Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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There is a big smile on my face this morning.
This is the type of smile that only comes from being thanked by folk who you've helped in some way.
What have I done to deserve the thanks and gratitude of at least a few people around the world?
Well not much. In fact, it's not really anything I wouldn't have done anyway but, apparently, it's been important to more than just a handful of others.
As a result, my email inbox has seen a stream of messages from people who claim I have helped them through a very cold, wet, locked-down winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
How did I accomplish this?
Well I just made some videos of people having fun in the sun.
With the memories of our own autumn lockdown fresh in my mind, I have to admit that I did try extra hard this summer to remind those above the equator of the joys and pleasures of being outside in the sunshine and warmth. Despite our own somewhat off again, on again summer, this was a pretty easy task thanks to my YouTube channels.
All I had to do was film others having a ball in the summer sun and post it for others to see -- job done!
Of course I also added a little sarcastic sting to the commentary, just to keep people awake and voila -- Bob's your auntie (since the gender re-assignment surgery).
To be honest, I hadn't really expected much other than the usual comments and feedback that these videos regularly produce. Lots of people don't understand the "piss-take" culture of Kiwi humour so really think I'm being mean to those who I chastise and ridicule in my videos so that's a regular theme in the feedback.
What has surprised me in the last few weeks however, are the number of people who are genuinely appreciative of short but enjoyable break my videos have given them from the dark reality of their own existance in recent months.
It seems that our bright sunshine contrasts perfectly with their own dull, leaden skies. Our outdoor activities, without the need for social distancing, masks, etc., also present a stark inversion of their own restrictive lockdown constraints.
The ability to take a 20 minute vicarious break from the reality of CV19 in a Northern winter seems to have been immensely theraputic for many who have commented, both on the videos and directly via email. It has been very humbling to receive so many emails of genuine thanks and gratitude from those affected.
It has also become very clear that my XJet channel has gathered new legions of followers in the past nine months and a surprising number of those followers have expressed a very genuine desire to visit New Zealand, Tokoroa and our little airfield, once the CV19 thing fades and life gets back to normal (if it ever does).
Now you'd think, with this in mind, our local council would be eager to promote whatever part of the district will draw in the crowds and get behind any private initiative to get bums on cafe seats, heads on motel pillows and feet on the pavement outside the town's retail establishments.
Oh, excuse me whilst I have a little chortle to myself.
What was I thinking?
No, that's just never going to happen, especially now that one of the five very expensive poo-tubes that cost the town almost $1m each, seems to have suffered some kind of terminal failure and is closed until further notice. The other tubes appear to be also suffering from bad design, poor construction and inadequate planning. The timber is warping, there is insufficient water-flow to properly evacuate the waste and the stink to high hell because of inadquate ventilation.
To err is human... to *really* stuff up requires a quantity of coffee and doughnuts that only local government can afford.
Ah well, at least we still have the sun, for a few weeks :-)
It feels great to at least have improved the lives of a few people, half a planet away who, right now, are a whole lot worse off than us.
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