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Archive for the ‘Monday miscellany’ Category

  • Tokyo is just three hours behind New Zealand. This is pretty much the closest the Olympics have ever been to our time zone, with the exception of the Sydney Olympics back in 2000. It means I am getting to bed late, but I have the luxury of sleeping in too, so I’m not too exhausted!
  • We have a new cable TV box, that allows us to not only record a whole lot of things we might want to watch, but better still, we can replay anything on “catch-up” over the last three days, which means I can (and have) been watching almost every event I want to watch, and any event I don’t. And if I realise I’ve missed something, it doesn’t matter, I can race downstairs (before I hear or read the results) and watch the event as if it is live, even though it isn’t. That said, I still want to stay up to watch things as close to real-time as I can.
  • I’ve written elsewhere about the New Zealand Women’s Sevens, who were fast and skilled and ruthless on the field, and emotional and funny and genuine and loving off the field. Their interviews were what sports interviews should be. A memorable quote from one, after a disastrous first half in a semi-final, went, “there isn’t enough hand sanitiser in Japan to clean up that mess!” It’s so refreshing after so many years of hearing athletes say the same old things over and over again.
  • Frustration over a particular (very young, I think) interviewer who kept asking medal winners how they felt, and when they wouldn’t tell her, she’d just ask it again. Instead of asking whether the heat bothered them, were they worried about being beaten by fast-finishing second place-getters, why did they make their moves in the second leg when usually they’d wait till the third, etc etc. Yet she got a trip to Japan to do that! Sigh.
  • Yet another Olympics when I refuse to watch the Beach Volleyball because of the uniform requirements, feel sorry for the women (not just the gymnasts, watch the athletics) constantly tugging at their pants that don’t cover their butt cheeks, and wonder how the men feel about those very revealing clingy shorts.
  • I dislike the posturing, the aggression, the arrogance before and after performances. I understand that it might help some of them get better performances. But it is ugly. And they just look like jerks.
  • I spent all last evening (through to after 1 am) watching the Men’s High Jump, which was exciting and made me nervous for all of them, and then finished beautifully with tied winners. It went for over two hours, and yet I was glued to the TV. (Okay, I was finishing another tea cosy too.) I used to high jump – a little. So I love watching the technique, and I can vaguely recall the feeling of soaring over a (much lower) bar! Then I watched (a little delayed) the Men’s 100 semis and final, and rejoiced for Italy. It was a fabulous evening’s entertainment. I’m hoping to repeat that tonight, except that The Husband is having a business zoom call downstairs, I can’t go and interrupt him, and he’s been on it for 90 minutes already!
  • Watching the Olympics is an emotional time. I get nervous for the competitors before an event. I ache for those who had hoped to do better, who feel they’ve let people/their countries down, when just getting there is a major achievement. I love supporting the underdogs, the unexpected stand-out performers, and always cry when they are so overjoyed or surprised to have won, or placed, or simply scored a personal best. I rejoice at the camaraderie amongst the competitors. It gives me hope. And I think that’s what the Olympics are all about.

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  • It’s the end of Easter Weekend here in New Zealand. We get Monday as a public holiday, and schools get an additional day tomorrow, so many people travel over this period. We had been expecting my sister and niece to drop in on their way elsewhere (to meet up with their husband/father), but the thought of travelling on a ferry in gale force winds on Friday was not very appealing, so they came for the weekend, joined by my brother-in-law on Saturday afternoon who took the ferry back to us on a lovely calm day. It’s been lovely, but I will admit that today has been a lazy day (they left on their seven-hour drive home this morning) and I’m refusing to cook tonight!
  • I will say that I outdid myself in terms of feeding the troops. Charlie is now 12 (almost 13), at high school, and interested in all sorts of different food. Which is fine with me, and my sister loves it! So I cooked them my favourite Thai picnic for dinner on Friday, homemade pies and pizza for Saturday night, and last night a veritable feast of Malaysian beef rendang (though would be divine with eggplant and/or root veges and/or any other vegetables) with roti canai bread, and a korma vegetable dish. There was homemade passionfruit ice-cream for afters, and last night, a homemade marshmallow Easter egg, which impressed the socks off them. I like cooking for appreciative guests! And on Saturday we went out for yum cha (dim sum) at a bustling Chinese restaurant.
  • In turn, they delivered capsicums from their garden and avocados from their trees, and I enjoyed avocado and marmite on toast for breakfast this morning. Yum. Their avocados are always delicious and blemish-free.
  • Needless to say, I have a lot of exercise planned for this week to make up. Because going shopping with my niece, and to the museum with my sister, did not produce nearly enough steps to work all that off!
  • Even though the temperatures are now mild, everything feels like autumn, almost wintry. And on Saturday night, our clocks went back, and the sun sets around six now. That means that there will be no more pasta chardonnay nights (when my husband plays summer golf), so I’ll have to fit these into my week some other way. Winter, therefore, is not that far away. I think I’m ready for that now. I was not ready a few weeks ago.
  • For us, lockdown last year feels a long time away. I hope that isn’t a case of “famous last words.” Every few days I rejoice with friends and family overseas who report they have had their first or second dose of a COVID vaccination. Ours won’t come till later in the year, we know. We hope that this lack of urgency won’t make us vulnerable to new strains arriving.
  • We’re hopeful in NZ for the announcement of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand this week. Both countries have required two-week hotel quarantine for visitors, though some states in Australia lifted it for travel from New Zealand late last year. The bubble will mean that quarantine-free travel between our two countries will be possible, though state-by-state restrictions may be imposed as circumstances change. We have no plans to travel to Australia in the short term, though we might consider it later this year. But it will be great for family reunifications. My sister, for example, is hoping to meet her eight-month-old grandson for the first time.
  • I have a self-imposed moratorium on going to any wool shops until I knit a few more tea cosies. I’m currently working on a different rooster pattern, and have several more exotic patterns planned as gifts. So far, they’re being well received. Either that or my friends and family are very polite!

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Last week we signed up an offer on my parents-in-law’s house. There are a few weeks before final settlement, but it was an unconditional offer, so there shouldn’t be any issues. Touch wood! So we’re in the final leg of sorting out my in-laws’ belongings. Currently two of our spare rooms are full of their stuff, or boxes of their stuff which is eventually going to one of The Husband’s three brothers and their families. It’s all a bit messy, but it also represents a huge achievement, if you ask me! So last week there was some champagne drinking on the deck in the evening to celebrate. I don’t think it was premature. Touch wood.

The drinking on the deck also took advantage of some of the last of the summer weather. Temperatures are expected to dip in a few days, slipping from pleasant temperatures in the low 20s, to autumnal high teens. I suspect that will be the end of summer. I’m not really ready for it to be over yet, as it hasn’t been a very warm summer at all. But autumn beckons, and it has its own delights, so when it arrives, I will embrace it!

We had a long walk yesterday around the harbour. A lot of people were out, enjoying the wide trail – cyclists going further to the lighthouse, couples, groups of young women, families, and pets. There was even a family pushing a stroller with two enormous dogs in it. I’m not sure if the stroller-thingamajig was intended for the dogs, or the two young children who seemed happy to play on the beach and run around! It was nice to see so many people getting some exercise in the fresh air on their weekend. As a kid, unless we were playing organised sport, the weekends weren’t for exercising. They were for rest! My father and my mother did a lot of physical work on the farm, so deserved their day (or day and a half) of rest. My younger sister and I played a lot of sport all week and on Saturdays, so exercising in any way for recreation was foreign. My sister has since embraced the concept much better than I have, but I’m getting there. My aim is to find it just as enjoyable to take a nice walk/hike as to go to a cafe for brunch! Wish me luck.

I’m writing this listening to the America’s Cup racing. This is something that grips New Zealand every few years, as we have had unprecedented success in this competition. Since 1988, New Zealand has been either the Challenger or the Defender in eight out of the ten competitions, which is pretty amazing for a country of 5 million people! The nicest thing though was to see the crowd down at the waterfront in Auckland, enjoying themselves free of COVID restrictions. We are so lucky.

The Australian government continues to annoy its smaller neighbours maintaining its very hard-line on immigrants. Recently, an ISIS bride with dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship and her child, travelling on an Australian passport, tried to begin her journey home. Australia promptly cancelled her citizenship (knowing how these things work, I suspect before NZ even knew she existed), in a case of “dibs not me.” She hasn’t lived in New Zealand since she was six years old! Ironically, given that they were a nation founded by convicts who were transported from the UK, they are now doing the same, deporting their problems to New Zealand, regardless of when they moved to Australia. If they were recent immigrants, sure, deport them. But there are people being deported to New Zealand who have lived in Australia since they were babies or toddlers or young children, whose families are all Australian or still live in Australia, who grew up there, speak with Aussie accents, and who have no connection with New Zealand. A despicable reporter hounded deportees last week, asking a woman who had to leave her two children in Australia, if she was “happy to be going home.” And just today I see that they deported a 15-year-old minor* last week. Grrr.

Continuing this sad note, today marks two years since the Christchurch Mosque massacre, when 50 people were murdered by a white supremacist terrorist. (Yes, from Australia, but let’s ignore that fact!) Last year commemorations were restricted because of the looming COVID pandemic, but this year there was a national ceremony of remembrance on the weekend. Our local newspaper (which I now read online) today had a front page article featuring a Syrian refugee family who have now received their Kiwi citizenship. It was a lovely touch of welcome, and reflects what so many of us feel. I loved these two lines about the father:

“The days of war and persecution are behind him now. It’s written all over his face.”

Edit: This may have been voluntary. Details are not yet clear.

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