The election 
Or both of them. It might be the first time that the New Zealand election got so much publicity overseas. We even appeared on Spitting Image. And here in the Super Kiwi Socialistic Empire of Jacinda it was already a foregone conclusion. She had successfully handled three major crises. She showed empathy and decisiveness without a lot of self interest. Our covid cases are currently around 40, almost all from recent arrivals. And National had gone through three leaders and didn't show any sign of suddenly becoming competent. So she got re-elected.

I'm watching it play out in the US. I'm hearing screams of denial, and people so fed with lies that they are unable to believe the truth, even when it stares them in the face. I do hope my American friends can stay safe and keep out of sight. We've got a guy who was stranded here in the first lockdown, so he borrowed a euphonium and has been playing in several bands ever since. He's from Nevada, and not sure he wants to go back.

So our Auntie Jac didn't quite manage to pass the cannabis referendum. Probably a good thing, I thought it was rather vague and full of loopholes. I'm sure there would be plenty of people with their regulation 4 plants in the front garden, and the other 100 in the bush somewhere. But the euthanasia referendum did pass. However, it actually pretty well thought out. There's about six conditions you have to meet, and as far as I know, nobody has yet met them. Conversely, I don't believe there are many doctors who are prepared to, either. I did a tactical vote. Yes, Jacinda, you have been a beacon of common sense in a very turbulent world. But I'll be watching your policies carefully!

It's curious to watch the conflict between left and right. There have been some calls to restrict religious education in schools, but also the admission that nobody else really has any answers. We've actually done rather well in our youth work trust this year. We've already taken on two more people, and could have room for several more next year. Several contracts have arrived from different directions. It's like they've realised that faith based organisations are actually a lot more effective because they believe in what they do. Not that they care to admit it.

Here's hoping that Biden is able to reach out to both sides and get them talking. Otherwise I'll just have to continue learning Chinese.

We're into the silly season, only this time we've had several delayed events squeezed in as well. Last week was our Light Party, and we handed out 280 goodie bags, and as far as we know, each child only got one. So that was bigger than last year, despite the threat of lockdowns. The committee couldn't decide on Superheroes or Space so we did Superheroes In Space. We had everything from unicorns to Princess Leia, plus several Spidermen and Supermen. My Splat The Rat game became Splat The Alien, and I painted the tennis ball as an eyeball. We turned a huge cardboard box (from a fridge freezer) into a mock photo booth, and decorated it with shiny paper and LED lighting. It was tricky transporting it 10km down the road and back, but it survived. It had quite a queue to use it apparently. Someone cut bamboo and we built an entrance tunnel (with black polythene and more fairy lights) to pretend that you were entering a spaceship. The police and fire brigade turned up, plus a couple of farmers with various animals, sausage sizzle, two bouncy castles and face painting. There was probably more; I didn't get to see it all!

The next day was the delayed Matamata Music Festival, which is about 2.5 hours away (in good traffic). The brass band was one point away from getting a gold award. We played Oregon, by Jacob De Haan. It's a really descriptive piece; you can imagine the rolling scenery, the cowboys, the Indians and the prim ladies in impractical dresses. I wanted to understand what each section meant, but I couldn't find anything, so I imagined the scenes myself. I wrote to him afterwards and described it, and he wrote back and thanked me for my imagination. I suspect that he deliberately didn't describe the music because imagination (and emotion) are very much part of the music for him. Hope we get the chance to play that sometime soon.

We've got the delayed brass band AGM plus several playouts and carolling. There's several Christmas parties, and a walk up the Coromandel mountains. Plus a number of other things. The calendar is getting busy.

But for now, it's getting warmer, and after a rather heavy downpour it's also getting greener. The lambs are enjoying the paddock. And the front garden, when we're not looking. I've almost cleared half the farm of blackberry, gorse and thistle (I'm getting fit). No sign of any sugar cane growing. Perhaps it'll grow now that it's warmed up a bit!

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