Category Archives: miscellaneous

fire and destruction

Bereft.
Table Mountain and surrounding areas in flames, large parts of the University of Cape Town and Rhodes Memorial and Mostert’s Mill burned to the ground. All students were evacuated and there are no fatalities, although four firefighters had to be hospitalised.
The air was already thick with smoke by 11h00 yesterday morning over the entire southern suburbs.
I never expected to experience grief at the loss of buildings, but as a student at UCT for over six years and a member of staff for five, I find myself in tears.

Cape Town’s firefighters are incredible, by the way, and, while many people have exhorted those to pray to whomever they choose to believe is in control of things for the fire to stop, I didn’t see anyone resembling god or Jesus or Mohammed or whoever on the back of a fire engine rushing to the scene to help.

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.

 

 

closed for business

It’s depressingly quiet out there. Very little traffic on the main roads and highways, a restaurant with only three tables in it last night, empty school grounds, and all events cancelled. Including the craft markets, which are my main source of income. Fun times.

I have no time for people who panic and, even if I was selfish enough to want to stockpile toilet paper and tins of sweetcorn, I wouldn’t have room for it all – my fabric and sewing stuff will always have priority. The regulations in South Africa about what to do and not do are very clear, and are in line with international best practice. If everyone accepts them for the time being, that’s the best we can hope for right now. I also have no time for conspiracy mongers or prophets of doom.

Talking about doom….I spotted these in the gift section of my local nursery last week. Rather ironic and incongruous items to have displayed on the shelves, I thought. And no, they didn’t come home with me.

pangolins

Take care, everyone. And if you feel like watching President Cyril Ramaphosa demonstrate the elbow greeting, have a squizz here or here.

sadness

My recent post from facebook, for my bloggy and/or non-facebook friends, in case you’re wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately.

philip

Treasure the time you have with the people you love, those memories will help to sustain you through your grief. xxx