Midwinter colour, and the freedom of Tuis
The Tuis are here, holding their annual midwinter conference in our neighbours' Kowhai tree (those yellow blossoms). It's always a very noisy conference, with a great deal of vocalization – in fact, I'd say the main speakers are all shouting over the top of each other – a scheduling issue, maybe?! ;-)
I was trying to get a decent shot of one of the birds, but it wasn't easy so I've gone with this collage showing all the colour – red and rosy camellias, purple Princess flowers, pink magnolia, creamy jasmine as well as the kowhai and, just in front of that, the orange spikes of our aloe vera blooms, which are still going strong.
As predicted, the brighter weather gave way to cloudy murk shortly after I took these shots. I walked down to a nearby No Exit road where I'd offered to do a leaflet drop, and was encouraged to meet a man emptying his letterbox, who told me that he'd already signed the petition but said he'd take the leaflet anyway, to show his wife.
I've finally got around to backing up my emails, so that Nicky can try and sort out remotely what's going on on the server. I don't really mind missing all the bills that are no doubt piling up in my regular inbox (!) but this can't go on indefinitely, and I'm also missing other emails that I might actually want to see. The use of social media apps for day-to-day messaging with friends and family means that I don't rely on email nearly as much as I did a few years ago (I suspect that this is true for most people) and I do have another, secondary email that's useful on occasions like this. In fact, I have a third (yahoo) email address, that I had to start in order to join Flickr; I never use it though.
This issue of wearing masks (which we don't have to do in NZ, so it hasn't become politicised here, thank goodness) is getting a bit crazy. I'm so grateful that I don't live in a country where their use is mandatory in public. A world filled with people who look like bandits, possibly suffering from hypoxia (meanwhile, the bandits who run Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are embroiled in the Big Tech Antitrust hearings on Capitol Hill, but will that stop them?) I wore a mask for one supermarket visit during lockdown, and it was awful. Gran simply refused to wear hers over her mouth and nose in the GP's waiting room.
Yesterday we heard that the government's rules governing who pays for their 14-day stay in a quarantine hotel will be moderately flexible; returning Kiwis who left the country before CoVid lockdowns started and are coming for a stay of 90 days or more will not have to pay, but those who leave NZ after the CoVid regulations come into effect, or who leave for a short period of several weeks and then wish to return, will be required to pay $3100 per person in a room, with additional charges for each additional person in that room (the National Party's proposed rules would be more draconian).
It's not sustainable for taxpayers to keep on funding all of the quarantine charges, and some have suggested that there should be cheaper packages available so that people who can't afford to stay in a 5-star hotel should be given a more affordable option. I do agree with that. Overall, I wonder whether, globally, we will ever return to the freedom of movement that we enjoyed just a few short months ago? Those Tuis in the kowhai tree probably don't know how lucky they are!