All Around My Life

By TMLHereAndThere

On its way

There’s a birthday up coming up. We won’t be able to see the person, as she’s under Level 3 lockdown in Auckland, so I sent off a parcel today. The woman in the Post Office was, as is increasingly common these days, vague at best when I asked when it might be delivered. “Well, Parcel Post, five days, maybe? We’re not allowed to send it as a courier because they’re contactless up there, so……yeah.”
I’d been dithering about when, and where to send it as the recipient has been desperately flat-hunting of late.  They’d seen nearly 20 places and had no luck.  Apparently there are only about 8,000 rentals available across the whole country at the moment, because of all the Kiwis pouring back into NZ from overseas as a result of CoVid; it’s mad. Last Saturday they went to see a house that they all fell instantly in love with, but the agent told them that, unfortunately, he’d already offered it to another party that morning.
Cue some urgent manifesting, use of the numbers 3, 6 and 9 and badgering of the agent. By Monday, the other party had pulled out, and it was theirs if they wanted it (turns out the agent is a big LOTR fan, which helped)! Leases signed on Tuesday, move being organized for this weekend. I didn’t want the parcel to arrive at the old flat too late, as once the keys are handed back she won’t be able to access the lobby where the mailboxes are any more. Fingers crossed.
She sent me a message this afternoon saying that there's ‘lots of talk up here about not going to level 2 until next year.’  Crikey. Well, things aren’t going particularly well with the Auckland boundary, it seems, quite apart from the community transmission up there. Two women crossed the boundary using fraudulent papers and spent four days travelling around Northland while infectious. 
They have refused to co-operate with contact tracers and will not divulge where they went or who they met with, so police have been left trying to work out their movements by trawling through CCTV footage. They spent long periods in the middle of one night at two different petrol stations, for example. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what they were up to. Now the CoVid Response Minister has had to reassure people in Northland that if they are symptomatic and come forward to get tested, their information will only be used to check the spread of CoVid ‘and not their other activities.’  In the meantime, Northland has to remain in lockdown for another five days, costing businesses up there millions. For heaven’s sake.
And I received some terribly sad news this evening. I don’t really have the space here to tell the whole story - it could fill a book -, but you can read about it in an article from The Guardian.  A little boy in YD’s class at school was kidnapped by the family of his late father in Qatar, when he was 10 years old.  For the past 12 years, his English mother has struggled to try and get him released, but even at the age of 22 he was being denied a passport. In the early days, we all rallied round, organising fundraisers and so on, to try and help with her legal costs and her twice-weekly air travel to visit him. She was allowed to see him for just one hour each time, with police supervision.
This evening, I learnt through a friend in Bahrain that he has been killed in a car crash in Qatar.  I just don’t know how his mother will cope with the heartbreak; it doesn’t bear thinking about. He should never have been in that country in the first place. All because of greed – his late father’s family had not wanted land and money that was his inheritance to pass out of their control. All along, his mother had said that they had no interest in any of it; all she and her son ever wanted was for him to be allowed to return to live with her and his sister. God rest his young soul.

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