Miracles Abound

18 Jun

AAAAAAAAAFinalheader

June 18, 2020

Day 1,649

 

There is a cat in town who spends her days in Pinky’s, a bargain store where almost everything is on sale for two dollars, or more, or less, depending. Her name is unknown. Cats don’t tell us their names. They will tell you that you may serve them and that they enjoy your company so long as no demands are placed on them and the food keeps coming.  They do this by returning, purring, rubbing up against whatever is handy in your vicinity and presenting themselves to be scratched. The people who work at Pinky’s call her Alley Cat and she has been a fixture there for eight years, patrolling the aisles or holding court on the counter between the cash registers. When the weekend comes one of the ladies takes her home and on Monday morning back they come together. Alley Cat is set down outside the store and roams at will the local environs until she decides it is time for her to be inside. She will then plant herself at the closed doors and wait patiently for someone to go in or out, at which time she will walk in, jump up on the counter or disappear in the back. She is friendly and likes to be stroked or have her head rubbed. She lives her life receiving love and giving love.

Smart cat. Lucky people.

There is a dog who spends his days at an auto repair shop on the edge of the industrial area just outside of Whitianga. Going into town you round a sweeping turn on the highway and look way up the road on the right. If he’s there, he’ll be standing close to the verge, holding a sturdy black radiator hose in his mouth, watching oncoming traffic for a special vehicle only he knows. When he sees it he lunges or prances and shakes the hose and runs back and forth with obvious and contagious joy. If he’s not by the road and it’s summer he can sometimes be seen in the shade of a two-sided sign arranged like an A-frame under a nearby tree. The grass is un-mown there, long and soft and cool. Sometimes he can be seen supervising an important job taking place inside the garage but most of the time he on duty by the road. Leaving town he’s on the left, a hundred metres past the turn to the refuse centre. Lately when I see him I’ve taken to lightly tapping my horn as we approach and to my delight, Horace (our name for him, not his), tail wagging happily, grabs the hose off the ground at his feet and jumps and shakes it vigorously. I swear you can see him smiling as we pass.

He’s made a friend, said hello, invited us to play and lives in a state of sheer joy that he passes on to all who see him.

Two creatures, both conscious and aware, happy with their place in the world, full of joy, spreading love. Never saying a word.

 

Miracles abound.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

16 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 16th,  2020

Day 1 (Again)

Despite the sometimes acerbic tone some of the entries in this diary have taken, I am, at heart, not a cynic. The fact of the matter is that for my entire life I have pitched my tent in the unruly, but happy camp of the romantics. Hafiz lives one tent over and Basho somewhere across the way. I consider myself in good company and would not change a thing. That being said, at this moment in time, writing in bed with Goldberg’s Variations playing in the background and the last minutes of this unique and irreplaceable day slipping into history, I am gobsmacked and the cynic in me is laughing and laughing.

Earlier in the day I’d made a run down the 309 and into town for supplies for the pathway that is my current project. I was loading thirty bricks and three bags of bedding sand into the back of my car at PlaceMakers when Bopper, a genial yardman there, came up and asked if I’d heard the news. Bopper always has some tidbit of gossip or chatter on the jungle telegraph to relate so I humoured him and asked what was up? He proceeded to tell me that we had two active cases of Covid-19 on the books and that it happened because somebody was let out of quarantine to attend a funeral in Wellington. Bopper being Bopper, I took everything he had to say with a grain of salt, finished my supply run by strapping two 4.8 metre retaining wall boards on the roof rack, paid my bill and raced home to crack my computer, log into the Ministry of Health to see if he was right.

Here’s what the numbers say…

 

AAAAAAAJUN16NZCov

So here we go again… 2 New cases. Zero Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active and probable cases and factoring in 22 death is… Sorry, but you’re going to have to do the math yourselves. I can’t wrap my head around it.

 

AAAAAAAAmath

 

After 24 days of no active cases in the entire country, we let two women fly in from the United Kingdom via Australia, placed them in a ‘managed isolation’ facility for 14 days but then let them out to drive 642 kilometres in a private vehicle to Wellington to ‘comfort’ a relative after a death in the family. ‘Compassionate exemption’ was the term used to describe it on the government press release. An entire country with five million souls free of Covid-19 and totally out of lockdown and we decide that the ‘needs’ of two people outweigh the possible consequences of spreading a highly contagious virus among an unsuspecting population. A six hour journey and they had no contact with anybody? Right. Who the hell made the decision to let them do that? It beggars belief.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/121851190/coronavirus-our-expectations-have-not-been-met-says-pm

The early press release was couched in wordy bureaucratese to make it sound as though everything was under control, but things were clearly were not. Ever hear the phrase that an elephant is a mouse built to government specifications? Well that press release was the government version of somebody saying, ‘it sounded like a good idea at the time’. Several hours into the news cycle and already the powers that be are stating that, “No more exemptions will be allowed”. You think? It’s tantamount to them announcing that, “Several dozen horses have escaped from our stable but don’t worry, we’ve closed the doors now”.

The contact tracers that have been sitting idle for 24 days are hot on the trail of everyone who was on the flight, all of the people in two international airports in two countries, the staff and other people in the managed isolation facility, every person at the funeral in Wellington and anyone that anyone might have come in contact with these two caring but selfish knuckleheads on their journey by car from Auckland to Wellington. Details are few and far between this early in the story and I cannot wait for the finer points to be revealed in the coming days. There will doubtless be more tap dancing from the powers that be as this unfolds. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has got to be saying, “They did what?!!” to anyone on her staff brave enough to go near her while all over the country a feeling of dread is beginning to replace the cautious optimism we had during the past three weeks.

 

AAAAAMaybe swearing

 

It is said by the wise that there is very little difference between Saturday night and Sunday morning. That’s kind of where we are now. The process of tracking and tracing and isolating (this time without any compassion, I hope) will ramp up to full speed. Sweden will say, “We told you so”, the threat of lockdown will loom again and everyone will be watching the numbers once more and furtively checking their supply of toilet paper.

As for me, I am officially over it. If it all goes south and I end up taking a long dirt nap would someone please mine these pages and cobble together the story of my end of days? I’ve chosen the title and put together the cover below to save you some work. Thanks.

 

AAAAAWEll that didn'twork

 

Cheers, D.

Dawn to Dusk in the Embrace of Love

15 Jun

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June 15, 2020   –   Monday

Day 1,646

 

The sun rose at 7:32 and cast its golden glow on the mountain. Half an hour later a thump on the roof woke me from a light sleep and I rose and opened the curtains to the bedroom to look out at the grove and the steps that lead to the forecourt and the drive. The sun glinted through tree branches beyond the garden and silhouetted the shapes of birds flitting through the forest canopy. The steps were wet with dew and a few chaffinches were hopping around checking the area for seed. I couldn’t see what had made the thump and went in to open the curtains in the sitting room.

Another day dawning. Another beautiful, sweet, golden morning, serene and windless, ripe with promise. I turned on the electric heater and was about to prepare Valerie’s tea when I decided to check the steps again. Sure enough, there was Mr. Lonely, a California quail that has been living here on this property since before we arrived some four-and-a-half years ago. Of all the dozens of quail that have visited our land during this year’s long hot summer, only he is left. The rest have packed it in and headed down to the tangled swathe of gorse and blackberry that borders the community vegetable garden half a kilometre down the valley.

I put on my thick terry cloth robe and slippers and went outside to scatter a couple of handfuls of seed into the grove, and, because he was so patient and unafraid, right on the pavers at Mr. Lonely’s feet. He tucked in right away and as I turned to go back inside I could hear the chaffinches and green finches and sparrows flying down from the trees surrounding the house. Breakfast for the birds at the dawn of the world. That’s what it felt like and it’s the same every day. Cold, tranquil, sun dappled and perfect. I smiled and went back inside.

Valerie woke and stretched and murmured good morning sweetly and we had breakfast in bed, warm beneath the covers, watching avian antics as the birds rattled through the seed and the sun rose until it shone directly in the bedroom window. For the umpteenth time I reminded myself to clean the windows as they are hard to see through when the sun blazes through them. It’s like driving up the 309 Road into the setting sun and struggling to see out the streaked and crazed windshield of the car. I add it to the list.

The walkway, version three, is the priority and that is what I end up focusing on for the rest of the day. Guests are coming in four days to celebrate our victory over the virus and I’d like to have it finished before then. I have to stop twice. Once to swap out gas bottles for the kitchen stove and once for lunch. The birds in the grove kept me company and row by row I slowly lay pavers and bricks in a gently curving path from the end of the raised walkway next to the storage room shipping container toward the new steps up to the deck of the forest porch. Time flies and as the sun sets behind the northwest ridge and the light begins to fade I pack up my tools and take stock of my progress. Halfway done and tomorrow when I go into town to replace the gas bottle I’ll have to pick up three more bags of bedding sand and thirty more bricks. I’ll use the trip to take four bags of trash down now that the refuse transfer station is back to running normally. Down and back in two hours if all goes well. And it will.

Night folds its arms around the forest and the stars come out clear and bright. It’s going to be a cold night. Two Moreporks begin calling in the trees down toward the river. I answer, saying hello and goodnight, and wish them good hunting. The moon is waning and won’t be up until late this night. Before sleep takes me I will give thanks for all that this day has given me. Miracles and light, love and laughter. It’s all you need and it’s all right here in the forest. I could not be in a better place.

 

AAAAAAAApath

 

 

As Long as the Red Earth Rolls

8 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

 

Jun 8,  2020

Day 79

Today I rested.

Early morning clouds hid the moon again and so the chance to duplicate May’s full moon photograph is gone. “Another time, Highlander”, growls the Kurgon somewhere in the back of my mind.

No quail this morning. Temperature is down into ‘see your breath territory’. Back to sleep for a while. Wake to beauty. Breakfast in bed. Sun streams through the bedroom window.

Valerie and I walked in the midday sun through our compound, seeing areas that need work and noting where a brush stroke here or there would add to the canvas. She inspected the neat double stacked row of foundation posts in the tiny hollow just off the drive and I showed her how I’ll be able to pull them one by one down through a gap in the trees to the worksite. A Tui sang crazily above us and we walked to the top of the drive and up the road for a while. The sun was bright and the sky a turquoise backdrop to the green ridges that frame our land. Back at the entrance to our drive I showed her where I want to build a cantilevered gate that will slide out of the forest on silent bearings when we want to keep the world at bay. We walked hand in hand down the drive cataloging the damage to the ponga done by the drought. We lost at least ten of the tall fern trees along each side, not to mention what has happened throughout the forest. I will harvest the trunks and use them somewhere along the line, honouring their life as best I can.

After lunch I cleaned dead ponga branches from the grove and removed spider webs from the interior walls of the entrance porch. The ease with which they can be seen is probably the only drawback of having black walls. I used a small paint brush and found it worked pretty well, but as I brushed I imagined of a battery powered rotary tool with a bottle brush on the business end…  And added it to the list.

Around mid afternoon Valerie checked the numbers and told me, “Zero new cases and you’ll be glad to know that the one person who’s been holding out has recovered…”  I let that news sink in as I reached for my computer to see for myself. Sure enough, today’s numbers tell the tale…

AAAJUN8NZCov

Zero New cases. One Recovered case. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases and probable cases plus deaths is 100%. Zero active cases.

WHISKEY. OSCAR. WHISKEY.

Bloody marvellous and while not a laurel to rest on, it is a milestone a long time coming and one to be proud of and thankful for. I think I’ll have a beer and raise a toast to us.

 

AAACOTRRRTR

 

So… Where do we go from here? The country is going to Alert Level 1 for the second time in history. What that means for us is that all businesses will be open with only minor restrictions. Gatherings can be held without regard to size. Social distancing will still be encouraged and the wearing of masks may be mandated on public transport and in certain other situations. Anyone coming into the country will be quarantined for a minimum of fourteen days while authorities examine options  and begin to sort out how to re-open the country to travellers from disease free nations. There will be many more details to iron out, some anticipated and others wholly unanticipated. It’s the nature of the beast.

 

AAAACATCORONA

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wisely made it very clear in her announcement today that there will be more cases, but that what we have learned thus far will help us to find, diagnose, track and eliminate any new cases that show up.

 

AAASTORM

 

We are in a good place and things are only going to get better.

 

AAADOPI

 

All of which has me thinking that my subtitle, Diary of a Pandemic, is no longer appropriate, nor accurate. Especially since it looks as though, for the semi-foreseeable future, any dying I do won’t be because of Covid-19. That being said, I’m still glad I decided to write about it all. At the outset of lockdown the odds were good that it was going to be a serious Charlie Foxtrot and there was no way of telling how it would all work out. http://acronymsandslang.com/definition/7720898/CHARLIE+FOXTROT-meaning.html

 

I’ve learned a great deal in the past three months, not the least of which is that…

 

AAAAMOS

 

Nevertheless, I have no illusions that it’s over. The fears that started me writing what was, in many ways, my death bed testimonial still exist. They are founded on long years of experience and the events of the first half of 2020 have only strengthened them.

 

AAACHANCEST

 

The Pandemic is still on in the rest of the world. Covid-19 is probably out there for good now, unless smarter folks than I can find a way to put it back in the bottle it was let out of. New Zealand will have to bend like a reed as the storm continues to rage elsewhere.

No man is an island, as Mr. Donne so eloquently said, and that statement applies to islands as well. So we will watch and wait, hope and dream, love and laugh. And I will remember to be grateful for the miracles that I am privileged to see every moment I’m alive, and to thank those of you who have stood by me as I added a few more planks to my raft. It is all I can do. I hope it is enough.

 

AAAAThankyou

 

I hope each and every one of you find your way to the happiness you deserve. Breathe deep and know that no matter what happens to you or yours, this is not the end…

 

AAAAKIP

 

If the time comes when anyone wants to know more and I’m not around to ask, let it be said that…

 

AAATHISMAN

 

And that he wished for all to…

 

AAAAFAREWE

 

 

 

Anyway…

7 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 7,  2020

Day 78

I woke to the quiet voices of twenty-six quail outside our bedroom window and went outside into the mist to feed them. This morning they seemed only slightly skittish and did not scatter as I walked slowly up the steps between them. The sun was rising in a blaze of gold behind a layer of cloud that blanketed the valley. It would burn off within a half an hour but I could not see the moon even though I knew exactly where to look. Photographs would have to wait.

 

AAAASENTINEL4

 

Breakfast in bed and the joy of a letter from the lighthouse keeper. Wonderful way to start the day even if the news was not all good. My education is a work in progress and I know that events turn on jewelled bearings for reasons beyond my limited understanding, but still… I look for order in the world and am dismayed when, at times, I find none. I am, as I have said before, a slow learner.

 

At 11:00AM I geared up for the task set before me by the gift of yesterday and drove over to Rosie’s. Formed my own private and solo pyramid building crew and began moving the row of foundation post off-cuts.

 

AAAAAPostssss

 

Five trips, with lunch shoehorned somewhere in the middle. 13 posts. Approximately 4,000 pounds. 5 round trips.

 

AAAAAPOSTs

 

I found a place to put them in the forest off our drive where I can winch them downhill and cut them to length as and when I need them for the piers of the new bathroom and storage room. Until then they will be almost invisible, the green treated wood blending into the brown of ponga trunks and emerald green of fern fronds. I finished after dark, working by the light of the car headlights to lever the last huge post into its resting place. I wrapped up, removed the tarp from the back of the car, stowed my tools and then staggered in to the warm sitting room and the golden light of love, well and truly thrashed. Valerie had set out a cold beer and bowl of sweet-chilli rice crackers to snack on and I checked today’s numbers while she went to the kitchen to prepare a steak and onion dinner. Paradise…

 

 

AAAAJUN7NZCov

 

Zero New cases. Zero Recovered cases. The ratio of recovered cases to active and probable cases plus deaths is 99.93%….still.

 

 

This day has caught up with me and I am reminded of next to the last line of the letter Jeremiah Johnson found frozen to the corpse of Hatchet Jack, another trapper who had, as his short missive said, “killt the bear that killt me.” It was the scene where Jeremiah, ably played by Robert Redford, inherits the deceased trapper’s Henry rifle (after prying it from his frozen fingers). Matter of fact and to the point, it spoke of the rugged nature of the mountain men and their understanding and acceptance the price that must sometimes be paid for living in the wild. I feel that closing this entry with that line is fitting and apropos, considering that this day has thoroughly kicked my ass…

“Anyway, I am dead.”

 

AAAHat

 

Goodnight

 

Waiting on the Moon

6 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 6,  2020

Day 77

 

Sun.

Rain.

Sleep.

Love.

AAAJUN6NZCov

Zero New cases. Zero recovered cases. The ratio of the movement of the second hand to the hour hand of a watch is 720:1. With unequivocal certainty I can tell you that since the onset of the Covid-19 contagion, the speed of time has remained constant, and that the last person who has the disease has been sick for an awfully long time. I wish they’d hurry up and get well.

 

AAAASN

 

It turns out that garden snails are not really that slow, so perhaps I should apologise to the fellow above. In one hour they can travel 150 feet, which may not seem that fast, but in the time it takes for the moon to go through all four phases, your average snail can cover twenty miles. Cut that in half to allow for time spent sleeping and eating and it’s still a healthy ten miles. Not bad for a creature with only one foot.

 

AAAAMOONBJ

 

The rain of the past two weeks has hidden the moon from view as it changed from new to full, which it is right this second as I type. One of the reasons this entry is so short is that I’ve been going outside every few minutes stare up past the scudding clouds to check the moon’s progress. Last month I took its picture as it set and I hope to do the same in a few hours.

I’ve been around for 804 full moons in my life. I can remember quite a few of them, but still hope to see another 400. Majestic, mysterious and utterly captivating. There’s a reason why the three toed tree toad sings his sweet ode to the moon…

 

AAAFULLMOON

 

Miracles happen.

 

Go outside and see.

 

Waiting on the moon.

Soon

5 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 5,  2020

Day 76

This morning I set up a ladder outside the kitchen bay window and climbed up to inspect the roof tarp where it is secured to the main house roof overhang. I brought with me a homemade rake made from a long, thin strip of plywood with four wood screws set in the end like the tines of a fork and bent at ninety degrees. Using this impromptu tool, I patiently raked out a couple of pounds of leaves and debris. The little implement worked perfectly and when I had cleared as far as I could reach, I swept the troublesome pile off the tarp and down to add its component parts to the ever growing humous layer of the forest floor. To the extent that I could, I eyeballed the tarp surface for cracks and then climbed down to wait for the next rain so that I could check to see what puddles appeared.

For the entire two-month span of lockdown the dumping of refuse at the council-run tip was governed by constraints that made trash runs a real pain. I took some bags down  there in the beginning to see how it worked, but when I discovered the hoops I had to jump through I elected to store my full trash bags along the eastern wall of the shop container. Then I watched the numbers fall and waited for the end of lockdown. Now that we’re at level 2, my personal collection of rubbish bags has assumed an elevated priority. I decided to consolidate bags by packing them tightly before loading them into the car for the trip down the mountain. I built a frame to hold open the bags so that I could transfer the contents from other bags into them and set about turning twelve bags of garbage to eight.

While doing that I did a load of laundry only to find that the mysterious leak beneath the washer is back. Threw a towel down to soak up the small puddle that crept from beneath the whiteware. Roseanne Roseannadana came to mind as I thought about the one-step forward and two-steps back dance I’d been doing around the homestead during the last few days. If it’s not one thing, it’s another… Sometimes it’s like that. You just have to put your head down and drive on.

After lunch Valerie and I drove over to a friend’s lot about three-quarters of a kilometre down the valley. We’d been invited to inspect a pile of timber scraps her builders had amassed during the construction of her new home. We pulled in the curved and muddy drive to find our friend Rosie getting out of the car after the long drive from Auckland. She’d come up with a friend to spend the weekend kitting out her new digs with books and planters and the usual home furnishings.  We sorted out social distancing while commenting that it was strange how we still clung to routine despite there being only one active case in all of New Zealand.

Rosie bought her lot about two years ago with the idea of it being an off-grid hideaway far from the madding crowd where she would be able to put down roots, grow a garden and commune with nature on  weekends or holidays. She has a caravan and has spent a long time on site planning her home. The design she came up with makes the most of a small building area perched at the edge of a precipice that affords a wide-open view down the valley toward Whitianga and the sea beyond.

Working with an innovative construction firm, she’d opted for five twenty-foot shipping containers to be placed on huge wooden piles driven into the clay and arranged in a wide ‘U’ shape with the open end facing the view. The builders had cut out walls and installed huge sliding glass, double paned doors and combined two of the units into a large and open kitchen/living room with bedrooms forming the legs on either side. The fifth container was tacked on in back to form a mudroom/entrance and an enclosed storage room. The site was chewed up and muddy but will recover and blossom and her house is going to be divine.

Rosie had pulled the trigger on construction a month before Covid-19 showed up and seen most of the work finished just as lockdown started. She then had to endure the uncertainty and frustration of two-and-a-half months of everything being shut down. No work could be done and even traveling to the site was impossible. Mice took up residence in her caravan and the shell of her new house was exposed to the full brunt of the onset of winter. Since lockdown ended almost a month ago the majority of the work has been completed and the open lines and sweeping vistas are a testament to her imagination and patience.

Rosie showed us around and then offered us the off-cuts of the piles that were used for the corner posts of each container. There were fourteen in all, twelve inches in diameter and ranging from four to eight feet long. I asked her if she was sure, because if I had to buy them at the timber yard it would cost a great deal. She was adamant she wanted them gone and that I could have them. I accepted gladly, but only after showing her how she could use two of them split long ways to make a nice temporary set of steps up and into her house. Her eyes lit up when I showed her how to do it and she said she’d ask her builders to knock it together. I can’t wait to see how it works out.

In the meantime I’ve got twelve huge posts to move to our lot. Looks like two at a time in the back of our station wagon. Lots of levers and work and straps and tarps and fun, and then I’ve got to find a place to stow them neatly until I can use them in the construction of the upcoming new bathroom/storage room and kitchen expansion. I don’t want to mess up the forecourt but at the same time I want to store them as close to where I’ll be using them as possible. I decided on the way home to make Rosie a bell for her driveway as a house warming gift. Luckily, I’ve got an extra SCUBA bottle around somewhere so that will be easy. Another adventure underway.

Checking in with the numbers I found that there has been no change in twenty-four hours…

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.31.18 PM

Zero New cases. Zero recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases and probable cases (plus 22 deaths) is 99.93%.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/05/cant-quite-believe-it-new-zealand-tiptoes-towards-elimination-of-coronavirus

 

PH

 

Soon.

 

 

Internet Maintenance Day

4 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 4,  2020

Day 75

Went into town this morning to get supplies to fix a problem with the power to a section of the kitchen. A huge old tree on the turn by the estate picnic area had fallen, its splintered trunk, broken a metre above the ground, revealed rot through and through. We were lucky that it fell downhill and away from the road or we would have been blocked and I would most likely have been part of a working bee to remove it. This would have been possible because we are, as a community, gradually realising that only one person has Covid-19 in New Zealand and the likelihood of catching it is pretty small. It was raining off and on all the way to town. New slips along the road are showing up as the land reaches saturation. The weight of water pulls great swathes of clay and forest floor, trees and all, down sodden slopes to new resting places. They usually aren’t as bad as the one below that happened yesterday in Norway, but you never know.

 

 

The whole of New Zealand, indeed, the entire world, is headed toward sea level and the universe toward its eventual heat death. I probably won’t be around for it.

We arrived in Whitianga in the middle of a sudden downpour and I stopped at a hardware store that had a three-foot wide river running in through the main entrance and down the centre aisle for fifty feet. It turned to the right and disappeared from view under the tool section and I knew it would find its way out the back door the same way it had come in the front. The staff were taking pictures and putting up cones everywhere as I paid for my gear and left. It was still coming down cats and dogs on the way home and we could see where the Whangamaroro River had flooded a few days earlier. The highway runs down the centre of an alluvial flood plain next to the estuary that opens up into Mercury Bay and whenever it rains hard for any length of time the road is overtopped by the river. There is a crossroad at this point that leads up into the foothills of the eastern Coromandel Range. I don’t know how the road got its name, but I think I do and I smile every time I see the sign post for Wade Road.

I spent the afternoon replacing wiring and outlets and putting things back together again and testing to see whether it all worked. Once again I finished as the light was fading outside. My repairs of the roof on the previous day were half successful, which means I still have a leak from the roof into the house. Half is better than none, but we’re still seeing water coming in through the wall. The thing to do is bite the bullet and replace the temporary roof with a permanent one, but summer is gone and the rains are here (and inside) so I’m caught on the horns of a dilemma.

Checked the numbers and found we are still in stasis…

AAAJUN4NZCOv

No change. Good news.

 

Elsewhere in the world some interesting things are happening. Sweden has said that given a chance they would have altered their policy of staying open for business during the first wave of Covid-19. The very fact that there is a free and open discussion about the issue and that a member of their government has admitted that they could have done things better stands in stark contrast to China, where no such admissions will ever be made while the CCP is in control.

Today in China it is Internet Maintenance Day.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/china-has-found-64-tiananman-related-terms-to-block-on-its-internet-today/372137/

It is also known as A Day to Remember, but not if you are being recorded…

 

Can you imagine what it must be like to live in a country where one-thousand-four-hundred-million people are afraid to say anything on camera?

 

History is being erased day by day in the…

AAAPeople's republic

 

AAAHISTORY

 

Don’t forget.

 

I’m Here to Help

3 Jun

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

June 3,  2020

Day 74

Though the weather forecast said rain, we had a respite from the showers that have been soaking the land for the past week. Sunshine streamed in the bedroom window this morning on an angle that tells me it is nearly the beginning of winter. Only one quail and a host of chaffinches showed up for breakfast. Light wind from the west, cool but not cold. After a breakfast of fried bread I rose to do battle with the temporary kitchen’s leaky west wall. We’ve been mopping up water from the floor in the two closets that sit on either side of the china cabinet and I even drilled two large holes in the floor to see if the water would drain. No luck there as the water bypassed them both through the strength of capillary action between the floor and the base board of the left hand closet. Time to see what could be done on the outside.

Yesterday I built a walkway spanning the entire length of the wall so that I could work on the upper edge detail of the roof without having to constantly reposition a ladder wherever I needed to work. I cut ten pillars to length, drove them into the clay with a mattock, attached two long header rails and then capped it with a plywood deck and an outer edge piece to keep the ladder feet from sliding off. The gap between the verandah on the north side and the end of the walkway was bridged by a two-by-ten and the epiphytes on the house side of a huge tree were trimmed so that I could make my way easily along the walkway.

This morning I cut a small section out of the verandah rail so that I can get to the walkway without having to negotiate that obstacle. When that was done I began the painstaking and tedious work of figuring out how, where and why the wall was  leaking and then fixing it. Morning turned to afternoon and I skipped lunch because the sky had clouded over and rain was threatening. The job finished with a new tarp being attached to the upper header of the temporary kitchen wall and the roof tarps weighted and draped over the entire span. As the sun slipped behind Totokoroa and the light began to fade I put the final touches on my repairs, inspected the work, picked up all my tools and stopped for the day. I hope it works.

Inside the sitting room the heater was going and the warmth made the space feel even cosier than normal. I sat in my big chair and checked todays numbers…

AAAJUN3NZCov

Zero New cases (for the twelfth straight day). Zero recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active and probable cases (plus 22 deaths) is still 99.93%. One active case remains and the entire nation is quietly waiting for that person to recover. The media must have their headlines ready and the editors are standing by. So we wait…

…And while we wait, many of America’s major cities are seeing the worst riots since Rodney King was beaten down by a gang of policemen in May of 1992. This time the trigger was the needless and tragic death of George Floyd at the hands (and knee) of another policeman and aided and abetted by the inaction of three other officers on the scene. Protesters rightly took to the streets to say this should not have happened and that something must be done to prevent it in the future. Then, inevitably, some protests became riots. The two are mutually exclusive. You can protest or you can riot. The former is understandable, the latter is a crime. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Thugs and thugettes want free big screen TV’s and cheesecakes and the protests are a great excuse. Al Sharpton showed up to say that burning black owned businesses was ‘reckless’. What about white owned businesses? Hispanic owned businesses? Korean owned? Those okay to burn, Al?

 

AAAHERETOHELP

 

The people who are rioting and looting have revenue enhancement goals, entertainment goals, and some have political goals. It is my opinion that very few of them give a rats ass about George Floyd. They have agendas, they know the police are outnumbered and have their hands tied by the ‘optics’ of arresting anyone for anything. Some rioters even convince themselves their actions are justified. If asked, they’ll say, “We are protesting…”

This lunacy is further compounded by the organisation Black Lives Matter and a great deal of their supporters who care not a whit for the hundreds of black men, women and children killed by black offenders in Chicago last year, this year, and, seemingly, every year. Where is the outrage. Where are the protests? No riots for them? No looting?

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/mailbag/letter-where-are-the-protests-about-black-on-black-crime/article_cd56e2a6-8e1b-5321-b089-8ca28c743c03.html

But when a white cop kills a black man in the course, however flawed, of an arrest, it’s game on. Cue the victimhood speeches, cry for reparations, interview Colin Kaepernick, page Al and Jesse, break out the masks (and not for Covid-19) and meet up at your local Target store for free stuff. Dare to ask where is the outrage when a black man kills another black man and you will be dismissed as a racist, the throwaway line for every situation when someone doesn’t agree with the aggrieved nowadays. Yes, it is wrong for a man to be denied due process by being killed during his arrest. Yes, I support the right to peaceful protest and agree that even one such death is one too many. But if citizens aren’t motivated enough to get out and do the hard, constructive work required to change the system, I have no respect for them when they foment violence and tolerate or try to explain away the deliberate theft or destruction of property in the name of advancing their agendas. It is despicable and beneath contempt.

 

AAAABAL

 

Why do the very people affected by this ignore the question? To continue to ignore it is a choice.

 

 

 

AAAFAIL

 

 

Do Not Rejoice

30 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 30,  2020

Day 70

First the good news…

AMAY30NZCov

The Zeroes say it all on this day. For the first time ever we are one zero away from there being nine out of nine total zeroes on the board. 1 Active case. Zero recovered cases. Ratio of recovered (or otherwise) cases to confirmed and probable cases is 99.93%

 

 

Now for the bad news…

 

AAAITSCOMING

 

So, you tell me. Are we as a species doomed to repeat the same tired, tragic and timeworn tales generation after generation? Is it impossible to stop the cycle of the rise of totalitarian governments and the wars necessary to ensure they do not take over the world with their poisonous ideologies?

If you would like to know what the peoples of the world thought and felt while Hitler and the cancer of Nazism was growing in Europe, look around you as China takes over Hong Kong and destroys a tiny remnant of freedom clinging to the shore of Asia’s mainland. Eighty some years ago it was Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, the Anschluss, Norway, Belgium, France, Italy….

Now it’s Tibet, Nepal, the South China Sea and Taiwan. The concentration camps have already been built and the Uighurs, an ethnic minority, are imprisoned there by the millions for the simple crime of being ‘other’. They have no champions and no hope. Those not yet in the camps live under mass surveillance and the threat of imminent arrest. Once inside, the inmates are subject to re-education, torture and possible organ harvesting. Outside, systematic oppression includes the destruction of graveyards and the disappearance of entire communities from the land, maps and eventually, memory. It is happening now and we tolerate it.

 

Toasters are cheap here because life is cheaper there.

 

It is not only lives in the balance, but judgement of history as well. Just as Hitler had a plan for South and North America, the Chinese Communist Party has a plan for you. When all is said and done they’ll rewrite the curriculum of all schools, dismantle statues, destroy landmarks and erase history all while rebuilding the world as they imagine it should be. To the victor go the spoils.

Watch Hong Kong in the coming weeks. There is a reason the CCP placed their boot on the neck of the island two weeks before the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. When the former Hong Kong is a couple of news cycles in the past, watch Taiwan. Watch Australia, the South China Sea and Africa. Read your history books and learn, because if all you do is watch, there will come a time when you will see your children march off to a war that you let happen because you could not be bothered to stop it.

Bring manufacturing home to your own land or to countries that do not support totalitarian dictators. Stop, by whatever means, the conducting of business with China. Stop listening to their wolf diplomats scolding the west for interfering in their sovereign right to whatever they like. Stop thinking you can do nothing. Do a little bit each day. Open your eyes. Study your enemy. Speak out. Speak up. One battle is over. The next is well underway.

 

AADONOTREJOICE