All the characters and all the situations are fictional. Any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental.

The granddaughter is staying with her grandparents, meeting up with another twelve year old who arrives at the rural village every summer. They have become good mates. But the granddaughter is not vaccinated. Her mother doesn’t believe in it for kids – the purity of the young body I presume. It means the kids can’t go to the movies or eat out at the pub – thank God they can go to the swimming pool  – and more despondently they can’t go with the other girl’s parents to the races. Let’s pretend she’s eleven, says the other girl’s mother. I agree. Teach the girl to lie, exclaims grandmother with Presbyterian fervour. For God’s sake the world is full of lies, I reason. Every ad for example. Didn’t a Resistance courier in Occupied France have to lie through her teeth constantly? What’s that got to do with anything? What’s the difference between a girl of eleven years, eleven months and a twelve year old anyway? They have to draw the line somewhere. And what’s all this stuff about boosters? Wouldn’t it be ethical to say, Send my booster to Africa, please? The mother should take responsibility for this situation. What’s the point anyway. She hasn’t got Covid. No one down here has. There’s been one case in three years. You’re teaching her to lie. Angry call to mother. Don’t know the response.  And then someone emails from Christchurch. You’re putting on Antigone? Won’t the anti-vaxxers see it as encouraging their stand? I have no idea. It’s a Greek tragedy, written two thousand years ago. No, I’m not inspecting passes. Who comes is who comes. That’s how it’s always been. It’s outside and we won’t get hundreds. I talk to someone who lived ten years in Karamea. Her partner built a house but didn’t trouble the local building inspectors. When it came to sell, there were five years of court cases and then he had to demolish a perfectly good house. What’s that got to do with anything? Epidemiologists don’t seem so certain anymore.  Perhaps, like economists, they simply guess at things. Like the rest of us. Here’s what the PMs reading during her break. Forgot to click on it. Then it was Chris Luxton’s turn. Forgot to click. Political news is replaced by crime. Is there some connection? Anyway, the twelve year old went to the races, and having lied doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the mysteries of beginning adolescence. Nor did her attendance bring down the nation. Although she did lose the money I gave her to bet for me. While she was at the races I took the trailer down to the river and got some rocks for the Antigone set and thought of Robben Island.

Any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. That’s to cover my arse, as they say in the bureaucracy. Happy New Year.