Summer 2019

Summer 2019/20 in New Zealand

Harmonieii


only search Harmonie II  

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The land of the long white cloud

The meteorological start of Summer in New Zealand is on 1st of December but temperatures here in Tauranga during November have been well above average and long term forecasts are for a long hot summer. The Pohutakawa's and Jacarandas are already coming in to bloom.
The 2nd test cricket match between NZ and England started on 29th November in Hamilton but I hope that the last three days of it will take place in the Summer and you can see if it did here...

I have been criticised by one of my most faithful readers that there is a preponderance of Rugby and Cricket on this web site. This is for several reasons but principally because we get a surfeit of both sports here so you can watch test cricket all year round, all the Gallagher Premiership games, all the Six Nations and Heineken Cup plus International Rugby. Then when those are finished we have Super Rugby followed by the Mitre 10 Cup and the Sanzar Rugby Championship.

Kiwi Cricket joke:
In a statement from broadcasting house, all future New Zealand games will now be shown on the gay porn channel. It is thought that 11 arseholes being regularly shafted is too explicit for regular TV.

In the UK it is Winter, snow is forecast and they will have a general election on December 12th which is also my birthday. I wonder what surprises the British electorate are going to give me?

All the polls are predicting a win for Boris and the Conservative party who have raided their magic money tree to bribe voters spending an increased yearly amount on a day to day basis of £2.5 billion. The LibDems meanwhile have a bottomless bucket and will spend an extra £36.8 billion but Labour have promised to spend £97.8 billion extra! They are all lying through their collective teeth and insulting our intelligence!

The polls are also predicting that Jo Swinson will not become prime minister as she claimed could happen but it would seem that her illiberal and undemocratic Liberal Democratic party strategy of cancelling Brexit altogether has spectacularly failed to excite the electorate. The polls indicate she is losing votes.

Quotes 'wot I like:
"We don't want another three bastards out there. What's Lyndon Johnson's maxim? (The maxim is: 'It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in.')"
John Major PM about 3 of his cabinet ministers in 1993.

We even had the unlikely combination of Tory ex-PM Sir John Major (Rogerer of Eggwina,) who had to be one of the worst ones in living memory (PM's not Rogerer's) and Labour Ex-PM Tony Bliar, a close second, both telling us to vote for all those MP's and opposition parties who want to stop Brexit for the sake of the country.

They seem to be saying that the country can do with more of the indecision inflicted on it for the last three years. The Tories were split on Brexit but seem now to be the only ones who support it. Labour can't decide what it wants and none of the other opposition parties can agree a way forward. The LibDems want to stop Brexit and the SNP want EU membership but independence from the UK which seems to me contradictive. Is more of that political stagnation and disagreement between both sides of the Brexit debate what Bliar and Major think will be good for the country??

Did Labours leaked files come from Russia?
Classified Government documents used by Komrade Korbine to attack the Conservatives on the NHS appear to have been leaked as part of a campaign "originating from Russia,'' according to Reddit, the site on which they were first leaked.
Reddit said the accounts appeared to show a "pattern of co-ordination" that suggested it was part of a Russian group known as "Secondary Infektion" who use fabricated or altered documents to try to spread false narratives online.

Meanwhile 'Magic Grandpa' as Rod Liddle has nicknamed the Labour party's Jeremy Corbine, has claimed that Boris is scheming to sell the NHS to 'The Donald' (Trump) while 'The Fishy Lady' (Nicola Sturgeon) in Scotland has promised to support 'The Magic Grandpa' in a hung parliament if he in turn lets her have another independence referendum, gives her another £4 billion for the Scottish NHS and removes all nuclear weapons from Scottish soil!

Most of those politicians who have deserted their parties over Brexit and joined the LibDems are expected to lose their new seats as are the three who represent the Change Party and those standing as independents. It is no wonder that many UK voters despair of their politicians. All voters can do is vote tactically to try and prevent the party they dislike the most getting a majority.

Sadly if you vote in a marginal constituency, whatever the political party whose policies you support, the one you like the least might win by just a few votes so you vote to stop that eventualty and you might not be able to afford the luxury of voting for the candidate or party who you think would best represent you.
I am fortunate in that I like and admire my sitting MP Alex Chalk who is a good local constituency MP, a Tory and a remainer but believes we should respect the Brexit referendum result and implement it. We could do with a few more like him.

Quotes 'wot I like:
"The UK economy will take off very considerably after the election and Brexit. I'm at industry dinners and the level of negativity on the UK just blows me away. Brexit may as well be an atomic bomb dropping. We can debate whether Brexit is good or bad. But what I do know is this is the world's fifth-biggest economy and British people [are] some of the most innovative, well-educated, rule of law following, productive global citizens."
Daniel Zilberman MD Head of Europe, Warburg Pincus.

There are many web sites depending on who you want to prevent getting elected and most of them are for people who want to stop Boris, however, you might suppose The Torygraph would put up a pro-Boris one but they are the only one I can find who seem to provide genuinely neutral advice on the subject. If you follow this link you will arrive at a page entitled 'Does tactical voting actually work? Use our tool for the realist view'.

You can then click on a button to declare whether you are a Leaver or Remainer, enter your constituency and get what they say is an impartial view of how you should vote. Of course it might be a scam thought up by Boris who it is claimed tells porkies (name me a politician who doesn't) but I have tested it out and it does provide different answers depending on your choice of identity declaration.

For example in my Cheltenham constituency which is marginal it advises me to vote Tory if I am a leaver and LibDem if I am a remainer which is realistic if obvious advice. The paper concludes that tactical voting by both sides will effectively cancel each other out!

As I have said before, we do need our politicians to resolve Brexit as quick as possible and get back to doing the job we elected them for. I dread the further stagnation that would result in another hung parliament.

English Premiership Rugby Round 5 and Heineken Champions Cup.

The previous page reported on Barfs premiership game with Sarries and the other games in the premiership and the European competition are here...

Two more Referendums in New Zealand.

Here in New Zealand we are being given two referendums next year with the general election ballot paper. One to legalise Cannabis and the other to approve of a bill just passed to legalise Euthanasia. If you are interested in further information and my opinions on the subject you should click here....

White Island Eruption

Tauranga is 89km from Whakatane and White Island is 48km offshore from there. It is the most active volcano in New Zealand and if the weather is good you have a clear view of it smoking away as you drive down the coast on State Highway 2. It is also the largest NZ volcano but 70% of it is subsea.
From 1885 it was mined for Sulphur, used for fertiliser, until 1914 when a flow of volcanic mud called a Lahar destroyed the mine and the miners village when 14 lives were lost. In the 1920's mining began again but ceased after a few years.

The island is privately owned and became a scenic reserve in 1952. Tourists are ferried out to the island from Whakatane and the excursion is quite popular, in fact my number one granddaughter Liza and her friend Emma who were here recently, planned to go there until we talked them out of it telling them there was much more to see in Rotorua and Taupo for a lot less money.

GeoNet monitors the volcanic activity on the island and visits regularly to take various samples. The volcano regularly erupts and they are difficult to predict. On December 10 there were about 50 tourists and guides on the Island when it erupted without warning. At the time of writing 5 people are dead and eight missing, believed dead, with 31 in hospitals, some with life threatening burns and other injuries.

Some 38 international tourists from the cruise ship 'Ovation of the Seas' in Tauranga port were among the dead and injured as well as a local guide and skipper of one of the tourist boats. A Helicopter pilot who landed on the island and explored as well as viewing from the air the day after could find no sign of life.

A volcanologist has called White Island a "disaster waiting to happen" as questions mount about why tourists were ever allowed on the Island. A shipping container is in place as a protective shelter for eruptions but it would seem this one was so sudden there was not enough time to seek shelter.

Roger's Barfday

Roger & Sue in 1981.

The photo above of me and Sue was taken in 1981 at Skippers Restaurant in Edinburgh (no longer there) on the occasion of my 41st birthday.

I have now reached the grand old age of 79 and for the first time in my life there is also a UK general election on my birthday.
I am recently a resident of New Zealand and get to vote in elections here. For another 14 years I can also vote in UK elections as can Sue who has dual NZ/UK citizenship.
Sue feels that now she is back home in NZ she does not have the moral right to vote in another country in which she does not reside whereas I hope to return to my home country one day and cherish my right to vote there.

I have travelled the world from an early age and have experienced life in many different countries. I have a great affection for the country of my birth and have yet to find a country that matches it in most respects. The principle reason I have consistently believed the UK should leave the European Union is to preserve its culture and governance. The gradual loss of sovereignty to the EU over the years has changed our laws and way of life such that racial intolerance, political correctness, general conflicts of interest, terrorism and a sense of community have changed for the worse.

There is a mistaken belief, particularly amongst the young, that the EU has preserved world peace and leaving it might cause future conflicts. Britain has never in recent history been the instigator of conflict in Europe and has only waged war for defensive or moral reasons, sometimes mistakenly, against international aggressors. NATO has preserved the peace in Europe to which some EU countries have failed to contribute a fair financial proportion.
Many continental European countries have in my lifetime been dictatorships guilty of aggression and do not have a history of parliamentary democracy like Britain.

If there is one birthday wish I have above all others it is that the British electorate comes to its senses and elects a government who can deliver what all the main political parties promised us which is to once again govern ourselves, free of any external political or legal interference.

I am English but not a Unionist or a nationalist. If Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland wants independence from the UK they should have it although I can see no good political or economic reason why they should want it. Maybe more of a federal solution might be one answer to the nationalists demands but the home nations and the English speaking Western nations do have a natural affinity and culture which the UK is in danger of losing.

UK General Election

It looks like my birthday wish might have come true after the exit poll was announced.

EXIT POLL RESULTS

Conservatives: 368 - up 51
Labour: 191 - down 71
SNP: 55 - up 20
Liberal Democrats: 13 - up 1
Plaid Cymru: 3 - down 1
Greens: 1 - no change
Brexit party: 0

If the exit poll predictions are accurate then finally we can get Brexit done and put an end to the economic and political stagnation that has plagued the country for the last three years and begin the process of properly governing ourselves for the first time since we joined the European Economic Community.

Predictably both Parties and most of the media are saying this is primarily a victory for Boris and a defeat for Corbine and I think they are correct. Our politics have regrettably become more of a presidential contest. The electorate thought Boris was the better option and Labour must get rid of their current leadership if they are to become a viable alternative. Had Boris not stepped down from the Tory leadership contest after the EU referendum result we could probably have avoided most of the divisions and damage it caused.

I will be commenting on the results as they emerge here...

Those of you who can't be bothered to read about the UK General Election results above should at least be aware now that the exit poll was accurate and the Tories are in government with a landslide vote for them in the real world outside the M25 and South of the Scottish border.

Quotes 'wot I like:
"In trying to achieve One Nation, Boris was hindered at every turn by Tories who had that phrase constantly on their lips. It was neighed by old warhorses like Sir John Major, Lord Heseltine, Lord Patten of Barnes and Kenneth Clarke, with answering whinnies from rebels who left the party, such as Dominic Grieve, David Gauke, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen. On Thursday night, every single one of the rebels lost. They leave a Conservative Party at last united, strong and, south of the border, all but omnipresent. "
Charles Moore: Journalist.

This means that after years of political and economic stagnation we now have a government that can implement Brexit and start to make important decisions that will not be blocked by parliamentary opposition parties.
Those of the so called Estabishment by which I mean the unelected EU commission, university academics, the CBI, lawyers, civil servants, the media (in particular the public broadcasters BBC and Channel 4), the Bank of England and the Lords, all thought that they knew best. They labelled as ignorant, ill educated, zenophobic and racist all those who voted to leave the EU, ignored the referendum result and tried to get Brexit reversed.
They tried every trick in the book to thwart the will of the people and have now failed spectacularly as those very people the Establishment disregarded took their revenge at the ballot box.
Boris now calls it his new cabinet "the peoples" and it has been something of a revolution against the Establishment with people who had never voted Tory in their lives doing so in order to "get Brexit done". That slogan was not that of an Eton educated man.
Boris will now get a modified withdrawal bill through the Commons using his large majority and any MP who votes against it will add their names to those unelected ones who defied democracy.

The withdrawal bill will now enshrine in law when the transition period will end, with or without a trade deal. Despite the doubters saying this is not possible by the end of 2020 the law will say the agreement can not be extended, no ifs, no buts.
This gives certainty to business and prevents the EU from using the threats and delaying tactics of the previous three years. If the EU genuinely want a trade agreement, which is in their interest with the current trade imbalance and their need to access British fishery waters, they will have to conclude a deal within Boris' timetable by law!

The city took a different view and fears the legal certainty might cause us to leave without any trade deal so shares and Sterling had a bad day. Will they ever learn?

New Zealand gives me the shits!!

I don't mean that in any derogatory sense but soon after arriving here I developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which gradually became more and more irritable resulting in a visit to the GP.
I had a blood test which showed nothing of any consequence including a test for coeliac disease which was inconclusive so the best way to diagnose, the doc said, is with diet challenges.
I gave up bread and beer, tried to go mostly gluten free and in a few days the IBS symptoms stopped.
Of course this does not determine if I have coeliac disease or not but it is more likely to be NCGS (non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) as I understand that if you do have the disease then the tiniest amount of gluten will result in a return of the symptoms and that does not seem to be the case with me.

Jokes 'wot I like:
Politicians are like nappies.
They should be changed frequently ... and for the same reason.

As this all started shortly after arriving here I did a bit of research into wheat intolerance and discovered I was not unique. Other Europeans who happily ate wheat based products in Europe developed wheat intolerence here and the same sometimes happens with Kiwi's in reverse. When they go to Europe the intolerence disappears.
It has the boffins puzzled but they do agree that the phenomena exists and as a result I am baking gluten free bread, eating gluten free pasta, drinking only wine and cider and using cider vinegar instead of malt.

75% of wheat used in NZ for making bread is imported from Australia and there is perhaps something different in the type of wheat that is grown there or in the way it is grown such as the use of herbicides that are different to Europe.
Monash University in Melbourne are studying the problem of NCGS and suspect that it is not just caused by the gluten itself but a high percentage of carbohydrates in certain gluten rich foods called Fodmaps (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). Gluten may not be the only cause of IBS and just eating less of it may be enough to alleviate symptoms. This might also explain why European wheat has a different effect if it is lower in Fodmaps.

There is a web site called IBS Diets which lists all the Fodmap foods to avoid or reduce and also the ones low in Fodmaps that are good to eat. There is also specimen diet and meal plans together with a wealth of information on the subject.

For Christmas I have bought some German Stollen and Italian Panforte so it will be interesting to see if they affect me in the same way which if they do will knock holes in the NZ theory, however, I have tried Corona Extra beer, the one brewed in Mexico which is supposedly very low in gluten and it seemed to have no effect whereas two bottles of Waikato bitter gave me the runs!
Oh for a nice pint of Otter!

Happy Christmas 2019.

EU/UK Free Trade agreement

Here in NZ they are looking foward to negotiating a FTA with the UK whereas in the EU they are looking forward to making it as difficult as possible insisting on UK alignment with their laws and standards despite such an agreement being far more important to them than to NZ. Such demands are not made to other countries who have negotiated EU trade deals so why is the UK different?

In my view the best way to deal with this situation is for our negotiators to concentrate on those countries outside the EU who have indicated they wish to negotiate a FTA and to tell the EU to just call when they are ready to discuss the £66 billion EU trade surplus between us and to allow EU vessels to fish in UK waters in 2021. They might become a little more enthusiastic then.

Quotes 'wot I don't like:
"We don't want to trade with a Britain that undercuts us, that has lower financial standards, lower product standards, lower health and safety standards...the harder approach being taken by Prime Minister Johnson is a risk to us."
Leo Varadkar Irish Taoiseach

Boris has said that the UK will negotiate ..."a new agreement on our future relationship with our European neighbours based on an ambitious free-trade agreement, with no alignment on EU rules, but instead control of our own laws and close and friendly relations."
He says we must drop the"remainer" and "leaver" titles after we have left the EU but I suspect we will still be divided between the EU Unionists and the UK Nationalists for how can we effectively negotiate a FTA with a third country if we are bound hand, foot and finger still to EU laws and rules which are unacceptable to the non-EU country.
In the EU 'nationalism' is a dirty word yet the Scottish 'National' Party wish to rejoin an organisation to which they export only 18% of their product whereas they want to leave the UK to which they export 60% and finances its GDP spending deficit to the tune of over 7%. The mind boggles!

Quotes 'wot I like:
"The area where the UK can and always has punched above its weight is in terms of value systems - rule of law, democracy, governance."
Saul Klein Venture Capitalist
Why do people think that being free to make our own laws, rules and standards automatically means they will be lower than the EU?
Similarly we might insist that EU standards meet UK standards as for example animal welfare standards in the UK which are undoubtedly higher than in most other countries and this dates back to 1999/2000 when the UK unilaterally introduced more stringent welfare rules.
Here in NZ, Craigmore, one NZ's biggest farm managers and investors founder says "I see the imposition of standards on imported food as a powerful way to promote UK exports of these tools and services as well as to lift food quality and environmental standards.
This strategy will 'play to' an area where the UK is well ahead of NZ and in my view is world-leading."

Surely we will adopt a EU standard for those products and services we want to sell to the EU. Our negotiators should highlight EU dissimilarities and insist that the EU should raise their standards to ours when they wish to sell to us.

English Premiership Rugby Round 6, 7 and Heineken Champions Cup.

We will draw a veil over the final Barf display in the Champions cup game against Clermont but if you are interested in how the latest rounds went in both competitions then please click here...

Brexit Day - January 31st 2020

Britain joined the European Economic Community on 1st January 1973. At that time I was in Australia working for Hawker Siddely selling Marine Engines and overnight the market for British products almost collapsed as commonwealth tariff preferences ceased. It is no coincidence that Hawker Siddely and many international British companies no longer exist as a direct result of Britain joining the EEC.

I returned home in time to vote in the 1975 referendum to leave the EEC. Most young people like me voted to leave but the vast majority of older people voted to remain, a mirror image of the 2016 referendum voting pattern in the opposite direction. They were perhaps unaware of how our traditional export markets had already been affected by our membership and the consequent dire prospects for British manufacturing that would result. The more efficient manufacturers in continental Europe whose factories had been flattened in WW2 and replaced with new facilities with state of the art machine tools, bought up struggling British companies, asset stripped them, closed them down making thousands redundant and are still living off the spares business.

In the mid 1980's I was buying sophisticated CNC machining centres from the Japanese who were using old British machine tools for manufacture of some of the more vital components. I asked why they had not been replaced and was told they could not get a more modern machine that could replicate the accuracy they required.

On 1st November 1993 the Maastricht Treaty converted what was an economic community into a political one. An international con trick by our ruling classes which moved us a step closer to belonging to a United States of Europe. Not only that but we then had a system of EU government based on the French system which meant we were largely ruled by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats who progressively transferred UK sovereignty to the EU rubber stamped by an elected but toothless EU parliament. Our courts of law became secondary to those of Europe, we became large contributors to an EU budget whose main benefactors were inefficient French farmers and whose accounts audit was never approved. Those countries who voted against these depletions of sovereignty were told to vote again correctly.

On the 16th December 1995 the EU invented the Euro currency and recruited a bunch of economically disparate countries to join it. Fortunately our then chancellor 'Broon' defied his boss 'Bliar' and kept us out. Poor old Greece, Italy and Spain have suffered economically to such an extent that millions of them are now unemployed, especially the young, something a UK government would countenance at their peril. The way the EU punished Greece finally convinced many in Britain that we were never going to change the EU.

Eventually our cloth eared politicians woke up to the fact that we were not happy with the EU and tried to get them to address our concerns. This they failed to do but such was their arrogance that they tried to convince the British electorate that they had done a great deal with the EU and we should vote in another referendum to remain as EU members. They underestimated the intelligence of the British electorate whose voters gave the establishment a big raspberry and voted to leave. Our cheating politicians then spent three years trying to stop Brexit until finally we told them in a general election that we wanted our original decision actuated which has now happened.

Family Gathering.

Regular readers may have wondered why I have not been updating this web site on a regular basis with my usual subjects. The reason is that my wife Sue who was diagnosed with secondary bone cancer soon after we arrived here in New Zealand, took a turn for the worse over Christmas and New Year and is now paralysed from the waist down and bed bound at home under my care with a prognosis of months to live rather than years. Updating the web site therefore became a time consuming low priority.

My plans now are to eventually return to the UK when I will be turning my attention to raising funds for cancer charities in memory of Sue. In the meantime the next update is postponed ad infinitum.

David Parry

We were sad to hear of the passing of David Parry, our friend and neighbour for many years when we owned Provender Delicatessen in South Petherton, Somerset.

David was an engineer of some prominence having worked on the design of missiles for English Electric, led the UK design team on the Eurofighter and eventually became the CEO of the Royal Ordinance Factories when it was sold to British Aerospace in 1986.

We have many happy memories of David but if we had to chose one it would be when our friends Chris and Carol were looking for accommodation while they were waiting for their new house to be completed. We asked David if he would rent them his granny flat which he agreed to do but suggested no money should change hands and instead the rent would be a case of Champaigne each month.

So we supplied Chris and Carol with a case of Moet at trade price each month delivered next door. David then suggested that we all drink the "rent" each month which we did many happy times accompanied with various delicacies prepared by David. Raiding David's extensive wine cellar became a regular occurrence after that and David was one of our honoured guests at our barge warming back in 2005.

We always made a point of visiting him on our frequent return visits to Petherton after we left and some of us benefitted from the use of his villa in Cyprus. We will remember him as a kind and generous man who was always good company.

Coronavirus

The world seems to be getting its knickers in a twist over this new virus which the Chinese invented by either drinking Bat Soup or, more likely, accidentally leaking a virus they manufactured in a Wuhan laboratory. Either way and egged on by excitable media the world is in panic mode.

Below is a list of some world reactions sent to me by Carol Hockey:

  1. The English are feeling the pinch in relation to the recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, the level may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."
    The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
    The virus has been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
  2. The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's Get the Bastard." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
  3. The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.
  4. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
  5. The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."
  6. Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
  7. The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
  8. Australia, meanwhile, has raised its alert level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Of course this virus must be treated with some sensible precautions and perhaps restrictions but should not induce panic buying of such items as toilet rolls and the like. Ordinary Flu which happens every year, kills over 600 in the UK from related complications and 650,000 wordwide yet toilet roll sales remain static. We need to put things in to perspective thats all.

Here in the Godzone Jacinda has now announced what she called the strongest measures of any country. With only a dozen or so confirmed cases and no fatalities she is trying to ensure that NZ stays as unaffected and is using the country's remoteness to our advantage. Principle amongst the meaures are that anyone arriving in NZ must agree to self isolate for 14 days.

This means that tourism, the largest employer, is effectively closed so I hope she knows what she is doing. We were expecting a few friends over from the UK and Oz in the next few weeks who were calling in on their way to Wanaka Air Show which is now cancelled as are most public gatherings. Our friends have cancelled their trip of course.

What puzzles me is that we have had these type of virus pandemics before which were far larger and caused more fatalities yet none of these panic measures were taken then. If 650,000 die from Flu related complications each year then why does that virus not warrant more attention?

Quotes 'wot I like:
"Will it be remembered as the great coronavirus pandemic that wiped out swathes of humanity or a relatively minor contagion to which we grotesquely overreacted?."
Philip Johnston Daily Telegraph journalist

The latest government action here in New Zealand is even more extreme as everyone is in lockdown for 4 weeks like the UK but our borders have been completely closed to all flights apart from Australia and ships apart from those carrying cargo or what the government deems are essential products or personnel.

Number one granddaughter Eliza in corona virus mode.
I am allowed to go out for a walk or drive to the supermarket and pharmacy which I did today. Everywhere is deserted like the aftermath of a nuclear bomb. I also collected prescriptions from the doctor's surgery but the doctor will not see patients face to face. My physiotherapy appointment has been cancelled and my sore hip has regressed almost to the pain level of a month ago.

It appears that the worlds politicians are each trying to outdo the other in the measures they are taking with a consequential huge expense and economic damage. The result might be that they do more long term damage to world health, particularly in third world countries, due to a prolonged economic recession than would have been the case were less extreme measures taken to reduce the fatality rate among all the old farts like myself, most of whom would have died soon from other causes anyway!

My eldest granddaughter Eliza works for the NHS in Bristol and is training as a Cardiac Physiologist. The photo above is of her in full coronavirus mode. It goes without saying that we are all proud of NHS workers and their colleagues around the world who are at the forefront of the fight against this virus and whose lives are at risk.

Since Sue became paralysed we have been helped by our good neighbour Kelly Cooke who is a trained health care worker and brilliant at it.

Our Guardian Angel Kelly Cooke and Oscar the cat.
We think of her as our guardian angel. She first came in to help every night after coming home from work but has since reduced that to three times a week as we have become more confident with the health care workers provided from Healthcare NZ.

Now NZ has introduced a complete coronavirus lockdown Kelly is working from home but has also decided to self isolate herself she says to protect us. Her long suffering husband Dave will now get his meals more regularly!

Kelly has been on call for us 24/7 when she is home and says she will still be there if we need her. I don't really understand why we are more at risk from Kelly coming in from next door than our several different healthcare workers coming in three times a day 24/7 but we will miss her company and her expertise. The only benefit will be the size of my wine bill!!
At the time of writing NZ had 368 confirmed cases of the virus with one person in intensive care due to a pre-existing medical condition and no fatalities.

New Page

I have begun to record our life since we met in 1974 and the first page is now on line. It is the story of our life before Harmonie and you can see it here.
The plan is to write a series of pages up to the date of our retirement in 2005. These pages will continue recording current issues and each time I write a new page of history I will put a link in from these pages but you will be able to find it on the Living pages menu above under the History drop down menu entitled 'Life from...' which has a sub menu for the different pages.

Latest NZ Covid-19 data

At the time of writing (02/04/2020) this virus has infected 797 confirmed but still just one fatality. NZ does not feature much in the news as the international media are uninterested unless people are dying in their thousands. While we personally have these questionable petty restrictions the powers that be blithely let thousands in from abroad and expect them to self quarantine with no follow up checks that they are whereas Australia and Singapore are quarantining people as soon as they arrive which is what some NZ health experts are asking the NZ Gov to do but they don't want to spend the money.

Common sense says that you either stop all immigration or you quarantine immigrants and Jacinda seems to have lost the plot. It only takes one irresponsible self quarantined person to abuse the restriction for the virus to be spread.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) began in 2012. It didn't spread at the same rate as Covid-19 but had a fatality rate 34.4% compared to worldwide estimated fatality rate so far of 3.4% for Covid-19. The difference is that MERS was largely contained to the middle east infecting only 2,494 people whereas Covid-19 has already infected 794,300 people worldwide and 3.4% of that is over 27,000 people. Still only a fraction as high as fatalities caused by seasonal flu.

Here's a new page for the Winter.

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