Our little land is in a strange state, on one side of the North Island we have oil in the water, courtesy of the Rena tanker stuck fast on the reef, on the other we have no natural gas, courtesy of a rupture in the Maui natural gas pipeline. This has been going on for a few days and it means that the major industries have no natural gas. So they can’t make things. Chelsea sugar works and Quality Bakers and Fonterra have all but shut down. Oh dear.
So we are on the brink of two activities we haven’t experienced for seventy years. Hording and rationing. I went to the supermarket this morning because everyone is saying we will run out of things like milk and bread and other things made with milk and sugar. The first sight I saw in the supermarket was two women loading a white van with two wire trollies FULL of loaves of bread and baugettes. Either they own a cafe/sandwich business or they have the largest and hungriest family in the Waikato. Closer to the door I saw people coming out with bags of bread and milk. I did a fairly usual supermarket shop, I got an extra big bottle of milk and three extra loaves of bread for the deep freeze. I got a packet of weetbix, even though we have a new one, just in case. Some extra yogurt and sour cream because it is made from milk. And some extra sweets because Monday is Halloween (sneak that in there so it looks like a shortage thing).
So did I horde? A little. Do I need to? Who knows. A friend works for Fonterra and she says they have been told that it will be the middle to end of next week before they are back with full gas supply. And the lady at the checkout told me that she lives in Te Awamutu and her road to work is lined with farms. Some have signs at the gate. You can bring your own container and fill up with free unpasteurized milk. It is illegal to sell raw milk, but they can’t stop you giving it away. Mum says she used to drink it all the time when she was a kid and she is 88 with the bones of a 40-year-old, so I guess it doesn’t do anyone any harm. And it is milk the farmers don’t have to spread on the fields or pour down the drain. Very little is being collected because very little can be processed.
Will we have rationing, possibly. Obviously not the whole thing with coupon books and no way to get extra etc. but people may have to shop around to get enough to feed families. As we put the groceries away we decided we have enough in to withstand the Siege of Mafeking. Whenever the radio ad intones “Do you have enough provisions to survive two or three days in a disaster?”, Mum and I look at each other and say, “Oh yes, and some.”