Day 245 – Winde’s Warning

I mentioned some time ago on here that we were likely to see another peak in Covid-19 numbers sometime soon.

And so our next peak – should it not all go off in the next few weeks from PE – will likely be in January. Because people are not going to behave themselves sensibly over the holiday period.

Yes, there was always a hope that this wouldn’t be until early next year, but it now seems clear that is not going to be the case. Western Cape Premier Alan Winde last night issued a warning of “an established COVID-19 resurgence in the Western Cape”, based on the latest figures. And there were some scary numbers in there:

A resurgence is when the number of active cases increase, week-on-week, by more than 20%. Over the last week alone, the province has witnessed a 52.1% jump in new cases.

I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that that’s a little more than 20%.

Last week, we issued a hotspot alert for the Garden Route, following an alarming growth of cases in the area. This surge has continued to gain momentum and there are now more active cases in George and Knysna sub-districts than at any point in the pandemic to date.

Just in time for the beginning of the school holidays and the annual trip down to Plett. Probably safer just to stay at home.

The City of Cape Town is following a similar trajectory to this region and looks to be about 10-14 days behind.

Or… er… not.

…since the start of November, COVID-19 hospitalisations across the province have increased by 63%. Critical care admissions have increased by 75% since the start of November. This is particularly concerning as an admission to a critical care unit is an indication of severe illness that might lead to death.

This is worrying, especially for a virus that iS jUsT LiKe ThE fLu! And we’re only just starting again.

And then the truth bomb:

We also cannot afford a lockdown again, as is being witnessed in many European countries right now. Our economy simply cannot afford it. A lockdown would kill jobs and cause our humanitarian disaster to worsen. This will also cost lives in the future.

And he’s right: it’s surely just not possible. We were on our knees economically BTV, we’re in a far worse position now, and a further escalation of the lockdown would be utterly catastrophic.

As, some might argue, would be no further escalation of the lockdown.

We’re right back walking that tightrope and knowing that whichever way we fall, the consequences are not going to be pretty. But even staying on the rope isn’t going to help.

The sad fact is that Alan – and the rest of us – are now solely reliant on the actions of the general public to prevent this spiralling completely out of control. And the general public have already shown themselves to be completely useless at taking any sort of prevention measures. If anything, when you look around, you see fewer people with masks on, fewer people with masks on properly, fewer people even taking masks out with them: people think that we’re done with Covid.
We’re not done yet. Not by a long way.

And so I’ll put Alan’s plea to us all on here, fully aware (as I’m sure he was when writing it) that it will be ignored by the vast majority of people and that we’re not even delaying – let alone preventing – the apparently inevitable second wave.

The virus is not gone but will be with us over the holidays and beyond. Therefore, we need to remain safe and protect each other by:
– Wearing a mask properly is of life-saving importance. You must wear your masks at all times when outside of your home. There can be no exceptions.
– You must avoid crowded and confined spaces at all costs. This is where super-spreader events take place.
– You must urgently reconsider hosting all non-essential gatherings of people this year, especially indoor gatherings with poor ventilation.
– You must ensure there is good ventilation at all times whenever you’re in public. The virus droplets spread by air in confined spaces, and so fresher is better.
– You must wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use sanitiser.
– If you feel sick, you should not leave your home unless it is to get healthcare treatment. You must first call our hotline on 080 928 4102 for guidance on the next steps.
– You should also not visit someone who is sick, and find other ways to provide support, like delivering a meal to a neighbour’s doorstep.

And then that last line:

Every single resident should assume that COVID-19 is everywhere they go and take all the necessary precautions at every point along their journey.

This is exactly how we look after ourselves in a microbiology lab. It’s a policy that has meant that I have had exactly zero Laboratory Acquired Infections in 25+ years of lab work, despite playing with literally billions and billions of bacteria and viruses each and every day.

If you follow those guidelines above; if you treat everything as being a potential source of Covid-19 for the next couple of months and behave accordingly, you have every chance of being safe.
If you teach your family to do the same too: they have every chance of being safe.

The more people and families that do this, the greater the effect.

And I know I’m shouting into the void, but these really are simple, straightforward steps to take. There’s nothing difficult or taxing here. Just common sense. It costs nothing, and it’s proven to protect you and your loved ones. And absolute no-brainer.

I’m every bit as tired of Coronavirus as you are, and I like germs. This festive season is going to be really crap for a lot of people, including us down here in SA. But there is an end in sight if we can just pull through the next few months.

Please, let’s not fuck this up.

Day 244 – Soapie goat theft

Remember 2016?

The Rio Olympics: Hoorah!
The height of the Zuma years: Boo!
Corona was just a fancy beer: Hoorah!
Trump won the US election: Boo!
I went to Norway and Mauritius: Hoorah!

Oh, and that stolen goat ended up in a local soap opera, playing an extra “in a scene depicting rural settings”.

I think that’s the pivotal moment that most people will recall from the year. The Groot Kaas of news stories, sweeping all before it as we headed into the festive season.

I have to say that goat would have seemed a little more out of place in a scene depicting urban settings. Even I would have spotted that. But it takes a true farmer to spot a stolen goat in a scene depicting rural settings. Goats – well-known as masters of camouflage – are right at home in scenes depicting rural settings.

The thing is, there might actually be a bit of truth behind the farmer’s claims. Because one of the vehicles allegedly used in local stock thefts belonged to the production company that makes Isibaya. And stock is an important part of Isibaya, given that there are a lot of rural scenes to film in the Thukela Valley where the feuding Zungu and Ndlovu families are based.

A number of Gauteng farmers say they feel affected by the stock thefts and want the cops to investigate whether the Isibaya manager may also be responsible for violent farm robberies and murders that have accompanied past stock thefts.
They are demanding compensation from Isibaya and a public statement on the matter; reportedly, a protest to the soapie’s Joburg studios on Thursday is being planned.

…the plot thickens.

Isibaya’s producer Kutlwano Ditsele denied any involvement in crime and said they were conducting an internal investigation.

…but then he would say that, wouldn’t he?


I have never watched an episode of Isibaya.

Day 243 – Continuing the positivity

After yesterday’s minor – but important – successes, I had a quick gander over at Brian Micklethwait’s New Blog, as I do several (or more) times each week.

Says Brian:

I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately, and I came to realise that the permanent photo on my computer wasn’t helping. It was of a boarded up house in Brittany, and it was there because that seemed appropriate for the times we are all trying to live past. But, because it was so appropriate it was also deeply depressing, just like the times we are all trying to live past, and it was making those times, for me, even worse.

I’m with you, Brian. I think we all are. 2020 has been an absolute slog.
We shouldn’t underestimate the toll that it has taken on us: we all deserve some recognition for making it through the last few months.

Brian has taken steps to cheer up his background and bring some additional inspiration into his daily life by selecting this photo of the Tate Modern from his archives and setting it as his desktop background:

There is no hidden meaning here. That’s a full-on promise in neon lights (or, given the colour, more likely Xenon or an Argon/Mercury mix, but those technicalities shouldn’t distract from the clear mantra). Yes:


Brian’s post made me look at my desktop background too. And yes, I had – subconsciously, I think – done exactly the same thing as he had, taking this photo of a typical scene in the Tankwa Karoo and then desaturating it to give me this far more sombre image, which seemed somehow more appropriate and which has been sitting as my backdrop for the past few months.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it doesn’t promote happiness, and having read Brian’s post, I decided to find an image that would. I would want a landscapey photo for my desktop background, nothing too busy.
Trouble is, I seem to have a lot of landscapey, not too busy photos that don’t quite fit that bill:


I especially like that third one, but it’s not very happy happy joy joy, is it?

Yeah, I have a lot of photos, but very few of them are suitable for a (positively) inspiring desktop.

I’ve ended up going with this one:

OK, I see the rough seas and the dark clouds, but I also see the sunshine and I see hope.

And I see Suiderstrand, which always makes me happier.


Right? Right.

Day 242 – Mostly positives

I started my Monday morning with a long list of jobs to do and things to achieve.

Wait for it…

And I did and achieved most of them. Ta-dah!

There is food in the kitchen cupboard once again and the lawn is mowed. Mown? Mowed?
Mowned.  Let’s stick with mowned.

The delivery I had to do down south was straightforward, and the meeting that I hadn’t been looking forward to very much, went well… I think.

This evening, I attended a webinar on the dining room table about online safety for my kids, and it was interesting, even if the guy did go on a bit too long. I’m not sure that Mrs 6000 was supposed to download and play Among Us while he was talking, but that does appear to be what happened. I must just watch her screentime…

Even the kitchen cupboard flinging a glass at me late in the evening failed to dampen my spirits. I actually love the new sparkly effect across the floor in front of the fridge. I can’t believe we never did this before.

Tomorrow promises rain (hence my getting the mowning done today) and there are still a couple of outstanding tasks I need to take care of (not least vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor now), but generally, this has been a very good day.

More of this sort of thing, please.

Day 241 – Libertador O’Higgins

It sounds like a made up name, doesn’t it?
Something you might find in an off-the-wall comedy skit show.

But no.

Crazy name, crazy guy, crazier legacy!

(Not to be confused with Bernard O’Higgins (?–1564) who was an Irish Roman Catholic bishop. He served as the Bishop of Elphin from 1542 to 1564.) (Obviously.)

I discovered Libertador O’Higgins in Chile thanks to there being an earthquake near there last night:

It turns out that Libertador O’Higgins is a region of Chile, just south of Santiago and named for… well… Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

And who was he?

Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme (1778–1842) was a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. He was a wealthy landowner of Spanish and Irish ancestry. Although he was the second Supreme Director of Chile (1817–1823), he is considered one of Chile’s founding fathers, as he was the first holder of this title to head a fully independent Chilean state.

He was Captain General of the Chilean Army, Brigadier of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, General Officer of Gran Colombia and Grand Marshal of Peru.

I think that we could have guessed the Irish ancestry bit.

… the illegitimate son of Ambrosio O’Higgins, 1st Marquis of Osorno, a Spanish officer born in County Sligo, Ireland, who became governor of Chile and later viceroy of Peru. His mother was Isabel Riquelme, a prominent local; the daughter of Don Simón Riquelme y Goycolea, a member of the Chillán Cabildo, or town council.

You can read more about his role in the Chilean Independence movement and his time as Supreme Director of Chile – and his part in Peruvian Independence – on that link above.

But this was the bit that got me: he has a really, really impressive array of stuff commemorating him, including (but not limited to):

– an administrative region in Chile (which had an earthquake near it last night)
– a major road in Santiago and a National Park
– a Blue Plaque and a bust in Richmond in London
– plaques, busts and statues in Sydney, Guatemala City, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Bogota and Cadiz
– Chile’s highest award for a foreign citizen
– an unorchestrated opera
– 3 ships, a submarine and an Antarctic research base
– a set of stamps in Chile and one in Ireland
– an actual football team

Yes: An. Actual. Football. Team.