealand is experiencing a fourth wave of Covid 19. So that’s that.
It’s now Thursday April 20th.
On Tuesday morning I went to a Bible Study; some of us had morning tea afterwards. in the afternoon I had a dental check up. It was quite intense – it was late on the afternoon, and I figure it cost about $15 per minute. Still and all, nothing amiss was found apart from some plaque. I watched something on the television that corroborated the Lenten series I attended about early Christianity in the Bay of Islands.
On Wednesday morning it was raining heavily, but I got up early to go to hymn singing. It seemed to be still dark as we drove to Khandallah, but there was little traffic – it’s the second week of the school holidays. There weren’t so many of us there, but it was lovely, as always.
Afterwards I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch, but there was an urgent change to arrangements: our grandchildren came, and we took them to McDonalds for lunch. It certainly wasn’t my first choice, but actually there weren’t many people there, once we’d navigated our way through the heavy rain, the parking lot, and the gas station to Maccas. Once there, there was a complicated new (to us!) ordering system. It was complicated, but it made sense. Sadly, we got to the end, and to payment, when there was something wrong with our order. So it had to be done all over again. Still, it came quite quickly, and I enjoyed my peach flavoured iced tea. JD asked for a medium “long black”: ha ha! It was certainly long, and black, but I don’t think it was what he expected. The secret of a “long black” is the crema, and the fact that it’s small, as opposed to a ristretto, which is tiny.
Afterwards we went to the Johnsonville Shopping Centre where the children spent some time at EB Games, which is to close soon.
This morning I went to a Te Reo Māori class in Khandallah. We learnt about Anzac Day, and I really enjoyed it. Somehow I felt more in tune with what we were doing. Afterwards I was going to catch a number 24 bus to Johnsonville, but the bus stop has been moved for a few days! Instead I caught a train from the Box Hill station. The station is fine, but it’s risky crossing the busy road to get to it with no pedestrian crossing! I caught the train, and then a bus home. After that, we had lunch at Simmer Café – we shared a pizza (much nicer than commercial pizza chains), and I enjoyed a lime and passionfruit tart. Then we picked up my bracelet that we’d bought at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport Duty Free area. The bracelet had broken less than a month after we bought it, but it’s fixed now, and it’s nice to have it back. It was a birthday present.
It’s now Friday April 21st.
This morning I met an old friend for coffee. As it was drizzling, and JD couldn’t take me, I caught the bus. It was lovely to see her again.
There are things happening in US politics which I should mention, alas. Fox News decided to settle its lawsuit with Dominion, at the last minute, as the trial was just beginning. Fox News agreed to pay Dominion a large sum, $787.5 million dollars. That’s a large sum for most of us, but many American viewers feel cheated, not seeing the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson, and others testify under oath, i.e. hopefully tell the truth. Apparently Biden is to announce his run for a second term as president; Ron de Santis is facing increasing negative perceptions about his ability to go up against Trump for the Republican nomination; thus far, there isn’t really anyone else in this competition; and Trump faces increasing legal peril, including E. Jean Carroll’s rape case in Manhattan. Trump is not going to attend, so he says. I can’t see people flocking to a Ron de Santis rally, as they did to a Trump rally. He doesn’t seem to have that people power. And there are more and more senseless killings and woundings from gun violence. Folk are pro-life and pro-guns: just how does that make any sense?
A US Supreme Court ruling has halted a Trump-appointed judge’s ruling against the abortion drug, mifepristone. It’s so ironic that one of the reasons against the drug was that it may cause bleeding and cramping; well, as if birth itself does not cause that! Fancy! The Rev Al Sharpton made a lovely point on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that the little blue pill commonly used by men to achieve an erection would by no means be banned; indeed, unwanted pregnancies have nothing whatsoever to do with the male who fathered the embryo. Astonishingly, he has no rights and no responsibilities at all; apparently has nothing to do with the pregnancy, or the avoidance thereof. Really, the US is a wonderful, and a terrible place. And many Americans are wonderful people. Just don’t discuss politics with them.
In other big news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket blew up shortly after being launched (it cost a great deal of money, but I can’t find out how much now). He’s also made some change to Twitter, which are seen as being negative. In the UK the Deputy Prime Minister (how could he be deputy PM?) Dominic Raab has resigned, after a report to the Prime Minister about his bullying. I wonder who they’ll get next? Be careful what you wish for: the dreadful Priti Patel, who was also accused of bullying, was replaced by the even more toxic Suella Braverman as Home Secretary. We thought Al Qaeda was terrible, but then Isis came along. Meanwhile, we’re counting down the days to the coronation, to occur in a few days’ time. One feels rathe sorry for Charles, and then one doesn’t. Let’s keep the traditions, the tiaras, and the jewellery: and forget about slavery, colonialism, adultery, faithless children, unseemly wealth, and so on.
In Sudan, dreadful fighting continues. In Ukraine, dreadful fighting continues, but on a different note the Russians managed to bomb Belgorod, a city in Russia, i.e. one of their own cities.
It’s now Sunday April 23rd.
This morning I went to church, and tried to follow the readings in my Māori-language Bible on my phone. Yes, I’ve downloaded a Bible Society version of the Bible in Māori – Te Paipera Tapu. It all helps with learning familiarity with Te Reo. We sang Whakaaria Mai/How Great Thou Art in both English and Māori, and we had both the organ and the piano playing for several hymns.
The texts were again Acts 2: 14, 37-41, and Luke 24: 13-31. It’s the third Sunday of Easter, and we’re still learning about Jesus revealing himself to his disciples after he rose from the dead. In this Gospel reading he’s going for a walk; it’s notable that those close to him saw him several times, walking, eating, and doing human things, before he was caught up to Heaven. I must admit that I come out of church wishing to write about it, but of course time goes by and it’s hard to get back into the mood. It was nice when the Order of Service was printed, as it served to jog one’s memory, as well as advising what to expect. I admired the art work used to describe the sermon! Of course, we have a power point overhead, but it’s hard to remember it all.
That’s it for now. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.