Day 305 – Productive Monday

I’m squeezing in a quick blog post now, because I have a piano lesson to facilitate and then a school meeting to attend and I have been extraordinarily productive this morning. Delivering bread, buying drugs (careful now), making and then taking charity sandwiches to the farm stall for distribution, organising a door repair, assisting with homeschooling and managing a quick (ok, short, not quick) run as well.

Not only that, but dinner is already bubbling away on the stove (and smelling really good), and it’s not anywhere near dinner time yet. The organisation is

On. Point.

And if I can make this post happen fairly quickly, I might even manage to pack a box or two before I’m needed elsewhere.

I’m not like this every day (in fact, I’m very much not like this at all on most days), and so I have to make the most of it when I am.

Which is exactly why I’m not going to get distracted with 1500 words about our Covid situation or the human firepool which is Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane’s maskless appearance at the weekend or even our progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Right, time to stir the pot and then pack all my shoes. Well, most of my shoes.

I’m not making that mistake again.

Day 304 – Wander with a camera

A quick trip to Kirstenbosch Gardens (we’re members now, don’t you know?) this morning with a camera (50mm prime lens only) in hand yielded some decent exercise and a few nice pics, not least this Common Garden Orbweb Spider (Agriope australis), which was much better camouflaged than you might imagine.

Not sure what the thicker woven threads top left and bottom left are, but it was quite an impressive construction for a relatively small spider.

And how about a bit of Erica densifolia to brighten your day?

Because of… well… you know what, a lot of outdoor spaces (basically those without controlled entrance) are out of bounds at the moment and even Kirstenbosch is only open 9-6, leading to huge, mostly socially-distanced queues outside the gates when we arrived. And then the frustrating stupidity of the official at the entrance with his mask under his nose, touching everyone’s hands while taking their temperature, but telling us all to behave safely.

Still, once you’re in, and past the muppets, you can lose yourself nicely for a while.
This was an hour or so well-spent.

Day 301 – Taking stock

Yes, this was meant to happen yesterday, but then a family emergency happened yesterday and so this didn’t. Still, on the plus side, we now have another day of data to look at.

Yesterday marked 300 days of lockdown in South Africa. Varying degrees of lockdown – from literally staying inside your house 24/7 to going out and doing most anything you wanted as long as it wasn’t between 12-4am – sure, but still a lockdown in some form or other.

So where are we now?

Well, that kind of depends on with when you choose to compare our current situation.

(Dr Ridhwaan Suliman’s twitter stream is a great local Covid data resource.)

Compared with 10 days ago: Great.
Compared with 10 weeks ago: Not so good.
Compared with 10 months ago: Also not so good, but, that was just before the first wave was on the way, and it was all very unavoidable, so probably not a very fair comparison.

Since lockdown began, we’ve lost lives, we’ve lost jobs, we’ve lost livelihoods, we’ve lost (what was left of) the economy and – in many cases – we’ve lost hope.

Given the time and the effort and the sacrifices, and notwithstanding that viruses are going to do virus things, it’s not a pretty picture.

Our often dysfunctional, often corrupt government has addressed the pandemic in a haphazard, illogical manner – not that I’m saying there was any given “right” way of doing things – and if news reports are to be believed (I know, I know) it has now also completely messed up sourcing even close to adequate vaccines for the country through its incompetence, which is unforgivable.

Our population has been asked, then coerced and then forced to adhere to simple steps to reduce the transmission of the virus.

The good news is that we seem to have now passed the beak of the second wave, and the positivity rate (not a perfect marker, but the best we have) is dropping off sharply. I’m hopeful that we can now begin to open up again, as was promised in Ramaphosa’s speech a couple of weeks ago, and again attempt to approach some sort of normality.

Some lifting of the alcohol ban would certainly assist the liquor and hospitality sector.
On that note, please read this from Jacques Rousseau. Lovely stuff.

The kids are already back at school, doing alternate days to keep the in-class numbers down (and then online learning on their off days), because they can, given that there has been no official gazetting of school closures (and probably/possibly won’t be, according to this), but they’d love to get back full time as soon as possible. That routine makes a huge difference.

Basically, as a country we continue – somehow – to teeter on the very edge of disaster. The tape that’s been holding everything together for years now is very much losing its sticking power and it does really seem like there’s not much to look forward to, despite those decreasing numbers.

Let’s see what the next couple of week brings.
Maybe I can write a more optimistic post if there turns out to be a bit more optimistic news.