Lockdown, day #whatever

Well, we’re in a right bloody mess, aren’t we? South Africa’s lockdown has been extended to the end of April. We have 1,800 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, so the guys in charge figure this is working. I know it’s easy to be critical from a distance, so I’ll just say that I’m sure the government thinks its doing the right thing “for the people” and leave it there. I will abide by the regulations, although I think some of them are excessive and pointless.

We can’t buy alcohol, so I’m hoarding two bottles of white wine under the bed and some gin behind the bookcase. (I don’t know why I’m hiding it, actually, since I live alone. The cat’s unlikely to be interested in a martini.) We can’t buy cigarettes and I only have four packs left, so I’ll have to start smoking something I can find in the garden. I’ll be going shopping in the morning (I have to choose the supermarket closest to my house), but I can’t buy wool to crochet a blanket or a new pipe for the vacuum cleaner because those aren’t deemed “essential items”. FFS.

Things I have been doing during lockdown, apart from fighting lethargy:

Signed up for an online language course – I’d really like to be able to speak German, also probiere ich es aus. Aber es ist schwierig! My accent must be atrocious but my friend Lara has a husband who is fluent in German, she said she’d lend him to me for a bit after lockdown. That will help.

Started reading the first of three volumes about the Third Reich, by Richard J. Evans. There are huge gaps in my knowledge of history, and my ex-husband recommended Evans as one of the best historians of this particular period in Europe. I’m up to the late 1920s, when the crash of the stock market in New York changed the world’s economy forever, and the implications for Germany and the Nazis.

Been making a few masks, but mainly just for people who ask for them specially. I use three layers of 180-count cotton fabric, as recommended by the WHO. I made the first one with pleats but it annoyed me so now I make them like this (easier and more comfortable):

mask 1

Painted a bookcase. Try to do my Pilates routine every day, to the accompaniment of a blues soundtrack from Spotify so that I forget to count.

Continued knitting a jersey for a friend’s 3-year old grandson in Bristol, who will probably never get it now. I haven’t found it very absorbing, which is a pity – I used to love knitting. I knit while watching Narcos, six fabulous seasons of the origins of the drug trade in South America and its global impact. I’ve almost come to the end, but have picked up a few useful Spanish expressions. Maybe I should have signed up to learn Spanish instead of German – aunque como van las cosas, no puedo visitar México.

Spent a lot of time on social media trying to help an NGO, The Service Dining Rooms, raise money and awareness for the plight of the homeless community in Cape Town. People have been very generous, which is extremely heartening.

Pottering in the garden and with my container plants. Some of the plants on the patio have mealy bug or woolly aphid or whatever that horrible white fuzzy thing is called, so I’ve made up my own spray with garlic and cayenne pepper. Hope it works. I also feed the plants regularly with stuff made from fish droppings or something similarly stinky. What can I say – the plants are thriving, but it definitely gets a bit smelly out there sometimes!

Over and out for now. Good luck with your lockdown. Maybe we’ll all come out of this with a different and better perspective on life, and a greater sense of gratitude for what we have.



28 thoughts on “Lockdown, day #whatever

  1. Donnalee of Kingston NY

    Good luck with it. Here is New York in the US, they consider alcohol stores to be necessary so they are still open, one right next to the grocery store. I’m not a drinker, but wish I could send you the bottles we have unused in our cabinet.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Holy moley, Donnalee, I wish you could, too! Apart from definitely being an essential item, a good bottle of dry white is worth its weight in gold here right now. Even a lousy bottle would be, too, come to think of it …. ;)

      1. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        So sorry about that. If you have water or fruit or vinegar, maybe you can magick it into wine somehow–or pray for miracles! It makes sense to me that alcohol shops are open, since many people do drink, and being in a crisis, they are more likely to be okay and feeling more relaxed drinking at home. It won’t control those who are abusive with or without the drink, but it would take the edge off for many who might benefit from a little glass of wine with a meal etc. I’m not a drinker, so it’s utterly wasted on me. The local medical marijuana place advised those who take it to get at least a month’s worth, and their products are 2 for the price of one this month. It seems wise to have what people need to stay calm. I hope you do well. Best wishes–

  2. katechiconi

    Our government wouldn’t dream of banning their own comforts in the form of booze and cigs. The outcry would be even worse than when the nation realised there would be No Footy… No team sport of any kind, no spectating, nada, nix. I had written a beautiful ranty post about hypocrisy to go out today, and then realised it was not exactly in the spirit of the season, so it has been shelved for a while to see if I still feel so strongly in a few days. And I’d love to learn Italian, ma non possono ricordare le parole, il mio cervello è poltiglia.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I suffer from mushy brain, too. I suspect I could live in Germany for ten years and be forced to communicate in German, and still only manage to remember twenty words and no grammar. I have a notebook where I write down Important Things, and try and learn them off by heart. Where is the nearest public toilet? That’s a very small piece of cake, you’d better make it two. I don’t understand German, officer, sorry. Can I get some ice for my wine, please. Just leave the bottle.

      1. katechiconi

        I pick up phrases easily and have a facility for reproducing accents, which leads people to think I’m more fluent than I am. What I lack is the framework to hang the language on!

  3. Rainbow Junkie

    Sorry to hear about the alcohol and cigarettes. Bit draconian. Though I believe some of the police here were looking in peoples shopping trolleys at the supermarket and saying they couldn’t buy non-essential items. However government have apparently clarified thing and said that if the supermarket is selling it you can buy it. I haven’t been to a supermarket since the beginning of March but I think they still sell alcohol and ciggies and of course Easter Eggs!

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I have to laugh at the idea of a police officer standing at the end of the cashier’s aisle poking through my measly purchases! If a product in a supermarket isn’t deemed essential, it’s either removed from the shelves completely or taped off. Like a little crime scene. I was waiting in a rather long queue at the pharmacy the other day, and thought I’d take advantage of the wait to pick up a bottle of nail polish, but the entire cosmetics area was cordoned off.

      1. Rainbow Junkie

        I do believe here that Boots that sells make up and perfume as well as toiletries and medicine is discouraging or even banning the sale of the former you can probably buy such things online though.. Crazy times!

  4. gingerninjacrafts

    Keep safe in these strange times, thankfully in Scotland booze is still considered an acceptable item to buy (suspect there would be a riot if it was banned!) But we remain in lockdown for who knows how much longer. The UK had there worse death toll in 24 hours reported yesterday (980 in 24 hours) taking us to 8958 so far. It’s pretty terrifying, I hope South Africa’s strict measures will keep you guys from these levels of loss. Keep strong ❤

  5. nanacathy2

    Yikes that is a tough regime. I fear the lockdown and the chance to enforce regulations far more than the illness. I hope my fears are false and all these impositions will be removed quite soon.
    I went to my local butcher’s last week- notice by the door read “space yourselves”- so good to be treated like an adult!
    Have a glass of that wine over Easter.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Some people really do love the opportunity to flex their muscles. After 6 days of lockdown, more people had been killed in South Africa by “the authorities” than had died from the virus. I’ll leave it there.

  6. Jane

    Good luck with your German,Jill! I started a Spanish course at the beginning of lock-down but I still have no idea what ‘aunque como van las cosas, no puedo visitar México’ means.
    I’ve started eyeing those half bottles of liqueur in the booze cabinet that are 27 years old…

  7. Nice Piece of Work Post author

    Spanish will come in useful for when you set sail again. Try downing a couple of tequilas and watching the entire six seasons of Narcos – that’ll really get you on your way with the Spanish!

  8. insearchofitall

    You make me laugh, Jill. Hiding alcohol from the cats. I can’t imagine how a government is going to stay standing if they take away cigs and booze. There would be mutiny here. I was married to a pack rat (very different from a hoarder) who always had more of everything than we needed. It got to be a habit to buy large and having plenty. That’s where I find myself now and I bless his pea pickin heart in heaven every day now. I have plenty of booze, TP, food, books, crafting materials and a garden. I was out there early this morning during the cloudy time pulling weeds. (No sun for this fair skinned blonde) I would like to study my German again too. If I spend up to 3 weeks there, the words from my childhood come back but so does the child’s grammar. ;) I do not still, with all this going on, have enough time to do everything on my list. I need 2 lifetimes for all of it. If my brain weren’t so addled, I could get more done. But age has it’s own agenda and has left me grasping for regular words and the ability to do all I want. Keep nurturing that funny bone. You can’t buy one of those and they are more valuable than gold.

  9. tgonzales

    Hi Jill. It’s so good to hear from you. It sounds like you are handling the lockdown as best as you can. I loved hearing about all that you are doing. John and I are handling it as best as we can. We are both worried about our son Joshua in New York, but he’s doing ok and staying in and not working (not working is a whole other story). Anyway….I also hope that we come out on the other side as better people. Love and Hugs, Tamara

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Actually, I think we were just fine as people go BEFORE this crap started!! But – no point complaining, so we must comply. HOWEVER, I have just phoned my mechanic because my car is overdue for a service and is also making a funny noise, to be told he is not deemed an “essential service”. I am SO angry.
      Okay, rant over. Good luck, stay cheerful, love to John. xxx

      1. tgonzales

        I hope you are able to get your car fixed soon. Since all of this pandemic stuff I may have driven my car 5 times since March 16th. :)

  10. Patch

    I was going to say… be careful what you pick in the garden to smoke but then maybe you could find something in the garden to start brewing your own alcohol??? Is vodka made from potatoes??? Oh that’s pochine… but it would still work!! XXX


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