Monday, 6 September 2021

You heard it here first!

 I have been officially notified by David that I am NOT impatient! yay! Cause for celebration all round!

For more years than I care to remember (well, probably about 5 or so, in reality) David has told me I am impatient - usually when I have had to wait for someone who says they are ready but then has a last pee, cleans their teeth, brushes their hair, checks all doors and windows, and needs a last minute snack and another pee (guess who - aha, it's the ubiquitous ACP), or when I have had to ask again and then wait for something to be done that was committed to and then not delivered on when agreed (guess by whom - yes, you're right, it's the ACP again).

However, all of that characterising me as impatient has come to an end, so I have been told. And how did that mind change come about?

Well, ACP has been once again working on the medical insurance claim. He's been preparing a letter to their adjudicator for the last two or three weeks. So that it doesn't end up being his life's work, he has been getting up super early to work on it. By super early, I mean any time from about 4am onwards. I know: extreme, isn't it?

OK, SCENE 1: 

6.20AM, IT IS STILL DARK. WIFE WAS IN BED,  HAS CLEARLY JUST WOKEN UP AND IS STILL SLEEPY. 

ACP APPEARS AT THE BEDROOM DOOR AND ASKS IF WIFE WOULD LIKE A CUP OF TEA BECAUSE THE BREVILLE TEA MAKER IS SET TO HAVE THE TEA BREWED BY 6.30.

WIFE REPLIES IN A SLEEPY AFFIRMATIVE.

HUSBAND LEAVES AND GOES BACK TO HIS OFFICE. WIFE CONTINUES TO DOZE.

SCENE 2

TIME IS NOW APPROXIMATELY 7AM 

WIFE STIRS AS SHE HEARS A VOICE - IT IS THE ACP TALKING/EXCLAIMING TO ITSELF IN THE HALLWAY. 

SOUNDS OF CHINA CLINKING , FRIDGE DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING.

30 SECONDS LATER, HUSBAND APPEARS IN THE BEDROOM WITH A MUG OF TEA AND DECLAIMS:

CUE HUSBAND "Never let me say again that you are impatient, Marilyn! It is not true! Thirty six minutes ago I said I'd get you a cup of tea and I am only just bringing it to you now. And you didn't complain or call out or criticise! So you are not impatient and I have been misrepresenting you for all this time. I am sorry, darling."

WIFE FAINTS FROM SHOCK. FORTUNATELY SHE IS STILL LYING DOWN AND CAN BE REVIVED WITH A CUP OF TEA WHICH HAS MIRACULOUSLY BUT BELATEDLY BEEN PROVIDED BY HER CONTRITE HUSBAND.

See? I have it from the horse's mouth! The patience of a saint is what I have. Get it? Got it? Good!


And tonight at 11.59pm all of the country apart from the Auckland area goes down from Alert Level 3 (Auckland is still in AL4) to Alert Level 2, Delta version. That means we can cross regional boundaries, but not go through Auckland unless we have a compelling reason to do so, a set destination and documentation that supports that. 

Indoor venues can only have 50 people max in them (last time it was 100), all people have to be seated, each table of patrons can only be served by one server, all servers must wear masks, there can be no bar service - the same rules (apart from masks) applied last time too. 

Same rules apply for outdoor venues, but the people limit is 100.

Gyms can open but people need to be able to be 2 metres apart (last time it was 1 metre)

We must wear masks at indoor places apart from bars and restaurants/cafes.

Weddings, funerals, tangihanga can still only have 50 people - the thinking is that these are events where people want to be physically close and hug/kiss/hongi, so limiting the number of people who will be in close contact reduces the risk of such an event being a super spreader. (Way back last year when Covid-19 first came to NZ, a wedding where one guest had come from Italy, I think, resulted in a significant number of cases, and because people had travelled from around NZ to the wedding, infected people became their own little spreader events when they returned home.)

We will be heading away in the motorhome either tomorrow or Thursday for our brief cycle collecting sojourn in the Hawke's Bay. We will be scanning in and wearing masks wherever we go, as is also required under AL2 Delta version, aka Delta Level 2.

I read this morning that some idiotic people who are not scanning in, are signing in (and plan to continue to do so) using false names and phone numbers. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!


Friday, 3 September 2021

Twenty four hours of very mixed feelings

About 26 hours ago, David and I had phoned our wonderful daughter to sing happy birthday to her - it is a tradition, and while David has quite a good singing voice and I can sort of carry a tune, we deliberately sing the birthday song off key and raucously. I think it's for effect and to make sure the kids don't think we are being mawkish and sentimental - heaven forfend!

As it was, this time because Kirsty has exhorted David to be concise in explaining stuff, he sang alone at double speed, and then I sang. Her response 'You two are dorks!' So obviously we did good!

Then 22 hours ago, we heard the good news that the number of COVID cases in the community for the previous day was 28, and all of them were of people who were close contacts of current cases, so all of them were already in isolation. The number of cases has dropped for the last 4 days out of five, so we were well pleased.

There was the case of a young man who was extremely distressed at having tested positive a day or so before and in his distress he absconded at about 1am from the MIQ hotel he and his family were in (he was sharing a room with his teenaged brother). When his mother called her sons' room in the morning, the teenager woke and realised his brother wasn't there. The mother immediately got in touch with the security staff and military who run the facility. The police were notified and the young man was found at his home. The good news was that he had walked home, had not had any contact with anyone on the way, had not visited anywhere, and had gone to bed when he got home.

So no risk to the community, but he has been charged, appeared in court through video link (a humane aspect - the video link was provided by the policeman who was keeping an eye on him in custody). There is distress for his family and a fairly substantial amount of scaremongering by the media with incomplete facts, guesses and speculation before the Deputy PM gave the complete picture at the 1pm briefing. And of course, the media had turned up at his home, so now, even if the name suppression is in place, anyone with Google Street View and a basic knowledge of the area can track the house down and be pricks to the family when they are allowed out of MIQ. And given he is not white, the racist abuse has already started.

And of course, a media beat up of the so called failures of the MIQ staff and processes. And as you know, the media are absolute experts at everything and they, alongsode the Opposition, could have done a MUCH better job and would never allow any slip ups. Of course they wouldn't!

And also a beat up of failures at the airport because 4 students had at various times broken Alert Level 4 rules and flown either out of Auckland to their home cities or back from their home cities to Auckland. Not one word of criticism of the students from the media even though one of the young women said she hadn't been aware of the rules (FFS!!!), not one word of criticism of their parents for allowing them to travel or not telling them of the rules or not stopping them or not reporting them (as the Samoan mother had done about her son's transgression). But criticism of the airport's security systems, of the government for not closing those gaps. Can anyone guess the difference between the young Samoan man and the students?

And then at 2pm, my new e-bike was delivered - it is lovely.

You will notice it is RED. It currently doesn't have mudguards but Jeff Burnsie (Burnsie's Bikes Waikanae) will order them as soon as we are in Alert Level 2. We have ordered one the same but slightly larger (a Medium instead of a Small) for David from a dealer in the Hawke's Bay as Jeff had no more stock. We will go to collect it when we are back in Alert Level 2 and can cross regional boundaries.

I did a few little rides without the e facility to get my balance back and to start getting familiar with it. I am still a bit chary of biking since my fall in Amsterdam back in 2007. Did you know that when crossing tram tracks on your bike in the rain, you need to approach them at right angles? Neither did I. If you don't, the back wheel slides into the tram track and off you go, face planting on the roadway. Not good. Painful. Messy. Black eye, Facial nerve damage which thankfully (and very unusually) healed, but only because I had a lot of massage and drainage work done on my head and face. So a fair amount of wariness about biking is still in my brain.

(Sunday morning: I have edited this section, based on information that has been released since I first wrote - I do not want to be promulgating misinformation. Edits are in italics.) And then at 5pm I noticed on my phone that there was a press conference with the PM and the Police Commissioner. It turns out there had been a lone wolf terrorist attack in an Auckland supermarket that afternoon. Because the man was unable to be imprisoned and was known (from 2016) to be a threat, and his refugee status was unable to be revoked and he was unable to be deported back to Sri Lanka (although that was under appeal and was due to be resolved about now) since his release from prison on remand 53 days prior to the attack, he had been under 24/7 close surveillance. So when he started attacking people in the supermarket with a knife he took from a shelf there, the police were already following him. They confronted him, warned him and then shot him dead. He was killed within 120 - 150 seconds of starting his rampage - the first victim must have been on his/her own and did not make any noise. So the police think that there was a 60 - 90 second period before they knew he was stabbing people. He critically injured three people,  two have moderate injuries, I believe, and the other two were injured but not severely. At this point, none of the injured have died. Let's hope it stays that way and that they all make a full recovery. Apart from those critically injured, all of the others have been released from hospital and are recovering at their homes.

And of course, the racist vitriol will be all over social media. The man was ISIS inspired. But we can bet our boots that a segment of our society will blame all muslims.

I had a sleepless night - thinking about the people in the supermarket - staff and customers - and their terror, fear, fright and the acts of heroism. I thought too about the Special Tactics Group personnel who were on surveillance duty, and who had to follow him until he did something that he could be arrested for. They will be feeling that if only they had been closer they could have prevented injuries to others. But the man was surveillance savvy, so they had a distance they had to keep. They will also be feeling pleased that they did their jobs and prevented anyone else from being killed or injured. So a mixed bag for them. I thought too that our wonderful Prime Minister was probably also lying awake - at the press conference she was clearly really angry that the courts' interpretation of the law (and the law's shortcomings) had prevented this man from being in prison. She said yesterday that she had also looked with the legal people at whether he could be sectioned but apparently that remedy was not legally available either. And of course, since then, even though the legislation to fix this loophole/failing is just out of Select Committee, she is already being blamed by the media for not having done the work faster. And barely a mention that the current Leader of the Opposition was Justice Minister when the requirement for change was first mooted and she removed it from Crown Law's work programme. Although, to be fair, Kim Hill, a Saturday morning radio host did interview said LoO this morning, but her response was that it was a decision of Cabinet at the time and that it wasn't fair to be asked about things that had occurred 8 years ago...

And here's headline on Stuff right now: A terror attack that occurred while the Government was watching. And what is the implication in that?

And now it's not even noon, and my eyes are heavy as is my heart, I am unutterably angry, and I need to rest.

To try to get myself out of feeling so crappy, I have been out for a short bike ride - 20 minutes only. And most of it without the e function engaged to increase my leg strength. And when I had to stop at an intersection, I discovered my legs were struggling to work! 

And what was worse was that the step counter on my phone doesn't work when it's in the back pocket of my jeans while I am biking - I need bike shorts so I can keep the phone in a leg pocket! What is the point of exercising if the effort is not being recorded!? I also need padded bike shorts to assist with the sore bum problem!

I am going to have a cup of tea, a couple of magnesium and some B vitamins and take myself back to bed for a bit. I need to retreat from the world for a while.


Tuesday, 31 August 2021

A post from Karol

 I thought it would be good to have a first person update from the team in St John's Town of Dalry in Scotland, so I asked Karol to write a blogpost for me about how he, Olek and Marta have felt and coped with all having COVID. As you will read, they have all been very fortunate to have reasonably mild symptoms, all in all. 

Having covid 19

Me

 

It started on my first week - I did a test in the morning, it shot up to positive really quick. I was scared. Then I had heard I have to spend 10 Days in the house! I couldn’t believe it! The first day was boring.

Second day just played in my room on my phone and Oculus/VR and I got kind of bored. So far I was only coughing in the morning and evening and a tiny bit through out the day. Day 3 I got to go on the computer but I didn’t. On day 4 I went on the computer, then my Mum walked in and said Oscar my friend has Covid like me because he came over the day before we found out I have it; and so I spoke to him every day to see how he is feeling. So far he is not too bad, neither am I. But yesterday (day 6) I found out that I didn’t have it any more because I was negative; so that was great news but I still had to do 10 days in quarantine. I have been playing on the computer with Oscar from his house. By the way, day 5 nothing happened but I did get a new phone a Samsung galaxy A12, and it is great it is the biggest phone I have ever had.

 

 

My brother

 

My brother also got covid - he was hit worse than me. I don’t know why he has been coughing more.

Also binge watching a lot of Netflix on his TV.

He was also pretty mad for the first 2 days. We (when I say we I mean me and my Mum) were not too happy by this, especially my Mum. But he is a bit better now which is really good for everyone.

This bit is not long because I don’t know what my brother has been up to that much, sorry Grammy.

And maybe Grandad.

 

My Mum

 

A few days after I got covid, my Mum was not feeling the best - her voice like just disappeared! I did play some board games with her which we both enjoyed, I hope. Like Olek my brother she was hit pretty bad with covid.   She was coughing in the morning and evening like me and she had a hard time sleeping she said. Mum is also feeling better I am pretty sure which is great.

 

 

 

Grammy, I hope you like this love you so much, not the most, but hope you enjoy it. 😊

Sunday, 29 August 2021

And the third person tests positive

 Marta, the lovely mother of our grandsons has also tested positive now in Scotland. Fortunately she is fully vaccinated so we have our fingers crossed that she too will only be slightly affected.

Marta said she had thought it was inevitable that she would get it - after all, she is looking after 2 infected kids. And as we know here in NZ, many of our infections are household contacts.

One piece of good news is that Karol has now returned a negative test - yay!!

Here in Waikanae, David and I are coping well with lockdown. 

David is busy working on the thing we don't talk about (his travel insurance claim for his eye treatment when we were in the UK back in 2019). He finally sent in his claim about a couple of months ago and was convinced they would agree to settle because he thought his case was compelling. I thought his case was watertight too, and his arguments for the claim being valid were right, but I didn't think they would agree - they are an insurance company after all. And sure enough, we had a letter back about 3 weeks ago saying (using the same paragraphs from their first letter, just copied and pasted) that they were disallowing the claim. Quelle surprise - not!

The reason this is a subject we don't talk about is because we argue about our different approaches - it stresses me so much that he chooses to go through the process rigidly and I use the prescribed process until I think it's just not practicable anymore - I am a project manager, after all, and progress towards deadlines is critical so a project can be finished! Given the travel agent we bought our tickets through suggested that we mention seeking recourse through the Insurance Ombudsman in the first letter as that often results in the company settling with an ex gratia payment, that is what I would have done. But the insurance company's process says that's the last step, not the first or second so what's your guess about whether that suggestion was taken up?... AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

So, since the claim was disallowed, we have agreed that he should/could do it his way and we just wouldn't discuss it. From my perspective, the money we spent back in 2019 is gone, and if we don't get any of it back, I have already kissed it off anyway. So I have no real investment in the outcome, and we each find our different approaches very stressful/impossible to accept. And to be honest, the dishonesty and lack of integrity of the insurance company drive me nuts, so best I stay well away!

Change of subject to what I am doing in lockdown: I am still going walking Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Ann, me in Waikanae and her in Nelson chatting all the while on WhatsApp; and 3 times a week, we play 5 Crowns with Ann and Salvi on WhatsApp too (video). 

I am also writing feedback to RNZ when I read their articles and see them selecting a small going off portion of a fact and then opining on it as if they are reporting factually. I'm calling out the behaviour rather than debating the issue or opinion. I'm also describing their writing as blogging (where opinion is fine and there is no requirement to have even a remote relationship with facts - apart from my blogposts of course. As we all know, my posts are full of facts and my opinion is always right ... 😇😁😎) And of course, when RNZ staff report factually, I also give them positive feedback and thank them.

Change of subject to what is due this afternoon: Today we find out whether there will be any change in Alert Levels. Late last week (Thursday or Friday, cannot be sure which it was) our wonderful PM presaged that Auckland and Northland would be staying in Alert Level 4 and the remainder of the country would go down to Alert Level 3. The decision whether to proceed to this change will be made in Cabinet today and will be based on case numbers and spread of the infection - if the additional cases are all household contacts or picked up at places of interest, then we (those of us south of the Auckland regional border) will be able to go down to AL3. If however the spread is outside those, we will probably have AL4 continue for a period.

AL3 has been described as AL4 with takeaways 😁😁, so it won't be any different for us as we rarely partakeaway... 

But when we get down to AL2 we will be able to take the motorhome away - planning is afoot with timing being the only variable!

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Reality hits home

 We are feeling a bit battered at the moment - both of our lovely grandsons who live in Scotland have tested positive for COVID-19. For us it has been an anxious 48 hours, but so far they are both in pretty good shape. Olek has been feeling a bit sick, but is OK, he says; and Karol is feeling fine and happy.

David and I were both really anxious when we first heard from Marta about their infection, but regular contact with all three of them is easing our minds. 

As I write, David is on WhatsApp to Olek, who is sounding pretty good.

Marta is making sure they are well hydrated, taking plenty of vitamins and magnesium, lemon and honey drinks, eating healthily when they are hungry and getting some sunshine. While they are confined to barracks, they are interacting with friends on social media.

Marta called us on Messenger a couple of days ago to show us Karol and her outside in the sunshine playing Rummikub - he looked and sounded fine, and while we were chatting, they continued playing - and he won!


He looks OK, doesn't he? I like his T shirt - Limited Edition est. 2005 Well, actually, I rather like him too! He is a gem.

As we know, caring for teenagers (actual and incipient) who are mostly confined to their rooms is pretty testing and when they need to be confined to their rooms but are not really poorly, it is difficult for them and difficult for their carers. So Marta is wisely indulging in some self care this evening. 




Marta sent me this after I had posted the blog - I asked if she was OK if I added it, and she said that was fine. Quite hard to find, isn't she??? And it definitely looks like self care to me!


Monday, 23 August 2021

Cases are increasing, lockdown has been extended

 We are on Day 7 of lockdown and yesterday, after the Cabinet meeting, our lovely PM announced the following:

  • lockdown in Alert Level 4 for NZ would be extended until Friday at 11.59pm with information provided on Thursday at 1pm whether that 
    • needed to be extended, 
    • could be reduced in level, 
    • would be regionalised based on risk profile of particular areas of the country
  • lockdown in Alert Level 4 in Auckland where the biggest majority of cases currently are (we had 107 cases as at yesterday morning's count, and 7 of them, I think, are in Wellington, with the remainder in Auckland) is extended to Tuesday 31st August, with information provided after Cabinet on Monday afternoon, whether that
    • needed to be extended, 
    • could be reduced in level.

David and I are unsure what will happen in the rest of NZ, but we are fairly sure that Auckland's AL4 will need to continue.

As Jacinda (world famous PM) and Ashley Bloomfield (DG of Health) both stated, the peak of infections is still to come, even though we locked down hard and early. Last year, in our first surge of COVID-19, we had up to 89 cases a day at one stage while in AL4 before the case numbers started to drop. There is no reason to suggest that the delta variant, which is much more transmissible, will deliver fewer cases! 

I am interested to read in British media that our elimination approach is being slammed (by Nigel Farage and others of his ilk) as unrealistic and is making NZ an unwelcoming place because we are only letting NZ citizens and residents return to the country. My use of 'interesting' is the English variety, i.e. it means I hear what you say but I think it is absolute bullsh*t. 


Because of course, the British response, most particularly the response in England, has been so inordinately successful, hasn't it? Remind me how many deaths in the UK?

Harsh but reflective of the Farage, BJ and Rees Mogg attitude, I think. Yes?


And before anyone says but NZ is a small island with a small population, and it's remote and at the bottom of the world, I acknowledge all those things are true.

But here's the thing: we have a similar sized population to Scotland, and the First Minister of Scotland has invoked tougher rules on the Scots than in England, and yet sadly Scotland has lost 10,000 people to COVID-19. NZ lost 26. Until this delta outbreak, we had fewer than 3000 cases, and I don't know how many Scotland had or currently has. And our grandsons live there and it makes me anxious.

So I will stand by our response of going into lockdown hard and early, and we will be getting our second vaccinations tomorrow, and I will be out exercising (walking, I am 70 after all) wearing a mask and making sure I stay more than 2 metres away from others, and I won't be panic buying toilet paper. 

I'm an energy saver - I walk, not run ..

 

One of the rhododendrons in our garden - just starting to flower. We don't usually see this happen, because we are most often in the UK on the boat at this time. And we are also seeing the most beautiful magnolias in bloom around the neighbourhood here in Waikanae.
This kereru (native wood pigeon) was in a tree across the road the other day when I came back from my walk - it waited patiently while I took lots of photos, turned obligingly so I could get a variety of shots and then flew away when I walked into our driveway.  Lovely!

And I won't be moaning about an extension to lockdown if/when it occurs, because I am fairly sure that we will stamp out this outbreak. And if another one occurs later, I will support the government's approach because 

  • it is based on advice from scientists and health professionals, 
  • it is focused on the wellbeing of the country in terms of health and financial security, 
  • it has worked in the past, 
  • it has been refined and planned ahead for, and 
  • it will work again,
  • it will save lives, 
  • it will ensure our health system can cope, 
  • it will allow our economy** to recover quickly, as it already has from the first outbreak last year.

There may come a time when we have to live with the virus, but that time needs, for the wellbeing of NZ and our world, to be when enough people are vaccinated that the virus mutations are few because there are not enough hosts for it to develop and change in.

In the meantime, I am staying home, staying in touch with friends, looking after David (who needs no looking after but I enjoy it and so does he) and feeling fine!


We usually go out for Saturday breakfast with Gary, Bruce, David R, John and Leith, but we cannot at the moment. So I made a Saturday breakfast for us at home. I had spinach and cheese omelette, breakfast potatoes (cooked with garlic and salt) alongside a solitary mushroom and tomato half - you will see why I was rationed when you look at the next photo ...

See David's vegan brekkie platter: multiple mushrooms and tomato halves, plus, red onion, spinach, capsicum and potatoes - I forgot to put the corn kernels on. But don't worry because they got added to the Mexican tomato and bean soup later that day!

 

** PS I know there are sectors of our economy that will struggle to survive this - tourism that tends to rely on high cost experiences for overseas visitors is the main one. In the hiatus that we had (over a year since our first outbreak back in March 2020 with only 2 minor outbreaks until last week) NZers have been exploring their own country instead of travelling overseas. When our tourism operators come to the realisation that NZers, even when overseas, do not spend the kind of money that overseas tourists do here, and reduce their prices to make them affordable and attractive to NZers, then once this outbreak is over, even more NZers will be out and about spending money seeing and experiencing this place. (Sorry, that last sentence is clumsy in its construction, but you get my drift.)

OK, rant over. 

Some things to make you smile while I recover my equilibrium ...


This look is the one I use on David - but somehow he doesn't notice it so I am making a headband and a sign on a stick that says FO-IR. I'm sure you can work it out...

 
Dogs are so clever...


This made me smile!

 

Our son Tim and his partner Dana had the boys and dogs with them on a holiday somewhere on the south coast of England.  It wasn't that warm apparently - so not a bad summer not to be on the boat, I gather.


Olek (16.5 years old) and Storm

Karol (11.5 years old) with his paddle board

Kai and Storm at the beach in England - Storm now has a poorly tummy because she will eat whatever she scents ...


Now it's time to make a veg curry and cauliflower rice for dinner - if I do it now the flavours will have time to percolate nicely through the veg. I've already baked two loaves of sourdough this morning so it hasn't all been ranting ...


Even though I am grumpy at the moment, never forget that this is true. Mxx


Thursday, 19 August 2021

And here we are again - in lockdown!

It's now Friday 20 August, and we have been in lockdown at Alert Level 4 since Tuesday night at 11.59pm. The dreaded Delta variant escaped somehow from MIQ and as is its wont, has spread rapidly. The first case was notified on Tuesday and we were in lockdown that night, with just one known case. However, the first case tested for, a man aged 58, was not the index case. It turns out that his employee also has it, as do the employee's flatmates, 

  • one of whom is a teacher, so the pupils (3000 strong) and teachers at Avondale College are all in isolation, and testing has been set up for them
  • one is a nurse/healthcare worker at a hospital
  • one is a uni student

Since then the places of interest strike fear into the heart: bars, pubs, the casino, a lecture theatre at the AUT, cafes, supermarkets, malls, playgrounds ...

And this morning it was announced that two pupils, each at different colleges, have also tested positive. So that is two more large school communities going in to isolation.

And at lunchtime we heard that there are now three cases down here in Wellington. So it is likely (my surmising) that any students at AUT or others who had been close to any of the cases while they were infectious and then came back to Wellington - either returning home from business or holiday or coming back from uni to see out lockdown at home with the parentals - has brought it with them. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

The good news includes:

  • David and I are wearing our masks EVERYWHERE when we go outside the house
  • David had his penultimate and last radiation sessions without any impact of the lockdown - that was a stroke of luck really, as there had been a slip that blocked the railway line and the state highway below it on Tuesday. Because we knew that getting home again after his Tuesday session would be problematic, we booked him a room at a hotel across the road from the hospital. So in the morning, he stayed in his room having been granted a late checkout, then went over for his treatment and his appointment with the radiation oncologist, and I picked him up to bring him home. I brought a Bounty Bar for him as a treat - bloody hell, they are excessively sweet!
  • even though it wasn't medically indicated, for his peace of mind, David arranged and paid for a post treatment PSA test. As we expected and hoped for, the reading showed as undetectable, i.e. <0.03, which is what we had been wanting to see, but didn't, after the operation last year! He also had his testosterone level tested - that was also very low because of the Androgen Deprivation Therapy (hormone suppressant). The one piece of bad news is that he STILL ISN'T DUSTING!!! 
  • the pantry is full and we can exist happily on current supplies for some weeks if necessary
  • mostly, people are being sensible and kind and thoughtful. Mostly we are being good members of the team of 5 million. We have a few virulent anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers - I think they have been learning from the dumpster's faux noise idiots in the US how to think their rights to be stupid are more important than the health and wellbeing of the communities they live in.


  • we have plenty to do 
    • baking sourdough - I've got it sussed now apart from the hiccup of earlier this week where I kneaded all of the air out of the loaves before putting them into the fridge to prove overnight. Not a good idea to deflate them at that point, Marilyn. But the sparrows and blackbirds have been happy to eat the pancake loaves. The loaves did have to be chopped up so the birds didn't get beak strain trying to fight their way into the solidity ...
    • collecting driftwood off the beach for the garden and walking on the beach avoiding the Portuguese men of war that have washed up on the tide.
    • reading
    • listening to podcasts
    • teaching David some recipes
      • mexican tomato soup - really just a question of emptying lots of cans into a large saucepan...
      • a vegetarian Tom Kha soup: assemble the broth ingredients and put them on to simmer, then assemble and chop a variety of suitable vegetable chunks, remove the broth bits that are not appetising (lemongrass stalks, coriander roots, chunks of galangal, kaffir lime leaves, ...), add the veg chunks and fish sauce, taste, adjust seasonings and serve.
    • watching Netflix and Acorn
    • preparing nice food to eat, in particular a graduation dinner for David as he had completed his radiation sessions



      Vegetarian fresh spring rolls that I made - tasted yum with a mix of sweet chilli and soy sauce, but I need to learn to fill them more and roll them tighter!

      David ready for fizzy wine and food.
      We had planned a graduation dinner out with friends, but lockdown prevented that so it was a tete a tete dinner chez nous instead!

      Fresh spring rolls, vegetarian Tom Kha soup and lemon cheesecakes.

      Drinking fizzy wine, not chardonnay ...

    • walking virtually with my friend Ann who is in Nelson - our arrangement is wonderful in lockdown because we are over 100 miles apart and talk on WhatsApp as we walk. Lots of laughs and interest.
Soon we will find out what is to happen about lockdown levels - now that there are cases in Wellington, my hunch is we will be all staying at Level 4. Just have to wait till after the Cabinet meeting for that info.

 I will keep you posted!