Tag Archives: Covid-19

Goodnight and Good Luck

24 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 24,  2020

Day 64

A couple of things right off the bat. The quail haven’t left, the meteorologists were right about the rain and Hong Kong is in trouble.

In other news today a salon worker in Missouri infected 91 customers over seven days last week, Sweden stands by their plan and Putin’s approval ratings have dropped from 100% to 97%. In Moscow a third doctor who worked for an ambulance service has fallen to his death after expressing dismay about two doctors who earlier died in similar incidents. A government spokesperson is reported to have cited ‘unwarranted agitation for parachutes for health workers on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19’ as the cause of his ‘inadvertent and totally unrelated high speed convergence with the earth’. In Norway, BOC Aviation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the state owned Bank Of China, has purchased a majority share of Norwegian Air after the cash strapped startup completed a debt for equity swap in order to survive the downturn in revenue caused by the Covid-19 contagion. Media representatives for BOC Aviation were unavailable for comment at the time of the transaction as they were busy threatening Australia with ‘new much needed regulations’ on the import of beef and ‘technical inspection issues’ affecting the shipping of coal and iron ore. Elsewhere, North Korea still has zero reported cases and credits this to Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s ‘Superior Leadership and Beneficial Practices’. The Hermit Kingdom has offered to help the world combat Covid-19 by teaching these principles to all countries except Turkmenistan, citing a long standing dispute with that former Soviet republic about which nation had zero Covid-19 cases first. Resolution of this dispute is proving to be difficult as President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has banned the word coronavirus. And in New Zealand toady, Ministry of Health figures were posted on their website and this is what they say…

AMAY24NZCov

Zero New cases. 1 Recovered case. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is 96.8%. Five Zeroes on the board. 27 Active cases remaining.

 

 

 

And in our final story tonight…

AMANEATEN

 

Goodnight and good luck.

 

 

 

Progress

23 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 23,  2020

Day 63

The weather forecast calls for six days of rain starting tomorrow so today I collected two shovels, four new large pavers and a few smaller, older ones, some bricks, two bags of setting sand, two levels, a brick layer’s trowel, a pry bar and a rake, and proceeded to make a walkway that would allow us to approach the steps to the forest porch without slipping in the slick yellow clay that is the foundation of the forest floor. It took about four hours with a break for lunch around three in the afternoon. Levelling the path base took the most physical work because our garden used to be the lower part of the drive the original developers put in twenty years ago. They used a type of rock infused fill that resists traditional shovelling and the pry bar came in handy for levering up recalcitrant rocks about the size and shape of clenched fists. Once I had what seemed like a level area I confirmed this with the levels, then spread a bag of bedding sand and raked it smooth.

 

APATH1

 

The large pavers followed, two abreast, checked and tamped until they were solid and as perfect as they were going to be, given the temporary nature of the walkway. (It’s going to be removed sometime before spring, but that’s another story.)

 

APATH2

 

The smaller pavers were easier to lay, still using the same method, and then the bricks went down until I ran out of them. Another bag of bedding sand was spread on top and swept into all the joints. I’m hoping the rain will compact the sand deep into each joint and lock everything together. This may involve a little work in the rain tomorrow to add more sand but that’s not an issue as I have to go that way to get to the shop.

 

APATH3

 

I finished just as the sun set and then used the last light to reroute the water supply hose to the washing machine so that it runs under the shipping container instead of on the garden grass. The new arrangement looked so clean I decided to hide the hose as best I could all the way to the faucet some eighty feet away at the back of the house. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Now the hose is tucked away and hidden for the most part and having done so I cannot help but think there is no better way to bring back the drought. For now though, and until it is needed elsewhere, the hose stays where it is.

 

Tools put away, workshop closed up for the night, I went inside to have dinner and check today’s numbers…

AMAY23NZCov

Zero New cases. Zero Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases remains unchanged from yesterday because there are 7 Zeroes on the board. No change in anything, which is a good thing. The more the merrier.

 

All day as I worked there was a huge wood pigeon sitting and feeding in a tree just on the other side of the windbreak to the left of the forest porch. In the morning Valerie and I sat for a few minutes in the sun and listened to a Tui high in the branches singing his wild discordant song. Just before lunch Mr. Lonely, a single quail we’ve seen here for four years, came and waited patiently while I spread some seed for him. After lunch three more showed up a received the same treatment. Their count today was a fraction of their usual numbers and I wonder whether the coming days of rain will keep them away. The chaffinches and sparrows kept a vigil in the grove and thundered into the air by the dozens every time I banged a rock with the shovel or scraped the rake on the growing path of pavers. One by two they return unnoticed to perch in the ponga and scan the steps for any new seed, then take flight again and again as I progressed*.

As I type these last sentences for today’s entry, the rain begins to fall outside, tapping lightly on the roof, slowly building. Soon it will be drumming steadily, running off the roof, into the gutters and downspouts, filling our water tank and our dreams.

 

Goodnight.

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-16 at 9.47.38 AM

 

 

 

 

*Speaking of progress, here’s a handy link for you all to help you gauge yours. Enjoy.

https://neal.fun/progress/

 

Strange, Strange, Strange

22 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 22,  2020

Day 62

To the extent that it is possible within the limits of their resources, every country in the world has tried to find a way to deal with all of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have decided to say that it does not exist, some have decided to let it run its course and others have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to stem, if only for a little while, the wave of contagion. We are in the midst of the first months of what may prove to be a years long battle to defeat a thing that is not even technically alive, but which is multiplying in its billions of trillions and spreading slowly, inexorably to every living human in the world.

I fear that the end result of all our tilting at this implacable windmill of Mother Nature will be the sad fact that we are powerless in the face of its relentless march and that one will either catch it and live, or catch it and die. Those that live will either have no long term problems or they will struggle with the effects of the virus for the rest of their lives. But they will be alive. They will reproduce and those most resistant to the virus will pass on this resistance to their children. Time and tide will relegate the Covid-19 bug to the history books and the world will wait nervously or obliviously for whatever’s coming down the pike next from the wet markets of China. The virus is going to run its course and humans are banging their heads as it does.

We see this happening now as governments try to protect citizens who don’t want to be protected. We see it in the attempts by some nations to pay lip service to their stated goal of protecting the older members of society while devoting equal, if not more attention to protecting their economies. Fear and apathy are revealed in the morbid nickname of Boomer Remover coined by some who cannot begin to imagine that they might one day be the same age as those they are so dismissive of now. The disease is driving a worldwide wedge into the fault lines of party politics and the result is that those in power will begin to sacrifice the vulnerable in order to protect themselves. Billionaires build bunkers equipped with swimming pools, stock them with the best viands money can buy. They staff them with masseuses, cooks, nurses and personal assistants for every need, then hunker down to ride out the storm, aloof in isolated luxury. Celebrities utterly convinced of their importance fill their Instagram feeds with inane yammering about lockdown being like prison or how we’re all in this together. They describe the hardships they’re enduring and post pictures of their activities as if anyone cared and they pat each other on the back and dream of the day they can hobnob on the walkways again and be famous once more. We see it as governments realise they cannot remain shut down forever. With covidiots partnered with those who simply need to go back to work. With protesters marching on capitols carrying signs that say what amounts to, “If you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk!”.

Through it all the virus continues to be spread by human activity, good or bad, well intentioned or clueless, like water finding its way into every space it can. It’s not overly virulent, as plagues go, and people are getting tired of it ruling their lives. So they carry it to their friends and neighbours and coworkers and fellow citizens and say, “Here, I’ve got it so you might as well have it too. Enjoy! You’re not too old are you? Diabetic? Overweight? Sorry about that, but you’ll be stronger for it.” In the end it will be like a good TV series that everyone eventually sees. Some watch it as it happens, week by week while others binge watch entire seasons a few years down the line. Sooner or later, though, everyone has seen it and then it’s gone, but not gone. It just blends with the scenery. A part of life in the bad old 2020’s. We’re in for a long, strange haul.

And that’s why I’m glad I live in New Zealand. It’s one of the last sane places on the planet and is a country that, whether through geographical isolation or enlightened leadership or just plain dumb luck, has managed thus far to slam the door on the world and then take great strides toward eradicating Covid-19 within its borders. This miracle mixture of luck and applied discipline has bought me some time before its my turn to dance with the devil. Time for the vaccine makers to do their thing, or, failing that, for the drug makers to whistle up some expensive brew so that I can ride this planet a few more times around the sun. I could not be in a better place and from where I sit and write, the view alone is worth the trouble.

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 12.21.12 PM

 

Here are the numbers for the island nation that is my home…

AMAY22NZCov

1 New case, 3 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is 96.7%. 2 Zeroes on the board. 28 active cases left.

 

ATHEUNIVERSEISSPEAKING

 

A@NDUNI

 

ASTRANGE

 

Coronation Chicken

21 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 21,  2020

Day 61

Toady I spent most of my time being aware of the incredible beauty that starts right outside our windows and extends ever outwards wherever one looks. The green of the valley walls is bathed in burnished silver and gold, framed by the clear blue of the sky beyond. We hear birdsong and the wind moving gently through the trees, rustling the ponga fronds and making the branches of the rose bushes nod. It’s as if they agree that they are part of a masterpiece painted by a singular artist, available for viewing only in this moment and never to be seen again in the long sweep of time to come. The sun moves in its shallow arc across the northern sky and shines in the new double doors of the sitting room so that we have to close the curtains during lunch to cut down on the brightness. The quail visit, peering in the bedroom window to make sure we know they’re here and then retreating as I walk up the steps, welcoming them quietly, telling them they are loved. They seem to know we’ve cleaned the steps and signal their approval by working with the new program. Food will be placed in the clear area beneath the power box and next to the steps or in the grove now. They have it down. I give them two big cups of seed and back silently down the steps.

Later I throw open the doors to the workshop container and stand on the forest porch looking down at the ground below. I’ve got a huge job ahead of me clearing brush and saplings and building a facade to blend the forest into the vertical walls of the porch and the shipping container itself. The steps down to that area still need to be built and painted. Paths are going to have to be cut and levelled and all evidence of construction removed. When finished, the view from the porch will be of forest extending undisturbed from the deck all the way down the the stream that marks the valley floor. Lots of work. Plenty of time. It will be worth getting it right.

Inside I re-stowed tools left out after my last project and start in on a new one. There is a young possum that has taken up residence somewhere nearby and has begun eating the rose buds and tender shoots of the new branches late at night. It knocked over a watering bowl down on the bark in front of the verandah and might be what is digging up the leaf litter along edge of the path below the grove. The project of the afternoon was to make a new set of bolts for the crossbow pistol and have them ready by nightfall. The first step was to cut off the knurled tip of a metal knitting needle with a high speed grinder. This required safety glasses. One of the three pair that I keep stashed in various spots would have worked, but I could not find any of them. This led to a slow, thorough look through, around, over and under every shelf, desk, horizontal surface, box, bucket, bin and barrel in the shop. I found a pair of reading glasses I’d bought three weeks ago and lost, but it took another hour before I finally found the two spare pair of safety glasses in a new spot I’d chosen and then forgotten. One day, one day, one day, all will be organised. If I don’t forget.

Glasses on, I ground off the ends of the knitting needles, set one aside and sharpened the point on the other. Fashioned some flights from a plastic bin lid and glued them on with epoxy. While they were drying I test fired the crossbow for the third day running. It is still zeroed in, a fact that is going to lead to the end of one creature’s life and the saving of many others. Red of tooth and claw, I am a part of nature and I choose the roses.

Lights off, arrows collected, crossbow loaded and placed near my shoes by the door of the house, I step from the gloaming into a warm sitting room. Dinner was a chicken and rice dish that was so delicious I asked Valerie what it was called. She smiled sweetly, as if she knew that it’s name was synchronistically appropriate. “It’s called Coronation Chicken, created to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth…” I thanked her and smiled. We live on the Coromandel Peninsula hiding out from the Coronavirus and we’re having Coronation Chicken for dinner. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You can’t make this stuff up.

 

Queen opens parliament

 

Another thing I can’t make up are today’s numbers. I’ll leave that to Turkmenistan and North Korea. They’ve got much better imaginations than me. Here’s what the real world figures are for New Zealand on this day…

AMAY21NZCov

Zero New cases. 5 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to probable and confirmed cases is 96.6%. Five Zeroes on the board. 30 people still infected.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-20 at 10.31.59 PM

 

A couple of hundred years from now people will jack into a museum feed and see pictures like this to try to imagine what life was like in the years before China fixed everything.

Thanks for visiting. This exhibit is closing now.

Stay safe and Goodnight.

202020

20 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 20,  2020

Day 60

Up early on a beautiful, clear and cold morning to return to the doctor. He said to put the lime in the coconut and call him in the morning. Other stops included the main op-shop for the first time in two months. Found some treasures there, including a light fixture for above the washer and dryer for $5. Amazing value to be found if you know what you’re looking for. Found a GoPro knockoff for $5 in a smaller op-shop around the corner, waterproof case and all. Going to hook it up to a motion sensor and see what sort of critter is digging up the leaves along the edge of the walkway to the workshop shipping container.  While Valerie shopped for groceries I used some of the disinfectant spray I’ve been using around town and some paper towels to wash the inside of the windshield of the car. The sun is so low in the northern sky now that no matter what time of the day we’re driving there is constant glare at certain spots on the 309 Road. It was better going home, but I missed some spots so there’s still work to do. Ammonia based window cleaner will be next.

I designed the base for our faux tile floor for the shower last night and began to cut the pieces of timber I’ll need to complete that job. The afternoon passed in a blaze of glory and evening found us firing up the burner to heat water for our showers before a dinner of steamed chicken, mushrooms and potatoes. Watched the movie A Brief Encounter on YouTube and reflected on how fortunate we were to have found each other and to have been in a position to do what the protagonists in that story could not.

 

AWECAMEWESAWWELOVED

 

Tucked Valerie into bed and then checked the day’s numbers. They are encouraging, tantalising, even mesmerising and they are shown below.

 

AMAY20NZCov

 

Zero New cases. 5 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is 96.2%. Four Zeroes on the board. 35 Active cases.

 

There is a chance.

There is hope.

There is going to be a respite while a vaccine is developed.

 

The story of our finding this place to build our home is one of  miracle after quiet miracle, each of which reaffirmed our belief that the Universe supports those who make a leap of faith.

 

AUNIV

ATHECLEARESTWAY

 

We could not agree more.

 

AHowyoulive

 

Stay safe and let your thoughts manifest the change you want to see.

 

Goodnight.

 

Maybe

19 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 19,  2020

Day 59

The skies are clearer than I’ve ever seen them in new Zealand and that’s saying a lot. After my appointment in Whitianga with my new optometrist I chased a beautiful sunset up the 309 Road and rolled down our drive with some groceries and a new car battery. I wonder where the battery was made?

There’s some sort of weird bookkeeping arithmetic going on in the count today, but for me the real number is the ongoing climb of the ratio of recovered cases to the number of confirmed and probable cases.

AMAY19NZCov

There are Zero new cases today, however, “the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 today increased by four. These cases are people who returned to New Zealand from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship in April and who had all tested positive for COVID-19 in Uruguay. They were classified as being under investigation while we were awaiting information from Uruguay to avoid them being double counted by the World Health Organisation. We have now confirmed these cases were not reported by Uruguay. All four have recovered.” (This from an explanation by the Ministry of Health published today to explain the asterisks. Bookkeeping.)

9 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to the number of confirmed and probable cases is 95.9%.

The powers that be are talking about 28 days being the amount of time we need to go without seeing a rise in number of infections as being the benchmark for success in our fight against the Covid-19 virus. Level 1 may take place sometime around then. Right now there is still a good deal of social distancing being practiced in businesses. Less so with people. Some are aware and conscious when I stop to let them pass. My optometrist wore a mask, as did I. Cashiers are wearing gloves and hand sanitiser is the new normal, but thing are coming back. Life is returning to the town and the nation. I hope it returns to you.

 

AVENICEBYNIGHT

 

There was a time when the world was a quieter, more peaceful place. The dentists were primitive and lifespans were shorter, but there were no cars and far fewer people. No penicillin, but no processed food either. The seas teemed with life, the skies were clear and the moon and stars ruled the night. Trade offs abound and answers are few, but the same span of years that has made me more susceptible to Covid-19 also has given me wisdom to make sense of its place in the tapestry of life. There is serenity in this knowledge.

I know where I’ve been.

I know where I am.

I know where I’m going.

 

Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day

18 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 18,  2020

Day 58

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 10.30.19 AM

 

In seventeen days it will be the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.  Remember it while you can. Fifty years from now all records of the June Fourth Incident will have been purged, deleted, or otherwise erased from every institution, library, government archive or online cloud data storage centre. Your children’s children will be speaking to their parents about the great opportunities afforded to them if they are accepted for admission in universities across China. Permission to emigrate to Mars will be among these privileges as well as selection for retirement living on the moon. If you would like to know what it felt like to be alive as the glory that was Rome fell, keep your eyes open. Look around you. It is happening everywhere, all the time now. You can stop it in its tracks with a little determination and some sacrifice.

But that toaster is on sale now. Your call.

 

AFutureofourworld

 

Whitianga was back to its old self today, save for new social distancing methods built into checkout areas and one way traffic in and out of larger stores. Everything was open again pretty much like two months ago. I checked with my new optometrist’s receptionist about whether the doctor would be wearing a mask for my examination tomorrow and we discussed common sense and courtesy and responsibility while I filled out a patient information sheet. Came up with a mnemonic to remember her name (Romeoed what Juliette) and then headed over to New World to help Valerie with the grocery shopping. From there I went to PlaceMakers and loaded up the roof rack with a sheet of form ply, some 2×3’s and 1×2’s. Got some bricks for a path to the new forest porch steps, two boxes of screws and some more silicone roof and gutter sealant. The fun never stops….

Oh, wait… It did stop for six weeks or so, didn’t it? But we did a good job of corralling those infected with the virus and the result is still reflected in today’s numbers.

AMAY18NZCov

Zero New cases. Zero Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is still 95.5%.

But wait, there’s more… Can you see it?

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 12.39.22 AM

 

7 Zeroes on the board for the first time since we began watching these figures. Lucky number seven. Good to see, great to think about and let’s hope that soon we get to the big Zero we’ve all been waiting for.

 

 

 

AAbefore rome

 

The Sphinx in Moonlight

 

Live well and love. Time is gaining on you.

 

 

ALUCKYINLOVE

I Have Played Enough

17 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 17,  2020

Day 57

Simple pleasures. Like doing the laundry at home. Troubleshooting the plumbing system. Finding that the leak you thought was there was caused by something else. Perhaps the rain running down the side of the container and being blown across the wonky door seal  and dripping down onto the floor where it then appeared to have been from the washer. Perhaps not. Either way, the washing machine didn’t leak during two loads I did this afternoon, so it’s an open question as to whether there is a problem with it. That’s a step forward in my book. I’ll take it.

Other simple pleasures revolve around examining the numbers for today and doing the math and thinking about the chances…

 

AMAY17NZCov

 

1 New case. 5 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to confirmed and probable cases is 95.5%. Two Zeroes on the board.

….the chances that we have beaten this thing. That I might not catch it. That with continued luck and work, this country may find its way through to the other side and come out stronger and better for having taken bold steps quickly and stayed the course. We shall see.

Going to try to go to Whitianga tomorrow to see what is open. It’s a shorter trip than all the way to Thames so Valerie is coming along. Sun might even be out. You never know.

 

 

An on another subject entirely, to someone with a bone of contention stuck in their throat…

 

AAAFirst

 

Two statements, in fact.

 

AAAAASecond

And…

 

AAAAAThird

 

A fanatic is someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. What is it you are doing? If you find yourself wondering, consider this old Buddhist parable and ask yourself whose part you play.

Two monks were traveling together and came to a river where a young woman was waiting, unable to cross because of the strong current. “Will you please help me?” she asks the monks. In spite of a sacred vow he’d taken not to touch women, the senior monk picked her up, crossed the river and placed her on the opposite shore.

The junior monk followed them across the river, angry that his companion had broken his vow. They continued their journey and an hour passed, then two, then three. Finally, the younger monk could stand it no longer: “Why did you do that?” he asked heatedly. “We have vowed we never would touch women.”

The senior monk looked at his partner with patience, understanding and a  little sadness, and replied, “I set her down hours ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

 

Which leads me here…

 

AAAAAFourth

 

And I have.

 

 

 

Tomorrow is Already Here

16 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 16,  2020

Day 56

AMAY16NZCov

Zero New cases. 7 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 95.3%. Four Zeroes on the board.

For the first time in a month I felt like myself today. Power washed the steps and walkway to get rid of the mold that makes them green and slippery. Repaired the west wall of the kitchen where I discovered a leak after the gully-washer rains of the night before. That took all afternoon and used up 80 square-feet of tar paper that a friend donated to us a year ago. I keep everything and this was one more time I’m glad I have that habit. Did one more job but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it was.

More for tomorrow, now that I’m back on my feet. Crossing things off the list and adding more to it as things judder forward. The quail are back again. Make up your mind, guys.

Getting lots of random followers from my tags or just pure luck of the draw. Hate to disappoint you all, but I’m just here for the comments and only visit the really rare site or three. You know who you are. Thanks for hanging with me thus far.

Good night all. Tomorrow is already here.

 

AGoldmosaicdome

The Future Waits

15 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 15,  2020

Day 55

AMay15NZCov

1 New case. 10 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 94.8%.

Thames was a no go. Valerie was not up to it and I discovered a bureaucratic glitch in the matrix so we postponed and had a quiet, relaxing day tucked in at home. I completed the repairs on the lamp and returned it to its place in the sitting room. Checked it off the list and made new plans for tomorrow (today:). All is well.

 

AZEppelin