The Lockdown Diaries: all Seventy-‘leven Days!

So, as posted in the Day Zero version (pre-lockdown), herewith my short summaries of events and observations for each day. This will be written in an upside down format. You will not need to rotate your screen, it’s just that the newest post will appear on top.

DAY 93

Ahhhh! Another cool day, but with much less precipitation raining down on us. Running repairs effected by Timmie’s Welding Works on my gutters have been successful. It means my waterworks are good to go, except for the sound of running water making me want to go the moment I hear it. Now I know why parents do that as they start potty training you i.e. making coaxing sounds, calling on you to “go”. With regard to micturition specifically.

I have a report to write for a virtual meeting in next week. My old friend Procrastination started visiting from the moment the appointment was made. There was a time in my life when I would break its back quickly and then cruise until such a meeting. Over time though, this has changed. I suspect its because, as you become more accustomed to specific sets of tasks, and also your ability to gauge the time needed to complete it, you tend to take your foot of the gas, or the accelerator, or the thing that makes thing happen quicker or faster. Equally, I suppose, you have the freedom to procrastinate since one does develop coping mechanisms for when you do not deliver on time.

Somewhere in my blogs, I had referred to the perception that it takes along time to get to a destination, but the return trip always so much shorter. Well, it’s very similar to the perception, as you age, that time seems to go faster. For this, there is a physical theory that seems to explain this. Now that we are “at home” and have time to sit and think, especially under lockdown, time has plasticity. Some days (or during some periods), time flies. Other days it seems to drag.

When we’re having a dance lesson, the hour goes by so quickly. When I’m sitting watching nothing, time drags. On the whole though, time seems to go faster with age. I think it’s also because this is the period of my life where I thought I’d be out doing things phantasmagorical. So, my mind is on the time I am losing and during which I am not achieving the bucket list targets. It’s like I will never get to see Charleen Diedericks in Klerksdorp for at least 20 more years of life:-) By the way, I take back my statement of only supporting animal charities. I make an exception for humans, especially the short people – children! Charleen is deeply involved in this. Please consider a small donation to Khaya Tshepo home of Hope for Vulnerable Children! If you donate, let me know and I will try to match yours!

My metronome over the past few months has been our dance classes, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 17:00 and sometimes on a Saturday at 10:00. Using these three beacons in my week, at least I can orientate myself. Once I get to Wednesday, it’s like the week is already over. Oh yes, the other way point in my timeline is when its time for: My fellow Compatriots……!

I noticed that a Facebook friend had pulled a hamstring while sweeping recently. This is what happens when you jump out of bed at the crack of dawn, not realizing that your blood vessels are not as stretchy, leading to dizzy spells. It’s the same with the hamstring!. Not as stretchy anymore. ‘S why whisky was invented, of course. This stuff is know, although aqueous with a hint of ethanol, acts like a lubricant. Like an oil almost. It’s also why, when supped in copious amounts, it starts to slide down the throat with no resistance to flow.

Beside that, the flow down the throat behaves according to Poiseuilles Law, a well know physical theory which was oft discussed in the Old Cafeteria (now called The Barn) at UWC in 1977. This translates to dropping straight down the gullet where it immediately hits the Hamstring Tensility Release button. Once done, all the household chore buttons are also activated via sympathetic pathways and, voilá, a male becomes docile, pliable and acts like a ballerina driven to sweep and clean for hours on end.

Jut to appease the owner of said male to allow further imbibing of said lubricant of the 1st party. And party it can be or should be. It’s not Monday, it’s still Sunday, after all!!

Remember the Khaya Tshepo donation, né!!!

Account Number

  1034061518

Account Type

  Current

Branch Code

  198765

Bank

  Nedbank

Branch

  Buffelsdoorn Klerksdorp

Swift Code

  NED SZAJJ

DAY 92

It’s been cold, wet and wild in the Cape. Today, two good friends of ours were married in Paarl. We could not go for many reasons, one being lockdown. The ceremony was streamed live on YouTube. According to eyewitnesses, it was pouring by the time the newlyweds left the church. Showers of blessing as they say. We are looking forward to a post-lockdown, summer party to make up for the restrictions.

The weather, on returning home, was again one for Netflix and a hot fire. In total, I have watched about 4 good movies over the last two days. I did complain yesterday about not knowing how to find good movies. I still do not know how. What I have discovered is the art of serendipity i.e. stumbling upon things inadvertently.

Just this afternoon, I disturbingly watched two good movies. I use the word “disturbingly” since it disturbed me i.e. it threw me off my standard track in life. You know …. arise, blue jeans, grey sweater, old shoes or Crocs, and that’s my day!! These two movies both dealt with aging and death. Food for thought, as much as I do not think I am near any of these things. The one fear that had now developed is that of growing old on my own.

And, if that’s not enough. Covid-19 is preventing us from attacking the bucket list. The Leisure Seeker involved a bucket list ride with a subtle but sweet sting in the tail. Parents are only here because of children i.e. to nurture them. It reminds me of The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The latter text is a classic, the gist of which is that we do what we do because we are driven by our genome to survive and procreate. It’s quite a deep thought that a string of DNA, common to all living species on the planet, drives everything we do. But, let’s leave it to the experts to pronounce and expound on these things. Another movie I watched was The Fundamentals of Caregiving! Entertaining with some good learning embedded in it.

I want to further expound on the how short life is, and how much shorter it gets when you get older, but maybe in the next blog. It has a degree of “soppiness” attached to it, somewhat of an “I should have…”, as well as a good dollop of “..I don’t care anymore…”!

I promise you a bit of a rollercoaster ride tomorrow! Mooi loop!

DAY 91

Please, whatever you do, do not let NDZ (for the uninitiated, a.k.a. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma)know  that we at No. 11 are animal lovers. More specifically, at this stage in our lives, cat lovers. She may just change her penchant from the banning of tobacco products to the banning of cats and cat products. Its more the latter that I worry about.

If she bans the purchase of cat food, no probs. They can eat scraps from the table and the odd endangered bird species roving the skies. But if she bans other products (or by-products) such as cat poop, what do we do? Cat nappies? Would we be able to go for catnaps? What about catnip? Would catatonia be allowed? And what about Catholics? Or Cat-holics? And please don’t call this doggerel!

Ooooh gomma! The sky’s the limit when you come to think of it. She can turn a simple task into a monumental wildfire, smoke included! And, as an aging comedian once opined, if there were no gravity, the sky would be full of dead birds! I can imagine our cats with a long ladder trying to………..!

The sun shines even thought it is cold. I think it is a day for an early fire and for Netflix. However, Netflix is “difficult” for me. How does one find a good movie if you don’t know about it? I think I need to read more movie reviews and the adverts appearing on my Facebook timeline more often. Just this morning, a radio announcer called for suggestions from his listeners. Some interesting stuff was named but, when I tried writing these down while driving, I felt a little uncomfortable with my fellow-drivers mouthing (silent) obscenities at me. Why? I was trying to improve myself!!

The afternoon started getting colder, to the point where I though I would see a Bose-Einstein Condensate appearing in my exhaled bref. The afternoon Beast fire kept it at bay though.

Tomorrow, we are wedding, meeting and generally living! However, the predicted rain may mean that dihydrogen oxide poisoning may be the order of the day. I trust we will survive by oxidizing copious amounts of cellulose, lignans and other complex hetero-polysaccharides. Viva exothermic reactions! Viva!!

p.s. With sincere apologies to the green energy movement! I do have a solar heater for my geyser, so cut me some slack for burning wood to heat the tootsies!!!

Day 90

Theoretically, 3 months of lockdown have now passed. In actual fact, it’s about 2 months, as regulations have relaxed a bit. This is a generalization, especially for older persons who would have been sequestering a lot more than younger ones. AT the end of the day though, it feels like lockdown should be at level 1 by now, since that is the mood one gets on the street. And, I am privileged to say, I base this on the present domestic circles in which I move. There are much less privileged people than I, who are not fortunate enough to be able to say that in terms of compliance, and the physical spaces in which to comply.

It is raining in Cape Town right now. A welcome rain with the always biting thought of those who have little in terms of shelter and food. It’s a night like this one where I have to carefully balance my oft said penchant to donate to an animal shelter versus that of a human shelter. It’s a night, were I to be doing the donating right now, I would split it 50:50.

Dance class was another good one, once I got the drift. Way after Beverley tired of trying to get me to catch the drift. But hey, once I do catch it, I’m like a dancing pinwheel, a veritable bonfire, my hot tootsies burning the floor. The young people I dance with cannot keep up with me as I then cavort, hips swiveling way beyond my lubrication issues with which 15 000 km services allow. Or are those the ball joints? Don’t get me wrong here! I do not want to seem to be going south, but yes, ball joints are part of the process. I remind you of the quadrille! Not many younger people can do this!

To warm my hearts and my thoughts, I keep thinking of the flower season coming. About where I am going to travel along some dusty roads, slowly, thoughtfully, with many aftrekplekke, to look at life! Look for long periods of time and contemplate “time”. I had recently read about the cone of time after the big bang theory, the real thing, not the TV series.

Dark matter is a serious research challenge for theoretical physicists for the last few years. It seems there may be a reverse cone of light and time before the big bang that “mirrors” our existing universe. And in it, the secrets of dark matter may be explained. Now all of this is not of consequence in the bigger scheme of things, including that of religion. But it does give me comfort that the secrets of the universe are neither uni-resolvable nor unintelligible. As witnessed to date. Given enough time, all will be revealed. The most important thing to me is that the mystery will not always be a mystery. Make what you want of that statement. But I think it resolves a lot of “things”.

The donkeys are cold, but well-cared for, at Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary and the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary. Think of them on this cold and wet night. And then think of those poor souls in service under less than fortunate conditions! And donate!!! Pulleeeez!!!

DAY 89

Tito Mboweni’s budget day! It just confirmed the dwang we are in as a nation. As part of his delivery, mention was made of  “we are not as rich as we were 10 years ago!”. Or something to that effect. Guess who a subliminal target is in this statement. And then Covid-19 came and help give it a bifurcated comb-over. Imagine if we had gone into that humungous nuclear deal with the Russians. It would have been a good move for Jolene if it referred to Russians for the pan. Otherwise, absolute chaos and further penury and joblessness.

Anyways (as they say in the ‘burbs), a happier note attached to my being a good citizen follows. I purchased goods at my usual store, including a bag of charcoal, placed in the trolley. On packing said goods into the car, I realized I had not paid for the bag, since it was laying undisclosed in the trolley. How could I live with my conscience by not returning and paying. I did so. Strange thing!! Firstly, the cashier who helped me correct it did not bat an eyelid or comment on my error when I confessed it. I am so happy about this, since it indicates to me that people do it all the time. Secondly, since I had confessed this to the security guard spaying hands at the door, he thanked me profusely for my honesty. Queer!! In actual fact, I could have pointed out the error in their system in the first place. But, principle won the day from my side.

So, I go to the hardware store and the pharmacy, all stoked by my integritoriousness, to buy a few light bulbs. Walking to the pharmacy next door, I dropped one light bulb, in its packaging. It broke! Pondering on this later, I realized that karma really is a bitch. However, karma does not know its true bitch from its inverted bitch. It should have favored me, but it did not. I have it in for karma!! Daar kom ‘n dag!

Funnily enough, the previous events also relates somewhat to my dancing lesson this afternoon. We worked our way through a tango routine that, although not difficult in its bare form, can get complicated once you put rhythm to it. Bev, being a very supportive dancer and partner sometimes, commented that “at least you can do a basic tango and a waltz”!!!! Mymoena!!!!!!! Salie!!!!!! Just like that, I was relegated to the likes of  those chaps … muffled sounds from the dictaphone … in the southern suburbs (latter being the full version of ‘burbs). Technology let me down there!! In terms of my dancing skills, I was being skewered in the name of “two left legs” and “I need to buy other legs”, etc.

Los ma’!!!!! I’ll show dem, show dem, show dem f****g show dem! Tomorrow night I am doing the quadrille, come hell or high tide. And it very likely will be a high storm tide based on weather reports.

Lawyers beware, Karma is coming for you!

DAY 88

Last night was infinitesimally shorter than the night before. My biological clock could tell. One day closer to the end of lockdown and also the spring flower show in the Northern Cape. This is the year I must go and see it!! Covid-19 begone!!

The day was a slow start with a visit to the hospital. Slow for me. But a bit more stressful for Bev, having to go for her standard infusion. I had mentioned to a friend that it is difficult, in a way, for me to imagine the discomfort and the pain associated with all these things. It is difficult for me to imagine constant pain of varying levels. It is also difficult for me to imagine the ongoing discomfort related to different prescribed medication. I can try to “imagine” it, but it is difficult to imagine it, in real life. Not sure if I make sense. And then, if you put a co-morbidity together with it, with its own level of pain and also sometimes competing medication, it is even more difficult for me to imagine it. To feel the same pain and feel the same disability. I have to do this by kidding my brain to imagine it and to respond accordingly. It is quite distressing, even though this may be only a millionth of what other people are suffering in their own lives. And I do not only mean this in a medical sense.

Beyond that, I got my bike cleaned up, oiled and ready to go. I pedalled down the road in full flight, since it was downhill, and then  struggled manfully up the very mild incline back home. And I did it again. It was so good to feel the quads, and all those other muscles, being stressed. I will be doing it again during all the better days of the remains of winter. There is a bit of a sticking back brake, but hey! A little more resistance leads to a better workout.

To complete the day, we had a standard dance class with a few challenging routines in the Cha Cha Cha!! An inverted New Yorker followed by going into a reverse lock, and back out into another lock!! But that was not all that made it special. A fellow dancer visited with gifts of commiseration and love. What a way to end to the evening.

But it was topped, or equalled, by a visit from a friendly Padré, a fine man of the cloth, who is known to the family. That phrase, “known to the family”, does not imply any reflection on his integrity. On the contrary, the bak of mince curry he delivered way made up for any imagined negativity about the visit. Father Craven,  daai was torpnorch kerrie daai, né!.

The curry is now departed and is no more. The day has ended and is no more. The tummy is full and is….no, no, not that!!

It is again so important and valuable to have, and cherish, friends!! Good ones!! In your life!!

DAY 87

I’m not sure I want to go on with this. There is no end in sight. Also, as much as it was supposed to be an observation of events, it has tended to be an observation of my mind wandering around during the downtime created by the pandemic. I am not sure if this is a good thing in itself. And then, considering the events of the last few months (excluding the pandemic), my mental state may be called into question in terms of making rational decisions to discuss and air certain views on this platform.

During yesterday’s short walk, I bumped into an good dance friend of ours. It was so good to see her and discuss mutual issues of health and wellness. It was interesting hearing a viewpoint about lockdown outside of our direct family circle. Money was exchanged during the discussion. And no, it was not for services rendered in any direction, but rather a donation to a joint project upon which we had decided to embark.

One major learning for the day was that you never, ever should use face cream on your eye area!!!! To  contextualize this, you may know I have a glowing, youthful look together with bright, sparkly blue eyes to go with it. You may well make an assumption that, since I am Facebook tjommies  with Dougie Oakes, this is the reason for the cherubic face you see. For those that do not know, he is a font of knowledge regarding grooming habits for gentlemen. I understand he dispenses advice at the Grassy Park hotel mostly. But I have not been there in years so, if you had made the assumption alluded to earlier, you would be wrong.

Back to the face cream bit! Having heard about this face cream thing, I immediately went to the local emporium peddling such emolients. On checking the packaging of the usual cream I use, I was surprised and shocked to see that it clearly states: do not use on the eye area! My moena! Who would have thought, but did not read. Instead of deciphering the many pomades, lotions and other facial pampering goods, I immediately approached the lady who often helps Bev with her own requirements. I mean, I don’t know pangolin urine from bat shit in a market, môs!

After a bit of information exchanges, I got the feeling she was giving me the eye, but it turned out she was giving me an eye product for use on the affected area. I gratefully accepted such, trotted off to pay and immediately went home to use it. Bev gave a big thumbs up to the purchase. And then she asked what I had paid for it! I had not thought of that but, when I did see the price, my eye area almost welled up with tears, flooding my piercing blue orbs and showing my inner jood! I could have put a deposit on a modest sedan using that type of money.

So far, all’s well that ends with welling eyes! In a few days time, I will report back to all you males with tired eye lining. And then I will also let the male grooming gent down south know about it. You’all will thank me for it!

DAY 86

I was queried recently by Joe Samuels regarding the title of this seemingly never-ending blog.  Specifically since it started out as “the first 21 days” and then changed to “35 days”. How long is a piece of string? To circumvent this anomaly, it now has a new title, inspired by You Know Who!

It’s Fathers Day and, as usual, my nearest and dearest shower me with one or two gifts. It’s not the number of gifts but rather the amount of thought and planning that goes into them. Today is no different. Late yesterday, a surprise delivery arrived, to my surprise, even though I was warned by an SMS to expect something like a surprise delivery. And it is one of my last two aunt’s birthday today. Aunty Terry is 85 and still looks so elegantly gorgeous and graceful for her age.

This time the gift it was neither a leopard skin onesie nor a tool to crucify some flesh more efficiently over hot coals. No, it was a special six course menu from Wolfgat in Paternoster.Very spiffy affair, since it comes in a big box with the ingredients, including seasonal ones picked fresh from the ocean and its surrounds in a sustainable fashion. It also comes with a print of a watercolor painting signed by the artist. I hereby post pics in a very brêkkerige fashion, so forgive me in advance! A six course affair for two, includng sourdough bread and bokkom butter, soutslaai leaf snack, snoek tartlet, pickled angelfish, mussel soup, kelp and mushroom cannelloni stuffed with lamb which ended with a sticky date and sorghum pudding with ice cream!! From the picture below, you will note it requires a lot of concentration, with Paternoster in the background,when scoffing it.

Wolfgat

Following on my reminiscences yesterday about infatuations and the young ladies involved, I started remembering a lot more names and faces and places. As I started totting up the numbers, I realized that by giving too much information, I would start to sound and look like a neo-gigolo or a braggart (this word sounds so much more sturvy than its equivalent at the end of the last paragraph). So, in order to maintain my integrity, I will not go in to numerous details that came up. At least it is softened by being mostly pre-pubescent stuff.

Jirre, and this Covid thing goes on and on, precipitating previsuly mentioned name change of this series of observations. Early in the pandemic, research was (and still is) being conducted regarding antibody technology. This relates to isolating antibodies from the blood of recovered Covid patients, cloning such antibodies and then using it to treat newly-infected patients. It’s evidently more expensive than vaccines but can be used for older patients. Click here to read about such technology. It is heartening to see the progress made with antibodies for antique bodies, somewhat like mine:-)

Many years a go, we would go Uitenhage to visit relatives with our parents. Those were heady days. The excitement at seeing cousins and playing the games of the day e.g. rugby mostly, whereas we were  more into soccer. It’s where I learnt to ride a bicycle because we did not have one as little kids. It’s where I watched Peter exercise his managerial skills w.r.t. a reel to reel projector in aid of church funds. It’s where we played in the church grounds (both in Dale Street and later Livingstone Circle). The old houses in Dale street, next to each other. And sleepovers. Good memories. Would certain people have been better off at trade school, he asked mischievously? And as true as bob, whoever bob is, as I typed the last sentence, the word “certain” came out as “cretin”. Sorry, I will never do or mention this again:-))

Due to the slap up lunch, I had a to take a post-prandial ambulation to aid digestion, encourage vim to be produced in my lazy body and also to encourage upper bowel movements. Not lower! That comes later!!!

Thank you Caryn & Michelle for the treat. Considering the alternative you told me you guys had in mind, I am looking to the next gifting event with a great deal of trepidation. I know life has ups and downs,  but its the sideways movements that give one the biggest KLAP!

Now to ooze toward the TV and coalesce on the couch for the evening.

DAY 85

Good weather for a long walk!

You know, sometimes while mentally reminiscing, my mind turns to my early love affairs or infatuations, more correctly. And here I’m talking from school-going age up to the end of my Matric year in 1975. You’all know the type of feeling I’m describing and the silliness of it all. But, at that point, it was serious stuff. My pre-teen hormones played around with me big time. Not sure of there are those kinds of hormones at that young age and stage of life. So let me let you into those secret affairs. But no names. Now the friends are going to start examining their previous lives with me!

There was M whom I first “met” at Gelvan Park Primary School. By “met” = we were in the same class for a while. She had/ has such a striking face that I immediately fell in love. She never knew. But it was short-lived because my fancy shifted to C (same school) who had long blonde hair. She never knew as well, as much as I tried to impress her with high jinx in class. And then, like a proper playa, it shifted to another C, a more staid, yet pretty unsuspecting lass. This did not last long though. This was all at the one school. Outside of primary school going into high school, there was G. She did not suspect a thing, but, from afar, we were deeply in love, even if she did not know it.

High school was another affair! My female classmates were all so beautiful but unattainable. I did not have the correct street cred for me to survive in what was becoming a bit of a shark tank in staking claims or, stated in a more genteel fashion, establishing relationships. I did not have a car at my disposal, I did not drink or smoke, whether for status or need. I remember being soft on one of my classmates, in a mild fashion. Toward the end of high school, I did have a short friendship with a young lady. I think it was my first serious kiss as well. Somewhere immediately after high school I became very friendly with the elder sister of the first lady mentioned in this epistle.

And then I went to university!

DAY 84

Another weird day, with good weather thrown in. My car indicated a temperature of 29 degrees centigrade this afternoon. The weirdness came from human stuff! But, first the good stuff.

A lemon farmer delivered a vrag of the stuff to  Obs earlier today. Together with a bottle of 45% alcohol for the production of limoncello! Unfortunately, the alcohol was not a standard variety, but one with a berry flavor.

I must blame these labels which resemble each other and do not differentiate at a quick glance. Or maybe it’s my eyesight failing me i.e. me without my Coke bottle bottoms. It’s like when you buy a bottle of sparkling wine and, when you get home, it turns out to be the non-alcoholic variety. Expensive grape juice, Peter. Aaaaarrrrggggghhhh!!!

Life is a strange, yet predictable thing. OK, not that predictable in terms of its minutiae, but in its broadest sense. You will get lemons thrown at you a couple of times. When exactly that happens, is the unpredictable part. You only live once! So go live in Milan, create a parent-friendly tourist haven. Plan travel itineraries for us, like only you can do. We will visit the moment you have settled after lockdown, Michelle!

And, when ordering a beer, don’t order a tiny one. Take the largest, including the lemons life throws at you, Ask for the largest. Beg for it!! And show them what you can do with it. Squeeze it into the smallest jar. Show those lemons that you are the BOSS.

The venality of humanity showed itself again today. Without going into detail, I say it again, erfgeld is swerfgeld. And you may gather that my little lemony rant above is related to said venality. But it is also a note to our daughters that they must, as they in any case do, take life by the balls and wring everything that they can out of it.

And, as the days go on, the venality just worsens, or deepens, or thickens. I am not sure what venality characteristic is the one to measure? What is the gold standard of venality? Is there an accredited lab to measure such? And when the venal starts throwing up a wall of “do not even speak to me about it”, you know that the venal runs deep! And wide! Did you also sing that in Sunday School?

But, fortunately for us as a family, we are self-sufficient up to a point. We can look after ourselves. We have good friends and good family that care. We all care for each other in different ways and to different extents. And tomorrow is another day where we can dissect venality, name it, shame it and know that we have gotten the better of it in our own way.

Now, I await salted lemons, limoncello made with berry-flavored vodka, trips to Michelle in Milan, trips down under to visit “good friends” (only), and many trips under southern African skies. I want to travel the Trans-Siberian railway. I look forward to “conglomerating” (it’s the only appropriate word) with tjommies, young and old, at No. 11, once lockdown is ended. I want to hug and not be scared of aerosols and spittle! Or more correctly, aerosols and spittle be damned! A klapsoen will be the order of the day.

To add some sanity to this blog, I read a piece by Alec Hogg on the Daily Insider about the concept of businesses playing the “long game”. Or that, for companies, there is no win or lose, but an infinitely long game. Interesting topic. One which ties in with my question about where the profits are for big companies! Why must they collapse with one “small” pandemic. Is it a form of asset stripping? See the discussion at Biznews.Com. And this type of topic is not my forté, so forgive me if there is a blaps in interpretation.

And finally, I want to dance with my people! I want to trip and fall, and yet be able to say: Daai was nou ‘n lekka’ nomber! Nemmatjies doen ôs dit wee’!

DAY 83

A cold start to a day with great possibilities, especially in the light of the relaxing of level 3 lockdown rules. We’re not yet out of the woods, but at least we’re starting to see the trees. The beam in my eye is somewhat, if not entirely, removed. And more such sagely sayings….!

It was pointed out to me that Day 80 of my lockdown count was missing. Me, miss a number? Nevah! Until I checked! Thank you Rubin Faulmann. He did a forensic analysis of my posts and came up with this clanger that I had made:-) I have now made adjustments to the blog itself, but not the Facebook posts. So if you see this as an aberration, forgive me. I am going for psychological help and will come back a better person.

Anyway, the morning went off without any surprises, except that we were visited by an arsonist. A very pretty one, at that! But, an arsonist, nonetheless! No matter how you cut it, anyone who starts a fire in your house, outside of the fireplace, in your lounge, with neither regard for life nor limb, nay bra! That’s an arsonist.

It started when the “A” person started unpacking a packet within which was tissue wrapping paper. Next to a set of tealights on the table. When the conflagration of tissue paper became a challenge it was, almost, passed over to me, to contain.  But I am no container! I delegate. I passed on the responsibility to “A” to put said burning material on the tiled floor to burn out naturally. However, I sensed a glint in the eye that pointed to a possible need to expand on this “galley”. Djulle kên môs die ding! Daai blik met a ‘n vuurtjie daarin! Fortunately, we curbed “A”s zest for conflagration. Of course, I being the ever gentleman, swept up the ashes, amid much laughter and, to be honest, hacking coughs from myself. Serves me right for my smoking habits, or lack thereof, over the years. Note to self: Dear Brigitte, we will not have tea lights when next you visit. And please stay away from my braai box utensils:-)

The  relaxing of rules finally seem to be trickling down to dance. Cannot wait to hear more about the details. I need, with my expansive, expensive and very natural dance ability, to be let free on a dance floor with my dance partner. Both to explore the intricacies taught during lockdown, but also to confirm that I really do not have left feet, knock knees and ingrown toenails. Alas, I think that the latter goeters may be true. Fortunately, I live with the thought that there are less gifted souls than I in the  area of perambulating with uncontrollable (restless leg) and uncoordinated things sticking out of my lower abdomen.

Coddywompling comes to the fore, front and center. The urge to perambulate in any direction just grows stronger. Harry, the car standing in the garage, seems to make mewling noises when I walk past him. I somehow hear sounds that resemble “Namib” and “karoo”. Gurgling sounds in fact! Like fuel going through a carburetor at speed. All it needs to do now is flash its emergency lights at me, lovingly, and that would be it. I would be in it to win it, even fully clothed. The love affair, long smoldering, would burst into flame without the use of a firelighter, its soothing warmth forcing foot to accelerator….. OK, OK, hold it! It’s still level 3, niks van daai nônsensie!

Wait until I tell you about our travels. Westy and I will make you jealous! Soewaarievet!

DAY 82

Jirrie! Another spring day before spring is even sprung! I spronged into action by doing a family visit…nay…not visit! A family service routine whereforeto I applied life-saving resuscitation to a failing living standard in the area of the Observatory. Such was called for based on the poor, impecunious need for temperatunious need i.e. it was crap cold and needed warming!!

Armed with fuel, of the combsutiosness nature, I approached the theatre of war, armed with a firelighter, fully charged, as well as takkies to start a small conflagration. Of course, in keeping with the order of the day, l and my cargo needed to be doused, or even anointed, with the 70% gel-type goeters found at the entrance of almost every retail outlet.

I have no problem with this as part of a standard ritual, but as a would be scientist, I am pretty skeptical of the efficacy of each dousing (the glim?) at each entrance. And after 5 entrances, my skin should start drying out or, in the event of an alcohol lockdown, I could start licking my hands to get  a high in life. Let’s sat that I started the fire in the heart of Obs and, possibly, even in Parow. Lessons learned. Cats to be copied.

Family fun turned into family fun and games. Erfgeld is swergeld! I don’t even know how to shout this out louder than this oft mentioned “saying”.

As the saying goes: Karma is a bitch! What goes around, bites you in the arse! You may be how hard up, but when you stuff family and friends up, you are in for a later high jump. And when that happens, know that there will be a few people watching you fall, not with glee, but with sadness for what could have been!!! And maybe with glee if you kept yourself hardegat and sturvy way beyond your means!

Sleep tight!

DAY 81

Another beautiful sunny day!! However, it turned out to be more than just that, since it is, after all, Youth Day!! In 1976, this day was tumultuous, scary, historic, deadly, heroic in terms of players and possibly deserving of many more epithets that I can muster right now. Forty-four years ago, I was half-way through my first year at university at UWC. See a blog that possibly describes the situation a little better.

Nevertheless, today turned out a little different to that which was expected. Since it is a public holiday, it would usually be fairly laid back. However, this is Covid lockdown AND a public holiday. AND, and I stress AND, we had a visitor who was unaware that it was a public holiday. This visitor, who happens to be a contractor and a friend, had made his way to a galvanizing enterprise in Bellville to pick up some items. However, to is surprise, it was closed for business. To save the day, and ours I might add, he decided to complete a job recently embarked upon.

Timmie’s Welding Works completed some work on a gutter leak and a cabling job. Further contractual work was discussed briefly at length, But, this could not happen without edibles in the form of a braai! Breakfast chops as well as Chillie & Garlic sausages were the order of the day. The Chardonnay Room & Deck were ideally suited to the event. Conversation and sparkling wine flowed freely.

I must say that the secrets of the universe were explored. The Coronavirus was dissected and analyzed extensively, especially from the point of view of conspiracy theories in terms of germ warfare. The link between the virus and 5G technology was also examined. Evolutionary biology, vaccine development, absorption of vitamins via the buccal cavity (which taught me something new) and oxygen therapy were deeply probed, examined and laid bare for all to see.

Some reputations of persons unnamed were also examined. The skinner concept was also exercised, delved into and expounded upon, with some victims amid much laughter. The theory of relativity became quite clear when the concept of a a stationary car parked next to a slowly moving truck was used as an illustration. You stomp your foot on the brakes, ! Who, who’s moving who, am I moving you, or are you moving me? Does anybody remember those lyrics? But, you get the gist of relativity in terms of who is really moving!?

Obviously, with such convivial conversation in an open-minded exchange, religion (Abrahamic or not), beliefs, culture and indigenous practices were not spared. Beside much laughter, there were some interesting concepts of dogma, catma, and being a mensch, exchanged.

We did not end the day with a religious war or a crusade against against one way of thinking against another. We parted ways in peace! And with promises to visit Elim and surrounds soon!

DAY 80

Gee whizz!!! I thought that the fact that it is “bin day” would make it unique. But no! Nature and a radio announcer/ disc jockey changed it. Firstly, Clarence Ford (Heart 104.9) mentioned late Sunday evening that it is almost the winter solstice i.e. 20th June at 23:43! That means we would be half-way through winter!! Yayyy!! And then, this morning, we practically woke up to a spring day, Hip, Hip, Yayyy!!!! What a bright, energizing day it was! Forsooth, I felt my cell membranes fibrillating (if that is what they do) and my liver livering violently whilst my bladder kept on reacting to the sound of running water.

All of this excitement did have a few caveats and counterpoints. Firstly, is Clarence Food a “disc jockey”? He certainly is not an announcer! And, does he play discs? Or is the music from a digital library? If discs, are they vinyl or CDs? Do they mix these different formats in modern radio stations? And the fact that he, among other “DJs”, soothe or schmooze the music into your ear! He must be a facilitator of some sort? What’s your take on this? I will pose the question to him as well.

And then the “spring” day. It’s amazing what effect the sun has on your mood and also your energy to do housework! By the latter, I mean cleaning house and then also attacking a few other jobs from the job jar. I hope the Job Jar is reading this. If so, Mrs. Job Jar, there are enough jobs in there, so please do not add more right now. So, I washed dishes, vacuumed with a slowly dying machine and also manually swept some areas. ‘Twas a pleasure to take all the leë empties, and the almost dead vacuum machine down to the municipal dump. Even there, everybody seemed to be in high spirits.

And yes, I know that the winter solstice, beside bringing to mind pictures of naked people dancing on the field, also has some other unwelcome truths about it. The first is that, even though the days start getting longer, there will be an overshoot of cold weather and rain long beyond what we expect it to be. My bones tell me we have yet to see the “worst” of winter (we do need more rain, but not necessarily the cold). The second is that it is 5 more days to it, just about! Cannot wait for that subliminal hint of spring.

And then, to add to all the hype around the “spring” day we have just had, Bev’s faith in humanity was further restored today. It had been a pretty trying time over the last few months and, especially, the last few weeks. What bolstered our faith in the humans we know, was all the goodwill expressed to us, and especially to Bev, in certain ways. Flowers, social media wishes, video calls and other vittles. Two friends provided goooooood curry, one in the form of salomies, and the second, earlier today, in the form of a chicken curry with rotis. It helped with the negative aspects of that which makes up a part of our lives presently. THANK YOU TO E’RREBODY!!

Ai! The joie dee vivre, the esprit de corps, that “fountain of youth” feeling attributed to the fabled discovery by by Ponce de Leon, all of this collectively, made for a good day. I capped it off by taking a short walk around the neighborhood.

And no, I did not step in any doggy poo! I did, however, walk a short distance with a man (the church Verger) and his dog! A capital day, old chap!

DAY 79

A cool day for a rest after all the happenings of of the last two weeks. Or so I thought. I needed exercise but kept on procrastinating due to putting it off. Ahh, let’s walk to the pharmacy to collect a few drugs for the two us. Which I duly did quite quickly. It’s not too far. Having gotten back home, my wish was to walk a little more but the iffy weather stopped me. And, for goodness sake, I must stop letting simple crap like this stop me from doing things. Please people, help me with this one. Kick my not so sorry arse if you see me neglecting my exercise duty.

I spent some time writing more of the family tree, including the recent passing of Ma Sybil. It’s amazing though, due to a number of factors, the more I tried to stick to family tree, the more I got into reminiscing about everything around the life I have spent in her presence and all the shenanigans during this period. It thus became a soliloquy in my mind, all to myself. I wrote a lot more detail than I should have. Some of it conjecture, a lot of it fact and also a good dose of investigator-fed deductions.

Cousin G visited to pick up old photographs. And how could you not mix this in with a cup of tea or two. No, really!! Tea. And consequent sharing of more family information. It was a pleasant afternoon. The construction, if that is what is called, of a lekker fire was part of the day. Bev and I are still sitting and enjoying such to the dulcet tunes of Heart 104.9, while I plug away at the keyboard to deliver your eagerly awaited dose of titillating skinner and blathering.

Yes, let me blather further. Jirre, over the last few years, I have not bought much clothing or shoes since,as mentioned yesterday, I have sufficient to see me through to eternity. One purchase I had made was a pair of Salomons for walkies and other mild entertainment. Now that I have started wearing them in earnest, I have become quite attached to them. While walking to the pharmacy, I even had delusions of possibly running with them in the new normal. I still need a klap upside the head to dis-abuse me of the value and sense of doing this. You have time! Come round and deliver.

Our good friends John and Astrid dropped of flowers for Bev. It was one of those stop and go affairs. Well, almost. I did chat for a while on the kerb. How pleasant! And how queer the existing lockdown rules seem, since such an event is illegal. But you can run around all over, while talking at will to anybody you meet, with no problem. OK, let’s be fair. I would only do that if I knew the person to be fairly responsible in terms of Covid compliance i.t. of face mask, elbow bump and washing frequently. OK, I also know there is no way of knowing whether this is foolproof in terms of contracting the virus. But, at least, your knowledge of expected behavior does lessen the risk.

The highlight tomorrow is that it is bin day!

DAY 78

Another cold day start to the day but with a little more sun peeping though. I got to wear my nice fancy winter jacket for the first time this year. The event was the interment of Ma Sybil’s ashes at the church in Bothasig. A crisp day! Officiated by Father Ivanhoe who has such a soothing voice, and who has the knack of making it pleasant, notwithstanding the gravity of the occasion. A fitting settlement of all matters relating to her, and here I must use the descriptive eloquence of Afrikaans, teraardelating.

The ashes were deposited by the four sisters in order of seniority i.e. Beverley, Claudia, Brigitte and Imelda. A poignant moment for me, in particular with Beverley’s role in the process. This is maybe a story for another day and a separate blog (or series of blogs). Cousin Rubin recorded the event for relatives and friends who could not be present. I must still sit down and view the clip.

I fell asleep on the couch a short while after returning home. I woke up with my reading glasses perched on my nose. Not sure why I did not take it off, since my dreams were in standard definition, not HD! But it was such a refreshing kip that I felt all revved up to go for a bracing walk. I just kept revving without going for the walk. I will use Bev as the excuse for this – I think she thought it was too cold, so I think I thought it would not be a good idea to go for the walk I thunk. I really must shift my physical activity up a notch during lockdown. In actual fact, it is at such a low ebb at the moment, there is no way I can change it a notch down. It’s only up from here on in!

Over the last week or so I have been watching squash championship re-runs. I am not sure why they spend so much time hitting the ball up and down the line. Go straight for the nick. I mean, when I’m shaving, I nick myself almost immediately. There’s no messing around. Look, if I had it my way, I would also order a beer and keep it on the court with me. That way there’s no need for a break between games. I did play against a bloke like that in Camps Bay one evening. ‘Strue!! I beat the crap out of him but he enjoyed the game more than I did. We could have ended up in a slanging match and/ or a fist fight, but hell!! It would have attracted so many more spectators. And this thing about hand-outs!! It’s actually a good thing, what with Covid. Leave rugby, soccer et al out of your dreams for TV, go for squash!! Hand-outs galore.

Another issue, in terms of my age, I do not need “going out clothes” and “house clothes”. I need to wear what I have, when I wish to do so. I do not want to pass on with beautiful suits, socks, ties and shirts that I have either never worn, or never did intend to wear. I also do not need clothes to impress anybody (never did, anyway). As a case in point, just this morning, I turfed out quite a few pairs of socks which I will not need anymore. Bev says they will come in handy as dusting mitts. I will thus only need special clothes for a funeral (one set) and for formal dancing (competition and others).

My hart verlang na die Boland!!! Or anywhere else for that matter. Preferably lonelier (read Karoo), warmer (read Northern Cape or Nambia), Covid-free (read all of the aforementioned) and with a welcoming camping site or a rudimentary bed and breakfast. I need to start planning a few routes for driving during this spring. You’alls welcome to join.

I can see something along these lines e.g. p the west coast to Hondeklipbaai, shoot across to Askham, into Namibia and across to Luderitz, up the coast to Walvis Bay, inland to Windhoek and finally to a few areas just north of the capital. Coming back home would be via Upington, down to the Eastern Cape, through the Baviaanskloof and back to home via the R62 and Ronnie’s Sex Shop.

Or from home to Beaufort West, down to the Eastern Cape toward KZN to drive to the top of the Sani Pass. If not driving around in Lesotho, go back down the pass and meander around quite a few Eastern Cape towns with long, cold mountain passes and quaint little villages of very little consequence in the bigger scheme of things. After which, a stop-over in Port Elizabeth at a camp-site of ill-repute to which I can invite all my friends of ill-repute, of which I have a few too many. OK, also those of good repute as well. Then finally drive home through the Garden Route to Mossel Baybut, at the Herbertsdale turn-off, take a right turn up toward Vanwyksdorp (stop to visit the Klapperbos pomegranate farm with Jack Lewis), into Ladismith and through Seweweekspoort and eventually back down the N1 toward home. Maybe even make a turn to Sutherland to see the stars, after which a return through Ceres via the Tankwa Karoo.

Come, now!!!! Who wants to go?? If you do, make a donation to my back pocket….no, a donation to an animal sanctuary of your choice. Show me the receipt, then you’re in. Wait for me at Mile 5 just after Touwsrivier at 08:00 on 1st September.

In the words of Hagar the HorribleEk will taai manne hé, manne wat dit kan vat…..ek will getroude manner hé! Maar dames sal oek ôraait wies, ongetroud of nie!!!!
To translate: I want tough men, men with fortitude and who have a wife to show they are hardegat! But a few bokkies will be OK too!

Note: Neither comic characters nor bloggers were harmed during the production of this special episode of Lockdown. Also note, my daughter is a journalist with deep-diving investigative skills, so please do not put a hit out on me, !

DAY 77

There’s a cold sun out today. Hoping to have small changes done to a tap via an SMME supplier of services. If you need a contact, let me know. He’s a bit of a jack of all trades…! Let’s leave it there. He also happens to be a friend, so beware of biased opinions.

And, in fact, his visit was so welcome from many different points of view. As a handyman of no note i.e. myself, I so needed his second, third and fourth opinion while he was here. I have always been of the opinion that people with skills are worth so much more than people with knowledge  only, but no skills.

We all know this, but yet we aspire to push our children into those knowledge-based domains without thinking of the reality of life where skills are required. Don’t get me wrong. Knowledge, at all levels, is critical. However,  if you cannot apply it as a skill, it does not mean much. Or, more correctly, it cannot earn you a living while you add value to life for yourself and others.

The day was spent pleasantly discussing my own practical challenges and the many possible solutions to these. Dose this with some very good humor and a few warmish drinks, it does make for a good, if somewhat cold day.

It ended off with watching multiple episodes of Voetspore and the deep desire to actually be out there doing it. We need to. I want to. Bev wants to…I think! We will, I know.

Signing off on behalf of Timmie’s Welding Works!! Keep your feet warm so those popsicle toes don’t froze!

DAY 76

Brrrrrr!!!! Maybe I should wear a fire suit today. Or, maybe I should wear The Beast. Imagine that, a fire in my belly with the smell of roasted porklet wafting after me. How do I know I would smell like pork? Well, I have not experimented with this, so its based on reading. A bit of a macabre start to a blog, but that’s what cannibals supposedly call human meat i.e. long pig! And to stretch your imagination further, aircraft accidents dished up the first canned food in this instance. Sies! It’s this cold weather, driving me insane and making me write such drivel.

We all know that chemical reactions, of which we are one big cauldron of such, slow down as the temperature decreases. So, I am moving and thinking in slow motion here, waiting, with the rest of the universe, for the temperature to reach absolute zero! When molecular motion essentially stops at -273 degrees Celsius. I think, in Cape Town, we are quite close to it.

Which brings me to another thought from another day! I, like I think many other cosmic adventurers, look forward to the day when we can travel to another planet, akin to earth, travelling around another star. Neil de Grasse Tyson spoiled this for me. Beside some good sayings attributed to him, he burst my cosmic bubble. Example of a good saying: The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it. He also pointed out in one of his books that, because the universe is expanding at increasing speed, this means that all other objects in the universe are moving away from us. Eventually, as a star and a planet, we will be left increasingly alone. Scary thought if you spend too much time thinking about it. ‘S like being alone in a big, cold, dark room. But I’m sure, being who we are, I am sure we will start a new fight among ourselves, much to the relief of the aliens moving ever faster and further from us.

For some lighter and brighter news, I saw a CNN report on Covid a few minutes ago that puzzled me. It related to the “the rise of the pandemic during the fall”! Contradictory, methought! Until the “fall” fell into place….. as their autumn and…..our spring!! So, predictions are already mentioning our spring, not yet being sprung though. But a good thought altogether during this cold snap. Why is called a “snap”? It must be to do with the fact that, if cold enough, you could snap your fingers by snapping it!? Wait a minute, he intoned in a Bluebottle kinda way!!!! Wut do dat mean?

I do not do this often, but the few times I do it, I always feel guilty and a bit smutty (also known as smet in Obs) i.e. watch Fox News. Do the newsreaders and analysts have no shame? Is it just making money at any expense, just pay me my salary! Same with OAN. When I compare them to some of the journalists whom I have the privilege of knowing, it’s a light year’s distance in terms of integrity. Another universe away actually. And the distance between growing bigger by the day. I sound like someone I know i.e. hammering on and on and repeating myself repeatedly!!

Which brings me to some closing thoughts to warm the cockles of your heart, were you to have such marine creatures built into your myocardium. And, if you did, it could make quite an interesting dish as part of a fab food concept. And, with cockles being a bivalve, your four heart valves wold make 6 in total i.e. a sexy-valve (or sexta-valve or summat like that)! It reminds me of the first time I was ever involved, as a consumer rather than a chef, in making a potjie! It consisted entirely of pumps and filters together with spices an onions. A Mechanical Engineer’s dream – heart, liver, lungs and kidneys, nicely diced and sautéed!

Oh yes…closing thoughts!! Family ties, or tying up family issues, slowly approaching completion. And my wife looks so much like her beautiful mother. It was hammered home as we started going through old photos. And my children do as well, especially the one where Michelle and her are placed side by side on a Facebook post. And Caryn, being so tall, like her grandfather as well.

Keep warm, mênse.

DAY 75

Lekker  rain for the start to the day. The weather to start an early fire, read, watch TV, write, as I am doing now, possibly do some dance practice and other forms of recreation. Difficult to do when shivering, though. Build that fire first!

The day was perturbed by human frailties, perceptions, mis-perceptions, model-dependent realities and such-like. It’s amazing how we all (and I include myself here) build little realities around ourselves which, upon repetition as to its veracity, becomes the “truth”.

In this time of lockdown and Covid, as we all sit in our  “truths”, and even way before Covid, our ” truths” become entrenched in something like myth, very familial folklore and also some badly remembered or mis-interpreted  facts and figures.

But, to the facts and figures of the day. More people died and/ or were identified with the virus, especially here in the Western Cape. We are still approaching the  inflection point of the curve. Diabetes and other co-morbidities, together with being elderly, are still being highlighted (or is that highlit?). My own Type 2 diabetes is well under control with minimal medication and, as such, I face a possibly better prognosis if infected. Not that I want to be infected. I do have a dodgy chest of drawers though.

I found my self behaving esoterically today. Gee, what a word!! Not even sure what it means. My esotericity was based on a visit by a delivery company. As the time approached, I kept an eye on the road outside, awaiting the car. And, you know, staring up the road to spot it, as if my staring, and craning of neck, was going to make it happen earlier. Walking to the edge of the pavement to get a full view of the road. And, as is per normal, the moment I went to put the kettle on for a pot of tea, it arrived.

My heart goes out to my colleagues in academia who are in the throws (yes, I said throws), of entering online tuition and student management. I use the word in recognition of the fact that they have had to throw themselves headlong and feet first into this morass, with its untested (mostly) and poorly resourced (to a degree) milieu. Look, a degree of this had been happening slowly pre-Covid but, all of a sudden, as with primary and secondary education, things have changed suddenly. Plans have to be made, guestimates put forward and trust in a system has to be placed blindly with the hope of a good outcome. This has put immense strain on people who, at the best of times under a non-pandemic background, are already highly stressed by many other factors. These include lack of funding, increased student number and throughputs expected, under-prepared students, politics (local and national) and also the need to conduct research to the required standard. Shem!

I had written a blog some time in the past about the fact that, while in service, I did not have time to think. Remember the great thinkers e.g. Plato, the guy sitting on the toilet seat with chin on his hand, Euclid, Socrates (not the player), Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and others. They, in a different time that moved much slower, based on the technology (or lack thereof). Memos that were handwritten and put in the internal post, duplicate paper to ensure you had a copy of the memo, a wax stamp and seal to ensure integrity of a closed envelope, a quill with which to put ink to paper, papyrus instead of the Xerox-type A4 stuff of today (80g/sq metre). Man, I tell you, at my age I wonder how we got anything done.

It was all like wading through treacle. But, let me swim slowly to bed to rest my weary head, which as per Matthew Arnold, carries so much inside it, just like a schoolmaster.

DAY 74

As a natural development in life for us as we get older, most of us tend to become more risk averse. I certainly have. A practical example is for those of us lucky enough to have a pension. As we got closer to retirement, your fund normally places your investment in a lower risk investment bracket. For Bev and myself, that route, together with the fact that we retired just before the markets trembled due to Covid, stood us in good stead.

As we now start entering the new normal, our own personal safety comes to mind. We are middle-aged, and based on the news one consumes, some of which is hyped (if not fake), we now feel the need to go the route of improving our personal and domestic security. This morning we took delivery and installation of a panic alarm system. It is much against my inner wish but it seems necessary as it stands.

Calmer waters and minds now prevail. Life, from a funereal perspective, is returning to the new normal. It was, from our perspective, a proverbial storm in a tea cup. It was eventually cleared up as a mis-perception and, happily, all is well. The family is intact. Bonds have been re-sealed. We all look forward to this as a new start to an old story.

In anticipation of the wetter (and colder) weather, I bought enough kaggelhout to match Mr. Fawkes and his shenanigans in wanting to blow up the House of Lords in the UK. The cats are still our alarm clocks when it comes to firing up The Beast. When we made the investment in this fireplace, it was an unproven solution to us. Fortunately, it has lived up to its promise many times over. Again, only the toes know how toasted one can go. I can just see Pooh sitting there, with Piglet, the latter whose trotters would be warmed pink in the firelight. And Pooh would very likely have composed one of his famous ditties. I would love to second guess him on the lyrics, but respectfully decline due to incapacity.

Today, via the Twitterati, the name “Larry” was raised as a topic for discussion. Your views on this pullleeeeeze! My son-in-law is also a “Larry”. We don’t want it to sound like a death sentence. “Larry”, as a name, matters. All names matter, for that matter!

Larry

Nou ja! When you are trending on Twitter, you know you’ve got it made. A whole 2 retweets and 7 likes eventually. But, in actual fact, the word/ name “Larry” has a meaning. It means: “Laurel crowned” or “From Laurentium”. It is derived as a shortened form of Lawrence and it is also part of an adage: Happy as Larry, a reference to a pre-legal boxing match won by Larry Foley in 1890 in New Zealand. I suspect it’s more about Larry after a Burner lamb salomie – a happy one Lloyd!!

I do prefer the name: Leisure Suit Larry from Larry and the Lounge Lizards. And no! I do not have a brother named Darryl and another brother Larry!

Unless he’s the one who sent Bev a surprise via the florist : 10 pink Rose stems plus chocolates. I have also heard (s)he is a Leo! Anyone knowing such a person is asked to contact Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary and make a donation. Immediately!!

See y’all on Twitter.

DAY 73

I don’t know where I stand due to my ignoring mainstream news, especially that around Covid-19 and the lockdown. Don’t get me wrong, I am complying, as far as I can, with the regulatory requirements. However, I don’t even know what the curve of the spread of the pandemic looks like right now and, more specifically, what it looks like in the Western Cape.

I am looking for the light in this pandemic lockdown. Not a light switch, just the light. Where is it? I hear it maybe will ignite in August this year, since that’s when the infection rate will flatten and dip for the first time. I want to be there with a pack of blitz to make that stuff fire up and burn out quickliest! Nice word, that last one! Like a politician….just create a new word to befuddle the masses. It’s almost a Poohism!! Oops, another one, I’m on a toilet roll here…gerrit….toilet….Pooh…right? OK, enough of the lavatorial humor since I may hang myself by pulling the chain and flushing….or blushing….whichever!?

Beside my Teams meeting with colleagues earlier today, I had set my mind on taking a walk and starting a physical exercise regime. As the thought of lockdown moving to level 2 some time in the future, I now realize that, under this retirement era, my diary could be full viz. walking/ cycling, writing, researching for writing, local travel, time away from home, time for friends and family, etc. They key thing for both of us is the exercise part. I have become part of my favorite seat on my favorite couch. Its molded to my body shape! Quite a shapely shape it is. You could make copies of my butt and haunches by simply doing bronze castings on it. And then selling it as scrap metal.

And then, the frailty and unpredictability of humankind hits us slap-bang in the face. No warning, just a cold, wet, dead snoek klap out of nowhere. No names and places, to protect the innocent!!! A traumatic few days are ended by a would-be relative (the first party) sending a smelly (read stink) note via a third party relative, complaining about a perceived omission in Bev’s eulogy to her mother. With a rider: Tell her to call me! Cheap, nasty, irrational (maybe it’s age) and insensitive regarding a parochially insignificant non-issue. My fok Marelize!!!!!! Some people are so impressed with themselves that they get “other” people to tell you to call them!

But, we ride the storm, like Riders do!! Throw lemons at us, we make lemon curd and rocket, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice fresh from the tree! One Doors closes and another opens. Who thought I’d be listening to this cool tjoon while putting thoughts to paper. Bev’s present health condition – he pulls tongue and says “wé la”! We’s got this covered mostly.

I just love the fact that we have some rain approaching over the next few days. We need the rain (again), if not for anything else but to act as chaser for ALL the scotch upon which I have topped. I saw one Facebook post rumoring the return of Level 4 or 5 lockdown. So, to prevent a previous scenario of penury regarding  beverages containing about 46% alcohol, I duly set off for the trading post. Upon arrival I was, again, standing in a queue, reminiscent of 1st June. The rumor has thus been set in the minds of the imbibing public. If the lockdown level does not change, I would like to know if the vendors scoring off this mini-windfall would donate some of their profits to my fave donkey sanctuary? But, at the end of the day, better safe than sorry!!

Jislaaikit! The day is coming to an end. Cocktail hour approaches. I think I will repair to the Smoking Room with a fire extinguisher to douse the glim! From thence to the Billiard Room and finally to the TV to platz in my specially molded couch for the rest of the evening! Tjeers!

p.s. I must still visit Douse the Glim!!

DAY 72

It’s a brightish Sunday and, beside the pandemic, we are privileged to call this a wonderful day, even before it unfurls over the next few hours. I am so proud of Beverley for her eulogy which she delivered, as usual, off the cuff and without any prompting notes. There was so many good things embedded in her choice of words and elements she chose to address. I hope, for those at the church and those viewing it on-line, this was not lost on them.

I have to stand up to a challenge today. Victor sent a voice note (not so much a note, more appropriately a song sang uit volle bors uit!). I Have taken this as a  challenge and have promised to belt out something in return. This rendition will only be available on a “user pay” principle. I would appreciate the usual donation to a donkey sanctuary or animal welfare society of your choice. ‘Pon receipt of proof of payment, you will be sent a password to see delusions of singing grandeur! It may put you off Andrea Bocelli for life but, tough titty my broer! Take it like a man.

And now for some self-flagellation! I am often known to bumble on about living life for the now! And not to let “people” and “things” get in your way. Yes, to ignore the man-made blockade, both physical and in my own mind, that stop me from doing what is “right”. And so, a mea culpa!

I have been waiting for lockdown to end, like all of us. One thing I had in mind (and Beverley can bear me out on this), was to invite Ma to visit for as long as she wished. I wanted to learn more about her as well as give her some “fresh air” in her life after the passing of Pa Ike. But, because of man-made blockages, I chose not to do it under the circumstances that prevailed. I did not want to get involved in facing the potential for conflict or whatever it is that made me hesitate. And now…..it’s too late. I was conflicted with my own little beliefs in my head!!!! Go out and live life! Don’t let negative energy make you hunker down to avoid the conflict.

Enough of my weaknesses! The bright day grew brighter and the music on Heart 104.9 helped to ramp up the beauty of the day. We had a lovely prepared lunch which included prawns (two different preparations, home-made bread, rocket salad with freshly picked lemons and a jelly & custard dessert. We are considering doing a hot meal delivery service but have realized that, because of the yumminess of the food on offer, we would not be able to resist eating ourselves out of house and home and profitability.

I have been on a TV news diet. Just thought it appropriate to re-orientate amid all the Covid reporting. This could be likened to burying my head in the sand for a short while. Tomorrow I will end the ostrich experiment.

For now, Clarrie on Heart 104.9 to end the evening and also to prepare me for a frightening Teams meeting tomorrow!

DAY 71

Today, I am giving away a vehicle. Luke was the recipient of a bright red fire engine with a long ladder. This was, in the first place, a Christmas gift to me. Many years ago (less than 10 years), I was asked what I wanted. And, of course, I told them. I thought I would share this in order to document the history of that toy for posterity. Of course, the following year I did not get what I wanted. This is because nubile young ladies are not for sale during the Christmas rush:-(

Ma Sybil was given a live streamed send-off under lockdown regulations. It was sad for all of us, yet it was also a happy event. She has gone to meet Pa Ike, she is free of pain, she is free of the shackles, but also the splendor, of life. As Bev noted: death and absence are the same thing, except in death there is no pain.

It was so good to see the Felix family there (Graham and Ursula, Brian and Hillary). Ma’s heritage lies in that surname as well as its predecessor viz. Defelio (a story for another time).  Bev acknowledged Ma’s Portuguese lineage on Facebook and in her eulogy on the day. I so wish we knew more about that part of her life which was, in some ways, drowned out by living life with all its pressures and challenges. Bev herself knows a lot, something of which I learn almost on a daily basis. Need to know more: speak to her! Now we have time to reflect, and in that reflection, realize we should know more. We will see what comes of this. As per a previous blog on this topic, I want to document things of this nature within the bounds of respect for those who have passed, but also for the edification of the younger members of the clan.

Two of Bev’s siblings (Chris and Lily in Sydney) sent tributes to be read out. Caryn read the one from Chris. She did it so appropriately, with intonations and pronunciations of both Ma and Pa included in the delivery. It lightened the darker cloud of death in that venue. And Ma did not like darkness, so light was welcomed by those of us who knew what Caryn’s delivery implied, based on her own lived experience with her grandparents. And also based on that of Chris, which he injected with a sense of humor.

The day ended on a tiring, yet happy, note!!

DAY 70

I think I drank a tad too much last night. My first exercise in over-imbibition in a long time. Not good. Beside the planned visits of yesterday, we had a late night visit, mostly unexpected, from Larry, our son-in-law. We live close to the N1, so he could quickly pop in on his way to Caryn, all the way from Johannesburg. It was so good seeing him after such a long break. I almost gave him all my booze stock. Fortunately, he modestly accepted some beers only:-)

Today I will start writing family “stuff” for internal consumption and, maybe, release some parts as individual blorks, as Victor calls it! And, as one starts to unravel (or is it ravel) the different threads of the family, I suppose interesting tidbits will appear. Unravel = untangle what is a tangle; Ravel = admire the unraveled by not touching it or disturbing it in any way. Anyway, that’s my contribution to your lexicon for now. And, in terms of interesting: Only the toes knows! And things like that:-) Jirre, and Google is a wunnerful thing. It knows everything, even the toes. Like Michael Franks. Morris Minor or Ford Prefect or whatever that guy’s name was, he had the tool in his hand in that story, or movie! Whichever came first? Hope it was the movie, since the movie is never the same as the book if it were the other way round.

I am newly driven, in my ramblings on digital paper, by the slowly emerging writings of a Facebook friend (Warren Conrad), and which I am enjoying no end. So, the growing urgency (to me) of committing family knowledge to paper is just one new and almost never-ending topic for documenting. Imagine  contacting, let’s say, 100 relatives, family or friends for a small contribution of what they know and remember of the family. In whatever way. Knitting that together would be a lovely, yet sometimes difficult, project. I suspect a degree of difficulty in that the project outcome would/ should be benign. Thus one would have to edit the content or the telling in such a way that it does not overtly and overly cause insult or injury to persons or reputations. Unless it’s entirely called for.

Last evening, Aunty Maude Goliath called her grandson (Ceaghan – our dance instructor), not knowing he was supping with us. They came to sympathize with flowers and good wishes. How surprised she was. How surprised  she would be if she knows the song of which she always make me think – Come Into The Garden Maud! This song means so much to me, since I first heard it when boarding in Belhar at No. 34, the latter signifying “Shit” inFaa-fee (no reference to the home and the people therein fortunately, since I loved them). Coming back to Aunty Maude, the reminder was because of a typical old-school era where genteelness, sincerity and being a real lady was the name of the game. Not like the Little Britain characters though!

This was pre-Google and YouTube times! It struck me as so poignant and “old school”, especially where the lyrics referred to “woodbines“. I heard this while laying on the carpet at the HiFi set or stereogram (or Gram for short), now commonly know as “music” center” or “boom box”, depending on your age. Listen (pronounce the latter with the “t” not being silent) and be spellbound by the pent-up amorous and “tollie shrinking”, but veiled, lust in the the rendition. I must note that the term “tollie shrinking” is loaned from a Facebook post, recently viewed, in all innocence. I will be using this a lot more often, since that need arises in many instances of my……wag ‘n bietjie! Let’s leave it there!

And now, off to the showers where I want to wash the day off, make a warm fire and spend the evening drifting off to Neverland to prepare to say farewell to Ma in a live streamed ceremony tomorrow.

Nag sé!

 

DAY 69

I’m not saying anything! But I think this is the turning point!! What with two lawsuits lost, and news that there was an advisory to go to Lockdown Level 1, things are going to change quickly. I think!!! As Peter Bruce said in the Sunday Times, no ways are we (areas or provinces, but maybe hotspots per localized area) going back to Level 5. Damn, there goes my capital outlay on the booze stash for extended lockdown in perpetuity. Maybe a garage sale will raise some working capital for a pensioner making bad investment decisions.

But I’m not complaining. With apologies to Lockdown rules, we had a number of fleeting visitors, with appropriate adherence to GCP (Good COVID Behavior). All of it had to do with the passing of Ma Sybil but it also posed as “visits”. These were things we had not had for just over 2 months. This all added to the many hundreds of messages of condolences via social media.It was heartwarming!! The flowers received also allowed Bev to put together a table of remembrance.

In times like these, it’s amazing what social media has done to our lives. Yes, we sometimes complain and bitch about the evils of an intrusive social media as well as fake news, etc. But, at the same time it has allowed us to be so “in touch” with all the people in out lives. A telephone call to an overseas country was a BIG THING in the goorroldays and quite expensive, including the time delay between the exchange of sentences. Now we do a video call with multiple participants at the drop of a hat. But it does not mean that, as we so easily communicate via technology, a visit has lost its value. On the contrary, it’s status as a communication tool has been raised way above where it was in the past.

Today was also a time for reminiscing. Mostly about the goorroldays. A lot about past family members and also existing ones. Plans around laying Ma to rest has in itself brought out a lot of this. Participants in Saturday’s funeral was also a matter of debate, keeping  in mind only 50 persons (including the officiating priest and the undertakers) are permitted. Funnily enough in this sad time, it’s almost become like a wedding in terms of whom to invite. It’s all got to do with direct family, age and co-morbidities and also “rank”. But, it’s done. The funeral will be streamed live on YouTube at 13:30 on Saturday 6th June. If you  wish to watch, search for “Good Shepherd Bothasig” and follow the links.

Part of yesterdays visits also touched on family trees (or lack thereof), information about older family members, oral information now “weakly” remembered and lost information. We often hear about the story-telling traditions of yore, where history was repeated at the fireside. And, I suppose, like broken telephone, that history was sometimes either carried across incorrectly or perceived incorrectly by the listener.

And so it is with our families. There is a desperate need to record what we know. Our children are not really interested in domestic history now, but once they are older, they will sit like we are doing now! Wondering what, where, who, why and when? We must record, in whatever form, our domestic history for the children! A history they can go back to, in order to remember and also reflect. Or for whatever other purpose they may find in it.

And, finally, Don’t Let The Old Man In!

DAY 68

Now I can report on yesterday from a different angle! Part of my duty was to procure alcohol. No, not the stuff to make hand sanitizer! The real McCoy from the bottle shop. Since I also wanted to purchase a few “birthday gifts” as well, I needed to go upmarket. Hence my finding myself in an upmarket area just behind the boerewors curtain. They had exactly what the doctor ordered. It was an un-rushed experience as opposed to Monday’s shopping experience.

I started today with an elicited haircut. No, not “illicit”. Errmmm, now how do I explain that (note “filler” at start of sentence)? Anyway, my hair was cut because Bev described it as a “bush”. Notwithstanding my protestations to the effect that I was a Bushy, since I studied at UWC, the chamber pot was hauled out to do a short front, back and sides. At least I won the battle of the chamber pot in the end, since we do not have one. A food-grade stainless steel pot (Nutristahl,still solid after 38 years of use) was eventually applied to make sure of an even trim all round. I looked like a new man, but felt like an older one!

No, actually, I always feel like I am 21! That’s beside aches and pains under the control of OsteoEze Gold and numerous drugs, pills and tablets. I feel like I am at the height of my squash-playing career again. However, I am also fully aware of a podgy body moving at speed to fetch a young ball, but without the required brakes to prevent running headlong into the wall. Sjooee! Those were good days! But, I will stick to cycling in front of the TV for now.

I took a walk this afternoon. I followed one of the routes I had done hundreds of times with our Border Collie, Bootle. It’s the first time I did that since 4 years ago when she was euthanized due to old age. It was something I had dreaded doing since the day she left us. But now she is being taken for walkies by Ma Sybil:-) It’s amazing all the old memories that were brought to mind. Some dogs I remember seem to have passed on due to them not appearing to berate me. Some have been replaced by new dogs. Some houses still have the old dogs that I recall barking at Bootle’s presence. A walk down memory lane. I just wish that the memory lane walking can remove this blobby feeling I have in my mid-life crisis area. It is otherwise know as a tjoep!

Now, this is no empty promise (he said, crossing fingers behind his back). My bike is going to be given a spit and polish treatment early tomorrow. Ok, no spit, just an elbow(grease) and some 3-in 1 oulyf olie. And then I’m going to Zoom, without being hacked, up and down suburban roads again. Weekends I will be slowly crawling around the local cowntryside.

And, once the rain and cold really its us for extended periods, I will then trawl ALL my pictures on my various storage devices and work toward catalgoi…caterlogi….filing them properly. And I am sure I am going to find some gems on which I will be able to comment or with which I can embarrass different members of the family.

And finally, the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary still needs to complete donkey shelters for the coming rain and snow. They have a partly built shelter and need your help to complete it. Please support them! Julle is môs ordintelikke mense. Kazzat soe ‘n R10.00, dan slaap die donkies môs lekke in die winter. FACT: Did you know that donkeys do not like or enjoy getting consistently wet for long periods? Now that you do, kazzat!

Karoo Donkey Sanctuary
Standard Bank
Tyger Manor 05 04 10
Account No. 300 874 049

171-525 NPO

https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/karoodonkeysanctuary

DAY 67

I awoke early to Bev’s phone glowing in the dark! I assumed an alarm she had set. And promptly went on snoozing. Until the doorbell rang urgently (doorbells have agency in this part of the world) at about 06:50. It was my sister-in-law with the news that her mother (my mom-in-law) had passed on at about 06:00 the morning. Quite unexpected as much as she was in her 80s already. Three months after her husband. So sad inside of me. So sad for the extended family.

It’s amazing!! As I walked to answer the door in what colloquially is known as an ungodly hour, I had already worked out that it was not a beggar or Jehovah’s Witness people, but had to be family, very likely Brigitte. I was so relieved at it being so, I was more interested in telling her as much and not really hearing what she was telling me. Such a shock so early in the morning. I think this also cushioned the effect as well.

It precipitated an early trip to the sister with whom she was resident. All formalities and informalities were eventually completed. A date for the funeral and cremation is yet to be set. It is something that will stay with us for a while in terms of the process and then also the memories after the process. A beautiful and lovely woman she was!

I first met my then to-be mother-in-law in 1980 after meeting Bev. When I arrived at their door and had dutifully knocked, a sister opened it, which then allowed a beautiful Alsatian out. It proceeded to gnaw on my hand, drawing blood, before it was pulled off me. I was then more decorously let into the living room. When I met “Mrs. Engel”, she was beautiful and looked almost as young as her teenage daughters. She was a “nice” (that ambidextrous epithet) woman. She was like that, in my eyes, all the time I knew her.

The girls grew up with her in their lives, as have all the grandchildren. Caryn remembers her as the one who retrieved a sopping wet kitten in winter which we adopted. Cheezie became an integral part of the family for many, many years, as did all our pets. She also remembers Ma’s roast potatoes and other good food. Michelle remembers a time in Eerster River, many years ago, when there were animals (dogs, ducks, a cow, a horse, etc.) on the smallholding. She had the run of the house as a little girl in the absence of other grandchildren.

There was a time when we, in our early married days, stayed with Ma. And Michelle grew up, from the time she arrived home from hospital, with Ma. Eventually we moved into our own home after which Caryn grew up with visits to Ma. Since they were the first two grandchildren, they enjoyed a special time with her and their aunties and uncles. At a time, just before their teen years, Ma stayed with us, further cementing the relationship and the memories.

The girls have all these good memories etched into their life experience. And so do we. Big Sunday lunches as the family grew bigger due to marriages and new nieces and nephews. Family gatherings were so good!

As Bev wrote on her Facebook post: mamãe e papai descansem em paz (Mom and Dad, rest in peace). This is in acknowledgement of her Portuguese roots with Beverley!

From me: Rest in peace, Ma Sybil! You are at rest and free from earthly challenges. I will think of you as still living just around the corner. I remember telling you that you were the only Mother I had left in this world. Now I have two mothers in a better place! And, for me personally, I have two beautiful “older generation” aunts (Terry and Maude) left in this world who are now my proxy mothers.

And that is good. Caio!

DAY 66

Now then!! How did the rush go down on your side? On my side, we got up late and slowly readied for a good walk, in this case to TOPS. Just to check out the fun and games. Manaygement asked me to take my debit card and a bag, for vegetables as far as I was concerned. What a lovely 1.5 km walk.

TOPS

But, as you have by now guessed, I was coerced into the short queue to buy sparkling wine. For a moment I though the she said “spanking wine”!! Yoh!! I though we would fail, since my debit card was “stuck” in a zipped pocket. But, never fear, Bev’s desperation made her almost break the zip, but she did rescue the card. And in I went in while she waited under a tree. Three bottles, a free cashier. I was in and out in 5 minutes. And then the walk home. Obviously, a resident of Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary, or someone akin to that, carried the loot home! Breakfast was interesting.

My taste, when it comes to things liquid, has been somewhat modified by the lockdown. I am still not sure whether it is for the good or bad. Seems I will have to attempt a little bit of everything to see where my proclivities lay. Which could have consequences in the morning. Hey, life’s and adventure right now!!

An interesting Facebook post was shared by a friend regarding an element of writing skill(s). Being into this “blôrk” thing, I read it with great interest. It deals with “fillers”, the written version of the verbal “errrm” or “uummmm”, etc. I understand the  ease with which one includes this in writing. Fortunately, I have an excuse. My writing is meant to be exactly (mostly) how I would say it if I were talking to you. And this would include the adages, errms and other filling such as starting a sentences with “So,…..”.

I would contend that writing in this way is context driven. I recall, from my working days, writing many proposals and reports, where a little more conciseness is usually the aim. However, even there I often slipped up. Writing (the few) published scientific articles that I was involved with required a lot more discipline though. I do know that there is also always someone looking over my shoulder to monitor sentence construction, grammar and punctuation. He was  a martinet, disciplinarian and grammarian of note and, as much as we were shit scared of him, he drilled good practice into us, again, mostly:-) Paterson High School, jou lekker ding!

It almost feels as if we have been freed (again) from prison. I want to take another walk later today, hopefully not stone cold sober but with just a tad of a swagger brought on by liquid bravado! Life is looking up. I can see the gravel road for a high clearance vehicle just up ahead. I know I will soon make a trip to purchase a new three-person tent into which I will pile five people, mostly nubile young ladies. Of Bev’s choosing , of course.

I can smell, even though I am anosmic, the dust of the Karoo. I can see it on my vellies and on my vehicle. This is something with which you drive back into town with a superior, snooty (sometimes snotty) look on your face as you peer down at the mere mortals driving their low-slung, illegally dropped-suspension Honda Civics and suchlike.And those driving gleaming, untouched and polished SUVs. Jirre, I am not sure if I have enough life left in me to buy a hardegat 4X4 = 16 to drive it in a little more challenging terrain one day. When I get back to town, I will just drive right over other people. Take no prisoners I say!!!!!!!!!!!

No, will not be able to do that if I am still to buy the yacht. My pool mostly is empty of users and it begs a little yachtlet for sailing. Furling or unfurling the genoa in favor (or not) of the spinnaker. Dropping anchor and raising it! I have a nautical background based on two friends from my mis-spent youth. You can learn a lot from YouTube though! See Project Atticus where two people sail the Caribbean on a budget. Over this lockdown, I discovered it and just love watching it. I can live it out (leef dit uit) in the pool with a yachtlet and with Bev wearing appropriately skimpy beachwear. Julle kan kô inloer!!!

That’s for summer, !

 

 

DAY 65

A cold start to a good looking day! This means that my temperature allergy ramps up leading to assorted sneezing, related piddling in my broeks and other nasties! But I will spray it away, not with a walk-through tunnel but with a bottle of nasal goeters!

I spent the first part of the day catching up on the Saturday newspapers. I have a bit of an obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to print media. It’s habit! I feel that, even though I have access to social media, I am not satisfied until I see print, even in digital form. And usually when the news is, in any case, “old”! But, allow me that. At least I admit to it. I wonder how many others of my age feel and act the same way?

‘Pon my word! ‘Tis the last day of Level 4. We can now splurge on luxurious thinking about additional luxuries we will have at our disposal in the coming days. And we will also have something to look forward to i.e. the counting down toward Level 2. This is like a game if one, for a moment, disregards the pandemic prognostications. Snakes & Ladders by numbers! Xmas in June! Deck the halls, and all that! Super Mario on the move downwards!

We watched yesterday’s Spacex launch. Amazing, especially in terms of landing the primary rockets on a barge in the ocean, as much as it has been trialled more than 50 times, if I am not mistaken. And that 1D10T was on hand as well, to bask in, or claim, the glory in all his orangeness. No, not the two below, the Mad Hatter POTUS!

Gingeriness

On the right above, is Haloumi, our grandkitty living in Jozi. On the left is an unknown with an uncanny likeness to ‘Loumi! And just to explain the name Haloumi: his predecessor was Cheezi i.e. a line of names of the dairy inclination! We have one down here in Cape Town as well viz. Cleo (17 years old and crotchety as hell):

8ff8ef77-9026-47f2-9ff4-84465b4dc2e0

Ended the day by watching the astronauts entering the Space Station while listening to Heart 104.9.

Tomorrow we are going for a longish walk. We have decided it will be to a licker store to see what fun & games occur. There are two not too far from us. If there is any looting, I will attempt to spread the luuurrve to all of you later tomorrow. If not, know that I went down fighting!

Day 64

So (as the new normal start to a sentence), Caryn recently commented on the fact that my blog was a little “staid” (or boring or non-flamboyant) compared to the one she had created for her mother as a Mothers Day gift! Well, I let my words do the talking! And I know it can be boring sometimes but, like I said, I do it primarily for me. Ad this newfangled Facebook/ internet thing with flashing lights and all sorts of whizzbangs do not attract much attention. And it’s mostly for youngsters in any case. So, I ma stick to my boring format (he said, somewhat enviously!). I’ll get there!!!

To day ended up being a day of dreams. Firstly, I was given contacts to pre-order alcohol for collection early in the week. Unfortunately, that did not pan out but there is still hope. It’s only Saturday, not yet Monday! Then a lemony snicket dream happened. However, this was not related to a series of unfortunate events. I dreamed a friend asked for a donation of lemons for his cocktails this evening. Since I have a glut on a tree, since this is where they originate (not from the cafe), I immediately offered assistance for the dehydrated. In anticipation of a collection trip from said dreamed of friend, I set about harvesting.

Now if there’s one thing about any harvesting based on selecting individual samples based on quality and appearance, I usually have a problem. I suppose it’s like Forrest Gump’s mother said: Harvesting lemons is like picking chocolates from the Pick ‘n Mix at OK Bazaars in Main Road, Port Elizabeth in 1967. You never know what you’re going to get unless you eyeball the stuff and choose carefully. And then, while harvesting you gotsta know that there are darn protective thorns on the tree, not mentioned in the song about the tree! Anyway, once harvested, I dreamed they were collected. My good deed done for the dreamy day. And it was really dreamy with sunshine, warmth and a lack of alcohol and entjies! Keeping in mind I do not smoke. Oh, that was brought on by my nascent braai fire for late lunch.

Bev was woken from a deep dream (I think) by the presence of baby Luke, who came in carrying an iced red velvet cake and flowers. How that poor lad, at 4 months old, could carry all that, I just cannot guess. And it looks like he motored here on his own too. He was so pleasant and willing to smile all the time. I wonder what his Mom would have said if she knew. He did bring a young lady called Lauren along with him though. And another named Carmen. And a mint farmer called Êndrew! Yes, Êndrew!!! Who had sweeties in his pocket all neatly wrapped up. The Candy Man if you ask me!! Bev and I did not dream of them for too long since they soon left.

Now I hear you ask: Why is his name Êndrew and not Andrew. We know not! What we do know, his mother is from the Cape Flêts, and she was heard to have gone shopping for a monogrammed kerchief for him on is 21st. She kept asking for such with the letter “E” on it. When the assistant could not procure anything except with the letter “A” on it, the mother blithely said:  Nee, is OK, ek is sieke Êndrew sallie mind nie! To this day we are not sure!!!

Two more sleeps until we are free to exercise during the day (long walks/ cycles) and also buy some things we could not have done previously. I also wish to make a tradesman’s call to a young lady regarding her consumables and academic requirements for her fireplace (‘s my trade after all!!).

Beyond that, tomorrow will be a good day, including that fact that it used to be Republic Day and someone will then be only a year younger than I! Today, he is still 2 years younger than myself. I have a beautiful photo of him at the Jubilee Hotel in Uitenhage taking a part in a “Mr. Jogger” competition circa 1985. No names, no pack drill.

And the animals will forgive me for not plugging for donations this evening!

DAY 63

The weather has fortunately abated somewhat! The cats were sleeping in echelon formation in front of the fire last night. I formally went to bed long before they did. “They” included Bev.

I did wake up with a tear in my eye. This was because I had asked a few questions over a period of time in these blogs, and nobody suggested answers to these. Now, I could take affront at it but, I do know that people are busy during this lockdown, making a life out of a “non-life” as it were. And the tear was one of thankfulness since I do know that some of the possible answers I could have received may either have rebutted my hypothesis behind the question or it could have opened a can of worms related to my addled thinking. And in so doing either giving me unnecessary work to do or show up my ignorance on certain topics. Nah! They were in any case rheological questions! In a sense! Does the plot thicken?

You will note that, in order to make a small difference to these blogs, I had been advocating donations to different animal organisations (a limited number). While waiting for the bottle stores to open, I thought I would explain why these agencies and why animals over humans.
1. Firstly, the agencies to which I usually list are those with whom I/ we already have a relationship. We have visited Esletrjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary in McGregor numerous times. Michelle (who wishes to live there eventually), sponsors a number of donkeys and, through her, so do we as well. Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha is where our grandkitty, Haloumi, comes from as a rescue, and is supported by Caryn and her friends. The Karoo Donkey Sanctuary is a wonderful NPO set up after hundreds of donkeys were on auction for slaughter to supply Asian countries with the gelatin obtained from the skins, amongst other things. Their status on being rescued was dire in terms of their health. It just deserves and demands to be assisted. The Cape branch of the SPCA has been around for ages and is doing valiant work in the city against all odds in terms of funding (or lack thereof) and frequent break-ins at their facilities.
2. Why animals and not humans? It is not an “either or” situation. I support both but, in this instance during this time, I suspect the human situation catches the eye and heart quicker than do the animals. I there make an assumption that funding is more largely skewed in that direction. This is my small effort it keeping it “sane” and a little more equitable.

I remember being at Sunday School at the Baptist Church in South End, corner of Walmer Road and Bullen Street. I will write a separate blog about this one day. For now though, I recall us,as a group through the teachers, putting together either money or items of stationery, for poor kids in all sorts of countries, mostly Asian from what I remember. Meanwhile, in my hindsight, it was needed right here. Strange but true! And it is no reflection on the Teachers, just on the way we were conditioned and the way things were done.

South End: I belong to a Whatsapp group related to South End, as previously mentioned. It is an extremely interesting one when looking at the membership, ages of the members, and some of the names I know, together with, in some cases, faces as well. As some of my other FB friends reminisce about District Six and other places where people were removed under the Group Areas Act in the metropole, I too recall some things that have touched my life. Recently, Meralyn Barry sent out a call for notes about South End. Click on the link to read it! This relates to the impending completion of the St. Peters Memorial. Contributions are to be archived for 100 years in this monument. The local artist and educator, Michael Barry , will, with the Mandela Bay Development Agency and the South End Museum Board, select messages as contributed.

So, as the country opens up, another chapter in remembering history is being completed. I want to be part of it, either in fact or in spirit!

DAY 62

It’s another day under lockdown but with the knowledge that the whole country goes to Level 3 on Monday. How long the Western Cape, described as a hotspot, stays at Level 3 is another matter that was raised as a caveat at the most recent briefing by President Ramaphosa. This has put the booze jockeys in the starting gates already! In addition, rather than the whole Western Cape, it is probable that only more specific hotspots may be downgraded to Level 4 or 5 e.g. the Metropole.

Not withstanding, life goes on. So I sit around, singing Pooh Bear (more correctly known as Winnie-the-Pooh) ditties such as my two favorites,  Rumbly in my Tumbly and also Little Black Rain Cloudthe latter being very appropriate with the present weather. However, this song was sung for a very different reason i.e. a hive with hunny and bees. Well, the first one also has to do with hunny. This does while away the time, but I dare not do this outside in the garden or while walking. I can see the white van, with the white clad medics, asking me if I usually talk to the trees!!

On the topic of Pooh Bear, I am sure you are familiar with his innocent wit and “throwaway” philosophical lines. I call it “throwaway” since it seems to tumble out of his mouth without thinking. And, in most cases, they are hard-hitting truths and truisms. Sometimes I think our politicians need to read all the A.A. Milne books about this erudite Bear. They could learn a moerse lot about an ethical and moral life, and also pick up some lines to insert in their deadly boring minds which drones out, through their mouths, deadly boring speeches. Examples are:
“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
“Oh bother”! = “Oh fuck”!
“I am short, fat, and proud of that.”

Again, I must reference Jeffrey Abrahams in his latest Facebook post where he reports on the latest National Assembly virtual meeting. He bears out what I am saying above. You must read the post!! Well-written and forthright. It will really suit  his decaffeinated coffee table book.

But, enough of Winnie-the-Pooh! To things more substantial, such as the weather. The degree to which things have cooled down, if it were directly proportional to the level of lockdown, it means we should now be at Level minus 1. How would -1 look asa level? I think it would be where we design a new virus that hills the COVID-19 virus. Fight fire with fire. Use a flamethrower where a Lion match would have been sufficient. Ooops, this has spewed out because I realize I need a new firelighter (mini-flame-thrower). But you get my frustration at this virus.

And, now I bring you the good news! The lockdown relief on Monday 1st June includes no sale of cigarettes. End. Or entjie!

Oh yes, before I forget. Alcohol will be on sale, Monday to Thursday from 09:00 to 17:00. Nothing on the weekend and public holidays. Why does this sound so 1960s? Oh yes, in those days the shops closed at 13:00 on Saturdays until Monday morning. Yep, I can live with that. I have now postponed a meeting, set for Monday, to Tuesday morning. All I want to do is to sit at Ultra Liquors down the road to watch the resumption of sales there. This is because it also has an accompanying fish & chip shop. An ultimate match made in heaven. As Bev always says, everybody there looks so happy, notwithstanding what their personal situations are when they get home.

Be happy my people! Be happy!! And tithe, whether you go to church or not. Then your Bishop does not have to make demands to the State to fund its loss of income.

As long as you tithe to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha when the banking details are dropped into your lap as below:

Mdzananda Animal Clinic
Standard Bank
Acc. No. 075595710
Branch No.: 025009
Reference: Your Name

DAY 61

Based on all yesterday’s medical events, I got up very early, before 04:00 to do what I do best. Help her in her early morning breakfast habits and her toilet. This usually starts at about 06:00. I stand up (in Englikaans, “arise” in English) and make coffee as well as handle the brekkie issues.  This is usually met with mute acceptance, but sometimes with some moaning, I suppose about levels of service. But I persevere as I have done over many, many years now. I take the good with the bad as age sets in. I mean, we do become nukkerig in older age. While this happens, the eunuch of the house arises, stretches and wants to leave to take some air. Cleo and Purrcy are so pernickety about their wants and needs early in the morning. At that point I usually serve coffee to Beverley as well.

Ja, so now we await the outcomes of the Ministerial handing down of the Commandments regarding what Level 3 means in more detail. It could also mean recanting and turning the Western Cape back to Level 4 or 5. If that happens, there will be a run on the locked bottle stores like you have never seen before. There was an interesting meme of people storming TOPS. Quite funny, but I ask the question: why was TOPS selected as the bottle store of choice of the people? Was it a clever marketing ploy? I will comment on this later once I hear the dictat of the Command thingummy! In the meantime, I am on the lookout for a bootlegger dealing in moonshine or potjeen. Let me know!

While sitting whiling my way in the weak sunshine with a weak whisky balanced on my weakened (no exercise) shrunk shank, I cogitated on the words of a photographer of note, one Jeffrey Abrahams. He is a long-time friend who had, at one time, also befriended Caryn in their work in the journalism industry. He is an alumnus of UWC and was also a member of PhotoSoc ((Photographic Society) at the university. Now, as an astute reader, you ask me why I am reading of him when I should be viewing his images! Well, his writing is equally up to the task. Covid-19 has seen him comment on specific images on his photo-journalistic journey recently. By the by, other alumni I recall who were avid PhotoSoc members include Joe Samuels, Colin Adonis and also Ian Landsberg.

In terms of Jeffrey Abrahams and my cogitating, he published, in a Facebook post, a poignant photograph and an article relating to the new way of greeting without shaking hands or hugging. Without repeating his thoughts, I was specifically tickled by the point of shaking an appendage of someone who may have been shaking something else with same. Or receiving a shakeable appendage which hangs like a pap snoek in your hand when you accept the physical salutation. Jirre!! I have had it with those in my lifetime, including a recent colleague. Jeffrey has alluded to the possibility of a coffee table book based on, I suppose, Covid-19 as well as other works of art he produces. I suggest you look at his material!!

As if Covid is not enough, I am now accused of activities or odors for which I hold no responsibility. Today, Bev walked down the passage, caught a whiff, and immediately laid the blame on me. I, who was sitting in the lounge area, and who is also famous for proudly admitting to such gustiness!! Fortunately, she quite soon identified the offending waste material as deposited by Her Majesty, Cleo, in the litter tray. There was no retraction of the accusation. After I had removed said waste, the cat arrived and almost conducted a search for what she had left there. This as I was trying to conduct a chemical deodorization process. And I received a second accusation, this time a visual one from the cat.

This is the thanks I get for asking you to donate a small amount to the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary, a registered NPO. Donate here.

DAY 60

Yes, so there was a visit to the Specialist yesterday. Bev went for a compulsory 4-month check on her well-being to her Oncologist after being on a form of chemotherapy for the intervening period. This therapy runs parallel with ongoing treatment for another condition. The idea of the visit was to assess her status regarding cancer. During the period from diagnosis she has has had a number of biopsies which, for her, was terribly painful and traumatizing.

So, the build-up to this visit was, in itself, traumatizing. She will stay on treatment and in September, the prepping will start for her to undergo surgery at end October/beginning November to remove cancerous tumours. This may be related to another condition. The wait is due to her heavy medication load for both conditions. After surgery she will immediately leave hospital the next day (due to Covid and general infection concerns) and travel once a day for 3 weeks to the specialist for treatment. After this she will stay on some form of chemotherapy together with radiation treatment. All this will become clearer in due course.

Part of the reason for including this in my blog is that it is a COVID-19 day and an observation of interest and concern to me. Another, more important reason, is that both of us receive numerous queries about her well-being. This serves to inform such people who read my blog. Finally, on this topic, as with any other disease, when it affects someone close to you, it becomes REAL! An example of this for Beverley is that of an ex-colleague in hospital due to Covid-19 and due to have a lung operation today. It is of great concern to us.

In all of this, a lighter note was the fact that she self-medicated to calm herself before the appointment. A few drops of medicinal Cannabis oil seemed to have done the trick. She almost smiled going in and and almost broadly grinned on her way out. And I thought whisky was the panacea in terms of stressful situations! It also caused the specialist to nominate her as his naughtiest patient:-) A new batch is presently on order! I don’t know much about cannabis or its oil, beside a little bit about the chemistry and its analysis. However, if it could do that for Bev, I want to order some for all the other Stressed Erics I deal(t) with in my ordinary life. I actually needed this 5 years ago. I can just see myself surreptitiously creeping from teacup to teacup in a meeting, dosing my favorite meeting-extenders. I can also see myself lapping up the 30 minute meeting that would have lasted 4 hours. In all likelihood, the meeting would end with a samba party, including a braai and a wet T-shirt competition.

During this down time, I have also had the chance to look through a myriad of old adventure photos. Hikes, cycle tours, road trips and many more. So, once this lockdown is over, some of my bigger questions in, and of, life will be aired in separate blogs and/ or incorporated into my travels and shenanigans to which I have risen to (also known as “got up to”)! It should be quite a lot of fun, considering the amount of fun hidden in all those photographs, many of which are original flash photography and an equal number of which are primary digital pictures. I so look forward to it.

Oh, yes!! My prediction was correct two posts ago!!! I had suggested that the lockdown end (or downgrading thereof) would be accompanied by colder weather. En net so!!! I gracefully accept the title of Sage, or Nostradamus‘ 2IC, or Seer or Siener in die Suburbs!

I thank you! You can thank me by donating to the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary now OR you can transfer the money in the form of a buttered cheque to my Boy Scout subscription debt for 1967. For details, call them.

DAY 59

I woke up with a spring in my step but with some lead in my feet! The former for Cyril’s happy speech yesterday and the latter for our upcoming doctor’s appointment. But let’s get to matters of the day that either arose in fact, or arose in my head and fortunately did not die of loneliness before I could enunciate it to the world.

Something that bothers all of us, I think, is the plethora of public holidays in our calendar. As an employer, your business activity runs in stops and starts. As an employee, as much as you enjoy the off-days, it also somewhat disturbs your work rhythm. And then you are also stuck at home with the kids who need constant entertainment. Né? Not so?

Think of those who have birthdays on some of those days! And those who possibly got married on those days. Bev’s birthday is on the 1st January. Sadly, New Year celebrations take over the whole day and the whole evening before. Her birthday, as much as she may receive gifts and wishes, is overwhelmed by the turn of the year. Every single year without fail! She says!!!

And I have a cousin who, fortunately for him, has a birthday on 31st May, which used to be Republic Day. Fortunately it was in his favor, as his birthday was always a public holiday. Republic Day se moer! Unfortunately for him, not anymore…..the holiday that is! So it’s a bit of a toss up in terms of how it affects you. As another example, my late brother had his birthday on Xmas day = 2 gifts on that day every year. We were not amused when we were younger. Grrrrrr!

We married on Dingaan’s Day, alternatively Day of the Covenant (which we made on our special day) or Day of the Vow, and now known as Reconciliation Day. It’s all marriage-related: get married and make a vow, then a battle and finally reconciliation If not divorce or secession (OK, the sequence is not quite right). Now, when you do get married on such a public holiday, you have thousands of people who did the same in previous years. You thus share “your” special day with thousands more others than if you had chosen any other nondescript day of the year. Not that it’s a bad thing.

Before I go on too much, let me change tack. We stayed in Parkside at a stage in our lives, opposite where MB now lives. During our adolescence, we three brothers were a bit boisterous. And we had quite a few friends whom had moved into the area in its very early days. And whom were equally boisterous e.g. the Cleaven’s around the corner, a Maart behind us, a Groener (who was less boisterous), etc.

And then my younger brother (Russell) set a record. After much daring one evening, he streaked down the road and back home, much to our amusement. There were however some surprised aunties and drivers who were caught unawares. He was eventually captured and reprimanded by the parental posse!!! He has a record: the first streaker in the area, following a craze that had just developed worldwide!! I wonder if he will read this. And possibly deny it:-)

As for me, I was the conservative, studious type in whose mouth butter would not melt. I did have a very persuasive way and also held some authority as the eldest brother. I came off scot free! As I often did! I was a closet rad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So there!

Roll on freedom day (the one without the capitals) on 1st June!

DAY 58

Oooooooh! Silili is addressing the country again tonight. I will write this in the past tense later in this blog once I have heard the content of his speech.

It’s been a fairly uneventful day, except for the fact that, late last night, The Beast lived up to expectations in terms of warming the inhabitants of the chairs closest to it viz. Cleo and, to a degree, Purrcy. And, of course, Beverley.

A short walk this morning was just what the sangoma ordered. I just cannot wait for the rule related to exercise being relaxed much further. A sad point is that there are still some people out there not wearing masks, including their little children. The upside again is that people are a lot more willing to greet and smile. If the exercise hours are extended, I want to do a 10km walk over a few hours. And, even better, when the Tygerberg Nature Reserve opens, I will spend a lot more time walking there. And I cannot wait to see its condition now that people have not been there for about two months now.

International travel was on the cards for this year: Switzerland and surrounds, OZ & NZ, Thailand and other more local destinations. Well, that’s all gone now. However, forever the optimist in this regard, even though this lockdown is depressing, there are still plans afoot. It will all depend on when Covid-19 regulations allow movement. It will also depend on other more local issues as well.

Enough of the drear! I’ve been thinking about banking. Yes, me the person who knows very little about things financially and economic-wise. Here’s the thing: A bank charges 12% on a loan, a % above the repo rate. Banks also have a prime rate i.e. the lowest rate at which they will loan money to you. If you are a bit of a risk, you will pay prime + a %. Lets say that, for your loan at 12%, their prime is 1% above the repo rate of 9% e.g. 10%. They then earn a further 2% as interest from you i.e. 3% in total.

When the repo rate goes down by 1%, the bank’s prime goes to 9%, but the percentage above prime stays the same i.e. 2%. Can a mathemagician out there confirm for me that the decreased interest earned by the bank is pro rata and fair to the borrower? And to the lender? I suppose my infantile argument is that the % charged above prime for that specific bank should also decrease by a small percentage! I await your erudite input!

Getting back to exercise, tomorrow is the day I am going to move the exercise back into an exercisable position. I know I am a procrastinator, but this is where it stops and starts. It’s going to have to be a slow start since I am going to have to accustom my system to the sudden stress of exercise. As with the gradual removal of lockdown, am going to have to start with a gradual increase in exercise intensity. I am sure this will positively affect the double chin which my tummy has developed.

And, once we get closer to spring, I am going to polish that mountain bike in preparation for a Cape Town Cycle Tour. Yes, there you have it!!! I want to make sure my bike is looking spiffy when the Tour takes place. I may even then cycle the bloody thing to visit people in Welgelegen. It’s somehow similar to me cycling the Tour de France on my exercise bike. Those stunning views and speed on TV makes me feel I am part of the race when my bike is place directly in front of the TV!

Silili!! Cyril Mathamela Ramaphosa!! Uncle Cyril!!! Did you guys really have to? Huh? Give us all Level 3, but then you caveated us in the Western Cape with the “hotspot” word. I suppose we still really do not know where we stand. But, like the meme says: put it in your pipe…..but you can’t smoke it.

I’m too tired for this. A little more relieved but with so many other challenges in life, I think I should take a break! Time for beddingtons!!

DAY 57

The tension in the air is like tight a rubber band being stretched to its limit with respect to the changing of lockdown, possibly, to level 3. It is so palpable, you can hear it in the way people speak, the few of those outside your home circle whom you meet on essential trips to the stores. If you want to mess with someones head, you can offer the tension to them to use as an exercise band. You could hire it out at an hourly rate, unless the tension breaks with a loud snappppp!!!!! Anyone hurt with the sudden release of tension would need to be covered by an Indemnity Form, those oh so useless, but so often used, forms that sometimes have little standing in law.

Did you know, when dancing, you would usually count to keep in touch with the rhythm of the music? I am sure you have done it or, at least seen someone doing it! You know, there’s someone gliding across the floor but, instead of smiling, there’s a facial grimace and the lips showing the counting….1, 2, 3, 4. And then starting again!!

But now, to upset the apple cart, you can also be further confused with a mathematical ploy in the game e.g. 1, 2-and-3, 4 (the 2-and-3 bit is quick). Or 1-and-2, 3. Say it with rhythm! , you get it! It does do weird things to your feet when counting like this since, for someone like me, my mathematical side of my brain and my foot control side of it do not work in tandem. So, for a 1, 2, 3 I can easily cope. However, when it comes to 1-and-2, 3, I fall to pieces! With a grimace. And lips mouthing obscenities! And that song in my mind!

Yes, the lockdown is taking its toll on me! I sometimes feel life is passing me by, just at that period when I have time to spend on the things I always dreamed of doing. It feels like a waste of time. Look, there are some very good attributes to this lockdown, outside of preventing Covid-19, but that was especially so in the early part of it. Right now, my attitude is “Come on, already!!!”. I just read in the magazines today about the Trans-Siberian Railway ride, over 9 600km!! I want to do it just like the author, Jacques Pauw, did it. But, I’m stuck here in Pêrow!!! I saw a lovely article about a road trip just to the north of Windhoek….but….! I recently bought a condensed travel book for southern Africa, and saw a map of Lüderitz, and I am going back there….but when?

And, as I sit here and mourn, moan, complain, and generally look funereal, I am still one of the lucky ones who live in relative luxury compared to some of our compatriots who are being failed by society generally. I walked from our washing machine to different parts of the house during the day, with an acknowledgement that many, many people do not have that sort of space within which to conduct a safe life. Sjjoooee!!!

But, to break it down to lighten it up, there’s always the calm before the storm. Or from another perspective, once this Covid storm subsides, we will be back in calmer, more familiar waters. That’s the mariners perspective! For the bush baby perspective, the middelmannetjie is big right now, but it will flatten out later (my own literary creativity).

There’s gonna be a big bust-up party one day soon (or one month soon)! And you’re all invited! Venue: Erongo Mountains, Namibia. Don’t say you were not warned!

Please check this Facebook post. I know it will make you donate!

DAY 56

This day was started with a coffee and a very specific goal in mind i.e. to procure the required “fire rope” and glue for fixing The Beast for expected cold weather this weekend. The latter sentence is a bit at odds with a previous theory of mine viz. the moment lockdown ends, the weather will immediately go arctic for months on end! Or, looking at it from a different point of view, if the weather goes all wintry, then lockdown will end. So its a toss as to which route it’s going to take.

Me and my digressions!! The “fire rope” was on the Cape Flats right next to Efflone, a bit of a way out of my “essential travel” zone. So, I pre-empted a road block by making sure I had records of all unsuccessful phone calls to stores in my area as well as a final call to Macd, the only place that could assure me they had exactly what I needed. Not sure if that would have worked, but it was an honest effort on my part. The other issue was not something new i.e. the definition of “essential” in this instance. I suspect that that “essential” is based on a list of things rather than what is essential to specific situations!. So, as much as I really needed this rope to keep the cats, and, of course Beverley, happy, the police would very likely not have seen it this way. To end this point, I would recommend Macd anytime for all your fireplace needs. They were so helpful and so well organised!! And they were the ONLY place to take my name and number just in case they needed to do tracing regarding a possible COVID issue.

I struggled a bit with dance practice today due to my own shortcomings. Working on it! Will do so again tomorrow before we have our next online session. I get a little worried sometimes when I write daily about this aspect of our lives. The worry stems from a perception I might be creating about my own expertise with dance. So let me not raise expectations too high – I am just an ordinary-skilled dance trying to follow Ceaghan’s instruction and Bev’s nimble feet. I had, in the past written a blog about choreographed dancing versus free dancing at a standard langarm dance. My point was that the latter is way more difficult than the former. I have now somewhat tempered my thinking and, even though the blog itself was lost in the ether somewhere, I will need to rewrite it and set the record straight, or a little differently.

I listened on the radio yesterday to a lady and her team who had gone out of their way to assist with feeding our refugee population in a part of Cape Town. The reality is, by my reading, that refugees are treated and serviced a little differently to SA citizens due to a number of reasons. I will not go into the politics of the issue, rather into the under-servicing and  feeding issue. Look, there are hundreds of challenges during these times, involving thousands of people, this just being one! However, her interview piqued my interest in that she was involved in raising funds and providing meals for a specific group in Somerset West. I have taken it on myself to get involved where I can in assisting this program, or any other that deserves such, and which it is in my capacity to do so. And I am telling you this not to brag about my good heart, but rather to alert you to the fact I may ask you for some form of assistance. No…..don’t delete me from your Facebook profile just yet:-) And again, my involvement will be an initial one, and I will not be directly involved due to my own risk profile in terms of the virus.

Geez, now I be getting hungry! Let me attend to the braai fire and sort out some grub (as my Father would have said)!

DAY 55

Can’t the Prez see how many posts I have written to date? Does he not read these things? If he did, he would realize that it’s been a moerse long time under lockdown! Beside all the other travails associated with it, does he know that I have now been showered with a great deal of pity by a true Cuzzin who offered me a bottle of the good stuff to tide us over? And that I now also have a friend who had also received a bottle of the good stuff as a gift today? Is it not time to lower the level now???

If truth be told though, the offer of a bottle was well-received and was greatly appreciated, notwithstanding that I blushingly demurred. And you never know what is down the track!! Another 4 weeks of lockdown? If so, I will have to reconsider my refusal and then also pêlly up to the other chap with his gift! This is akin to realpolitik! It’s like chess!! You have to plan your moves far in advance, so that when you let the blade fall, it cuts deep, and yet, with little pain!

The Beast (our fireplace) had played up recently. The sealing rope (fire rope) on the door had perished at the top leading to it leaking smoke. So, for the last 2 evenings, I have not been able to start an evening fire. The Cats are quite upset about this and have shown this by looking at me reproachfully evening evening at around 18:00. I suspect Manaygment had been stoking those coals, if you will excuse the pun. Getting a replacement rope has been a less than pleasurable exercise. This is due to the levels of customer service at some suppliers being deplorable. You know when you go to a shop which is out of stock and the agent says he will get it for you and call you to fetch? And it does not happen!! It also is a supplier whom I had visited a few years ago with similar results regarding a bigger purchase. Then you go to a little guy around the corner and you get a serious truckload of assistance even though they also do not have what you need. And then they go to the  trouble of finding out who has it and calls to tell you. You somehow want to do cartwheels in their praise and honor!!! I will not forget them and will advertise their name whenever needed.

Since our Social Dance Group is looking forward to that day when we can dance together again, Ceaghan, Bev and I started a proactive process. And it is something that I had been thinking about for a while for our own domestic situation as swell. We have collectively bought a foot pedal-based hand sanitizer unit as well as an electronic thermometer for infrared reading of temperature. It’s like that one advert where the guy puts the thermometer to the head of an uninitiated, who then disappears under the table with his hands in the air! Seen it? No!!!! You don’t watch enough TV then!!! I digress ….. this will allow us some comfort in our future face to face classes and also in our home in terms of the thermometer. The new normal hey!

Our latest virtual class was another success, the 18th such class over the period. I am really looking forward to how this pans out in future when face to face dancing resumes. I see a lot of value in it for the shy, the weather watchers and the time-compromised.

But let me tootle off for now!

DAY 54

As you can imagine, losing 80% of my written post yesterday, I am totally cheesed off. Such scintillating, titillating prose which you have now lost out on, he said to ensure not ending with a preposition!

But today started of with a smile. A young child, always toward the end of February, highly excited about the Maynardville Carnival. Caryn just loved our annual visit there with Victor. He chant was: “When are we going to the Carmbil!? Victor, Victor, we can first buy Coke and Chips, then we can go to the German stall and drink beer!”. Those were good days.

 

DAY 53

It started off as a foggy day in Parow, so much so that we decided to stay indoors. This type of weather would play havoc with my sensitive sinuses. And, as you know, the UK has finally recognized a loss of smell and taste as symptoms of the Coronavirus infection.Not that I have it! With me, it’s a standard condition. The only time I smell well is when I use Jade West…or East…whatever direction. Seriously, I can only smell things after vigorous exercise. It seems to clear my sinuses and allow me to smell an orange from a mile off. I recall cycling around Stellenbosch and back home, a trip of about 65km. As I approached home, I smelt a pineapple stall a mile off. And as I passed it, I smelt the perfume of the lady “manning” it.

And then something happened wif my technology! And the rest of this post was lost. It will re-appear in an edited form in Day 54. Serves me write. I should right this in a Word document first in case of a crash!

Suffice to say this day was rather quiet a well!

DAY 52

Now to give away some lemons! We took a similar walking route to yesterday. This time with a bag of lemons for Adrianus. We dropped it off inside their gate and then, coincidentally, met them walking just around the corner. It’s wonderful what fruit does for you!

And thence to the dentist. A successful visit all round with promises of a new Scrabble opponent. While there, I was able to skinner about some of my other Scrabble opponents. Names will not be mentioned since some reputations are at stake. A very capable New Zealander was named as a formidable opponent as well. I will steer clear of her for now. I will need to up my game in three-letter words and involving “X” and “Q”. Four-letter words are so habitual but so old school, hey! Nee fok! Ooooooh, a 3-letter one.

And that’s how lockdown affects you. Firstly, fruit helps friendships. It also helps your spelling, especially two- and three-letter words. It also makes you walk the neighborhood, something we have done too little together before. And, when it comes to fine dining, since it is only two of us, there are always left-overs, and left-overs of previous left-overs. We are privileged to have this, but the sometimes monotony of this dietary regime does interfered with regular braaing. The braai is a perfect example of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Banting at its best! Now, to have left-overs interfere, this is not good!

I sat reading through scientific publications last night, relating to the pandemic and the food industry. I was specifically looking for information not directly related to the oft-reported fact that this virus is inactivated during cooking and also that it is thus not, per sé, food-borne. What is bothering me is that, once cooked, a food product may then be infected with the virus. What is its status in terms of transferring it or infecting someone?

I think the obvious answer is that, if eaten, it would not survive the digestive process. Secondly, it is contracted via entering the respiratory system mostly, leading to the particular etiology seen. It means that, in a funny sense, you would have to stuff recently infected, post-cooked food down your eyeballs, or into your nose. The most extreme way would be stuffing food down your respiratory system (almost the opposite of the reflex which allows for proper eating via the oesophagus). Maybe I’ve opened up a can of worms here in terms of 101 ways to commit sewer side, or sideways as it is irreverently known. But more seriously, I did not find any scientific papers on the issue. I am sure they are out there. I will continue digging:-) And, PLEASE NOTE, please read the latter part this paragraph with tongue in cheek, and not down your trachea.

Which brings me to insects as food i.e. entomophagy! As much as the tradition of eating it is as old as the hills, one still cannot claim GRAS status freely (Generally Regarded As Safe). Part of this is that, those communities that are eating it have been doing so for years. Us newbies may not have specific immunity needed in some cases for specific insects. And, as part of my reading, insect viruses may also pose a problem for large-scale human consumption, even if farmed under ideal conditions. However, in a sense I am playing devil’s advocate here, since I am a believer in the rationality and sustainability of consuming insects. It’s just that, as it becomes more and more de riguer, ever so much more research will go into this in terms of food safety. Enjoy your insect ice cream! Ask Gourmet Grubb for some!

The reduction from Level 3 to Level 4 for Cape Town is looking bleaker by the hour, according to latest news reports. This is despite all the evidence and intuition being reported from all and sundry. There have been numerous scientific, non-scientific and intuitive posts on social media on this issue. My take: move immediately to Level 2. This is even though we (Bev and self) can afford to, in all ways, stay locked down for another few months (which in any case we older folk will need to do!). And this is the dilemma posed between haves and have-nots i.e. lockdown versus unlockup! I’m glad I am not the one to have to make the decision.

And then there was the case of the Blurbles. They appeared out of nowhere and, without even looking at us, proceeded to ingratiate themselves with a pair of toenail clippers. Huge things!! The clippers, not the Blurbles!! The Blurbles are pinkish and carry lots of coins (small change) with them. They usually hang out around parking meters in the summer when the Vaalies (now replaced by Guaties) are here. And when business is slow, they give the change to the dog or  buy cheap hubcaps with it. Hubcaps = bigger coins to confuse the visitors at the beach. Once they realized the clipper was not a means to shredding their contraband coins, they retreated to the  hinkedonk, washed and left as quickly as they came. Beverley did not see it!! But I did!!!! Amazing what a lack of alcohol does to one’s senses. Poor Bev!!!

Donate your change to a good cause and don’t let the Blurbles get hold of it! Try the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary outside McGregor: https://www.donkeysanctuary.co.za/how-you-can-help

DAY 51

Ahhhh! Some detail about Level 3 is lowly being released. Still not sure of all of it. The only fear is that the Western Cape will be excluded from this. At least the day started on a fitter note i.e. we took a walk at 07:45 and ended about an hour later back at home. We though of checking up on our a dance friend’s keep fit regime. It seems they were not up to it on this specific morning! Next time.

Our lemon tree, which was planted as a cover for potentially intruding neighbors on our pool area, is bedecked with fruit. Much to much for us to use. Because of lockdown, it’s not easy to spread the love. I think we will donate to the lazy dancers tomorrow morning. If anybody else wants, please let us know. We will leave for collection at appointed time on our doorstep for you.

Which reminds me as we’re sitting here whiling away some time to Heart 104.9, that lemon tree replaced a beautiful, old and very productive fig tree quite a few years ago. That tree provided shade around the pool area as well as big, sweet ripe figs every year. One year we noticed it looked a bit sick. Another season later it bit the dust. Research had already shown is to be the fig borer, an invader from the north which was slowly killing fig trees as it moved down south.A great pity. Now, with so many lemons, we do not have the ingredients to make exotic cocktails.

And, I know, the moment the alcohol lockdown ends, the lemons will disappear. It’s akin to our reasonably sunny and warm weather during the lockdown. The moment lockdown ends, the storms will roll in with the winter rain. I will not complain! I will just put it down to it being another indigenous weather prediction tool. Like washing your car one day and pouring rain the next!!!

Coming back to walking, just getting to do this first walk took a bit of doing. We now have to keep it rolling unless, of course, the weather gods took notice of us this morning. And again, it’s like writing! The first few words are the most difficult, after which it pours our of the end of my fingers. Sometimes to the point of verbosity! My apologies!!

A problem I have had with Netflix since I have access to it, is the sound. It seems that the musical score often overpowers the voices of the actors. It was finally mansplained by, unsurprisingly, a man! I use this metrotextual term to indicate it being rather modern to me (not the software which carries the same name). Granite, his nickname, put me onto this. One would need a “graphic equalizer” to adjust the sound to make it more audible. But I will take his other piece of advice i.e. switch on the sub-titles. Works well and much cheaper! Thanks Garnet, the princely chap who has relatives from PE!

Yes, my family tree is still in draft form awaiting commentary from older members sitting in the clubhouse. I think I will jump the gun with a draft version soon, after which I will edit/ update it further as things develop. And finally, please donate……..

THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE SPCA
BANK: Standard Bank
BRANCH: Constantia 025309 / 051001 (internet banking)
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 071832858
ACCOUNT TYPE: Cheque
BENEFICIARY REFERENCE: Your name and surname

E-MAIL: Belinda frmanager@spca-ct.co.za

DAY 50

It was a late start that ended with a bang! The start that is! That ended with a bang!! The start was an online dance lesson with 10 participants (4 couples included). Oh yes, an update on the fireworks …. it started with a bang as well as ending with one!! Beside a quick update on the Samba, we took the Jive to its logical end in terms of the standard routine. Sjoooeeeeee, mense, we mixed basic steps with a continuous lock and ending with a side walk like the Samba. Like a crab at times!

And I’m telling you, the name of the steps in this game is a learning curve in itself e.g. travelling bota fogo, Cuban breaks, progressive walks, New Yorker, side by side, alemana, voltas, side walks, open promenade, chasses all over the place and the roundabout. This alone is NQF level 10. Then the actual dancing starts:-) With continuous formative assessment, it makes for a spinning head sometimes. And, while your head is spinning,  an 8-year old walks onto the floor and executes all of this flawlessly, walks off and starts playing on-on with his tjommies at the back of the hall.

It’s also very obvious from the exchanges during the process that we all are dying to break out of lockdown and see each other again and, more importantly, execute our own learning on a big floor. This will be a final summative assessment for us in terms of lockdown learnings. I think Blade Ndzimande (Minister of Higher Education & Training), would be so impressed with our immersion in the Dancing Education Qualifications Framework (DEQF).

On a serious note, what with all the uncertainty about the academic year, CPUT is providing material to teaching staff to take a significant percentage of tuition online. Obviously, there is a whole debate and politic behind this, but I will leave that to the experts. From my point though, competitive and social dancing has been alive and well at a quite a few universities nationally, but not at CPUT!

Now that Ceaghan is practicing online tuition with our social group, it would be interesting to develop this model to include it in the social curriculum at university, especially in this time where social contact is minimal and where mental depression is rife. What happens when students go through the hills and valiums (borrowed from Clêrrie of Heart 104.9) of student life, sitting in a room? Would this not be a perfect distraction for light relief from book work to footwork? Without leaving your home in the cold winter months! And, once the pandemic itself is a thing of the past, this could be continued with sporadic face to face training and socializing.

I think I am going to the Technology Transfer Office tomorrow morning (electronically) to patent this concept. And to all you cattycops out there, you’re too late!

Now, how how much more easy could it be to donate to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha when the banking details are dropped into your lap:

Mdzananda Animal Clinic
Standard Bank
Acc. No. 075595710
Branch No.: 025009
Reference: Your Name

DAY 49

A brighter start to the day! I feel brighter myself, and lighter. I did arise a bit later than normal, but my outlook (not my e-mail) is much brighter. Looking forward a two dance sessions, one on our own followed by a group session at 16:00. As participants are learning more, the more we look forward to the next session. I think the big showdown will be when we eventually get onto a dance floor after all lockdown issues have been cleared. And we will also be challenged, or assisted, by the fact we will be doing it to music. Mmmmhhhh!! An interesting experimental exercise. Wonder if we should get a statistician in on this to ensure we get significant results.

Looks like rain today! It would be good for our dams and also what’s left of our garden, not that their was much in the first place. The sole Union member has proven to have no green thumbs. Not even his minimus (minimi, since he has two) is/ are green! Fortunately, Manaygement has been lenient in this regard. Sjooee!! But, from what I recall, the job description did not require such skills. It actually just had one word in the JD: HUNK! Now I am not sure how I got through that one, but I did! And no, I am not looking for complimentary validation, thank you!!! Wellllll ………. only if you insist and really mean it!

And for those who care for my worldly travail, my challenge with hardware and software was resolved once it was determined that ID10T was at the wheel. I am not going to mention who that is or was. There was nothing wrong in the first place. Always read the fine print before diving headlong into the morass that is technologiae!

FIST to TGIF! Not long to go before Level 3 is to be declared in certain areas of the country. We may be selling up soon or possibly even taking a long vacation elsewhere. I wonder how the cats would adjust to that. Cleo, being older and not adventurous anymore, would be quite happy to stay at home in new surroundings. Purrcy would be the problem. He still has wandering tendencies, which he brought with him from Jozi! He also used to have taking ways, but eventually learned not to steal. He would have to be quarantined for a while, over and above lockdown. This would allow him to confirm that it was his new home. It’s really something that has crossed my mind a few times i.e. selling and moving to something different! But, let’s leave that thought there.

My keyboard and its “s” is playing up again. So, as I type, I try to choose words without an “s” in it. Quite strange, now that I am doing it, more “s” words than ever surface in my brain. Reminds of the quip related to the fact that the word “lisp” as has an “s” in it! My brother Russel used to lisp until just before he went to school. And his name had two of those things in it. At a point, I remember hearing that a doctor suggested clipping his tongue!!!! Was that the way they treated it in the bad old days of pikes, swords and chainmail? Ooooooooooh!  A new meaning to chain mail. Or is it ball and chain? No, this could get me into trouble:-)

And so the lockdown drag on. E-commerce i finally allowed! Such common sense decision that took ages to approve. Amongst other strange anomalies in the nature of level 4 lockdown. Wish that it comes to an end soon.

And finally, my old request. Please support our animals in need. The Karoo Donkey Sanctuary and the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary are equally in need of assistance. And if you feel you rather wish to donate to a human cause, have a look at this by clicking on the link: Voetspore in Riemvasmaak.

Until tomorrow.

DAY 48

Another of those difficult days to start writing. How I feel for people who write for a living, whether it is a report or an article for a newspaper! I lived with that for all my working life, albeit with different levels of intensity and reward or chastisement if not finished on time. I do know though that, when I start, I go for it hell for leather, sometimes to the detriment of what I produce e.g. ill-thought through arguments or plans.

Freelancers are brave people for a number of reasons, chief of which is not knowing where the next assignment is coming from. The second is, what are you going to earn for the next job. Should you turn an assignment down because it does not pay too much? Nee wat! You need to be confident and steadfast in such a position. Unless, of course, your freelancing is not your primary income to support your life! Then it’s different ball game altogether.

Quite a few years ago, I started buying the Go! magazine, even at one stage having an electronic subscription. In each edition, there are usually three articles covering specific trips/ adventures with good detail, including maps and places to stay (chalet or tent). Based on an idea from a gentleman I know from Elsenburg College, I started a database (in essence a spreadsheet) listing each magazine and the specific destinations. The optimistic intention was to then scan each article and link it to the database. This meant I could carry it all on my phone (or in the “cloud”) while travelling. I could then sell the magazines or donate them. Alas, the scanning must still be done! Looking for volunteers!

What I have take to doing now is, while watching re-runs of Voetspore, I am making copious notes on my phone of the itineraries with places, things and people to see. It’s still in its infancy and is a good distraction to while away some time. If you want to join me on doing this, we can divide some of the episodes up and share the recording load.

All in all, the day was reasonably quiet with the humdrum of “new normal” life. I can feel my decreasing level of fitness when we do some dance practice. I really need to dust down the old velocipede and venture out at about 07:30 and stretch my legs.

To end off, do you wish to compare the size of your glabella with mine? We could start on online competition to see whose is biggest! Maybe your is only as big as your minimus!! And when last did you suffer from crapulence?

And I love vagitus! Do you?

DAY 47

Slow start to the gray, yet eventually sunny, day. I eventually had to call the doctor to give me advice on a consistent allergic response to the weather and other conditions. I have had this for a few months now and, when I jokingly said I could have been the fist COVID-19 victim in Cape Town, Manaygement gave the Union member a glaring staring! This had resulted in constant reminding stares/ glares the moment I coughed phlegmatically or blew some brains into a little doekie! Hence, my reliance on the doctor to give me some form of an “all clear”! You donwarraknow how intimidating those stares are! And how the guilt piles up on you. If guilt were blankets, I’d be spending time at the North Pole with no need for special clothing or heating!!!

A special treat for the morning: conducting an early grilling of pork ribs and some wors on the fire. Just because I can. Even though we would only need it in the evening. Oh yes, second treat: lovely lamb bryani left over from last night’s supper.

A new laptop arrived at our house last Friday. Setting it up would be a breeze, ? Everything is so intuitive hey! Not on your Nellie, whoever the latter poor lady was or is! Or to whomsoever she belonged. Passwords, passwords everywhere, but ne’er a place in which to log. Well, that’s the way it seems to my 1950’s brain. Yelp!! I need Dial-a Nerd or something similar. This is what happens when you do not have a big company backing you with full IT support and a Helpdesk with which to log a call.

Anyway, I supposed Cyril’s meeting  in a few minutes time would bring some mental relief and, who knows, convivial relief as well. We need some light at the end of the tunnel. Even if the light is an oncoming train:-( Sadly the mixed messages will need to be sorted out tomorrow). Level 3 in the Western Cape – we don’t know yet.

But, Whisky Tango Foxtrot, who cares!! We had a good dance lesson!! Again!!! Building confidence in this online process as a good complement to face to face tuition. Making the path by walking it. The little fitness workout I get from this emphasizes the need for more extensive and concerted physical exercise I need. I’m môs a known offender when it comes to addiction to endorphins. Being hooked on such was once a must-have in my life. The only must-haves now are the need to drive in the bush, camp, hike, lamming (the Afrikaans version of vegetating!).

And here’s a true story! Michelle, while she was in high school asked if she could invite some friends over to vegetate. Her dad, the simpleton Union member, took her to the supermarket, commandeered a trolley and started loading up with vegetables. Until the puzzled daughter questioned it! Least said, soonest mended!

See you on the flipside!

DAY 46

When I first started working with Indigenous Knowledge (IK) in 2018, I had to do some quick learning since this was not my field of expertise (Click here for some information on this project). Part of this was learning about the myriad types of IK e.g. food, medicine, dahce, song, art, astronomy and, would you believe it, weather prediction. As an example, when donkeys start rolling on the ground covering themselves in dust, it means rain is on the way (if I recall correctly).

But, as we all know, most humans have a form of predicting weather changes. Mine has recently kicked in viz. my wonkey hip joint has started acting up as the cooler weather starts to settle in. I wonder if I could register this as an indigenous practice under a patent? This would then stop all other older people from uttering the words “my hip is playing up” in relation to the weather. Of for that matter, any other body part! I suppose it’s a bit like patenting the word “help”. Any drowning person would then not be able to shout it out when needing aid!! At least not without paying me royalties.

I could also be considered as a dealer in drugs or contraband. My shopping bags with which I come home are sometimes smaller than the bag with which I leave the pharmacy. I am amazed the cops have not picked up on this yet under these lockdown conditions. Watching spaza shops for selling smokes are small change compared to what you could potentially reap if you stake out a pharmacy! Who needs alcohol from the bottle shop (against the law) if you can get it from your pharmacy (the law may be vague, especially if you have a forged prescription from your local traditional healer).

Goodness, you could leave there with pure alcohol, canabbinoids and/or extracts thereof, maybe the real thing if your pharmacist is also a phsychedelecist. Maybe they should have a happymometer to measure people going in and coming our of the chemist. You could easily tell who’s guilty in that way. Theme song: Johnny called the chemist, but the chemist said…nah, I have enough business in my garden shed!

Here’s another way to gyppo the system. You know those curry sauce packs on the supermarket shelf e.g. vindaloo, etc. At source, you could spike it with vodka (your choice) or even replace the contents with alcohol. Then, all you do is spread the word discretely on Facebook and Twitter. The secret, to prevent a rush on all supermarkets, is control distribution of a few hundred bags to one shop at a time in different areas of the city. That should not alert the cops to anything strange if there is a run on a shop in Welgmoed today and then in Belhar next week. The sporadic effect of this would then be ascribed to dementia due to Covid-19 hotspots. You could string this out for the rest of lockdown and make a packet of curry powder out of it. I should have been a tenderpreneur.

Ooooh, tonight is take-out night, something we have not done for a long time. Our old friends at Moksch in Welgelegen are going to dish the dirt for us . It’s going to be a reward after our hour of dance lessons on the virtual group. Bryani (lamb) with onion bhajia, samoosas and butter naan. I can assure you, my anticipation was outdone by the delivered stuff eventually.

Our virtual dance lesson was another resounding success. Now this is not a sales pitch! Bev has been dancing since primary school in one form or another and, now that I am her fleet-footed partner, I am allowing her to flower and show herself in all her glory. Now, now!!! I am not claiming all the glory, just most of it!!

Bear with me while I bore you: dancing is low impact but good aerobic exercise! Now, if you have clicked the link and absorbed that, then understand my boring soliloquy further. Once you learn all (or some)m of the basic steps, you start realizing the complexities of attaining a “close to perfection” status. We have had, up until lockdown, fun-filled hours attaining the basics. Now, during lockdown, our coach is honing the finer points online. This means more time spent on the finer things in dance life (without the expensive cognacs and whiskys and whiskeys).

What I like about the online version is that, the time spent with you is solely directed to you, on you and without any distractions that one gets in a big hall where there are people coming and going, greeting, preparing for their own lesson, etc. However, you do need both forms of tuition, in varying ratios depending on your level of confidence and ability. I would recommend it to anyone, young or old!

Now let me flounder in front of the TV while I attempt to burn the joules (not calories) away as sent to us by Moksh!

And please, puhleeeez, donate to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha! They were recently burgled more than once. As you will know, during lockdown, donor money goes to mostly human trauma and suffering and tends to neglect our animals. R25 goes a long way for them!!!

DAY 45

Started just like the others: multiple cups of coffee, skirmishes with the Purrcy, my feet being attacked while walking down the passage, catbushed by Cleo for a bit of kitty treats. I reckon, as the days I go by, I should be able to do a bit of a Christiano Ronaldo dribbling through the back line, or even play a mighty good game of hopscotch at speed. Ahhhhh! Twinkling toes should assist with my club-footed dancing skills!

Today is the 1st wedding anniversary of Larry and Caryn, our wonderful younger daughter and her equally wonderful hubby!! What a lovely event we attended exactly one year ago! Congratulations to them. And, down under, Victor is celebrating his 56th birthday today! A date has been set for doing the Spanish Camino in 4 years time. Watch this space while I start my fitness program. I will have to keep in mind that I will be 67 by the time this happens! So much to do, so little time!

And, on the fitness and outdoor front, John and I decided we are going to hike the Upper Fish River. This is a much easier 3-day walk with different view. It also include a well with access to a flowing river about 10 metres underground. Amazing when walking in a dry river bed with the heat and the dust facing you.

Walking is much easier than dancing! There are no pre-programmed steps, no music with which to keep time and also no audience watching to see when you’re going to make a mistake. Did you know that walking is the art of falling forward for long periods of time without balanging? ‘Strue!!! You are always just a few millisecond from falling flat on your face, if it were not for weight transfer at the critical point in the train of action. It’ very similar to satellites orbiting the earth! They keep “falling” toward the earth, but in a fine balance with the tendency to escape earth gravity, in so doing maintaining its altitude. Fly, my people, fly!!!! Life is just a balancing act.

I witnessed sacrilege recently on this thing called Facebook! Yes, the holy Croc is now being used a a planter when nailed vertically to a wall. Hell no! Not on my watch. I have Facebook friends who are serious aficionados in this field. OK, to be honest, there about an equal number of Croc-haters! But booo yah! Suck on it! My Crocs were long neglected and recently rediscovered. My feet do not smell when wearing Crocs. This does make sense when you understand that, for a normal person, your nose smells and your feet run. Lockdown and my Crocs are a match made in heaven, Caryn!

I had referred to a balancing act earlier, and life being an example of such. We need to learn from this. Life is shorter than we think. Keep the good stuff, release the bad. Ignore the detritus, treasure the jewels. Make like a duck’s back and let the water run off it. Listen to the crap and bile spewed by anarchists, smile serenely in acknowledgement, then do what you planned to do irrespective of the naysayers!

Is ja!!!!

DAY 44

It’s Mother’s Day! A very happy day to all mothers, even though they may not be with us anymore, or even though you may not be able to spend it with your children (or vice versa). The day itself was “created” by a lady, who afterwards tried to abolish it due to materialism taking it over. But we will look past this and make it our own i.e. make it what you want it to be. And if materialism is your thing, enjoy it!

We woke up to a fantastic surprise gift for Bev! Caryn created a website dedicated to her – click here to view it! So creative, it shames me in my feeble attempts to do such! But she encapsulates her mother extremely well. When reading it, I keep thinking that Bev wrote it. And those pictures capture many of the most important people and animals in our lives right now! Lauren, Caryn’s friend, features because she is part of the family history to date! Caryn has a lovely eclectic group of friends! And so does Michelle!

And together with this, is the fact that other people close to us also have birthdays today: Larry Claasen, our son-in-law, and his twin brother Lance, share a birthday today! And our good dance friends’ son, Daniel, also has a birthday today! Happiest birthday to them!! And my mother had her birthday in heaven today while my late father celebrated his on 4th May.

And now, back to something seriously different! My topic yesterday of the ARTS related to writings such as that seen in linked blogs to Facebook refers. As mentioned, my own writing is done firstly for myself, and secondly for whoever else finds an interest in it. My Facebook friend calls it cathartic, and that is exactly what it is. I find it scratches an itch that reveals itself as you get older. It also allows me to re-examine, albeit with the distance and loss of detail with time, some of the experiences I went through, some bad, most good! And, some family members will find out things they did not know about you. An example of such is my sister in New Zealand!

Getting back to the family tree! As mentioned, an aunt of mine keeps asking why we, as a generation of relatives of similar age, do we not get together and try  to document what is known about the family tree. Some families are lucky to be able to go back quite a few generations to their roots. Some are fortunate enough to go right back to incoming colonists, incoming and local slaves and original, indigenous inhabitants of the country. I can only speak for my own parents and my siblings in terms of our known family. It does not go deep at all. In fact, I can barely go back one generation before my parents. I will expand on this in a separate post since, now that the itch had been generated, it will need to be scratched extensively.

I made Mother’s Day breakfast, choosing a dish at which I am quite good viz. Akks & Bakes, or more correctly, bacon and eggs! Another one I am quite good at is braaing. Beyond that, I am a bit of a disaster in terms of formal, well-known recipes. However, I am, furthermore, quite good at concocting strange mixes of canned veg with canned fish (chilly & pilchards come to mind). Not everyone will enjoy it. Manaygement is strictly not in favor of such. But I think it comes naturally from my camping/ hiking hobby. If I look back at either the Fish River Canyon (4-5 days) or the Naukluft Adventure Trail (8 days), you will understand the need to be inventive in terms of dishes to be prepared on the hoof as it were!

Anyway, I sat transfixed in front of the TV for most of the afternoon waiting for an announcement of Silili making an announcement about when he was to announce the lowering from Level 4 to Level 0! But aikona! No such luck. The rest of the evening was spent sipping an expensive soda water and ice while writing up the family tree. The tree itself seemed, from the ground up, to be in reasonably good shape. However, the roots are a bit under-developed. And, as a good botanist, I can tell you this: no roots = no nutrient and water uptake, no root pressure, no guttation. Fortunately, the suction force of transpiration is still good. And around the poorly developed roots, no bulk flow of water and nutrients from the surrounding soil (undiscovered ancestors) to enrich the life of the tree.

Since I know you’re all waiting with bated breath to see from which swamp I emerged, I will put you out of your misery soon. The manuscript has been sent for fact-checking to a senior family member!

Until then, put me in a box of your choice and see later if you were right!

DAY 43

A big thank you to all who made my day yesterday, whether it was by sending messages, phone calls, video chats and donations! Hearing from some people who I had not seen in years made it all the more special.

It seems this Coronavirus brings out both the good and the bad in people. The good is well-advertised or reported on in the media. The bad is not always well-reported since it is “bad”. And anything bad is usually clothed differently to its actual intentions. One such recently in the news was the torching of a car in Seapoint where a good Samaritan went about his usual job of feeding homeless people. His car was allegedly torched by people opposing his actions, since it supposedly encouraged the homeless not to take shelter elsewhere i.e. not in Seapoint!! Really!!!

Our cats are so lockdown friendly. They have not had so much peace and tranquility, in our presence, for a long time. The only period equating to this is the usual December vacation period. But this is longer. And with no physical visitors at all. I wonder what they’re thinking? I can just see their subliminal messages to each other! Hey Cleo! Watse ding is die dat daa’ nie mee’ mense hie komm’ie? Purrcy, is sieke dat die ou nie mee’ so gereeld wassie! Ek hoor hoe sé Manaygement vi’ hom dat hy klank soos hulle dans. 

I was pleasantly surprised late in the day by the writings of another friend. He posted two such stories about his life, starting in 1974 as an apprentice. The links are here (1) and here (2). I really enjoyed reading it since this is what I like doing i.e. writing about my memories (not a full memoir) and telling it in a  readable, light-hearted, yet serious way. There are lot of life’s little lessons embedded in such stories and, therefore, much to learn, Especially for the younger folk of today.

In the very old days, before sliced bread and flush toilets, memories of the herd were transmitted by storytelling by elders around the fire in the evenings. This was their voicemail system. Sometimes there were obvious technical glitches, almost like broken telephone, when somethings were incorrectly heard, but mostly the transmission was of high fidelity (see, they even had HiFi at that point).

Obviously, in today’s frenetically paced world, this does not happen too often. We don’t even sit down for dinner together anymore. Beside praying together, eating together has long gone in many households. So, telling stories is still important, more so because, in posts like that referred to above, carries way more than standard history books can give you. It gives you lore, or more parochially, folklore i.e. the intimate parts of a way of life, including the good, bad and ugly.

Nowadays, when a thought comes up, or a good meme develops, it is posted with gay abandon and generally disappears into the ether. Very little is captured and made easily accessible to specific communities and/ or people. It’s very similar to a blog I had posted a few months ago, regarding photographs (…preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you! – one of my favorite songs). It’s also similar to not knowing your family tree because our elders did not sit down and share everything with us.

Finally, part of the message in all of this, is that art is a critical part of our existence and the recording. documenting and imitating thereof i.e. acting! Right now, if you are reading this simple message, it is part of that larger ART of which I am speaking. And in lockdown, what are we doing to while away the time? Either consuming art (TV, books, YouTube, Netflix) or creating it, like I am doing now and such as that which was posted by my Facebook friend linked above. Or creating all other forms of art, even repairing a wooden chair for re-use as an exhibit or, heaven forbid, to use it as a seat again:-)

DAY 42

It’s my birthday!!! It’s my birthday!!! Sung to the tune of the song: It’s my birthday! I awoke to the fact that I am now 63 years (neither old, nor young), just 63! I feel 21, I know if I take up a squash racquet right now, I will be able to plan all the right moves, and then run myself moertoe into the side wall, chasing a drive down the line. The mind is still agile, but the body is nowhere near able to match it. That’s why I eventually donated the equipment to somebody with fewer annual rings than myself.

Anyway, as one ages, I become more “sentimental” about life, not in a smarmy sense, but in a real sense. One of these days, I will sit in the departure looking looking back on lockdown life. Right now, I’m only packing for the trip to the airport. But, in a sentimental sense, I owe what I am in life to thousands of people and events, all of which happen by chance. And relationships, all of which are interconnected to all those I have met. I have said this before: “what the hell was I thinking” related to some of the things I have done in life!

But know that you are remembered as having been part of it up to this point. And now, my life in some numbers that kept popping up into my head during the day (in no order of significance):

  • I have had 63 birthdays (I am sure of this, which is not something I can say for all the people I know).
  • I have shared 40 of these with Beverley.
  • We have 2 daughters (Michelle and Caryn).
  • I have had 2 formal jobs over my working life – real old-school and unknown to today’s youth.
  • I have worked formally for 39 years.
  • We are retired for 3 month now.
  • I have 2 living, beautiful auntie’s in my life (one quite close by, another very far away).
  • I have 5 siblings, two of whom have passed.
  • I have 6 brothers- or sisters-in-law.
  • I have a beautiful mother-in-law and a late father-in-law.
  • We have 1 son-in-law (Larry) who is owned by the following bullet:-).
  • We have 1 Grandkitty in Johannesburg (Haloumi).
  • We have 2 cats, Cleo and Purrcy, both inherited from the same daughter (Michelle).
  • We have had 1 life with each of the following pets: Sandy, Bingo, Allie, Bootle (all dogs) and Benjy, Cheesy, James, Jenna-belle, Theodore, Cleo and Purrcy (all cats, last two inherited).
  • We have 1 modest car.
  • We have 1 modest house.
  • We belong to 1 Social Dance Group which is another family to us.
  • We have hundreds of (I think) friends, colleagues and acquaintances, the relationships of which all vary in intensity.
  • I have met many unforgettable characters in my life, some of whom I will name and describe over time.
  • I have many regrets regarding lost opportunities.
  • I have many more pleasures out of harvested opportunities.
  • We have quite a few plans of how to live and what we wish to do.
  •  We have many people with whom we wish to do it.
  • We have 1 long life ahead.

These numbers will be updated as more come to memory.

Join me as an individual, and us as a family, in enjoying life, irrespective of the challenges we face, including Covid-19.

Now, if they can only rescind the alcohol ban and the restriction on travelling! Then we can start the ball rolling. Richtersveld here we come!.

And, as always, give/ donate where you can! My favorite travelogue, Voetspore, is supporting the community of Riemvasmaak (Norbert lives there) in the Northern Cape. Feel free to donate to them via the Voetspore team website. For further details, please contact me separately. Please note: I have no relationship with Voetspore other than watching the program.

DAY 41

I hunted down that gas and proper firewood! This took a bit of time earlier in the morning, what with having to wait in a queue wherever I want. But that’s OK, all in the interest of social distancing. When I got home, I realized it was the general clean-up time. The sole Union member had to pitch in with Manaygement to clear the decks and make sure everything was spick ‘n span. The low point was when the sole Union member was berated for smelling odiferous, or odious, or off! This was afte rprowling shops in a too-tight sweater – like meat aging at too high a temperature. I ask you, Union members are not meant to be smelling like a perfume in a fart factory! We are middle to lower to shop floor staff! There’s no time for Brut or Jade East or Blue Stratos or stuff! Jirre! They don’t even pay enough obeisance!

I am binge-watching Voetspore, as much as is not good for the psyche. As mentioned to a motor-cycling friend, I am a bicyclist with a 10cc engine (I love that song!!!). It’s just building up my (our) desire to break free and travel the by-roads of the country. It’s also giving me something to do in-between working at some formal stuff.

However, tonight is the eve of my 63rd birthday, and Michelle’s 30-oddth, something I thought I would be celebrating modestly under different circumstances. It’s also Simone’s birthday in Switzerland as well as Ursula’s birthday in Paarl. We would have been in Paarl today for the celebration. But, never mind, there always a later date for a more celebratorial celebration, in different climes. It will in any case be a pleasure to enjoy the occasion on our own for the first time in many years.

A few years ago at this time (2012), Michelle and I, and Carin Whitfield, were in Rome.We spent a drizzly Sunday walking the whole of the main sites in Rome. We also happened upon the Pope’s message in St. Peter’s Square without really planning it that way. I am always thankful to Michelle for the strict discipline in terms of walking based on an excellent itinerary. No other form of transport was allowed. I saw 10 times more than I did in a previous trip to the city.

What with all the hoo haa about the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, delivery services for hot food has begun under level 4. Why not do other forms of contraband on a delivery basis as well. It will at least cut out the social distancing problems associated with approaching a retailer. I’m a genius. I must see a doctor! Again!! I must admit, what with all the “conspiracy” theories abounding, I have taken the advice of some on social media. I am taking a break from the mainstream media, and also social media, associated with Covid-19 reporting. I have certain views of some of these issues, but will not download such to you in the interest of my own sanity. I must say it is working well, hence my enjoyment of multiple Voetspore episodes.

How do you understand the following two words: “loan” and “borrow”? I here these two terms being mangled on radio and even in the print media. And I know the subject of “pure” English is a topic of debate on a society where we are assaulted with other forms of English e.g. Twitter and Facebook! OMG, dats not gd! I understand that, buit if you are writing in English, or trying to speak it properly, then use it properly, I just cannot see how a Law graduate will survive without knowing this, and so also for other trades and careers. Sorry, just an irritation I had to get rid of. I will fly my Hallicopter to another topic of interest to get a helicopter view of it. JirreClérence!!

Over the last few years, especially after Eskom hit us with blackouts, this has been our savior, both in terms of being able to cook and heat, but also in terms of costs. Now that we are home permanently this has really come to the fore in terms of convenience and costs. I really must look into a gas-driven cellphone. Also a gas-driven pair of dance shoes. I could go completely off-grid with dancing. Like the time we danced in Botterkloof Pass on our way back from the Vleisfees in Calvinia! Bev, Allistaire and Jolene will remember this.

And now, to count down to 63!

DAY 40

I woke up to Bev reaching over for it lovingly, taking it in her hands and caressing it and then laying it against her cheek, close to her mouth. As the suspense reached a crescendo, she put her mouth to it and whispered sweet things loudly. It made me jump right out of bed! That phone of hers gets a lot more attention than I do!!!

And, come to think of it, this lockdown is starting to affect both of us in different ways. I am not sure if it is the onset of old age or just plain tartigeid! I go to the fridge, open the door, take out cat food, turn to find no cats and a cup of coffee awaiting milk. Also, I think there is a spell cast on the house as a whole, in terms of  language usage. I am sure there is a mix of Catlish and English. Whenever I say something to the cats, Bev enquires as to what I said to her! When I address her, she does not respond, but the cats do! I suspect I need to conduct a non-biased experiment involving a double blind scenario with a placebo and sufficient samples to make it statistically sound (n > 50; ρ > 0.05). Jissis, this pandemic is teaching me a lot of stuff, hey! After this, I would know without a doubt if I speak Catlish. Or if I am a Cat-holic! Or a Catholic! And then again, maybe a cat speaks Cattle-ish, or is that the language which cattle speak? And is the plural of cat = cattle? And sheep = sheeple? Because, in social media terms, peeps would be peeple!? And the latter is almost true in terms of spalling.

My allergies are giving me a bit of a crazy ride lately, keeping mind that I have had the standard flu shot for the first time. I am not relating one to the other, but rather wish to comment on the fact that things like a slight change in temperature, or humidity, or both at the same time, really impacts on my clogged nose and phlegmatic throat. And this scares Bev and, by implication, would scare any stranger out there in the general public while shopping.

I am desperately in need of two consumables right now. Good wood, not Goodwood! Did not get such when scouting the shops this morning. And now, with people back at work, life on the road seems to be akin to normal. The second is gas for our stove. Not all suppliers are open and, those that were, did not have stock. Google search tomorrow followed up by a trip to a supplier. Based on previous Facebook comments, having a local gas supplier in your house is an expression of love…… but if it’s not LPG, no help at all!

And finally, some comments on the name of our car + Harry! Now also known by a nom de plume i.e. Mr. Jack (or Gentleman Jack). The car will remain Harry for now until someone can unlock the name: Mr. Jack.

Support an animal sanctuary near you! In this time of Covid-19, most if not all donation-based support goes to people and less than usual to animals. Both are important!!!

DAY 39

Today I needed to hunt down a laptop! I had the exact description of the animal for which I was looking. This was courtesy of Allistaire Bredekamp who is multi-dexterous – a fire-lover of note and a firm believer in Growlers from The Aegir Project in Noordhoek. I just had to identify the correct canned hunting farm where such was garrisoned, after which I approached such and silently moved in for the kill, swiftly, and then……I pounced, credit card at the ready, swiped and killed!!! The bacon will be delivered, neatly prepared for the electronic dinner. Nom, nom, nom!!!!

Starting to work seemed like such a mountain to climb but, once back in the saddle, it was a lot less daunting than expected. It’s like falling off a bicycle. If you’ve done it once before, it’s so easy to do it again! Done and dusted.

It struck me, late last night, that it was late. And that I needed to go to bed to be bright eyed and bushy today. Being a bushy relates to my years as an alumnus of Bush College, also know as UWC. I need to be bushy today to both complete some work and then also to continue with my UWC Musings, in this case, Part the 13th. However, the word bushy also brings to mind Squirrel (Ramphosa) which in turn brings me to rabbits. We watched Peter Rabbit on Netflix last night. What a pleasant movie! A very predictable story line, but the quality of the animation techniques really made it a gem! Do yourself a favor. Watch it. With your kids if you have such!!

My mind is wondering off the Teams meeting right now. Been in front of this laptop for almost 6 hours now. Should go outside and tan me tootsies. I have not taken sun for a few days now. I suppose, with people going back to work as of today, more people will be taking sun after a few coolish days indoors over the long weekend. Which brings me to eating, Kalk Bay and caves.

It’s again just a penchant for being outdoors. And the freedom associated with it. And, in places such as Kalk Bay, the chance of having a good restaurant meal. A strange but interesting piece of information is that related to a specific eatery. I cannot recall its name but it is on the corner of Main Road and Boyes Drive joining it. The proprietor calls himself “The Naked Chef”, although I have never seen him naked. He has, once or twice, taken off his shirt, and that was enough for me! The restaurant itself was the previously public toilets for the area. Amazing that I did not realize that when first dining there! I suspect it is worthy of a mention in the touristy type brochures e.g. have you eaten at The Bog recently? Or: “You can go to the loo while eating your nouvelle cuisine“. Sometimes I don’t know my haute from my nouvelle! Or: In this establishment, you can have the runs without running! Not a nice thought, but a good catch line! And the latter is pertinent, since they serve a lovely fish braai (usually tuna). I must speak to the proprietor and see if I can make a quick buck as their pubic relations/ brand manager.

As for caves, I suggest you try meeting up with Boomslang Cave in the mountains above Kalk Bay. A nice starter for novice spelunkers. When you visit, please let me know whether you saw a sign advertising “Timmie’s Welding Works“, as well as one encouraging you to donate to the SPCA Western Cape.

DAY 38

A cool, somewhat grey day with a slight drizzle! Ideal for kick-starting The Beast this morning, get it going and then throttle it for a long, slow-warming effect. The latter reminds me of a few tots of Old Brown Sherry as imbibed many a dance evening when classes were still allowed.

The heat is being turned up on the lockdown as administered by the State, in particular with regard to the reinstatement of a ban on cigarette sales. But, together with this goes concerns about the ongoing efficacy and benefits of lockdown, especially with the economy and jobs going down the tubes. A difficult situation when you know that such a decision will decide how and when people die. There is little solace in the fact that, whatever is decided, people will contract the virus and, possibly, die. It seems so surreal that it is being viewed in what seems like a cold manner. But it’s not cold, rather a matter of acknowledging the fact and, considering the time bought by the lockdown, should have a minimal effect on the expected deaths.

Enough of the doom and gloom though! It’s been slow here in the newsroom, what with it being a Sunday. I just cannot get to read my stash of books for some reason. I suspect it has something to do with “formal” work I still need to complete and another Teams meeting at 14:00 tomorrow. But I’ll handle that. My penchant for reading then newspapers is also on the decline for a long time now. It is mostly due to online news feeds being quicker, but also due to the decline of the quality of reporting in some newspapers.

On a lighter note, this Facebook post about the art of farting appeared and sparked a flurry of comments with a lot of hot air exchanged. The nub of the matter relates to whom you would allow to be privy to your releases. Only a loved one? Or a lover? Or are you one of those free and breezy people? Also, what is the significance of your particular stance? Does it imply being comfortable in your body and your space, comfortable with someone else or is it just that you have a sphincter control problem. I could really expand, as does hot air, on this subject. However, I do not wish to cross the bounds of decency of this family show. If you wish to know my deeper thoughts on this, DM me for the exposé!

A good curry, a warm fire, soda water minus scotch, what more could I want!

DAY 37

Usually, writing these missives comes pretty easily to me. Today I must admit to struggling to sit down in front of the keyboard to start typing. I think its the lockdown slowly getting to me. It seems like my life is passing be by without me doing anything of note or producing anything productive. Or constructing anything constructive. It’s like: why am I even bothering to live?

Until I got my beautifully soft (from doing the dishes) paws on the latest hardcopy of the Go! magazine! Two exclamation marks in quick succession! And there’s a third! It just reminded me, as does the Voetspore travelogue, that there’s so much still to be seen and done. And this is only regarding local travel. There’s so much else still to do.

On a sad note, my friend living in the Land of the Long Cloud had lost his second cat, also 19 years of age! This is a few weeks after the first one passed. We will hang our flagons at half mast when we take cocktails at 16:00 G&T today! Moenie worry ou Grote,  the pain subsides soon and only good memories remain.

We had an interesting virtual dance class dealing with the finer points of the tango. Its really been an interesting journey using this medium for “live” teaching. I was initially concerned with how one would do this. Obviously, since dance space is limited and, in some cases, the learners (that faux modern word) are single i.e. not a couple. But is does work. And the good thing is that it really deals, step by step (pun intended), with the reasons behind each movement of body, feet and weight. We can do the basic tango (Bev better than myself), but I still learnt a lot. It tallies with what Ceaghan often says i.e. even though he turned professional at 18, he still learns a lot as he teaches others. I suspect he must have bunked a few classes in his day!

My allergies were at bay for the day, which made for a dry morning start without a dry run! No, I did not go exercising yet. I am saving that for during the week, including a short cycle. There’s much more traffic on the road this weekend, partly because of Level 4 introduced and also partly due to it being end of month. So, as people start going to work as of Monday, I will slip into the cracks created. I have been challenged to walk to Panorama Hospital and back since it is within the 5km radius allowed. Soon!!

The cracks: it reminds me of some other cracks I have met in my life. Potty brains, stop right there! I am on a serious topic here! The most significant was the Wolfberg Cracks in the Cederberg mountain range. As part of the walk up to the plateau, we were also able to walk to the magnificent Wolfberg Arch. The good old days! I walked this quite a long time ago. Michelle and Carin were with on that specific trip.

And now for something completely similar: In the latest Go! magazine, there is an article on the Moordenaars Karoo and the Buffels River Camino. Six days of slackpacking through the area sounds like my dream holiday in the near future. The maximum distance in any one day is about 20km. Want to walk with me? Normal SASE to be sent with buttered cheque. You know the drill by now. That reminds me Terry, when’s we doing the Camino?

Getting back to dancing, some of you may have read my blog regarding my dance shoes. Well, the topic gets interestinger!! I am now told, because of the beauty, grace and built-in twinkling toes, I need to get a new pair for practice only! Imagine that. I will have a special pair and then I can act like a medical doctor by running my practice. Actually dancing, not running! In other words, from where I come from, I will then have Christmas shoes and normal house shoes. Kanniewaggie! It’s like when, as a keen squash player in my youngish days, I could walk into the building with more than one racquet in my bag! One being my Greys for playing the big games, and the other(s) being a Whippet for smaller fry. I can then be brêkgat by walking into the arena for a warm-up in my house shoes and then dance competition in my Christmas shoes.

Oooooh jinnie, they do cost a bit of money though. Let me leave here now to go and save some money.

And, by the way, while I’m at it, think of supporting the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary near Prince Albert. They really are doing a sterling job and need your support!

DAY 36

Ahhh! A new day. Level 4 lockdown. Essentially even more strict than level 5. No change for us. The Truman Show!!!! This does include being able to exercise outdoors between 06:00 and 09:00. During what is now the cold and darkish dawn hours. Ripe for muggings, since you have to do this while isolating. I think I will deliciously mis-interpret this as between 6 and 9 in the evenings! You could then accidentally pop in to friends and neighbors and join their Workers Day braai!!

And of course, Auntie NDZ has introduced the teetotal effect recently by causing me to flame out on the last bottle of hooch to bury that mind-bending drone of a delivery a few nights ago. Who knew that ice cold water could, with a little bit of imagination, taste like a brewski or, at a stretch, like a whisky and soda. And it’s cheap at the price for a shot!! I must investigate this as an entrepreneurial opportunity as the lockdown lifts slowly. I am sure, with a little bit of persuasion and marketing, I can convince the fitness control freaks of this beverage being the ideal sundowner. ……..OK, a quick Google search told me this is what they already believe, and that they buy it in plastic (pollution) bottles or glass (imported) bottles!!! There goes my thought for the day! Le sigh!

Which got me thinking, something which I do ever so often! How to create an environmentally friendly container for water. I have an idea, and if you promise to keep it between us, I will let you in on it. It is a bit convoluted, so bear down with me! Thermonuclear fusion, which is what happens in the sun, giving us endless (almost) energy), is being copied here on earth. To contain the energy released in the fusion process, a container is needed that can withstand the heat generated, in this case an extremely strong electromagnetic field. Nice, né! And this container is gone when the electricity feeding it is switched off. No throwaway container. So all we need for water, is a field of electromagnetized water, or dinges, or mageftertjie! Then all should be ok! OK?

But, back to the pandemic. Recently, I posted about the notion that the ban on selling cigarettes was a proxy war in terms of cabinet factionalism. An opposing view is that this is due to NDZ, via being Minister of COGTA, is in Command of the process and is not necessarily her refuting Cyril’s role as President. And this is politics – not my forté! So I will leave the thought there.

And then, Prof. Karim’s original statement on air, which he later “relaxed”, that the lockdown and its efficacy had run its course! He restated that more recently. In my opinion, he made much sense in saying that we will have to live, under very controlled conditions, with the virus for a few years. He eerily used Trump’s words about areas where there will be “flames” which will need to be doused over the extended period. Who copied whom? Immaterial though!

The bottom line as I see it, and as nice summed up as can be in a Facebook post by Joe Samuels, who had listened into a webinar by the Professor, is that we need to live with it, and that we will not all die if common sense and good practice prevails. In my layman’s terms. This particularly points to the need to counterbalance lockdown versus economic activity with minimizing risk to life.

I go with the Prof! And I saw now now,  or just now, that relaxation of lockdown even further could be closer. But don’t quote me. This virus neither takes the weekend off nor does it go home. I must note that the last sentence comes live from CNN as I sit here typing at 19:36.

Long may your candle burn bright and give light to your feet and a lamp unto your wine cellar! Tomorrow, or the next day, I am going to walk toward Panorama hospital early in the morning to see what happens in that part of the world.

DAY 35

The last official day of Level 5 lockdown!!! I woke up with the bitter taste of unsmoken cigarettes,  even though I am not a smoker. That dull feeling of spent passion based on a dream that turned into a nightmare. Jirre jong, I will not put myself through such mind-numbing pain again. I tried to be a good citizen last night, but that Auntie NDZ just sucked all my COUNTRY allegiances right out of me. She was the textbook vacuum that nature abhors!!!

Now, beside the delivery (and kudos to her counterparts who were lucid, to the point and intelligible), the questions and anomalies that arose from the decisions taken were just waiting to be questioned. Where does one start with such a smorgasbord of clashing intentions and unintended consequences? My friend John called it a “disaster being delivered during a pandemic”!

I feel for parents with school-going children. From a distance, may I say that I would not allow my children to go to school within the next 3 months if I were in the position. Fortunately, there is some respite in that the 1st June is proposed as a start date. Watch this space, though. And, at my age (ooooh, it’s our birthday next week, Michelle!), I am definitely going to self-isolate as long as possible and not take unnecessary risks.

I am a Type 2 diabetic, which is a co-factor in terms of morbidity, together with age in this case. Fortunately, my blood sugar was 5,6 yesterday morning after two coffees with a quarter teaspoon of sugar in it, so I am doing OK on the sugar front. And today, forced to visit the local Spar for supplies, my temperature was measured as 36.7 degrees centigrade (imagine if the unit for temperature was tardigrade). So I am still going good. But , I won’t be out there increasing the chances of transmission either way. And I do not intend pushing up the number of deaths during the pandemic. Maybe immediately after, but not during. I want to be remembered for me, not for the fact that Covid got me!

I may, however, venture out on my bicycle, if I can work up the energy to inflate the tyres and remove the cobwebs. You see, I’ve got it worked out like this, I have friends and relatives staying within 5kms of home. I could easily cycle out their way for a quick toot, in the interest of fitness, and within the law. I could also top up my water bottle (or two) with the amber liquid and then cycle back home. It may a bit of a wobbly ride, but…. Hic!

The bike becomes an alcohol mule!!!! I could sell my services by cross-muling for all my friends. Please inbox me for services to be rendered. Cash on delivery. No chancers! R700 per bottle. However, knowing the entrepreneurial nature of South Africans, a separate network of booze-in-transit bike-jackers will emerge to compete and, in that way, muddy the already muddied waters of crime and corruption in this country.

And now, what do I call this particular series of blogs, since 35 days have now passed? You see, there’s another thing the State did not foresee. There are hundreds, nay thousands, of such blogs/ diaries being written on this topic, all of which will now suffer the naming dilemma. These  things become a part of one’s DNA and takes on lives of their own. I may even consider registering this one at Home Affairs in order to draw child support in a future collapsed economy.

Hmmmmm! There’s a thought for Bev!! She has always dreamed of adopting 5 little snot-nosed, orphan boys of about the same young age, in order to raise them and, in the process, drive me nuts. We can do this now, and make some money out of it! Nah! I am past the child-bearing age. My hips would not be able to bear (down on) it. We will stick with little Luke and little Quincey (one in Blackheath and the other in Konolfingen).

I am running out of significant opposition in my Scrabble Go games. Which brings me to another thing – Scrabble is partly a game of chance in terms of the letters allocated to you. At the same time it is also based on your language and spelling acumen. However, a third force (sounds so sinister – see later) – that is, which dictionary is used as the reference source for the game. In this present version of the game, just about anything goes!!! Must be an Americanized dictionary. Not ayoba! Makes some players look unusually good! But  I discovered the secret – when in doubt, place a tile and see what the automatic spell-check response says  e.g. Not A Valid Word. Then try another guess. No penalties, nada! The game should rather be called Scribble in this case, since that is what you are doing, doodling thoughts onto the board and waiting for acceptance of a word. But, in the absence of other distractions, I doodle on.

Oh, and that reminds me! Do you know where the meaning of, or derivation, or etymology, of “sinister”? Sinister means ‘Left” in Latin. As in left-handed people being considered “strange outliers” among predominantly right-handed persons. Funny hey! Not you right-handed folk, the others! Funny!!!

Now to pump up my wheels!

DAY 34

Penultimate at Level 5 of lockdown if all goes well. There’s quite a debate on social media and in the newspapers, both pro and con in terms of relaxing lockdown. It seems that the game is now more political than based on science, according to an article penned in Business Day. Prof. Salim Karim had remarked that lockdown has done what it needed and may now not be as effective a tool anymore.

However, overall decisions based on science and any other information remains in the hands of the politicians. The sale (or not) of alcohol and cigarettes have also been part of this debate, specifically in terms of whether it affects the spread of the virus. There is a line of thought that this is being pushed by certain ministers based on their own proclivities. Interesting, but for me, no specific impact at all. Let’s see what happens.

Dance class this morning left a lot of blood on the dance floor. Trimming my somewhat questionable moves in the Rumba and the Cha Cha elicited very unhappy noises from the local instructor, who doubles as Manaygement. The sole dance student was also the only Union member. Somewhat disjointed movements between hips that did not communicate too well with feet was met by derisory snorts of disgust and followed by comments such as “…jy kan grade agter jou naam met, maar met dom heupe en voete help dit niks!”. Some of the comments were too colorful for a family show. I have considered approaching one of our acronyms which protect Union members such as myself. Maybe the HRC, the HSRC, SRC, CSIR or NCRST (Namibia).

However, with respect to the above, I am learning, a bit! I know I will be protected once we get back to full face to face classes. Our Instructor will protect me from those mortal verbal blows to my pride and confidence. One day is one day!!! Ceaghan, hoor djy vi’ my?

Now tell me something, are you one of those dinosaurs who use “predictive text”? Really?? Why?  And, my apology to dinosaurs. I hate it and have hated it since it hit me one day when words appeared in my texts or mails that I did not write or mean! Nay man!! Did you not go to grandma…grammar school where they taught the rules of sentence construction and spelling? Is djy te lui om voluit ‘n woord te spel?

Oooh, now I am on to a thing……those people that write without vowels on Facebook or Twitter! Are they saving virtual ink or virtual space or data. Kom, ek koep vi’ jou somme data, né! Moetie worry, dis ‘n donasie! I hate it. I saw one this morning that, honest to goodness, I struggled to transcribe. I usually associated this phenomenon with laaities, but it seems it is creeping up the age ladder. At the same time, to be fair, it was a lot more prevalent a few years ago. Maybe it’s that my social media circles are much, much older people nowadays. Helloooo, you old fogies!!! No names, no pack drill!

And then we were treated to the highlight of the day. A should-be pensioner drawling (and I am sure drooling) all over the TV screen about something or other, including reversing a decision on the sale of cigarettes under lockdown. An interminable, monotonous monosyllable about 2 hours long. How can you delegate the delivery of such important messages to this woman, Cyril?? Please, in future, hire a presenter to do the job for her. She can then go to bed early and gather her energies for other important government functions.

Early yesterday morning I read a Business Day column by Peter Bruce, where he pre-empted the reversal of the cigarette sales issue. He put this down to the puritans in the Command Council (NDZ and Cele) and also to “factionalism” playing itself out even at this level! Politics versus Pandemic!!!!

But back to the delivery of the message by NDZ who, by now, needs to be put out to pasture! Eseltjierus sounds like an appropriate venue. The Cabinet needs to lower its average age soonest. She actually drove me to opening my last standing bottle of Jameson’s. That is a really crucial indicator of how kak she came across.

And, to add insult to injury, Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, who was answering questions lucidly on the pandemic just before, was cut short in order to cross to the Command Council address. Which was more valuable?

p.s. And while I am on it, please consider a donation to the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary in McGregor.

DAY 33

The first working day of the last week under stage 5 lockdown (we hope)!!! And a new working day in the life of the Agrifood Technology Station. As much as the higher education sector is still sorting itself out, we have to go on in the background and prepare for what is very likely going to be an onslaught of requests for assistance post-lockdown from our small and medium enterprises. I have to put together a status report and the plan for next couple of weeks and months. An interesting and challenging job to keep my mind busy during lockdown.

And yes! Is it to be Level 5 or Level 4 for us as from Friday 1st May in the Western Cape? In material terms it does not make much difference for us mere mortals. I think it is Level 3 to be attained that has more attraction and more freedom for us. Time will tell. At least my allergies are quieter today. It will allow me to procure some more medication.

An afternoon’s dance class about the finer points of the weight changes in the Rumba and the Cha Cha made so much sense. The two dances are very similar. When you learn the basic step it is even easier. Once you start to concentrate on “expression”, it becomes a little more difficult at first, but it finally all makes so much sense. Now that I am learning to express myself in these dances, I can even throw in a few choice expletives without missing a beat. Ek vloek met die beat, is ja!!!!!!!

Getting to things a tad more serious, Bingo is getting a bit adventurous lately. He is a little dog, living two doors away. He looks a bit like Snowy, of Tintin fame! When  his owner (illegally) walks with him in the morning, he tends to be drawn toward our house because he knows there are cats here. Fortunately, because of his size, I expect that any day now Purrcy will walk in with him, clamped in his jaw, and drop it down as an offering in front of me. Or he may insist on a small spit braai as a celebration, together with some bubbly. You never know hey!

Amazing how time flies. I did not get to do everything I planned for the day. I need to be a little more controlled about my time budget. OK, from tomorrow, a Hitler approach will be adopted. Up at the crack of Dawn, cold shower, teeth brushed and into some work. That’s only after a long, lazy breakfast, a snooze in the morning sun and an early lunch.

Yep, sure I can do this!!!

DAY 32

Another slow start to the day due mostly to my allergies aggressively showing me what some of the symptoms of Covid-19 could look like. I hate these day when all my defenses, inclusive of medication, fail me. Can you imagine me going hopping during a sneezing bout, with runny nose and rheumy eyes? I fear that even if I leave home with sinuses clear, bright eyed and bushy tailed, by the time I reach the spice aisle, everything could just clog up. Should I drop and run, or steel myself against glares and stares? The toss of a coin will have to decide that!!

I watched How to Steal a Country this morning, courtesy of Showmax. I can promise, as much as you have been following the news over the last umpteen years, and particularly during the Zuma years, it is still a sobering documentary. Today I was labelled a “glass half full guy”, but I must admit the movie tested that label thoroughly. Still half full:-) The most sobering point was right at the end just before rolling the credits: Nobody has yet been (successfully) prosecuted….!!!!

Our Maine Coon pretender is overly loving today. Not sure what the intention or challenge is though. Maybe its just that we have now spent about a month closeted together with both cats. Either that or he wants to know when it is siesta time! Or maybe he wants to know about why I do not use the same ablution facilities as he does, which is usually outside the kitchen door or behind the garage.I am not sure I have the heart to tell him. Siestog!

Level 4 of lockdown: it is still not clear to me what exactly is meant by being allowed to exercise on one’s own? Or why I cannot (as much as it is law) go to the Tygerberg Nature Reserve for a long, solitary walk? But that’s not the bad part. Cape Town is one of the Covid hot spots in the country (KZN and Guateng are the others). There is a suggestion that this will result in us being held at Level 5 longer than the rest  of the country. In contrast, as an example, and from an unofficial source, Beaufort West will go to Level 3. Mense,  I have friends there, so I may have to say bye bye for now. But not right now!!

As with most things for which you wish, once unlockdown arrives, it may turn out to be a dampish squib based on the remnants of continuing lockdown. At the same time, being the glass half full guy, the ongoing practices attached to lockdown will surely have many unplanned benefits. As mentioned in a previous post, its still amazing to see people smile more often, even if its transmitted by a crinkle of the eyes behind an ill-fitting, often home-made, mask.

And again, on the lighter side, wearing masks may have surprising benefits. For the ladies, your morning make- up routine may not be entirely necessary, except for the eyes! Less need to shave for men, but I suppose that’s not a big thing. Also, if you still have morning breath or a left-over tinge of alcohol on your breath, this could be disguised. And then, Phantom of the Opera as recently flighted on YouTube, can become a welcome reality for some of us. Except that in this case it would suit people with lower facial challenges.  Lastly, for those lurking in the shadows conducting shady business, now is your time to act anonymously with full permission for your disguise.

And finally, Bev spent a lot of her time recently and today collating photos of herself and friend from over the world wearing or displaying items of dress (or artifacts) related to an agreed upon theme. She produced a number of collages which are available on her wall on Facebook. Ask to join if you wish. Lockdown will still be with us for a while.

Bev

How I am dying to see a  petroglyph or two! Right now!!

DAY 31

Another beautiful morning. It was kicked off with a marathon session to adjust my Cha Cha Chaa to match our latest lesson of yesterday. I am quite adept at the basic rhythm and step but now just needed to brush up on a few niceties around the sequence. A good snifter of brandy would have assisted greatly in oiling the the rhythmic wheel in my brain. However, the tank is empty. I managed all the same to make progress. A late breakfast of leftovers perked me up to start all sorts of nonsense, both in my head and in practice.

In a recent mail, I referred to the term “balang” i.e. the art of falling arse over tit for no reason at all in the most embarrassing situations. Well, Purrcy, our Maine Coon pretend cat, decided to enact such a balang, although, in his defence, it was not without reason, the latter which is a requirement for a true balang. You see, standard practice is that, after arising (that is myself from the bed and not after a balang), catnip is sprayed on the duvet for his next sleep. However, also standard practice, he does a few mock head butts and rolls, this time rolling right off the bed to his utmost surprise. He climbed back on and went to sleep surprisingly sheepishly:-) This extended family seems to be balang prone. And for the uninitiated, the correct language usage for the act of balanging on the Cape Fléts is:”he did balang“!

I had forgotten to mention our grandkitty, based in JHB with his Daddy, and by name Haloumi, went missing again for about 18 hours recently. The cat’s name is Haloumi, the Daddy is Larry! This is not long after his previous two weeks sojourn at what is suspected to be a place of ill repute (the cat, not Larry). Routine questioning of the absconder could not elicit any further info on his travels. Suffice to say he was sentenced to being on a leash for all his toilet outings for the following few hours. Imagine the ignominy of having to “go” in front of your dad! Shém, one has to feel for Larry! One of the first post-lockdown activities must be a road trip to visit them for a few days. ‘S gotsa to be a rad road trip!!

Speculation about the whereabouts and health of Kim Jong Un has abounded, with quite a few memes in this regard. I just read a post quoting an Australian source that he had passed away. No confirmation yet, but, where there’s smoke, there’s a crematorium.

The Voetspore series also involved a trip down the West Coast. I had done this once as part of a team of vans and, I suppose, a caravanserai should have been the ideal destination but no, it was roughing it all the way. The road itself is a bit tough in places, requiring 4-wheel drive. However, I suspect there are better roads further from the beach for more timid off-roaders like myself. I must investigate this for a future trip on my own. Any takers?

The route itself is spectacular if you like a rugged coastline and lots of ice cold wind and an ice cold swim. I did the “swim” by immersing myself slooowwwly into the cold water and just lying there bobbing in small waves. Naked! Out of site of course! Me, not my significant body parts. Most campsites are set up in the lee of a skerm i.e. a semi-circular stone wall. Where such was not available, one would then need to park in the lee of a sand dune or bush. But utterly refreshing when opposed to a hot, dry and dusty Karoo!

Bev made frikkadels for late lunch/early dinner. She claimed to have inadvertently broken a few during the frying process. Notwithstanding my offers of help, she soldiered on. I finally discovered why some of them were “broken” during the process. They served as the source of tasters which, if I had not discovered, would have precluded me from being in the testing team!!! You need eyes in the back of your head in these parts:-) And, as a reward for all this, I got to wash the dishes again, contributing to my baby-soft hands. Anyone for a message about a massage!?

frikkies

Getting back to Voetspore, I think I will try to plan a few short trips for post-lockdown. But this will include significant detail, beside just the route and the key sleepover points. Should be interesting. I also have many Go! magazines to supplement such information as a guide for the trips. I think the first one should be a West Coast trip via Lamberts Bay/ Vredendal up to Hondeklip Bay! And possibly further! The usual: send SASE to me to indicate whether you wish to accompany me. Coupons for future rides may also be bought pre-Covid unlockdown to ensure pace for you. Send the usual buttered cheque in SASE.

Keep an eye out for the trip and all its glorious detail.

DAY 30

A smashing virtual dance class today. Again, the nicest part of this type of class is that, at best, only the finer points of different dances are covered. This is something that takes a bit of time and cannot always be attended to in group lessons per individual. Even the cats tried to get in on the show.

Purrcy

Most of the day was spent flicking between the news and watching re-runs of Voetspore, the most recent being the being in South Africa itself. It is something I have promised myself I will do, if not in total, then definitely in parts. The start of their trip deals with the Northern Cape and includes the Richtersveld and Knersvlakte. It eventually goes right down to the Tankwa Karoo National Park.

As mentioned in a previous post, this is not the type of program to watch during a lockdown. Jou hart verlang sômme na die berge! As also previously mentioned, you feel you could call the neighbor and just ask him to slit your wrists to help you on your way:-) Nevertheless, Leliefontein, Papkuilsfontein, Nigramoep, Pakhuis Pass, Niewoudtville, Ganaga Pass, Perdekloof Pass, Ouberg Pass: I will visit soon. Beside the unique flora of the region, just being out in peace and quiet, broken only by yourself or a rowdy crowd you invited on the trip, is priceless.

Just be warned. Watching the series is extremely interesting, what with all the sites and history thrown at you. If you wish to do it on your own, you will need to do the appropriate preparation in terms of identifying the sites and history attached to it before you go. Otherwise you drive through a rock-strewn terrain without really appreciating the beauty. And you will also need to meet the residents and spend some time with them to understand the history.

It’s the first evening of lockdown I went to bed early, since Purrcy usually starts indicating that it is time at about 21:00. Past practice was going to bed later than 23:00 to ensure a full nights uninterrupted sleep, beside cats waking one for attention or feeding. What a blissful 12 hours of sleep. Ask Westwood Vernon Yon about having problems getting a full night.

Another interest taking up some of my time is a project dealing with producing of sanitizer (hand and surface) as well as liquid soap as a contribution toward the pandemic. My own feelings indicate that the latter product is most appropriate, since making sanitizer involves ensuring a 60% alcohol content. Which means procuring and storing a highly flammable liquid. But my biggest problem is that, in this alcohol prohibition zone that is lockdown, I may be “bought”. Corruption is cheap.

Just putting it out there. No chancers. Cash on collection if it were to happen. Bring your own empty flagons. Collection may involve  a tasting exercise to ensure it is djanuwin. For a small fee, a bit of caramel, sugar and water could be added to simulate Old Brown Sherry, know as OBS in the fraternity. This not, not fake news! If you had read a specific blog in UWC Musings, you would know that I know my way around such things. N.B please not the double negative for those preparing to report me to  the authorities!

However, with colleagues in the team with moral rectitude as part of their diet, there is a slightly large chance that this will not succeed. Let me get back to my left-over wine collection, all of which are well below half-full and which somehow reminds me of oxidised goeters!

DAY 29

Bev just said: The Truman Show. I agreed with: Groundhog Day. And so are the days of our lives. After Cyril’s delightfully comic turn last night, aside from the serious stuff, we have undertaken to attend masking classes. This relates to how to mask, and de-mask (or unmask), gracefully in front of millions of people. It could be akin to a strip show, considering that there are supposedly considerable skills in such acts. Do you see a new bedroom dress up game here? Not your usual masked or caped superheroes, but a more situational one involving “that mask”! Yoh! I better stop there. I am starting to sweat even though its pretty cool this morning.

Had a pretty interesting Teams meeting this morning. All about soap, suds and sanitizers! Don’t you think it fits well with the aforementioned topic about …..never mind! Let’s keep it clean, but not the soapy type clean, the other!

Bev and her friends, from far and near, had embarked upon a “challenge” or dress-up theme for the duration of lockdown. Being the consummate point and shoot photographer that I am, and also being the only Union member on the premises, I was roped in to do the necessary. This was posted in Facebook. And I was shocked by the feedback. In particular, the numbers who either “liked” or actually commented on the posts! Skaam djullle nie vir djulle nie? When I post something along similar lines about myself: nada, niks and nothing!! OK, maybe not nobody commenting, but I know those who comment are actually obliged to do so since I “like” everything they post. I need to count my friends and re-assess during this period of self-reflection. Maybe I need a few mirrors to acknowledge myself, and befriend, around the dining table. In actual fact, with 4 mirrors, I am obliged to pour 5 drinks, and in these hard times, one does not want to waste poured licker, ! Dinner for five, m’lud?

Being totally anti-proscrastination, I have long put off my wish to do the projects set out for me at the start of lockdown. I will refuse to start them later than planned and hereby totally reject and jettison them. Now, having done that, and wiped my mental slate clean, I re-dedicate myself to start those projects tomorrow. It means I would not have procrastinated at all and would be on time and, tomorrow, on point. You can come back here at end of day tomorrow and you’ll see.

The day is ending with such good weather, it almost demands a braai. But I will resist this urge in favor of curried prawns since it is payday. We who still get such are really privileged to have such a facility. It is sometimes so difficult to imagine the state of an impoverished household or family if you do not sit down and concentrate on it. Watching fleeting pictures on TV has an immediate impact on you but which wears off quickly in the face of other news, whether about the struggling masses or some better news.

You really have to imagine and immerse yourself in a situation to start realizing how hopeless one can feel when faced with some of the challenges associated with poverty. In ‘Normal” life, even having a job does not pull you out of poverty if you are still living under the breadline or whatever threshold is used. In a strange way, I sometimes compare this to my student days when we (students) were generally financially poor, but rich otherwise.You had to tough it out to month’s end for that contribution from the parents to give you a lifeline for comestibles and sanitary consumables.

Which brings me to the other side of the coin while being a student. If you were lucky enough, as I was from my second year, to have a car, your penury was that much more acute. Petrol, more the leveler than death itself! You had to be a master of compromise and a deft handler of opportunities. Anyone needing a ride to somewhere, you made an offer since there would always be an extra litre or two of fuel left. Going home for holidays to PE: you took passengers at R20 a shot X 3 = R60. Fuel for going home averaged about R25 = instant profit. The car being a Beetle, luggage was a problem but, with persuasion, this was kept to a minimum. And don’t talk about “loan change” day i.e. when the balance of your bursary paid out to you somewhere in the region of R80. You were catapulted into the ranks of eating burgers en route home and supping from the finest lurk to be found at whichever shebeen was nearest.

It’s like the start of today. An unexpectedly fine day after a few greyish ones with cool temperatures. It is 17:20 and I am sipping a cold beverage which shall not be defined or described here. Doing so would attract the attention of scammers and friends of ill repute. They will know who they are. Sorry Westy, not you since you are in PE but, you never know!!

DAY 28

Did I wake up early this morning with a headache? Did I have a sore throat? Any other similarities with Covid-19 symptoms? I cannot smell nor taste well!! And I do not smell good as well – a symptom of the lockdown since we do not always have to be as presentable as with other working days:-)

Don’t worry! All’s well …… the supposed headache was more a function of my anosmia and an allergically blocked nose. No sore throat. No real cough. All systems go and jumped into a Teams meeting again! It seems as if my contract may be extended courtesy of Covid. I am ambivalent about this but ….. the call is: Staan vas, Manne!! It does make me feel so useful in this stressful time. Not that I consider myself such a valuable cog in the wheel though.

I sit with so many ambivalent feelings, it seems I could exchange electrons both ways with any element or compound near me. My valency is almost playing it both ways. It may need my base elements to come out of the closet and into the sunshine of the Periodic Table. Ooooh, this distracting topic could easily distract me into an extended conversation about swapping and sharing on a molecular scale, obviously something which would sell well on the open market , ‘cos sex sells!! Goodness gracious, I have stumbled on a marketing tool to entice new students into the field of chemistry, what with swapping and sharing hydrogen atoms (or their electrons or protons). Mmmmmmhhhh! A  diverse menagerie of particles. And, if you dig deeper, there are so many more particles, some annihilating each other, some converting from matter to energy and vice versa. An orgy of sub-atomic naughtiness! OOOOOHHH YARRRIE!! It’s coming to me! A dancing dervish frenzy of subatomic particles with unknown intent. Maybe, nihilation is what it’s all about. And please spell and pronounce that “N” word properly, né.

Do you see this as a subject of an extended ramble in a mini-book form? A hot to trot book of cosmic proportions? Hmmm! I must investigate this by sending Mr. Plod out to do some investigating.

Back to reality! Or my version of it! My life is such that I am dying to coddiwomple in the drier parts of the country with the proviso of always being close to a river. This will allow me the pleasure of getting away from the city and its stressful way of living and, more importantly sometimes, get away from cockwombles such as Donald Trump! What a Poohpall, with many apologies to my favorite Bear*, that being Pooh!! Trump defintiely is a pall on the world outlook. It’s amazing what the far right is doing in the USA in terms of Covid-19 i.e. dissing it and not wanting to obey the logic that is lockdown. From Trump, it seems politicking is the order of the day, not human lives and the betterment thereof for the whole population. I read an enlightening article from the New York Times regarding Mitch McConnell, showing that politicians often do not have the interests of the voters at heart.  Heartless varke, sometimes. Note: I do not have stats of the percentage of heartless varke, since wolves hide in sheeps’ clothing. Hence vague terms. And no, this is not an agricultural show:-) 

Its bizzare, and not alles klaar, Herr Komissar! I am waiting to see how the USA gets out of this with such pulchritudinous levels of public debate, especially as espoused through the charismatic churches and Fox News. To follow a condensed and lighthearted version of events in the USA, I encourage you to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. We needed a program such as this during the Zuma years!!

And after so long, the awaited talk by Cyril. Obviously, each person has his or her own wish in terms of unlocking. For myself, I don’t mind anything, as long as I can get in the car and, as mentioned, coddiwomple. Just to really get out there, stop when and where I want, drive on, stop again, take in the view and the fresh air and then sleep over somewhere. But, we takes what we gets and makes the most of it. But, having listened to him, no coddywompling but, at least, some rules for limited exercise. I cannot wait to hear what this entails. Maybe I can ride my bike with Bev doing side-saddle? Anyway, we will hear more in the coming week in this regard. He did mention the elderly!! Hy moetie mor’sie! Nie met ôssie! Fortunately I look like a 12 year old, so I’ll slip through.

On a lighter note, I understand that Caryn balanged at home. This term is an exquisite example of that rich Cape vernacular to which I often refer, and heretofore (or some such grandiose term) brought up by Larry (not me). For the uninitiated, Larry is our son in law and unfortunately (for him) married to Caryn:-).  Balang essentially means falling or stumbling awkwardly as in “arse over tit”. Why she did it, or felt the need to share it, is beyond me.

I will end by admitting that I also balanged in the exact same spot in her house pre-lockdown. We are now balang-twinsies! And who better a person to be twinsies with than the expert of balanging!!! I have witnesses, with evidence of such. In Long Street, no less. Home of the crooked restaurateurs!

* Pooh Quote of the day: “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day”.

DAY 27

Aaaaahhhhhh! A really, seriously, unchallengingly, irrefutably, legal reason for leaving the house – Bev’s hospital day for her infusion. She usually has this once a month but, with the lockdown, it was somewhat interrupted. As we drove out, I was openly flaunting our trip, looking keenly for road blocks and anybody faintly related to law enforcement. Even when a security van passed, I smiled broadly and gave the thumbs up to the driver – no response though!!! Darn!

BevHide your children! She’s on the loose!!

This really riled me! Where are the police, or even the army, when you need them! I now understand the constant carping about poor services in this regard in our area. Maybe they’re out in Strandfontein, sadly, looking for a chance to use rubber bullets and other forms of crowd control?

Here I was wasting a good opportunity to be stopped, quizzed and searched for contraband. I could see myself smiling in a brêkkerige way when they find nothing!!! But, my wishes were not granted. Note: this commentary is posted with a dollop of tongues in my cheek and with all due respect to the terrible situation of homeless people in the country and, particularly, in this province and city! For those not familiar with this, please click the link above to get an idea.

Two good things happened to me during the morning:
1. Getting a FB message from Diana from whom I had neither heard of nor seen since High School days. Still crazy after all these years!
2. The lockdown roads are empty, but this does not give people the right to drive recklessly. A speedster coming down Frans Conradie Drive was not aware of the speed trap (ja, even during lockdown) and drove through it at about 100 kph in a 60 kph zone. Eina! But it looked like a small contractor’s van – a further eina for the employee driving the vehicle, shem!

More Durban memories to while the time away! My Aunt Maude and Uncle Basil had created a cousin just before they left for Australia. I recall having a sort of picnic in the harbour area when Wayne was still a little baby. The vehicle of choice was a Cortina Station Wagon, a larney car for those days! There’s a photograph (real, not a selfie) somewhere in the house. I also met, and made friends with a boy called Steven who, many years later, I would meet in Cape Town through another friend. It took a while to connect the dots. Other memories included visits to the Ocean Terminal which, for us as kids, was a reason for being served ice cream. Also, Uncle Ben treating us to dinner at the Himalaya Hotel (not the Shah Jehan), my first such at an hotel. I suspect it was a supper club-type affair. Durbanites will know this term better than I do.

It’s now just over a week to go to the end of the existing lockdown period. Seeing all the joke and memes about alcohol and tobacco sales being prohibited (and some pending court cases), it make me wonder how the unlocking will go. Let’s picture this in an extreme situation i.e. a total unlocking with no restrictions!!!! 06:00 Unlockdown day: queues snaking all the way from the Ultra Licker store in Parow right past the Police Station. This is the same Station where loiterers were picked up recently on the rumor that the licker store would  open prematurely during lockdown. Imagine the jibes aimed at police, in anticipation of a legal chance to buy the vile stuff. That rich Cape vernacular would be flowing strong and fast, mostly dealing with the genitals and lineage of the Station staff’s parents!!!! And then the post-lockdown party and its physical drain on the health and well-being of the participants. Sies, maa dis lekker!!!! would be the phrase of the day.

This thing about herd immunity (HI) is bothering me. I don’t know why I suspect foul play in terms of the stratification of society with respect to HI. You know, since herd relates to animals, which animal do I equate to in this herd. Are white people different to black people e.g. sheeps and donks? Male and female, are they different animals in the suggested herd? Tall people and short people? Giraffes and Dik-Diks?

You must understand, with our country’s history, any form of forced differentiation due to physical characteristics or traits is bound to cause consternation and suspicion.  The hackles rise. Fortunately, after consulting Encyclopedia Brittanica, I heard that it was maar just a medical term for enough of us being infected and having survived to make the herd invincible by immunity. Although, invincible may be to strong a word!! Maybe infertile? i.e. the virus can’t grow there!! Now, now!!!! No need to put on the glazed wildebees look, you’re going nowhere to look to test this adjective!!!

No dance class today. Withdrawal symptoms starting to appear in the form of something akin to the yips suffered by a nervous golfer about to putt for an eagle! Ceaghan and Lloyd – do you know this condition? In my case, it’s a jumpy, tarty looking beweging! You know, the St Vitus dance move – short, sharp, jerky movements!

Anyway, I’m off to the putting green to iron out the yips in the gyri of my poor brain. See you on the morrow!

DAY 26

It’s really strange how the humdrum of lockdown has fixed itself in my brain. The only thing on our minds now is, will the lockdown be extended or will it be relaxed slowly by day 35. In a blasé way, it does not matter! The President will be making an announcement this evening on this matter. Yeah, bring it on Cyril!!

My ramblings yesterday about my primary school days travelling on the bu, dodging geese and suchlike, elicited quite a few response and chat on the topic. Even Bev was “intrigued” by it, since it is not a topic one has time to think of, and pronounce on. So, in the absence of anything else in the drudge of the day, beside a virtual dance lesson at 16:00, here goes some more memories, with a bit of humor injected. I trust that my engrams do not lie in that sometimes memories are embellished by haziness and time.

I started school in Sub A in Melbourne Road Primary (now Albert Street Primary) in Durban, not too long ago. We had moved there for the family to open up opportunities. I was destined for the fast track to university by age 11, but the lack of facilities to accommodate my brilliant intellect just was not available at that time. My Dad always, when making a discovery or solving a problem, would say: “Brilliant!! I should see  doctor about this!!“. But they never took me to a doctor!!!

Ms. Groom was unfortunate enough to be my teacher. I spent the first hour wailing and the rest of the day sulking. My Aunty Maude coming to fetch me was the highlight of the day, and many days thereafter. However, as I became attuned to the game, things got better. I sat next to a young lady, by the name of Claire, who amazed me by rubbing her hands together until little black sausages of smet of appeared, Initially, I could not conjure up same, and only found out later that, if you did not wash your hands at all during the day, it could be done quite easily. I was soooo impressed!! My mother was not!!

Out of boredom, being highly gifted, I started copying some printed text from a piece of scrap paper in class. My teacher was so impressed, she went around showing all her colleagues how I copied something related to papgeld!!! I did not know what that was but I was happy to claim the adulation and laughs. Now I know! What did I know!!!

The I was moved to another primary school (I think it was called Hillcrest Primary, next to Greyville racecourse) for some reason. The best memories there related to the cup of warm milk and a biscuit in the morning, and then the news that we were going back to Port Elizabeth. Not sure why about the latter, since my memories were only beginning to form. But family very likely the reason. Durban was hot and humid, and this did not agree with my Dad’s health status. Some of the sad parts of leaving Durban was that I would neither get to play with Monkey Balls in Mitchell Park anymore, nor would I be able to frolic in the bush around the Admiral Hotel. And independent bus rides from school with my season ticket. And move we did. The value of the Rand spiked on the day we got back to PE.

But, back to the present. The suns out, weakly. but bravely. The dance class taught me one thing that Bev had always complained about, but which I never acknowledged because….I know it all! All remedied. Cannot wait try dancing with the other lady participants one day to see how we’ve improved. And I am sure we have! Challenge to the lady dancers: prove me correct!!

And finally, Cyril’s remedial pep talk tot he nation: well done!! More than apolitical me expected. However, the kudu in the room, which is, of course, lockdown and its duration. It’s like a drama series where one is left on tenterhooks one episode after another!!!! Alfred Hitchcock style! How and when will it end or start being phased out?

The downside was the wet blanket with the speech impediment viz. NDZ! It may be that hotspot areas such as KZN, Gauteng and the Western Cape may remain on lockdown longer than other areas. And remember Slim’s slides: over 60s may be asked to do additional voluntary lockdown!!

The universe seems to be conspiring against my retirement and its bucket list! Aaarrggghhh!!!

DAY 25

The day started off via our bi-weekly cleaning spree. Manaygement really got serious about this, keeping in mind that our 10:00 dance class was cancelled due to someone having a run for their money. It reminded me of a British sitcom many year ago where “clenching” and “de-clenching” was the topic of the day. The program Coupling ran from 2000 – 2004, and this topic was explored relating to a bathroom re-design. Hilarious!

Fortunately, due to our present cleaning regime, as the sole Union representative, I am coping quite well. At least I now know the drill and the Standard Operating Procedure applied. As I had described in a previous post, this is another activity that allows one to think, cogitate, consider, and take decisions in those few things and practices of which I have control over in this environment. It does not soften my already baby bum soft hands, but it does stress the back a bit due to sweeping or vacuuming. I can see myself becoming a top batsman one day, since my hunch while awaiting the new ball would be built-in and, when addressing the rising new ball, I can play it deftly with soft hands.

Another Teams meeting which was much better than the last just in terms of handling the technology, or so I thought until I realized that nobody could hear me. And I don’t think they missed me…….sob!!!! And I thought it would be shorter. And I thought the moon was a ball of cheese. So much for thawtfullness.

The neighborhood watch lit up with feverish activity: The Covid-19 testing bus was parked next to the cafe around the corner. The old tannies and the conservative-minded were all in flurry of communication. The group was worried about who would be tested, would they test everybody, warnings not to let anyone into your house and numerous other legitimate and also “fake news” concerns. Some bus (as in Afrikaans for busybody) people went to the bus out of pure busgeid! It’ a quiet area, so any activity like this becomes a distraction from the boredom of lockdown. Or it’s just because the degree of busgeid totally outnumbers the brain cells that are non-bus in the person(s) in question!! But it was all quite innocuous in the end. All went back to their houses with flushed faces, heavy breathing, pounding heart and…..never mind, this is a family show!

It’s amazing how, having time to think, how your mind dredges your sub-conscious database and highlights certain items. A recent Facebook post showed my interaction with Samoosa Blare: those baked fragments of samoosa pastry after production of  a batch. We got it at 1 cent a packet. What a bargain! I must encourage my mental algorithm to do more of this since it involved an interesting dredging of other minds as well.

I remember dying to “fly the bus”. Nope, I did not die, and nope, I did not want to become a pilot. This relates to the old omnibus where you entered via a platform at the back and then you could walk up to the upper level. The brave people would jump of the bus while it was moving but then had to do a running deceleration. Only the manne could do this. But I was not a manne and was also prohibited from doing so by sane and logical, but frustrating, parental advice.

Once we had a lighted (alit?) from the bus, we would walk down past Meralyn and Anthea’s family homes (this was before I knew them in person). However, this was not always a straight forward process. Behind the Sonop (the local hotel and bottle store) there lived a temperamental flock of geese. Depending on the mood of the day, you would have crossed their territory on the run, worse than flying the bus!!! A safer route was past Wheelsons General Dealer, but no, we preferred to live dangerously.

Back to the 20th April 2020. By now you would gather that this had been an uneventful day, beside the dance practice on our own. The cold weather made it feel good to work up a good sweat, followed by a brief shower, and then being tucked in for the night by 17:00 in my nagvrokkie!

Sweet dream are made of this, …!

DAY 24

After yesterday’s online dance lesson, our Instructor, Ceaghan Goliath, happened to mention  an oxtail dish in the offing. That put my salivatory thoughts into action toward retrieving frozen oxtail from the bowels of the freezer. And today, lunch was a feast of oxtail doused in spiced sauce with leeks, potatoes, carrots and celery.

Being slim in build and slim of mind, I purposely had a modest helping, something which I keep forgetting to do during this lockdown. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: lunch is ready, wolf down two helpings, pend the rest of the afternoon porcinely gathering energy for another go at the trough. Nope, this time I had lady’s portion in anticipation of the dik eet later. Or not.

I am sure you have, with your extensive experience, heard of a wyn vliegie i.e. a wine fly. Not me, a real midge. Well, I spent part of today quaffing a Pinot Noir (2012) on the deck like a real jarrelman, replete with smoking jacket and cuff links in the sun. It turns out the jacket was smoking since it was wet and did not want to burn properly. But, to the nub, into my wine flew two successive flies. It’s the first time I’ve actually seen the buggers up front and live. Cute, greenish and, after banishing them with a dirty look, I supped further. It may be my imagination, but the bouquet was somewhat enhanced by those okes!!

Since I had been, in the last few years of my working life, been into entomophagy, this may be the topic of further domestic research. This will of course need more Pinot Noir. I am sure Manaygement will approve an application to the National Research Foundation or even the Technology Innovation Agency for funding to support this. You can just imagine the consumable budget being entirely devoted to the fruit of the vine. But ‘strue, entomophagy is the in thing and is destined to really become huge! My colleagues attended a conference in Zimbabwe dedicated to this as a function of development in Africa.

The weather cooled down somewhat and it looks like Monday will be more of a wintery day with possible rain. I just hope my flu vaccine really wallops any virus, except for the Covid one, coming my way. It’s the first time opting for the vaccination and I hope that it does the job for me. Not that I always get the flu in a serious way. Just about once every 3 to 4 years. But, as the reigning theory goes, rather not have ordinary flu and Covid at the same time. Insurance good and proper.

Which also brings me to what would we do after lockdown. I suppose we have to keep in mind that lockdown will not stop 100% by day 35 but will rather be done via  a planned, sequential process to minimize another spike in infections. But, when the time is ripe, what will I do that I have been dying to do? Simple, a long drive into the wilderness to free myself from the city. Now, wilderness could be defined according to your own model dependent reality. It could the expanse of the Karoo or Port Elizabeth and its environs. Now,  Baainaars, don’t get me wrong, all it really means that I would be out of my comfort zone in a different, almost unknown, environment. Djulle verstaan môs!!

Other things after lockdown: visit Caryn and Luke, visit Larry and Haloumi, road trips to various places outside the city limits, visit Aegirs with Allie, visit Peter if he’ll allow me after the walloping he got with Scrabble Go, visit PE in one way or another, traverse the Swartberg Pass, visit Namibia. And that’s it for now. In the longer term, visit Switzerland and New Zealand.

Watching quite a few re-runs of Voetspore,  all I can say is mooi loop  for now!

DAY 23

Did not get to the shops yesterday. We heard from Dawn that it was quite busy in her area. Stepped out and foraged for appropriate stuff. That’s what it’s become: stuff! Because it repeats itself, it might as well be clumped under that all-inclusive term.

My Scrabble Go match, the first one, is still on the go after 6 days, and I am not sure when it will stop going, or is that a contradiction in terms? Since this game is proving to be a walk in the park, and considering it is our first such under lockdown conditions, I am looking forward to the second one where all our learnings could be put to the test. I am looking to take on multiple games with others. Feel free!!!

I must admit to more creakiness in the joints when I arose this morning. Fortunately, I did not have to roll a stone out of my way to exit the bedroom, since this could have been the game changer in terms of exiting. I suspect the lockdown and lack of exercise is taking its toll. I really must  move that exercise bike into a more practical position for Bev to build up her fitness. Moving the bike alone would cure my own problems, I think!

There was a build-up to our Social Dance groups’ first online training session. Two couples and two singles joined the class while there were three spectators who very likely will join next time. Obviously, there was a few technical glitches which were quickly sorted. In terms of trepidation, the question was what would we be taught, how effective would it be and how well we could interact and participate.

All in all, it was about an hour well-spent with Ceaghan and his camera person, Nicole. I am sure you would understand that a full dance routine cannot be accommodated in this mode. Rather, small sections of dance finesse was what was (and will be) covered .e.g. when doing a basic waltz step, there is a draaaag,  feet together and lowering before pushing off into the next series of steps. Not too tricky but not something the average Joe like me would concentrate on at a proper langarm dance. Just what was needed to add more pizzaz and flavor to the dance sequence. Jitsi Meet performed well as we slowly got used to the process.

A previous Facebook conversation was conducted relating to the status of my knees. Now, as I become an aging (not old) tôppie, I am starting to notice that my knees have definite large anterior knobs on them. These knoppe make it difficult for me to kneel, since they are the touch points with the floor when doing so.

There are advantages and disadvantages to these knobs. If I go to church where a spot of kneeling is required, I would do this with a fixed grimace, the latter resembling a catatonic smile. Either that, or would have to sit it out and, especially where there seriously devout people, take the weird stares and admonishing, but furtive, looks in my direction. However, because of them, cannot kneel to polish floors or, in extreme cases, lick the boots of whomsoever has vanquished me in whatever battle e.g. Scrabble Go (heaven forbid). Also, they could be seen as weapons when kneeing someone in the groin without them expecting it! The downside is that I would need to run like hell to avoid any retributive actions by the poor victim. And running is not my forté. I am known to ride a mean bicycle or drive sedately in my car …..but not run. I will mention a last advantage: when I go to the revenue office, home affairs or department of labor, I wear a pair of short shorts, something like the joggers of old. When the queue controller sees my poor knees, they inevitably usher me to the front of the queue. See, you gotsta play it like you sees it!!

Being day 23, it means we are over the hump of a 35 day lockdown. However, since we are not yet out of the woods, there is a possibility of a further period of staying home. Since it would be in the best interests of all of us, I would have not problem with this, except for one small thing. I worry for some of my friends who are without cigarettes and…. dare I say it….alcohol?

I have tears in my eyes due to my empathy for them. Djanuwin!!! If I could have access to a stash right now, I would not tell them a word about it since it could shock them to the point of an aanval! They’s môs oldish, man!! So I have their best interests at heart.

I also heard Biggie calling for me with his usual refrain: Adrianus!!!!! Wish that the call would also be something along the lines of Kaptein, spannie seile!, or even Oooo Ryperd!!! But, I live with it and can only promise readers that it is to become a bigger part of the social dance group in future. This includes an Adrianus theme evening and a karaoke on the theme as well. I hereby appoint Lynn to plan and run with this!!

Now for something completely wet, ice cold and thirst quenching – my facecloth! To bathe and engage with my nagvrôkkie for beddingtons! I’m sure you also sucked your facecloth when you were younger! And peed in the bed too!

DAY 22

TGIF!! It’ not what it used to be hey!? But, nevertheless, you are alive, you am, therefore TGIF!!!!! Must do some shopping today before the weekend rush starts. With typical autumn weather comes typical autumn allergies, something which I have to guard against, hence warm clothing, including socks. The carefree initial lockdown days of hot weather and an occasional wallow in the pool are just about over. And then the fact that the cats start giving you the eye at about 17:00 as to why you have not yet started a fire in The Beast!!

I read an interesting article by John Gray in New Statesman recently (1st April 2020). It related to thinking anew as an extract explains below:

An advantage of quarantine is that it can be used to think afresh. Clearing the mind of clutter and thinking how to live in an altered world is the task at hand. For those of us who are not serving on the front line, this should be enough for the duration.

And this is true and it is happening all over the place. One recent headline speaks of of e-commerce being forced into a fast-track mode that will catapult it way ahead of where it would have been under pre-Covid conditions. And so it will go for many other forms of trade, commerce and education. The latter is the one that both concerns and intrigues me. In a sense, I almost feel I should not have retired when I did in, order to have been involved in these challenges facing academia. I recall my own feeble attempts many years ago, against the prevailing tide, to introduce technology as a platform for training. The “prevailing tide” was partly non-believing colleagues but mostly the lack of appropriately mature resources to do so. We eventually compromised, willingly or not, by designing paper-based course material in our training programs. This was also largely in response to the advent of the South African Qualifications Authority and the Higher Education Qualifications Framework and the Sector & Education Training AuthoritiesJoe Samuels, a fellow Baainaar and UWC Alumnus eventually headed SAQA until his retirement recently. Maar nou ja! Water under the bridge.

And then the foray into online dance instruction started. The outcomes of this will only be known by tomorrow midday. I suppose it similar to the process through which the academics and students are going right now. The preferred platform is Jitsi Meet. Only time will tell as to the effectiveness and value in this process. I know that, when Bev and I had a small glitch with a particular step, a short video clip exchange sorted out the issue quickly. Interesting times!

My online Scrabble Go career is still based on one ongoing interaction for about 5 days now – one game!!!!! But, it’s great! No pressure!! I have such a big lead that the cunning linguist, who is my opponent, has no hope in hell of winning. He is stuck between The Rock and a hard place. But, no giving up from his side. Submit boetie!! Let’s start a new battle!

I really must knuckle down to my project and also my reading. It’s just that there’s so many distractions e.g. eating, drinking, washing dishes, making tea, watch the news, watch movies, watch Voetspore, do some contract work, etc. No, tomorrow is the day for action. Procrastination, get thee behind my behind, eat dirt, tick the job list, show it who’s boss and do it like a boss!

Uh oh!!! I sneezed. To put context to it, I sneeze regularly as part of my allergic responses to pollen, sudden bright light, extreme or gradual temperature changes, annoying people and anything resembling work. When this, the sneeze, happens, Manayagement usually gives me the cold eye which is translated as: Do you have a  cold or the flu which will infect me and are you doing this on purposeYoh, that eye pierces me deep, like Shrek cut Donkey deep at a point in their friendship! And I sometimes even get a “you’re fucked up” audio clip as well. You see, we’re quite hip with technology, clips included.

I somehow think I am future-proofed with my flu vaccination, two forms of allergy tablets, a vitamin B supplement and an arthritic soother. Life can throw what it wants at me. But you never know about the unexpected curve ball lurgy that life sometimes throws into the universe, known by The Goons as The Dreaded Lurgy.

Now, for a beverage with ice! Pull up a bollard, sit and sup with the devil that is me!

DAY 21

Again a slow, grey start to the day, but the sun eventually appeared sheepishly, as if apologizing for it not being summer anymore. The early morning highlight was a visit to the pharmacy for a flu vaccine shot. It’s my first time ever doing such, But I suppose its best to be flu free if I am to contract Covid! That needle awaits, still a point of tension at this age. The pain was insignificant, but the anticipation!!!!

It’s amazing the stock markets are going crazy during this period. Looked at a small fun money investment I have for travelling, and……wow……., no fun for a looonnnggg time!! And then I wonder how less fortunate savers and pensioners are either going making, or are going to, make do with less?? Scary stuff compared to our complacency as at end  2019. Frugality is going to be a way of life under the new normal.

I am also already planning how my colleagues, with myself, are going to have to adapt to the new life after lockdown. As examples, we will need sanitizing dispensers all over the building, we will have to insist on face masks and also on social distancing, for a few months to come. This must also be seen against the fact that we are a pilot food processing facility with many laboratories as well. And no, we do not have the capacity or the accreditation to test for the virus, just in case you thought of asking.

It’s also interesting how so many puzzles and games are being used on social media for distraction. I have now taken up Scrabble Go and have triumphed in my first game against a second rate linguist (I think or know or surmise or suggest or am biased toward) by relation. No names mentioned, just a Rock! Herewith the challenge now being issued, the gauntlet thrown down and the line drawn in the lexicographic sand: get the App and it’s on!! It’ a pleasant way of doing business. My first game took 2 days – no rush! It’ like death by chocolate – slow and sweet (for the potential victor) as you push ahead with your advantage.

Aii tog!!!!! Another weird dream last night, This time it was about buying a good cologne at a parfumerie, the now slowly dying Edgars, part of the Edcon Group. I cannot remember all the context but, on enquiry, the essential worker told me that they did not have any stock of my favorite brew. I was very disturbed by this and asked Manaygement for advice, on which it was pointed out to the assistant that there actually was stock. An accusing finger pointed to the guilty bottle… labelled: KFC!!!!

I recall asking Manaygement to confirm, from an odiferous point of view, since a sense of smell is one of my weak points. I am anosmic!!! Oh yes, KFC is also a weak point. But then, any fast food at this point is a weak point!! She indicated all was good. I’m convinced this element of the dream was from watching too many CNN  news reports where Trump is caricatured, with good reason, as a lover of things KFC. And because of ansomia, I love public toilets, carbolic soap smell and all!

Lockdown also makes you stjoopid!!! Never, ever watch re-runs of Voetspore during a lockdown! Never! Ever!!!

DAY 20

What a slow day! Nice late start to the morning. But a persistent allergic response resulted in hydrological problems in the nasal turbinates together with an itch in the area of my binocular video cameras leading to my optic nerve. You can imagine the furtive, and sometimes aggressive, stare I would receive if I were to go to a supermarket with a runny nose and itchy eyes. Medication sorted it out pronto!

The days, although blurring, are ticking away quite quickly. Also, now that my contract job is officially operating for a few days “from home”, I now have to turn some of my attention to actually doing work from home. This means some form of distraction from time itself, something which we know is not absolute.

Yes, time is not a fixed unit. The faster a clock moves, the smaller the time between two events when compared to a stationary clock. Ahhh!!! There we have it. To shorten lockdown, get in your car and drive like a bat out of hell for  a few hours and do the work required….voila!….lockdown over. Of course, your car may not be a as fast as mine so you may not be able to do it. Size is môs nog belangrik né!

On a more serious note, are you able to visualize the fabric of spacetime and how these dimensions change depending on a number of different factors (see such in diagram below). By fabric, please do not think of things like crimplene and Hilite!

spacetime

I love reading about these things but, when it comes to understanding the math, I fail miserably. Then, closing my eyes and trying to imagine it, I fail again. Come visit and we can close our eye together and see if we can do it. One or more of us may need the help of  a herb supplement to do this. No? Can’t do it? Now think of Einstein (named after a recently departed 19 year old cat) who thought about this, imagined this in thought experiments and then proved things via the mathematics. Without all the novel technology we sit with that helps us nowadays! Stunning stuff.

To take that point further, imagine Stephen Hawking, confined as he was to a wheelchair and not able to speak, and how he did as much stunning mind experiments, conjectures, proof of mathematical concepts and suchlike. And the theory that spacetime is shaped liked a horse saddle. Keep in mind he also occupied the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics previously occupied by Isaac Newton at Cambridge University. The chair was obviously very old, I suppose something like the stool I still have to resurrect.

Stool

But I digress!

Today I had the pleasure of playing supplier to a friend in need. Gavin needed concrete advice in terms of a cable, which I did give to him. It was great having an elongated chat with a friend. Bev had that last night as well. Much more elongated than mine, since she has better and longer gates than mine in. Maybe, after gating for so long, it explains why Manaygement was a bit wobbly this morning and opted not to dance. Yastie! Just when I was dying to mince my way with flamboyant hip rolls through the Samba. And, of course, the Cuban Breaks in the Cha Cha Cha!! But, I will hold it back until tomorrow.

I have also taken the decision to do a number of other things:
1. Compile list of things to do immediately post-Covid in order of priority, possibly with some time-lines on it. Part of it will come from my bucket list blog but there will also be other more mundane, local activities. Click on the link and help me add to the list.
2. Trawl through all my hiking photographs and write stories attached to it. This could take a while but I have time to the end of my life as I know it.
3. Start scanning all the interesting drives, hikes and places to go as cataloged from my hard copy stash of Go! magazines. I already have most articles as an entry on a spreadsheet. Now I want to scan each article and then link it to the entry on the spreadsheet. This will take all winter but it will be a handy file to put in the cloud to reference while travelling one day.

Finally, I was going to take a pic of my hooch stash but, what with the fact that I am on duty even while working from home, I cannot(or should not) do that since I may be accused of imbibing during work hours. So please, just imagine a few bottles of wine, a can of cider and a few posters of whisky bottles as my collection. See there! I saw you smile while imagining!! I am off to imbibe, irrespective of the time of day!

DAY 19

Jissis!!!!!!!!! There is only one topic for discussion on this day – well, except for a few other minor issues. That is the broadcast led by Minister of Health, Dr. Zwele Mkhize, and Prof. SalimAbdool Karim. Monumental stuff in terms of COMMUNICATION generally and SCIENCE COMMUNICATION in particular. And this coming from GOVERNMENT or, put more adeptly, better than any other government in the world (that’s my model dependent reality).

Beside the sober message that it brought, it showed up other parts of the world in terms of  their results of poor communication and also the results when not following good science. Kudos to South Africa and its leadership!! Pundits in all the media are expounding on this, and well they should.

The most two most heartwarming things came at the end:
1. A question from someone regarding Dr. Mkhize’s qualifications as a medical doctor! The Professor responded magisterially and proudly when validating this in terms of them being students together, including Mkhize’s wife, also a medical doctor. The pride, and amusement at the question, mingled into such a schmoozy feeling for all the viewers! It capped it all off.
2. Learning at the same time that he is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a life-long dream of his.

As much as his message had a warning at the end, it made for brilliant communication, good information, confidence in the governments approach and also the “feel good” thing that we need so much during lockdown.

However, that’s not the end of it. For the avid reader, you may recall that I had mentioned purchasing cat litter and that its consists of crystals. It pitched up in a dream last night and, as with most dreams, I cannot recall all of it. I have however put together and embroidered upon version below:

I was driving home with, amongst other things, cat litter when I was stopped by the Stasi (police, for the uninitiated). And, as with dreams, my mind was numb and slow to respond as to why and where I was going. This led to a search of my vehicle when they came upon my crystals and, even though the packaging clearly stated what it was, the immediate response was one of suspicion. I hear the phrase “crystal meth” being bandied about. And now, thinking o it again, the dream was partly brought upon by a video clip of a bakkie being stopped on the R300 (a road, not money) where cigarettes were found – contraband!

Immediately a sniffer dog was brought in and, getting a whiff of something related to cats, it immediately identified it as suspect. An this is where I embroider!!! I invited them to do what all cops do in movies i.e. take bit between their fingers, crush it and sniff or even taste it. They duly did and were a little less suspicious.I tried to prove to them that it was innocuous and suggested that they pee on it and see how effective it was in removing the odor, again which they duly did and were impressed!

Suffice to say, this started trailing off into a new dream, hence my not able to say whether I was let off or not. If I have a new episode tonight I will let you know tomorrow how it ended.

The day ended with The Jersey Boys, a good movie about Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Since stocks were running low, or so I thought, I started tasting the different wines that have accumulated over the last year or so. An interesting exercise, involving Gin & Tonic as well. However, upon inspecting the bootlocker, I did find a surprising variety of hooch. Much more than any lockdown that Silili can throw at us.

I will leave it there for now. I may raffle or auction stuff tomorrow. A picture of the stash will be on display, as was conducted by Lester not too long ago on Facebook.

Note: No Chancers Allowed!

DAY 18

Yoh! Almost next payday again!! Lekker man!!! Money which I cannot spend on doing the things I want to do. Pleasure delayed is pleasure denied I say.

What I would I do without these cats? They give me reason to venture out. It’s for them that I risk life and limb at the shops every other day, notwithstanding that I do buy other odds and ends such as doughnuts, fruit trifle and racks of lamb. OK, I take back the “pleasure” statement above.

As ended off yesterday, I did say I would babble today, but I don’t feel the “babble gene” expressing itself. I thinks it’s being a Selfish Gene. So I will spout off about a few issues, some related to lock down, others not.

What is a “bergie“? Literally translated it means a small mountain. This term is also related to “them” and they” in the context of this missive. I raise this because we belong to a neighborhood watch Whatsapp group. These terms are often used to describe unknown people wandering around the streets during lockdown. I understand the concern, but the quick labelling, or mis-labelling, of people is irksome. Bergies live on the mountain and homeless people live on our streets. I would assume that, despite different nomenclature, the reasons for being homeless or a bergie are just about the same. But, to me, there is a different connotation attached to the name “bergie” and which is a lot more demeaning. What’s in a name, including “they” and “them” you may ask?! Itch scratched! Again, the context is seen against the make-up of the Whatsapp group. Note: the people to whom are being referred to as roaming the streets are of all colors and the names are applied indiscriminately, which does take a bit out of the sting out of it.

On a different note altogether, you must be reminded that I keep Facebook company with heavyweights in the male grooming arena. It’s all about soft skin, no wrinkles, glowing complexion and shiny knee caps. Together with this goes appropriate oils and pomades, including Nivea, Mum for Men and Brylcreem (as per a previous post). It also includes frequent tips on grooming, especially for swirling your hair and, most recently, references to swirling your beard, be it a goatee or a full-on bosbek.

Now, youse know môs that I do not have a beard, so that’s out of my field. What I have found, and this is between you and me, doing the dishes give you soft hands and clean fingernails. You know, after mowing the lawn or working on the engine of the mower, I immediately offer to wash dishes. When I offer to assist with massage for pain, the offer is usually immediately accepted. But remember now, this only works when you use Sunlight Liquid, not blousiep or carbolic soap as in the public urinals. Keep it under your hat for now, since my competitors may use it against me.

In addition to my hands, the action of washing dishes is, to me, like going for a cycle along Bottelary Road. A wide ride with a good shoulder to pedal safely and carefree, leaving you time to think about things and conduct mock debates in your head. Washing dishes is the same. There is a subliminal rhythm to it that does not need much attention, leaving you time to think. I remember when conducting lab studies regarding my Masters! I washed all my own glassware as I went. This included hundreds of test tubes need washing, rinsing and oven-drying. Oh, the thoughts that went through my head.

Oy! The secrets I am letting out here today. I will let your wives know of the washing story. I am sure they will want to assist you in your thinking process as you plan the rest of the chores in the job jar, !

DAY 17

Shopping is becoming easier and easier as I get used to the fact that this is the new normal. Also, hearing about police blockades all over the Peninsula makes one wonder when it will appear in our area. Or is it that middle class suburbia is expected to behave well, therefore resources can be directed elsewhere.

And, if the cops had stopped me on my way home, they would have found two big bags of cat silica litter. How I would I explain that as “essential” when the rest of the neighborhood could be considered a kitty loo. Or, if they saw the word “crystal” on the bags, would they attach the word “meth” to it and then do a cavity search? They would already have those latex gloves on their hands! Would I then have been treated to the gentle and persuasive approach called for by the President or would it have been a “skop, skiet en donder” episode? Ah well, it’s all OK. The cats and I are well prepared for winter potty time.

Potty

There was many a social interchange regarding our cat family over the years. I can see how books are written about animals and their lives as they look after us into our dotage.

I sadly platzed after a late lunch, thus missing our dance session. Never mind, will make up for it tomorrow with added pizzaz and energy. I can actually feel the effect of very little physical activity beside dance. My only other activity is the walking required when going to the shops. My joints, when waking, tend to creek and groan (virtually not literally). I can actually visualize a comic strip where this is illustrated. I should try my hand at illustrating this…..hmmmmm? A new career path?

The Andrea Bocelli concert was a bit of a disappointment. Not the singing itself, rather it being so brief. What more should I have expected, I suppose. And the Duomo did not look like the original I saw when I was in Milan. It could be because of fading memory or, as Michelle said, it looked like a movie stage set without the throngs of people normally on the square.

Jislaaik! Still did not write the next UWC Musings episode. Early tomorrow morning it will be. Not after I mow the lawn, vacuum the pool, siphon petrol out of the neighbor tank and also Cutex my nails. Did you see that!! I used a noun as a verb….a doing word! I’m talented like that. I could drive a good English teacher to tears quite easily, as I possibly may have done in earlier years. I can just see being berated by one such upon discovery of the above verb/ noun thing: Jou blinde mol!!!!!!! in a great stentorian roar, would be my reward. My high school buddies will know who, and where!!!

Maar nou ja! Tomorrow, I want to do my favorite mental thing on paper i.e. let my mouth run loose through my fingers. Beside the news of the day, anything and everything will be the order of the day. Hopefully it will make sense but, if not, why not?

DAY 16

Ah, the shopping trip. Highlight of lockdown. Bev has not yet left the house since day 1, but we both agree it’s for the best. Samba was the order of the dance day. I am making progress with it. It’s not the basic step, that I have down pat. It’s more the akkeltjies at this point. Also looking for ward to Sunday evening’s live concert by Andrea Bocelli from the Duomo in Milan. I have been there a couple of times and it will be a reunion of sorts. Click on the link and “Subscribe” to watch.

By the way, Google indicates that the meaning of akkeltjies is “time waster”. I disagree!strongly. It means, in my majestically large lexicon, the little fripperies and frapperies that add to the value of something!!! Link the elegant, yet distractingly, sexy sway of my hips when executing a turn. You know môs! Picture it in your head!!! Sexy !

Anyway, the day started off grey and ended in rain very late the afternoon – much needed. Quite a storm later into the night. Good for the pool and the JoJo tanks and the struggling garden, if that is the correct name for the latter. The greyness of the day was also contributed to by the passing of Victor’s cat (Einstein), at 19 years of age, in New Zealand. It reminded us of the lives of our own two cats, one of which is now 17 years old, the younger one being 7 years old. It reinforced our decision that these will be the last animals we rear simply because the pain of losing them is much more (for me at least) than the pain of losing a relative. Part of this, I suppose, is because most of my nearest relatives are far from me or do not live with us.

It also reinforced our plans to visit Oz/ NZ sooner, rather than later, after visiting Michelle in Switzerland. We both need to make contact, for different reasons, with family and friends there. But further to that, Covid has also stymied our plans to do the southern African meanders as loosely planned. If truth be told, right now I would have loved to have been in the Karoo: Moordenaar’s, Tankwa or even on my way to the Baviaanskloof. If all things were equal, and we did not have animals to care for, I would have willingly spent the lockdown somewhere out there. Clear blue skies, lots of virus-killing UV rays (is that true?), time to generate vitamin D, space in which to walk without the thought police arresting you, etc. These are partly related to my bucket list which is accessible here. As the meme goes on Facebook and elsewhere: After Covid, I am going everywhere at the same time to make up for this delay! Or in the words of John: I want to be first and third on the chosen dirt track for the day!!

For those new to the blog and its individual elements, I had also started writing some memories form my days spent at UWC. I need to publish more but am struggling to “get them into my fingers, which protrude from the end of my hands”, and into print form for publication. A favorite of mine is that relating to meeting Beverly, which you could access here!

Lastly, as I have grown older, I have become so much more averse to “killing” things such as insects and suchlike. Unless, of course, its on a needs basis to preserve life and limb or to prevent stings of some sort. What’s with this? Is it a throwback to Chief Seattle and his web thingy? I am not sure. Do you too have such developing habits?

Now to await Andrea!!!

Day 15

Its Good Friday and the weather, although starting out grey, is good! A good old prawn chowder was prepared by the kitchen staff. The tenants then started to work on it one hot bowl at a time. The intention is to finish before sundown. At least, that was the intention of the Union member.

Now that the thought of an extended lockdown had sunk in, future activities, both mental and physical, needed some thought. Yes, there is dance practice. But, what else? Aaah, the project regarding the stool. And again, no!!!!! A real stool!! Not a sample for testing for testing for Covid-19! That will commence tomorrow, since this is just a day for planning. Also for tomorrow, moving a moerse heavy exercise bicycle into position for Tour de France practice. Listen, I’m going ahead with the tour even if those pampered sissies don’t do it. I mean, being that fit and healthy should make them bullet proof in terms of Covid. Maar nou ja! I want to come out of lockdown built in the shape of a V (like them) i.e. spindly legs topped by a well-developed upper body. Watch this space.

At this stage we are missing real contact with family and friends! Luke is growing up without us. However, as babies go, he will be filling out and becoming more and more “human” and responsive and aware of his surroundings. Can’t wait to see him smile and laugh! I will have to be on my guard to prevent child-snatching by a known felon in our midst.

It also go me to thinking about family members now past. Uncle John a.k.a. Cheesy, would have reacted to Covid with two favorite phrases: Ma se moer! and My Moena! (translated: My moer!). I hope there are no Moena’s reading this, but if there are, no Moena’s were ever hurt when expressing this feeling. This would be followed by supping of favorite cold beverage. Other forebears such as my father would have accepted it with equanimity while my mother would be stressing around conspiracy theories and also about possibly contracting the virus. My brother Mervyn, especially during his later years and after being diagnosed with dementia, would have been stressing about  the country (and his suburb in P.E) being overtaken by marauding criminals. He did, in his later years call me frantically about this, including asking the whereabouts of his house title deeds. I was able to calm him down though. Another brother (Arnold) would also have been quite cool about it and, between the two of us we would have looked for a way to party illegally during lockdown.

Other characters who appeared in my day were the Cuomo brothers. I had always seen the similarities between them but had not made the link in terms of them being related. Dufus I am, since I consume a lot of news. There was an interesting news clip of Chris (younger and a CNN TV news anchor) interviewing his older brother Andrew (Governor of New York). Click this link to see a delightful interview with some unexpected outcomes.

Also, Adrianus was pointed out to me as a character whom Covid had driven quiet. Well, Lynn, here is your big “Wheeeee!” moment!!! In English: Dames, Tell me what’s your name, my name are Adrianes, Ên the biere (Beers) will  be the first to know when I am wif you finish en klaar. On a more formal note, Biggy has promised that he will attend our first post-Covid dance class.

The day ended with Jesus Christ Superstar. As much as I am not much of a theatre-going person, the show was magnificent in its translation of the story as well as the intricacies associated with creating, directing and producing such a huge show. There will be other shows every Friday at 20:00. If you are interested, subscribe on YouTube to The Shows Must Go On.

And thence to bed with many thoughts about the Day 16 post bubbling in my mind. And an upcoming shopping trip. Oooooooh, the frisson of excitement at that last thought!

DAY 14

This day was overshadowed by a 2.5 hour Microsoft Teams meeting. Contract work! Grrrrrrrr!! Had left me hungry at the end of the day. No dancing too.

However, in other, more chilling news, a lawyer was shot while in his garage at home. There is a supposed connection between this and gangsters or police involved in cases where he is representing clients. Not good news. Will be following this. Caryn had two interviews yesterday and was on eTV News related to this. To listen to a podcast regarding one of the interviews, click here.

Meanwhile, Haloumic, her ginger furrby living in Johannesburg, was also part of the podcast. His spokesperson, known as Larry, had then rewarded him with what looked like a very tasty braai. The downside to this podcast was that Haloumi’s credentials were questioned, specifically for him going missing for a few weeks earlier this year. Unverified terms such as “clubber”, “night life” and “gangsta” were used. Word has it that he has reserved all his rights and may be taking the legal route later.

And then the news stories regarding the lockdown. A menglemoes of debates about whether a lockdown of the nature we are experiencing was appropriate to South Africa (and Africa generally). There are some well-argued thoughts that we need a different, and differentiated, form of lockdown. Either one or the other gives different outcomes in terms of number of potential deaths, age groups of those dying being different and also different economic outcomes and trajectories. However, there is also the school of thought that health, fatalities and the economy needs to be approached in a concerted effort. However, for all the commentators who are not tasked with making a final decision and taking any fallout, Silili’s extension of the lockdown to end April was widely welcomed with an expected cohort of detractors. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t!

You will note, since I know you have been an avid and loyal reader, that the title of this growing post has changed to accommodate the extended lockdown. I was pondering about the future of this blog once the period was extended. Do I go on with it and bore you to further tears? Do I shorten it to one paragraph per day? Will I run out of suitable material per day since life has developed a rhythm to it with many similarities viz. blurrrrring into one! And then I remembered: I am writing this for me firstly, and then for you! Decision taken, I go on.

It was a day with bits of everything thrown in. I will resort to Brasso to shine the doorknobs on the morrow to take my mind off lockdown for now.

DAY 13

The blerry blurrrrring effect is getting serious! I am trying to write but have to sift through my short-term memory banks to recall what the events of the day were. A short shopping trip was interesting as usual in terms of watching human behavior. I somehow get the feel that people are un-lockdowning themselves slowly i.e. I see more people out to do shopping. This could be due to rations now slowly running out.

One clear thing I see is that people who make work by means of casual labor are definitely on the increase. Car guards are an example, such as when visiting the pharmacy. I felt so sorry for the usual guard that was back at his post in an almost vacant parking lot. The need for that money to survive is obvious and so painful to see.

The uppermost thought in my mind is the debate about about whether lockdown will be extended or not. If not, I will still be on a self-inflicted lockdown or at least a minimalistic mode of operation, especially in terms of exposure to people and places. If extended, life’s present rhythm will go on at no disadvantage to ourselves at home. However, again I think of those who would be disadvantaged in terms of keeping a business afloat or a family fed.

Finally, what would we have done without social media during this period? I find that we are so connected with people, both of us spending much time talking to family and following the general news trends in the world. It’s a sociologists ( and many other -ologists) dream field for study.

Question: what would you have done, or be doing, without social media at our fingertips (for those of us fortunate enough to have it)?

DAY 12

Bad start to the day, or at the end of day 11. The donkey boiler on the roof decided it had done enough for lockdown and now wanted out. It did this by telling its anode to shut down due to all the other muck in the system. A cold water shower was a rude awakening and again a reminder of privilege during this period, especially as the winter chills start setting in. But, never fear, the geyser cavalier got onto the roof, effecting a repair and service. An SMME of color as well, second time round and good service. Contact me if you need such!

I had to use a battery pack to kickstart the fireplace, a.k.a. the Beast. It started off well but, due to a lack of enough firestarters, it started to cut out on me. But, of course, I had a backup plan (if not a back-up man). I had environmentally friendly starters which I had purloined… errmm… purchased in good faith viz. dried, compacted and shaped Rhino dung. Unfortunately, my political correctness in terms of the environment did not solve my problem. I needed to procure more of the real stuff on a shopping expedition.

But, no fear. Manaygement made me generate body heat by putting me through my somewhat awkward paces doing the samba again. For all of you that think you can’t dance and are shy to try it, now’s the time to join me. You will not be the worst dancer in the room. In fact, you may even feel like you were born to the task when compared to my ambling, uncoordinated gait. But do it we did.

I’ll let you in on a secret: she made video clips of me going through my paces. Tell nobody, né!!! Just click this link to see me making an ass of myself with the Rumba. Throw this note away once you’ve read it so that that it does not go into the public domain.

Fortunately, my skin having an opalescent lustre from too many beers and sunburning in my younger years, I did not have to surrender to make-up to get rid of the sweaty, reflective look abhorred by the camera. Beside swaying like a banner with a methylated spirit buzz in the wind, I nogal think I did well. An air of confidence started oozing out of my enlarged pores by the end of the session. I must try that Nivea goeters that some Facebook friends swear by. Or is it Brylcreem? I can never remember my nose hairs from my toes. Do you remember Brylcreem. My father used it in the goorrole days. Brylcreem, not methylated spirits!

The evening fire worked out well with the new firelighters! The beast performed! I can recommend the Ledro for your winter needs.

DAY 11

A grey start to the day, but with a nice drizzle which meant good for the recently dusted JoJo tanks, and the garden, or what remains of it. I cannot wait to have the cultivation of the sweet herb or its more benicounterpart made more freely usable in an urban environment. Can you imagine my overgrown garden, bright green, steaming in summer, drying out after harvesting and later to be used as a biofuel? How happy would we all be in the neighborhood?!

Manaygement instituted a mini-clean up by applying HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and general safety principles associated with a pharmaceutical operation. My personal spaces were given microscopic inspections with a fine tooth comb. It felt like I was in primary school where a bout of head lice was identified and remedial steps taken. Fortunately, my hare is mos styl, so the fine tooth comb treatment was easy to endure. And I came out smelling like a mixture of roses and carbolic soap!

Today is not a shopping day, but the possibility of a prolonged lockdown is starting to put pressure on supplies. Cat food (primary), human food (secondary), cleaning agents (negligible), faux champagne (critical), rubbing alcohol , approximately 43%, deemed critical when sold under specific brand(y) names (critical) and toilet paper! Let me know which of you have spares. Rubbing alcohol, not toilet paper. You could wrap the alcohol in toilet paper when dropping it off at my front door though. Just to make sure you don’t break it. Nothing to do with contraband and smuggling. Like Potcheen!

I did maintain my gold star in the dance area, albeit that it was just based on the facts that I know the steps. Not necessarily all the akeltjies as a friend once said. Samba, djy’s ‘n bliksem jong!

As a last thought, my mind is spinning with ideas about how to escape the lockdown into the Karoo without being spotted. There are so many wild and fantastic theories and proposed practices to move from one place to another without being detected. Wormholes are one such. Another is using the wiles of a gentleman named Chunky Charlie – who of you young folk remember him? Time travel! “Beam me up Scotty“?

Me, I am just going to apparate! See you on the flip side!!

DAY 10

Oy!! Allright then! Nothing happening here. Move along then! Move along!

That was day 10. Manaygement was not up to doing a full dance hour, while all Union members (all 100%) were in tune with this.

Clarrie on Heart 104.p was a cherry on top of the cake until the evening news at 20:00. But, fear not, there were things that were worth recording and commenting upon.

Djy sien, dit was soe! Ek en ‘n anne braatjie tjommel toe soe omtrent ôs term (of miskien anne laaities se term oek) genoem Afrikaaps. Djy ken mos hoe mense tale kan kô  kôrrup! En ôs is mos oek sô!

Toe vallit ôs by! Yarrie, dies môs ‘n ding vi ‘n “translation” begree! Soes Google Translate. Jirrie, kyk hoe translate ek al kla’ van Afrikaans na Britain toe!. My Engels is gladdie soe béddie! Toe ek nog ‘n jongetjie gewiesit inni Baai was my Anglish impakkable! Maar toe ek nou gesout was inni Kaap, toe word alle nou bieter!

Daa’s die ding toe aan! Ôs beslyt  net da! Ôs stig somme nou nou ‘n biesigheid. As eel daavan, ga’ ek vi’ Google kontak mettie idee. Dinge soes Intellaktual Prôppity, forgrownd en bekgrownd, stiek uit in my gedagtes. Djy sien, ek het in ‘n vorige liewe van die goet gelee’. Ek was môs wys gemaak.

Toe sien ek mos net gyeld! Ek sê toe vi my braatjie, “Boeta, ôs ka’ môs nou ‘n bieigheid stig. Kô ek sé vi djou, ek kazzak ‘n R1000.00 en djy oek, dan het ôs die ding aaniegang. Stuurie gyeld aan my – gebruikie slefoon epp – an dan vat ekkit aan. ‘n Anne brah sê hy’t toe ‘n klompie leë empties byrrie huis wat hy oek kan gebruik as likwidity (jirrie, my British overtones) om aandiele aan to koep.

Yarrie, Google sê vi my hulle wag virrie papiere ô alles te konfirm, want diss’e uitstiekenne idee. En daa’s geld innie hele ding.

Toe kom my main R1000.0 brah met die nies! Yarrie, die UIF is nou gesluit! Kan hy ma nie ‘n liening maak by my ommie ding aanie rol te sit.

Negotiations are ongoing. Additional investors are needed. I have used the #449 hotline to search for such. As you can, see this is a hugely lucrative investment for persons with relatives overseas looking for investment-friendly relatives in my backyard.

If interested, please send me your online banking details, pin and suchlike. I am your financial redeemer post-Covid! Trust me, I was almost a doctor!!!!

And then I made januine hôt tjips for supper! ‘Nuff said!!

DAY 9

The days are now starting to blur into each other, especially in terms of it being day 9 already. But, dance practice was especially notable since Manaygement awarded 4 gold stars for purrrrformance yesterday. Especially after I successfully retrieved/ collected prescription medication at Dischem. And bought two packs of frozen prawns. And braai’d some good worsies and an onion.

The onion was great: cut in two two halves (‘cos you cannot get 3 halves from one onion) and separate the halves into individual little cups. I am sure Shrek, between himself and Donkey, would love this move! After placing cheese between each cup, and re-assembling followed by cooking in foil – ét voila – a feast of onion without the crying.

However, my excursion also highlighted (or is it highlit?) some of the more poignant moment of lockdown. One such was a lone painter for hire on the side of the road, complete with mask and paint roller on show. No takers! Also no earnings for the poor soul. I made up for this by generously donating to another lost soul outside the butchery I visited.

It made me think of some other observations, some funny, some not:

  • A video clip of quite a number of people, having been arrested for being on the street without good reason in Parow, being marched to the local cop shop to be charged. It did look strange they way it was done but at the same time concerning, considering the health hazard attached to the practice.
  • I am following a Whatsapp group of my academic colleagues. They are in such a tizz in terms of the teaching program which has been stalled, both by Covid as well as by student unrest just before the lockdown. I feel for them in this time of  uncertainty and also since they are being managed by senior staff who are a also “making the new path by walking it”. So many new things to learn and so many errors to be made (and remedied) along the way. I am happy to be out of this considering the strain it is putting on them.
  • At the same time, a new way of doing things, which has long been “threatening”, is now to be fast-tracked into mainstream teaching. My guess is that, for the foreseeable future, this will have to be a dual system since not all students have access to all the resources required to implement a unitary system. In addition, a further challenge is the fact that our training is a practice-based system – that’s what makes Universities of Technology “special”, its hands-on practicals. I think it is all very exciting to be on the cutting edge but, as is sometimes said, being at that edge, you could possible be sliced. And, if it is a bacon slicer, don’t get it anywhere near your sensitive parts.
  • One sad item for me also is the way the state is reacting to Covid. The quick and agile responses bode well for our near future – that is good. But take one example which makes us, and in particular some of the present ministerial group, look stupid and dealing in double standards i.e. the issue of a clean water supply to many communities. Pre-Covid, this situation has been kicked down the road for years. Now with Covid, all of a sudden, water tanks (and tankers) are snatched out of the air as if by magic, and are being installed and supplied. Why could it not have been done long ago??? Sies, Lindiwe Sisulu and company!! And the same goes for a few other ministries and staff.
  • Another good thing is that politics for politics sake has been suspended. Parties have pledged to work with each other in our common interests. Supermarkets too! Now, does this not make blerrie common sense to do this at all times! You could still have your political differences and contest elections vigorously but, come post-elections, it’s then the time to work together, ?

On a lighter note, I subscribe to our Neighborhood Watch Whatsapp group. It’s so interesting to read the posts there. They reflect the diversity of the group and on can make some guesses as to what motivates some of the posts and what “type” (a dangerous term) of person posted it. It’s a case of profiling in the dark. At the end of the day, at least we’re all talking to each other about safety, both from criminals as well as the virus.

Which is good!

DAY 8

This started out with a trip to the Tygerberg Animal Hospital regarding Cleo’s sneezing akin to the snuffles. The bright and pleasant Liezl was there and, upon enquiry, indicated that all that was really required was a tube of gunk at R200.00 a shot. This was because said furrby did not have all the symptoms of……and I though she was going to say COVID-19!!! At the time of writing, there has been a noticeable improvement in her bout of sneezing. Cleo’s, not Liezl!

And, to cap this visit off, I met a primary school teacher from our past – Mrs. Correia. She remembered the girls and specifically commented on Caryn’s career trajectory related to her book. It brought back memories of good days at Holy Cross in Bellville. So, for the cost of the medication, solved (partly) one problem and also brought back good memories.

Then, the daunting task of sourcing the cat’s favorite wet food – Tuna & Salmon treats.It took me three visits to different supermarkets before I struck kitty heaven gold. I think I can offer Purina the results of this unofficial, unplanned, statistically wanting and flawed survey of their market. Tuna & Salmon is definitely the mostest favorite for all cats in the area. Januine! Well, I binged on this  purchase to prevent having to make future such forays into the retail world for essentials. Mmmmmm? I wonder if they are overdosing it with Palatibility Enhancer? I know of the latter since, as part of my previous job, we were asked to assist a “cat lady” with producing kitty treats. And she really did look like a cat lady – big frizzy head of hair, not entirely young, bright green eyes, and eccentric clothing. A nice lady though. I’m sorry for some of you, since I may have described you exactly!

Of course, the dance teacher was waiting for me at home. Manaygement first wanted to know if I had my building materials at hand. Turned out she was enquiring about whether I had consumed my standard fare of Swartland bakstene a.k.a. Weetbix. Which I duly had, as my entrance pass to the dance floor. After fighting through a few dance rituals and repetitions, we eventually achieved our goal for the morning after about an hour or so. We enriched our rumba repertoire. I was partially soaked at the end. Not wine, sweat!

Sweat

This got me to thinking about how fragile we are in term of viability of companies, from Edcon to football clubs. Huge sums of money are spent by football clubs on all sorts of things but, cease trading for 3 month, and they are in their chops. We as citizens are asked to save, save, save for that rainy day, but do they also heed this call? Are there profits extracted as soon as it pours into their banking accounts? Is this why they fold so quickly? And the rainy day does not only relate to a pandemic such as this, but also other challenges such as storms due to climate change, wild fires in certain areas, locusts up north, et al. Just asking for a friend!

Anyway, we ended off the day by watching a few movie. Palm Trees In The Snow was one such. I was really struck by the leading lady (both young and old versions). She reminded me so much of a good dancer I know. I will inform her of my passing infatuation with the character in the movie…..privately! And Bev does know about this!!

And finally: YUCK!!!!!! Could not continue watching Tiger King!!

DAY 7

Yayyyyy!!! Survived a whole week. No GBV. All four of us alive and well, except for ginger furrby who needs a medical appointment to cure some snuffles tomorrow.

A slow start to day 7, which is just as good since my heart-stopping trip to the shops yesterday still has my nerves quivering.  You know, like after your first bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge the morning and, come afternoon, you’re still shaking. Well, I did not, and will not do that jump. I am just using my brother’s experience to illustrate the Covid post-shopping experience. Very similar though, not knowing whether your bank will approve payment pending the request overshadowing your bank balance. Tightrope stuff!!

Manaygement (italics to remind you to pronounce properly) was a bit weak today. The single union member rejoiced since it meant a less regimented dance practice session. Considering this weakness, an attempt was made to recruit more Union members to the cause, with dismal results. Both cats refused. At least some support was received from Gavin, enquiring how labor was faring against Manaygement!

It was a bit of a lazy day, giving me time to think of other things about which I still wish to write. The late Mr. Barry (Paterson High School) would have been really proud of that last sentence structure! I have a whole list of things and eventually chose my love of things astrophysics and cosmology. During my reading of such literature, so many bloggable topics arose in mind. For another day.

The seriousness of the viral disaster was somewhat lightened by the dithering of government on the status of taxi operations. From 50% to 100% and back to 70%. Almost a black comedy! And by “black”, please understand me correctly, it is meant to reflect the deadly nature of such decisions.

As mentioned on the news, this is a crucial period in terms of the viral growth curve and incubation period. Here’ to hoping the curve has been flattened to a degree. We will all be watching this with bated bref!

DAY 6

The big day dawns with the sun coming up and the moon going down, the latter while I was asleep, I think! There is a rumor that this happens every night. Children’s laughter next door make the morning seem quite normal. Started equipping myself for the sortie into the grocery store for vittles.

What a time I had after overcoming the initial fear. I stopped for a coffee at the Wimpy, popped into the licker store for a lick, then…….of course not!!!!!

In actual fact, having been at at home for 5 whole days, you tend to get lost in your own world and you also lose a sense of contact with what is the (new) normal world out there. Yes, the streets were quite empty, but there was life. Imagine, one does not have to pay for parking at the shops due to the virus. Habit made me stop at the kiosk for a ticket though!! Felt like a fool since the boom gate was open!!

Walking into the shopping complex, people smiled and greeted like I have never seen before. Even those wearing masks. You noticed the crinkling of eyes above the mask as an indication of the smile. Giving the right of way while walking down the passage and also in the aisle of the store was now de rigeur. I suppose a part of it is social (physical) distancing but a good dollop of it is acknowledging that we are all in this together. And being “nice”to each other helps accept our oneness. Again, the privilege of being where I was, as opposed to less fortunate citizens, came to mind.

Darn!!!! Cat food is in short supply on the shelves, as opposed to dog food. Does this mean cat lovers care more for their pets than dog lovers do? Hmmmmmm!!!!? Material for social studies toward a PeeAitchDeee? Actually, found this lack of cat food in a second store I had visited later. Oh well, the cats would have to live with their un-favorite brand and variant of food.

I must admit that while trawling the aisles in a sparsely populated shop, I still had the atavistic urge to bulk buy way beyond our needs. I even bought another pack of white papyrus rolls for the nethers, even though we had sufficient at home. I just had to do that to scratch that binge shop itch!! Otherwise the rest of the trip was a bit of a break from the home scenario BUT, while being out there, I was actually wanting to get back into its safety as soon as possible. Does this mean that, if this lasts long enough, we may become citizens who shy away from making contact with others and eventually holing up as much as we can, even in a post-Covid world? More study material.

Back home Bev was busy beavering away at our Social Dance group accounts to be sent out to members for the month end. This, together with daily dance practice, further adds to the semblance of normalcy. It’s amazing at how our usually weekly routine, which included meeting our friends, is missed by most of us on the group.

I am hoping that, by the time lockdown is rescinded, I will come out like a dancing queen with impeccable steps. My sense of rhythm would have improved. I will be able to dance on the balls of my feet for the whole of the Samba. I know I will be able to pirouette on the tip of your car’s bee sting antenna. I will toe, toe, toe, toe, heel, heel, toe, toe in the Slow Foxtrot with expressions of awe coming from Ceaghan – Shukkraaan!!! Julle moet uitkyk! That ou in the movies….John Travolta….move over! There’s going to be a new kid on the block!

I wish!!

DAY 5

It’s the first day that I felt a teeny, tiny bit gloomy about this whole lockdown thing but that was again up-ended by Cleo (ginger furrby) wanting her head scratch and first titbit for the day. The Latin moves are coming along nicely. Also ironed out a tricky bit of the tango with the assistance of the online Coach. The bright sounds of the two little girls playing next door always adds a certain happiness to the day.

Also, I developed a bit of nerves regarding the next day’s planned shopping trip on my own. We could spend a few more days without it, were it not for wet cat food constraints. Will make a run to Willowbridge where they always have the right stuff – Tuna & Salmon flavor. Nothing more and nothing less is acceptable to both puddy tats.

Part of the good news for the day was that our two nieces (Lisa and Carmen) both graduated online (in absentia) at UWC with degrees in Law and Pharmacy respectively. So proud of them and we wish them well with the present positions at a law firm and Johnson & Johnson respectively. It reminds me of when Michelle and Caryn graduated. I was fortunate enough to personally cap them on their respective days, a practice which is now (correctly) not permitted anymore. We live vicariously through all their achievements.

Reading the book by Hennie Van Vuuren – jeez, what a history we have or from whence we came. Also really enjoyed a piece by Patric Tariq Mellet (as always) on being called “black” (Facebook).

HVDW

Thanks to Joe (a.k.a. Sonny) for plugging Caryn’s book:-)

 

DAY 4

It started like the previous days, although I did not know that there was a  bit of a surprise in store for me. We went through the usual cat feeding, coffee slurrrping down four cups (including doing a Joemat), followed by numerous dance steps for almost an hour.

Now, we all know the Devil finds work for idle hands. And boy, did he dig deep to find this one. Bev’s idle hands itched to do some rearranging of the biological children standing in pot plants around the pool area. Of  course, this cannot be done without a second pair of hands. Again, the only Union member could not resist the direction of Manaygement – come, pronounce it phonetically!

I was obviously in charge of heavy lifting, driving the wheelbarrow, carrying rubble to the rubble place around the corner, etc. I was quite good at it. This went on for about 2 hours with, I must admit, a very good outcome in that this exercise was in fact long overdue.

It also reminded me again of the different takes on job profiles going around social media on who the really  important cogs in our social wheel are. Now that the chips are down (we did have some for dinner), the billionaire, beside being able to donate money, is insignificant when compared to the trojans that are the people in service right now. our nurses, doctors, shelf-packers in the food industry, etc. A specific one is the men and women running cleansing services. Via our neighborhood Whatsapp group, a call was made to place a a tin of canned food on the bin as a thank you note to the bin handlers. I’d like to think that quite a few hundred cans were distributed to the related families of such workers.

A long-held contention of mine is that, in the vertical structure of education i.e. from infant care-givers and then Grade R right up to a PhD, the salary curve needs to be reversed. The lowly paid primary teachers are the backbone and much more important than the university Vice Chancellor. Allocate a VCs salary to such work and you will see the quality of teachers in that grade go right up. Such could change the face of education in this country in a few years (disregarding that percentage that would see it as a money-making rather than a future-building job). Imagine! I wonder if you can?

Anyway, after the labor with love in the jaardt, I retreated to my handset, PC and books. Supper was a bit of cold braai meat and appropriate beverages. This was eventually accompanied by the President giving u a good dose of information and future plans. With all its warts, the plan to date is a good one but with a lot of work ahead.

Looking forward to day 5 and what it holds.

DAY 3

Lazy start with the elixir of life (coffee X 4). Of course, Ponce de Leon may not agree with me, but he’s not on lockdown, even though he’s gone down (and for you potty brains, no, it means he’s dead!).

As usual, pre-coffee, the cats wake me at 05:00 for scratches, general attention and a quick snack of either dry or wet food. It’s amazing how these furry being have their own personalities. And they stick to that personality. Unlike some humans that I know 🙂

We had agreed an 09:00 dance session was on the cards but it only started at 10:00 and ended at about 11:45. Sjooee!! Quite a good workout. Short excerpts from the waltz and quickstep (all the niggly spots). Then tango, slow foxtrot, cha cha cha, rumba and samba. I like the samba, but Bev likes it more and is very good at it. By day 21, I aim to excel up to about 60%.

Our social group is one of the highlights of our (used to be) work week. And it will be again post-lockdown. Having much experience with regard to squash (more than 25 years of reasonable stuff), cycling (20 Cape Town Cycle tours), hiking (Arangieskop X 2, Fish River Canyon X 4. Naukluft X 2) and other physical stuff, dancing is proving to be so much fun. Good exercise (raising a sweat), rhythm and control of your numerous body parts. And also getting to make friend with some pretty nice people as well. I love the dance group we have. Join us DO and WC!!! Moetie bang wiesie!! Stiek uit!!!

The afternoon was spent reading and chatting socially while Caryn up-ended and improved this site that you now are perusing. I am getting better at it but still have a lot to learn. I also have to get back to my reminiscences about my university days. Juicy bits are stewing in my mind.

See you’alls tomorrow for the next thrilling (or boring) episode of THE LOCKDOWN DIARIES!!! Now coming to you with added vim and vigor. Now waiting for Clarrie on Heart 104.9.

Now to read the Sunday Times! And no, not the .pdf version sent out by some folk earlier. No, a paid for version!

DAY 2

Yoh! Day 2 was tough. Management had decided that, instead of a standard weekly clean-up, today would include a sanitizing and even more more intense process. There was some push back from the one Union member present, but in the end there was blood on the factory (dance) floor! Even the outside JoJo tanks were not spared a dusting down. My very own throne room was put under such scrutiny by Quality Control. A special verbal contract on mental paper has now been put in place regarding this area of the house.

Some semblance of sanity prevailed when I retreated to the pool with a book and a cold drink. After which a nice frikkadel and mashed potato supper sent me off to la la land.

The clean-up was necessary though. Looking forward to day 3 without the cleaning regimes.

DAY 1

The first thing, upon rising (yes, I rise – I don’t “get up”), was the relative quiet and the chirping of so many birds. And also the knowledge that I could (un)dress as I wanted without fearing a sudden knock at the door with some well-meaning visitor popping in. Please, post-virus, feel free to visit anytime!

The second realization (not for the first time) was the fact of how privileged we (I include the Missus here) were to be in a solid home with space, peace and solitude. We also had just about all we needed to survive quite a few days. As we have seen on on news reports and also know from our experience, there are so many that will, and do not, have such a privileged situation.

Usual start: 5 cups of coffee and then into the run of the day. First-off: dance practice. As you may know, Bev and I (with other friends) are into social ballroom dancing and we have a few goals set for ourselves as to where we want to be in the dance world. So, cleared the lounge for the duration, as pictured below. It gives us just enough space to practice some of the more intricate steps of each dance. In this case, the waltz, tango and slow foxtrot. This took all of 90 minutes of a decent sweat session.

Dance floor

Now, as for some Facebook friends who have expressed their possession of two left legs and equally descriptive challenges associated with stepping on toes (DO and WC included), don’t try this at home!! I repeat, do not!!! That is, if you don’t want to end up with bruises to your knees or upside the head (latter due to my own bumbling steps). And also, don’t….if you want your marriage to last!!

Aaaah!! The early braai as a reward!!! Followed by the news to catch up on the virus. Thence to complete a report for the employer and mail off to the boss. Finally tarted contemplating the PROJECT – resuscitation of the deck chair below. For a friend!!

Stool

Actually, for Caryn! So, I contemplated it…and then left it for another day. Ended the day with a video call to Michelle and Cary and Larry. For those new to the family, Larry is our son-in-law. The joys of technology in these lockdown days – linking Switzerland, JHB, Parow and Observatory. This is going to be a daily event via software called Jitsi Meet.

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about that apps name that does not sit well with me! Not sure what it is!!

We also discussed a coming out (according to Winnie!?) post-virus party. Can’t wait to see what turns up at that point.

And before you knew it, Day 1 was done and dusted. Come back for day 2 tomorrow morning!!!

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