Day 189 – Silence

Back to school day. Officially. The whole school. No more online stuff (except in very exceptional circumstances). Perspex screens. Masks. Sanitiser. Social distancing at all times.

But school – or at least as close an approximation as they can make of it.

Now wash your hands.

The house is so quiet. The kids would normally be working anyway, but it’s still eerie. The beagle is confused and keeps checking to see if there is anyone around the corner doing their Geography or Maths, and then weeping when there isn’t.

Because they’re not there. And thus, the beagle has required several (or more) beagle biscuits in order to quell its repeated concern. The beagle is now sleeping next to me as I type this, but I’m fairly sure that we will be doing the search/cry/biscuit routine again shortly.

I have a feeling that the kids will be knackered when they come home this afternoon. It’s not that they haven’t been working hard at home for the last six months; just that Real School is going to be much more physically taxing than online home school.

The good news for them – us, everyone – is that we’re just 9 weeks away from the start of a much needed summer holiday. Of course, we don’t really know what we’ll be facing by that time Covid-wise, economically or socially, but at least it’s something positive (like a ray of hope, not like a disappointing diagnostic test result) to aim for.

Right now, I need to go and collect the first child and see how the day went.
Fingers crossed for a good experience.

Day 187 – Grass

Some gentlemen came and removed all the grass from our back garden today. Gentlemen have been coming around our neighbourhood and removing things quite regularly at the moment, but in this case, it was ok: I did ask them to. These were nice gentlemen.

To be absolutely accurate, there wasn’t very much grass left amongst the plethora of weeds which had taken over after the drought and had successfully outcompeted the lawn ever since.

I know that having a lawn (ironically) isn’t the greenest decision that one can make, but it looks good and is far more conducive to getting the kids outside a bit more than gravel, thorny weeds and succulents. (Incidentally, I’m also aware that having kids isn’t the greenest decision that one can make, but I promise that I won’t have any more. Also, eating fillet steak isn’t the greenest decision that one can make, and certainly I’m not stopping that any time soon. I will, however, continue to religiously recycle. I remain confident that my place in Heaven is assured.)

Long story short, the nice gentlemen are planning to come back and replace the old grass (weeds) with some nice new grass (grass) tomorrow. The beagle (yeah, yeah… having one of which is not the greenest decision etc etc.) will be delighted to have its regular stalking ground back. It’s quite confused about why everything has gone brown and soily outside. Beagles like stability in their lives. And grass.

Hopefully, tomorrow marks the start of a successful, new, picture perfect back garden for the summer and beyond. I’m looking forward to it.

Day 156 – A last blast?

One can always tell when Spring is coming along. In the UK, it’s when you switch off your central heating. In South Africa, it’s when your wood order moves away from bluegum for the fire towards kameeldoring and rooikrans for the braai.

It’s when Capetonians stop complaining about the cold and start complaining about the wind.

We’re not there yet.

Because it is still cold. Today is a freezing (ok, it’s 9.7ÂșC but we’ve covered this), wet, grey day with a strong, squally breeze that feels like it has come straight from the Antarctic. It’s a day for fortified red wine, a good fire, a thick duvet, some hearty soup and making sure that your local shelter has enough resources to provide some beds and meals for those who don’t have those luxuries described above.

I do have a plan to wrap up warmly and drag the beagle around the block at some point, but there is – perhaps understandably – a degree of canine resistance to that idea right now.

And so, for the moment, I’m being lazy and staying put. Maybe I’ll have a last blast on FIFA 20, maybe I’ll try and find some sort of live sport to watch, maybe I’ll even contemplate (and follow through on) an afternoon nap. And I won’t feel guilty about not getting out and “doing stuff”.

Everyone needs to have a day off every now and again. And given that it is thoroughly miserable out there today, this one is mine.

Day 91 – Title-less

The sky is getting darker, the wind is blowing ever more strongly and the temperature is dropping ever so slowly.

There’s a storm front coming
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming
Small craft warning on the radio

So sang Billy Joel. Mind you, he also famously claimed that

We didn’t start the fire

And as you will read below, that’s actually something I fully intend to do just now.

Yes, there’s another Cape cold front on the way in. It’s not a huge one, but it has been sitting just to our south west for a few hours now, teasing us about its imminent arrival. It’s coming in two parts: one today and one on Saturday. Much like the UK’s coronavirus problem, it seems likely that the second wave will be the worse of the two, but much like South Africa’s coronavirus problem, that assumes that we’ll make it through the initial wave first.

As ever, I have battened down the beagle and I will be lighting the fire presently. But I’m tired and I’ve been making silly mistakes all day. It wouldn’t surprise me if I have actually battened down the fire, so I will double-check before I stick a paraffin-laced cube of white stuff anywhere.

I’m listening to 6 Music on what would have been the prelude to the Glastonbury 2020 weekend. Obviously, that’s not happening for viral reasons, but they have been celebrating what has gone before and what would have been, with some really uplifting, joyful, positively emotive music.

I don’t think that the currently wonderful weather in the UK is helping those people who had tickets for the Festival this year either. It would have been fantastic. And while there’s obviously no substitute for actually being there, I would have still enjoyed watching it in big bold 4K, 6000 miles… away in front of a smouldering hound.

In the meantime, the last bits of online schooling before the staff and students of the kids’ school get a well-deserved week off, several household chores, a bit of football, some red wine.

See you tomorrow.