It felt like Groundhog Day. I was astounded watching a TV One news item about New Zealand Immigration refusing visas to two young Ethiopians who were to be sponsored here by a group of retired professionals. It was two years (almost to the day) that I’d written a very emotional and indignant piece about the humiliation and disappointment my family had experienced when we wanted to host relatives from Egypt for a special holiday.
In the 13th century Marco Polo reported from China that Kublai Khan of Cathay had two kivichi or Masters of the Chase, each commanding 10,000 men assisting the Khan to command a total of 5,000 dogs in tracking, hunting, and killing wildlife. Marco Polo didn’t mention how big the kennels must have been.
King Henry III of France (1575) was a devoted dog lover – perhaps a bit too devoted. He owned 2,000 dogs, so perhaps it is just as well that he had several palaces. He liked to have 100 dogs within patting distance, and he went walkabout with 20 at a time.
Last November I went to a memorial service for those whose relations or friends had died during the previous 12 months. It was organised by the funeral directors with whom my mother had arranged her prepaid funeral and who had efficiently, calmly and professionally helped us organise her obsequies in early December, 2018.
Bushfires still burn in Oz; Brexit vexited the Brits, and in America a new King was crowned by Republican Senators. You could sense an uprising to the elevation of President Donald to King Donald. Tears flowed and jeers echoed on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of television. These were passionate issues and sometimes you had to pause to wonder who, or what, lay behind them.
But no worries, because Down Under the Aussies showed that their sense of humour couldn’t be extinguished….
High Noon, informally, is the when time the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. It is traditionally regarded as a time for high drama, as in the 1952 movie High Noon. At High Noon in New Zealand on Saturday, 1st February 2020, it will be 23:00 GMT. It will be the moment the UK inflicts upon itself, perhaps the greatest self-harm in its long history. It will break its 46 year membership of the EU.