The North Island Journey
Wednesday 25 March - Tuesday 7 April
Experience the North Island like you never have before on this 14-day Journey. Explore the North Island by train and coach, enjoying a magnificent combination of sights and experiences.
Bookings are limited. Visit www.readerstours.co.nz... to find out more or call us on 0800 080 099.
Dear neighbours and NZ Gardener family,
Our April issue should be with our subscribers now and available in supermarkets and service stations (having been distributed prior to the lockdown restrictions). Whether or not it's on the stands yet is a bit patchy ... but then the incredibly brave and hard-working supermarket staff have quite a bit on their plate right now so I understand if there is a delay! Please, please, please everyone ... don't go out to buy it! Normally of course we love you buying NZ Gardener but right now it's far more important that you stay home and stay safe. (You can buy a copy with your online shopping though! That's safe and I think we are all in the market for something uplifting to read right now).
In this issue we offered to send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who sent us a SSAE. Just to reassure you, we will still send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who is keen to participate. We are just not quite sure when! Ignore the dates in the magazine of when you needed to send the envelope in by - that has been indefinitely extended. But we cannot wait to send you the seed and for those flowers to bloom as by then we will be well through this or even have it behind us. And keep letting us know what you are sowing and growing, send in pictures of your harvest, your flowers or what you are sharing.
We always love hearing from NZ Gardener readers but now when we are all staying apart that connection means more than you can imagine. Stay home, stay safe and stay in touch everyone. For the most updated gardening advice, subscribe to our digital e-zine Get Growing, which will be delivered to your inbox completely free.
For starters: I do think that using the concept of staying out of the infection-spreading zone of other people is a really, really good idea. I'm in the high risk group of people; trust me, I do not want to catch the virus.
My wife went to go shopping yesterday. It took her hours to get into the supermarket. HOURS. There were lines formed and directed outside by the staff, and she tells me that no way were the lines at a safe distance from each other. Then some supervisor shouted if someone over 70 was there, there was, and the gentleman was led along the line of other people in the queue --- no distance at all, instead of being led around the outside.
Get this: he was led along the queue, exposed to ever single &^%$* other person waiting, with no distance kept at all. My wife jokingly said to him "you're not 2m away from me" and he just about jumped out of his skin and apologized to her. It wasn't his fault.
They are spraying and 'sterilizing' the trolleys outside the shop. When it got to checkout time, she got shouted at because the packer felt she was too close to the cashier. They packed all her goods into the trolley used by the person before her (sic!) instead of using hers, and when she wanted to walk out she had to pass right by the packer who made no moves to distance herself.
The whole thing is, pardon the pun, a sick joke. The basic idea is good, but the implementation is lousy, and inept, in some cases plain dangerous (talking about exposing the 'over 70' bloke to everybody else waiting in line, here). It is implemented by people who don't understand the underlying principles and flounder around trying to comply with 'rules' they don't really comprehend. In this form, the spread of the virus is highly likely to continue, never mind what.
Keeping people waiting outside the shop for hours (around 4 hours it took!) is NOT sanitary. With my arthritic knees and still recovering from a heart attack, I'd not even consider it, I'd sooner dig up grass roots and carrot weed in the paddock and eat those. And, to wit, the delivery system is completely overloaded.
The other food stores should be OPEN. That would reduce queues. The regulators who came up with this plan have handed a de facto monopoly to foodstuffs and woolworth, which is being exploited (are there any specials at all just now?) and the quarantine measures, as I said above, are poorly understood and implemented.
By and large I am pretty disgusted by the situation.
Incidentally, I notice that the traffic on SH1 through Kauri has picked up by a lot today. Yesterday it was quiet, the day before it was very quiet; today? Quite busy all day ...
Freedom campers around the Whangārei district are being rounded up to two central Whangārei spots so police can keep an eye on them and ensure their needs are met. This comes as the number of cases in Northland hits double-digits, with 11 as of Thursday , with latest information available here. What do you think of the way freedom campers are treated? What alternative would you suggest?