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.

 

 

Cape Town April 2020

We’re on Day #12 of lockdown in South Africa, and it’s pretty horrible. The restrictions here include a ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, which I can’t see helps anyone very much. It just means more people are in foul moods (speaking of behalf of a friend…)

But here’s some traditional Cape Town music, which is fabulous, and hopefully will make you smile. All credits for this great piece are at the end of the clip.

Cape Town April 2020

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.

ScrapHappy March 2020

I think I’m just in time for this month’s ScrapHappy , prompted as usual by Kate down under. It’s only 10h42 here in South Africa, so perhaps for some of you it’s not even Sunday yet.

door snake

A very very quick make! A draught excluder, or door snake if you prefer, about 75cm long and about 34 cm in diameter, made from nine pieces of offcuts from cushions. It’s filled with cat litter because (a) it makes it nice and heavy, and (b) I didn’t have anything else at hand. It’s turned out a little too short for the width of my front door plus the side panel, but no draught gets under the panel bit so I’m not bothered. A finished make is a finished make is a finished make, right?! :)

Lots of other people make gorgeous things from scraps. Please see Kate’s link above, for an update on her amazing scrap hexie quilt, and for links to other creative people.

 

Mend it Monday (Thursday) 2

A pair of lovely leather Green Cross sandals, bought by Karen about 6 years ago and then rapidly handed over to me because they didn’t make her feet happy: they’ve made mine happy all this time, and the soles and straps are still in perfect condition. But the surface of the upper sole, not being leather, has worn away.

These are perfect sandals to wear when one is going for a pedicure, as an alternative to flipflops (which I detest), and I knew I would be sad to see them go.

sandal 2

Determined to figure something out, I traced around the sandal onto a piece of black fabric, cut out the shape, cut a straight line to the in-between-toe bit so the piece lay flat, and stuck it all in place with a lot of glue. Here you can see (a) where the glue is still drying at the front, and (b) some fabric fraying on the edges.

sandal 3

I trimmed the frayed bits as best I could, but with hindsight I realise a non-fraying fabric like felt would have been better. Still, here they are on my fat little feet, and I’m not ashamed to wear them to the beauty parlour any more :)

sandal 1