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CBD by Miranda Spary

Happy 99th birthday to Clarice May - honestly, this woman is a national treasure. She’s helped so many people in her long life, and earned a well deserved QSM. She’s a bowel cancer survivor and has taught hundreds of people how to deal with it, not to mention visiting and cheering up all the people in the local retirement homes (many of whom were much younger than she is!) She held a pool party for her 90th and I’m really looking forward to hearing what she’s planning for her 100th. A VERY cool local bird.

My husband is trying to stay young like Clarice by dieting and doing his exercises - I’m very proud of him sticking to the regime and must admit, I doubted his stickability. He has been in Auckland this week and staying with our son and his girlfriend in their very tiny flat. He’s forgotten that people in Auckland have neighbours, and as he did his morning routine out in their minute garden, grunting and groaning away, a concerned one called over the fence, “Are you all right? Do you need help?”. No, he wasn’t having a heart attack, but the noise does sound rather like it.

Our daughter in London was told by her employers that she could go and work remotely in Spain until January, if she wanted - noone is meant to go to work in the UK unless they absolutely can’t do their work from home. She said goodbye to all her friends and flew away. The next day, one of the London friends who’d been partying with her rang to say she better get a COVID test as she’d tested positive. Sure enough - 15 minutes and 55 Euro later, we have a daughter with the virus. The photo she sent us, titled “On My Deathbed” has her lying on a sunbed by a pool - still no symptoms and getting plenty of Vitamin D with all that Spanish sun.

Garlic is good for fighting viruses too, apparently, but it’s very hard to buy nice garlic at the moment. The supermarkets have loads of that horrible bright white Chinese garlic, and plenty of American garlic - why won’t the supermarkets treat the NZ producers properly and buy local garlic? I do know the answer to that, and it’s because there aren’t many big local growers, and the supermarkets can’t be bothered dealing with small ones. They make more profit buying in huge quantities from America and China. The more we let them do that, the less NZ produce there will be. Gosh, that makes me sound snippety!

And what about the snippety Greg Dixon’s comment about Arrowtown in the Listener? “Twee and geared only for the vulgar business of parting middle-class tourists from their money”. I’m still seething! Middle class? Our visitors are from every class - some with money and some without. And the reason they visit is because it is a gorgeous town in a stunning part of the world’s most beautiful country. Poor him. He lives in a place called Carterton which I have never knowingly visited. I looked it up online a) to see where it is, and b) to see how it looks. I imagine visitors rarely darken their doors. Bad luck, Mr Dixon. By the way, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear farming or other work gear into Arrowtown - we do work, you know, even though we live in such a lovely place. And even though, unlike Carterton we can’t buy a chainsaw in our main street, we can enjoy a worldfamous opera singer performing here this week, and lovely young Rosie from the Astor Bristed Gallery showing an exciting looking art exhibition. I hardly ever buy a chainsaw, but I’m always keen on a dollop of culture.

Paula Bennett was at Millbrook this week in her new role with Bayleys Real Estate. She is 50 kg lighter these days and looking fantastic. Can’t help thinking she chose a very good time to leave politics! Jon Mitchell wants to “Paint the Region Red” and is holding a fundraising art and wine auction at the Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall on November 20th.You can get tickets at eventbrite.co.nz and there’s an online catalogue as well. He did an exceptional job of his campaign as the Labour candidate for the election, and turned some of this deep blue district’s deepest blue voters a shiny scarlet this time round.