Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 13

Day 14+7+64, November 10. 147 new; 0 South Island. 79% over 12 double-jabbed. 
 
Yesterday I got a call from the national(?) Mammogram people asking if I could come in. Usually they write letters saying, "come on this day or ring us," weeks and months ahead of time, but with Covid, they are texting or ringing. I said I could "tomorrow". And this was my first real-life experience of "living with Covid" - I rang the radiology place and asked if everybody is vaccinated, because for folks who have never had mammogram done, the radiologist has to get pretty close, face to face. The receptionist was not fussed, just replied matter-of-factly, "Oh, yes, we have to be," and that was that. So I went, and I was seen in record quick time, and the radiologist was lovely. 
 
But after yesterday, I was feeling not exactly chipper, and I was very tempted by a diary I perhaps needed all my life. :-D
I love to go to the cinema with friends, with Ben, or solo, but it's been bothering me for quite a while whether now is a good time to go. There are so many interesting films rushing to our medium-sized theater, they tend to have shorter runs, so if I miss it, I miss it. And I've missed a whole bunch last year. (Although some come back to their smaller "Art House" rooms later, and sometimes, I'm the only audience.) One in particular I've eagerly awaited is Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch," opening on December 9. 
 
Even at the best of times I don't think cinemas are particularly hygienic, but with Delta, I'm not sure if they are remotely ventilated enough, OR, if now is the time to go before Delta reaches Nelson with the summer traffic. 

Today, walking by the cinema, I found these film-related drawings done by one person in the window, (sorry about the eeek pic,) but I didn't even go inside to see if there were details.  
I don't know if I noticed before, but today I (re-)noticed the Nelson City Council building had three flags in front. From left: Aotearoa NZ, Tino Rangatiratanga, Nelson City. And never forget, we could have had a Laser Kiwi.
Day 14+7+65, November 11. 185 new; 0 South Island. 67% of population and 80% (rounded up) over 12 double-jabbed. 
 
I was exhausted thinking about what to post from the demonstration day, and how long to continue this diary. Early on, I expected Delta to be as insidious as it has been elsewhere, but I expected far fewer non-compliance; anti-vaxers to be rare exceptions; consequences for these; the government to stick to earlier direction; media to follow up on issues rather than saturating with new and, especially pertaining to Covid, speculative or opinion stuff. On the other hand, I thought the South Island would be given some kind of a dispensation for keeping it "low", if not returning to previous level 1. As it is, we seem to be stuck on Level 2 until the entire South Island gets 90 or 95% jabbed, (population/eligible?). But here we are, in the famous words of Fiona Hill. 
 
Anti-vax instigators remain unpunished, so events keep growing, while our terror threats increase; folks are isolating in cars, garages and garden sheds because they don't all live in gazillion-bedroom homes opposing publicly funded quarantine facilities; I haven't been able to find updates on the Christchurch cases; there is increase in violence in the public isolation facilities; somewhere a woman was denied entry into a supermarket without a mask - she returned with some men and intimidated(?) supermarket security; Health Minister finally came out and said our hospital system is having trouble coping with over 120 cases per day, while Director General of Health keeps insisting, (at least a few days back,) we're fine; Jacinda says our numbers are as expected, and by the way, another person passed away while home-isolating. All this without my going to look for news.
 
I am tired. And it's not just from walking around town in the glittering sun and sweltering heat, (probably low 20s,) yesterday. I kept returning to bed after doing a little housework, and watched four documentaries on TVNZ On Demand. 
 
Fun fact: the first doco was on US's right-wing media and how they change people's minds, while the second was about conspiracy theories and how they work, and the commercials, (TVNZ inserts made-for-tv commercials on their On Demand programs,) were 100% for retirement homes. The third was about father/son relationship surrounding television and how viewing habits changed, and the last was Caroll Spinney the first Big Bird puppeteer, and the commercials were more diverse with no retirement homes.  
Day 14+7+66, November 12. 201 new; 0 South Island. 68% of population and 80% rounded up over 12 double-jabbed. Northland still has new but linked cases but they'll rejoin Level 2 tomorrow; Waikato cluster is not looking good; Taupo's wastewater testing show positive case/s on Nov 8, and they are checking results from Nov 10 to see if case/s was/were historical. 
 
This morning when I was struggling to finish the entry from the Demonstration day, Ben suggested I quit the Covid stuff and stick to what I did, "although the numbers are interesting." Something to think about. Numbers are easy, but I often get angry looking up Covid stuff. When I'm typing, I imagine the extremely abbreviated, (believe it or not,) commentary will be useful to me some day, but I also can't imagine my revisiting them again.   
 
It's nearing the middle of November, meaning I must sweep the patio and rearrange all flower pots; move all the firewood closer to the front door; then order the next lot; stack them before Christmas; and then, hopefully, order a skip during Ben's holiday to, you know, encourage us to clean up some more. 
 
Sorry, bad pic, again, but the tall Elena roses started flowering about a week ago, and although more numerous, they are much smaller than usual. And although much fewer, we're going to have a few of those so-fun red chard trees again.    
Day 14+7+67, November 13. 175 new; 0 South Island, but Auckland, Northland and Waikato; there is also a case in Taupo to be included tomorrow. Hospitalization is climbing, but 60% not vaccinated, lower than I imagined, though. 68% of population and 80% over 12 double-jabbed.  
 
Sometime between 9 and 10 this morning, we heard loud honking/tooting of multiple cars down on the main road. I thought wedding, but Ben suspected protests. On hour on, the same cars were still at it, so Ben looked it up. There were more anti folks "demonstrating" around the country, including in Nelson, where cars drove from town to slightly west in our neck of the shrubs and back.This went on until 1.30 and I heard police car/s only once, and more sporadically until at least 2.30. These were organized by loosely the same groups, including, I found out, a Nelson lawyer. 
 
All the while the "demonstration" was going on, I was trying to recreate a magnificent pumpkin soup Ben made a few weeks ago. Sadly the end result was... 6/10; I might have tried too hard and put in too many flavors, but just as likely, the pumpkin this time may not have been as flavorful as it is well passed winter. The soup lacked umph. But as a cold, rainy day turned into a brilliantly sunny, hot, humid afternoon, the lack of umph and relative blandness actually worked in our favor. In the end, with a lot of sour cream, maybe 8/10.    
Day 14+7+68, November 14. 207 new; 0 South Island, but cases in Waikato, Northland, Taupo, Rotorua, and Tararua. 68% of population and 81% over 12 double-jabbed. 

I've been reading about Covid resurgence in Europe. Reasons I saw most often were: lack of mitigation in schools, masks in particular, but also in workplace; ventilation!!; over-reliance on vaccination; not using available tools like vaccination passports; confused or inconsistent messaging from governments, and; easing/eliminating rules. (I was particularly interested in the seemingly low level of disinformation and anti-vax activities in Spain and Portugal. I wonder what they do right.) 
 
We seem to be following in everybody's footsteps in all the wrong directions except two: vaccine passport is yet to come and maybe businesses, festivals and other organizations will take it up; also we are heading into summer, so schools will close, ventilation will be easier if/where air conditioning is used wisely, but also folks are going to travel. I foresee another staycation for us this summer.

Meet Ben's newest science project. This is a coffee cheery, the size of a really small cherry, and in it are two coffee plant seeds, courtesy of our friend Kate. She sad it takes forever to show signs of life, but that's OK, so do hellebores. We are so looking forward to this new pet.
Day 14+7+69, November 15. 173 new; 0 South Island, but cases in Auckland, Waikato, Northland and Lakes/Taupo. 68% of population and 81% over 12 double-jabbed. Auckland remains in Level 3.2; parts of Waikato will return to Level 2 with the rest of the country tomorrow. "Case numbers are as expected." We may move to traffic signal system even before vaccination target is achieved. But also, there is good news: booster shots will be available in a fortnight to everyone over 18 who had the second jab at least six months ago. For us, that'll be mid-March, autumn; good great timing unless, you know, something catastrophic happens again. Also appreciate government ditching the priority system of border workers, elderly, etc. 
 
It's the start of the season when plastic containers I save come out from under the sink. I had to deadhead pink and orange osteospurmums so I saved them, although I'm not sure how successful I'll be with this lot. 
 
A couple of years ago bought a pot or three of white-petal-purple-center osteospurmums, and it/they lived on the patio until it/they got out of control in spite of frequent trimming. I cut the stems to 20-25cm and stuck them in potting soil, and was successful in growing quite a few second generation, which went into top of the retaining wall by the driveway. (They are doing well now.) Then we bought a darker one, (I can't remember the color,) and put it near the house on the same retaining wall, and it died too soon. 
 
The pink-orange-petal-purple-center and hot-pink-petal-purple-center ones we got more recently and survived two iterations in smallish pots before they found a permanent home in the ground recently. I don't know if these are "the same" as the whites as these are more upright, while the white ones are floppy and spread around from the start. But hey, the first round of flowers were finished a while ago and I had to deadhead them, so why not a nice haircut. Except I didn't get long or mature stems, because of the awkward position I had to stand in in order to trim them; these babies are 10-15cm, and still young, and stuck in water. I'll prepare pots-with-soil next time. 
 
The two black containers are cardboard ice cream containers; I haven't had the heart to throw them out because of the colors and the artwork. This space will be taken over by other young ones soon, though.    
Day 14+7+70, November 16. 222 new; 0 South Island, but in Waikato, Northland and Lakes/Taupo. There was one death in an Auckland hospital. 69% of population and 81% over 12 double-jabbed. Anti-vax teachers and health workers are fired or put on  unpaid leave starting today. 

I hung around the kitchen cleaning and cooking until 3PM, but I went out to re-stack the firewood. For a very warm winter, we certainly went through a lot of wood this winter, but there is enough for a week or two. (The kettle is boiling to kill small weeds on the patio.) I kept going cleaning the patio and weeding the pots, and to my amazement, I finished almost the whole lot. A couple of hours and I should be done for the next little while, but I must remember to water the pots; all but a few pots were completely parched. Shame on me; I think I killed a couple of things including the long-anticipated propagated lemon verbenas. Tulip pots moved to the far side, too; thanks and see you next year.  

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