Day 7 – Bit short of bread

I’m writing this at [checks watch] around midday, which means that I’m 3 hours and 47 minutes (thank you Google Maps timeline) from a week of being inside.

I’m going to have to venture outside into what passes from the real world soon. We’re running a bit short of bread. I do have the means to bake some more, so it’s not desperate, but that time is coming.

It’s struck me that the chances of me having caught Covid-19 are becoming smaller and smaller, as we have had zero contact with anyone now for those 7 days. And it also strikes me that the chances of catching it while I’m buying bread are still small, but also still increasing.

There have been a few well-publicised incidents of people jogging or walking their dogs in the suburbs, which is naughty and illegal, but I have it on good authority from several independent sources that elsewhere, the lockdown is being treated as a bit of holiday. This is not good, and effectively negates the effect of the people obeying the lockdown and staying inside. This is basically the equivalent of you recycling a small Marmite jar in your Cape Town kitchen to help save the planet while China builds another ten coal-fired power stations.
In turn, of course, this lack of adherence to the rules will simply lead to an extension of the restrictions, which then won’t be obeyed again… and around and around we go. With some deaths.

Still, you just do what you can, don’t you? I can’t stop the entire population of Rustenburg thronging in the High Street coughing and sneezing on one another, like ten dirty power stations, can I?

And so we just sit here making sure our Marmite jars are nice and clean for the glass people, because really it’s all we can do.

Day 6 – I want a dog

When it gets dark, my dog will bark
At any passers-by

So sang and remastered the Pet Shop Boys, thus:

Barking at passers-by was one of the beagle’s most very favourite things to do, and absolutely its most favourite thing to do that didn’t involve food. We spend most of our outdoor time at home in the back garden, but if we have cause to go out to the front, the beagle will scoot out and take up a position overlooking the pavement and… well… will bark at any passers-by.

You must please understand that the gate is some distance from the actual passers-by. The passers-by are in no danger here, although if they were to actually get into the front garden, they may be licked to death.

I went out into the front garden this morning to wash the front windows, because that’s the kind of thing you do when you have nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. And when the windows are dirty.

The beagle eagerly ran out and took up position and waited… and waited… and waited. And gradually, it sat and then sank to its tummy, resting its head upon the bottom rung of the fence, as absolutely no-one passed by.

Eventually, it gave up and returned inside to do some sleeping. This is absolutely unheard of (the returning inside bit, I mean: the sleeping is entirely normal).

This is great news as far as the adherence to lockdown regulations go, but not so wonderful if you are the beagle. The beagle is clearly very unhappy.

So, if you are planning to pass by my house, please could you…well, actually, just please could you? Literally, please could you pass by my house?
It would make someone I know ever so happy.

Thanks.

Day 5 – Shopping

I’m not shopping today. I’m just talking about it.

We’re still doing ok on the things we bought in before the lockdown started. And no, we didn’t stockpile. We don’t have the space or the moral delinquency for that. We just bought sensibly for a couple of weeks ahead (because it was obvious that this was going to happen) and we’ve been careful with what we’ve used.

I will have to venture out and shop this week though. I’m planning to combine it with a blood donation. We’re a bit short on fresh stuff: bread and milk and fruit and veg.

There’s a list of essential items that you are allowed to buy:

It forms part of the legislation around the lockdown which I shared here. And it seems completely reasonable until you start looking at the details.

Now, to be fair, I do understand some of the reasoning behind this – everything should be done to keep supermarkets stocked with essential items, and so transport systems don’t need to be overwhelmed or distracted by stuff we can manage without right now: cut flowers, clothing, gardening goods etc.

I get it. It’s just where those lines between “essential” and “non-essential” have been drawn that’s possibly up for debate.

Let’s look at the big ones: alcohol and faaags.

Alcohol, I can understand. SA has a huge problem with alcohol, and cooping people up in a tiny space for 3 (or more) weeks with nothing to do but drink is a recipe for disaster. That’s not great for those people who don’t have a dependency on drink, but that’s not what this is about.

Tobacco though? Isn’t that the other way around? I’m not a smoker and I recognise that it’s not a healthy habit, but it seems to me that as a coping mechanism, tobacco has a place in this lockdown. And forcing the 20% of South Africans who smoke (that’s 10 million people) to go cold turkey with basically no warning whatsoever seems like a very bad idea to me.

And then some of the things that I’ve seen and heard on social media. Like the fact that you can buy floor cleaner, but you can’t buy a mop. To be fair, one is pretty much useless without the other. It’s not something that I would feel to be hugely essential during the lockdown, sure. But if you’re going to allow one, why on earth not the other?

And then there’s crisps/chips/crisps. I’ve seen images of entire crisp/chip/crisp aisles taped off at the supermarkets. Apparently, you can buy potatoes, just not processed potatoes. Why? And where does that leave us on the biltong front? Because denying South Africans access to biltong is denying them a basic human right. Like denying them the freedom to walk around outside.

Oh.

Some of these questions may be answered when I head out later in the week, but it might well be the case that my journey out will end up with me finding more of these mildly bizarre dichotomies while I’m trying to keep the family fed for the next few weeks.

I’ll keep you posted. (Because let’s face it, you’ve really nothing better to do right now.)

Day 4 – A challenge?

Incoming from a regular reader:

Going to be interesting to see what creative blog worthy stuff you come up with over the next few weeks. Not much happening…

This email was surprising for a number of reasons. First and foremost was that a regular reader would expect anything creative or blogworthy on here at any time, let alone during a lockdown. Secondly, the fact that he mentioned the word “interesting” while referring to the blog.

Have I really got people fooled?

The email also came with a suggestion of some content which I think was meant as a joke, but given that we’re just 4 days into (at least) 21 of full lockdown and the bottom of the barrel is already being scraped (I mean, look at this post for example), I’m certainly not going to rule anything out just yet.

There’s always the internet to rely on if I need more stuff to put on here. That’s still working (just). What is proving slightly more taxing at the moment is my One Photo Each Day Super Duper Lockdown Challenge. I have some sorted until the end of week 1, but after that, my tap is looking a little dry. Hopefully, inspiration will strike from somewhere…