Infamously, “you either love it or you hate it”. Or you simply can’t buy it.
I was shopping yesterday and I couldn’t find any Marmite. Four different shops comprehensively failed to yield a single jar of popular/unpopular spread between them. And you can’t just replace it with Bovril, can you? Some of them might be vegetarians.
These things sometimes happen. I remember that time not so long ago that the Western Cape ran out of carbon dioxide (but how?!?!) and couldn’t make Coca-Cola. But Marmite doesn’t need See Oh Too for its manufacture, so what’s gone wrong here?
Well, I think I have worked out the answer.
Remember the whole Lockdown thing* when we weren’t allowed to buy alcohol and were all rationing whatever we had left? Well, because we weren’t allowed to buy beer, breweries couldn’t sell beer and so some breweries stopped brewing beer.
And the yeast that is produced as a by-product of all the brewing of the beer is exactly the ingredient that the Marmite people need to make Marmite. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so bizarre that we’re out of Marmite in SA. No beer, no yeast, no Marmite.
Since the schools were closed on Wednesday 18th March 2020, with this rather optimistic line in the official letter…
Oh, how we laugh now. In a hollow, washed-out, distressed kind of way.
…our kids have been learning from home. School has slowly been getting back to some sort of normality, although the classes are still running on a rotational 1-day-in-1-day-out basis, but there has always been the option to continue schooling from home and we’ve chosen to take it.
However, it has been decided that* one of them should head back to the classroom.
So, after a break of 169 days, one of them is heading back to the classroom tomorrow.
It’s a mix of excitement, nervous anticipation and a flurry of organisation here. She’s been at the school for almost 9 years now, but this will be different to anything she’s experienced there before. That said, the school has been amazing with online lessons, communication and even support with videos and letters about what to expect upon returning, so I have high hopes that she will be just fine.
And so we cross fingers, hold thumbs and pray to the great flappy-eared beagle in the sky that it all goes well.
There was a real chance, what with loadshedding, schoolwork, an actual face-to-face meeting, washing the rest of Cape Agulhas off my car and cooking one of my awesome chilli con carnes for dinner, I might have forgotten to blog.
But there’s enough uncertainty in the world without that sort of nonsense.
And so here I am.
And talking of uncertainty, are we right at the end of “the strictest lockdown on the planet”?
It’s been… [checks title of post]… 140 days so far, and tomorrow will definitely be 141, but at midnight tomorrow, the National State of Disaster ends and with it, the National Disaster Act, upon which the lockdown regulations are founded.
That would end the lockdown.
But we’re still at Level 3 out of a scale of 5 to 0, literally not even halfway home yet, and still losing the battle with the virus in several provinces, so it seems highly unlikely that things will just stop tomorrow night. In which case, the government needs to act. And surely some form of action has already been taken, it’s just that we haven’t been told about it. They’ve had 6 weeks to prepare. But still: dololo. This would tessellate nicely with the ever increasing government twattery over the whole handling of the coronavirus problem. I’m not saying that it was ever easy, but I am suggesting that they could have done a whole lot better, even on the basic stuff.
The smart money is on a move to Level 2, bringing with it cigarettes and alcohol, inter-provincial travel and – probably – more virus. But apparently, no decision has been made. With 30 hours to go, they really need to get a move on.
Of course, they might have just had a busy day. What with loadshedding, schoolwork, meetings and washing their cars. It happens.
Their chilli con carne won’t be as good as mine, though.
The other thing I was busy with was a GooseChase. Basically, a fun*, interactive series of challenges which the teams have to undertake and complete within a given time period. This particular GooseChase is for the Virtual Quiz Groups that got together over lockdown, and while we’re still not allowed to see each other in the flesh or go round each others place and do things, I thought I’d lob one of these together for our entertainment. There is an app, but holey-moley it’s expensive. And expensive in USD – I can’t even work out how much it would be in ZARs. Anyway, if you thought putting a quiz night together was hard work, wow. You ain’t seen nothing yet. An organisational nightmare.
But if it comes off, it has the potential to actually be quite cool.
Well, Garmin is half back. I was able to sync a bit overnight and although the interface looks (perhaps understandably) like it’s taken a savage beating and the cuts and bruises haven’t quite subsided yet, it is still breathing – just – and will hopefully continue its recovery. Amazing that it managed to find a ICU bed right now.
Talking of medical stuff, I need to go to a doctor’s office today and I’ve never been less enthusiastic about anything. It’ll be the smallest public space I’ve been to in months, and also probably the longest period of time I will have spent in any indoor public space all year. If you remember my Virus FAQs post, these were two of the things I suggested were best avoided, but sometimes, needs must. So I’m going to put on my Big Boy panties (and my Big Boy mask), take a deep breath (outside) and just do it. I’ll also have my Big Boy sanitiser along with me and won’t hesitate to use it.
Don’t test me.
I have been listening to The Lathums. They’re from Wigan, so the a is hard and harsh, just like all a’s should be (glass, grass, path, bath etc.)
Finally, some more news on our shit government. This is an image from part of Andrew Mlangeni‘s funeral yesterday.
A true giant of Apartheid resistance, a Rivonia Trialist and an ANC stalwart, it obviously attracted a lot of attention. Hands crossed on the left there is village idiot Fikile Mbalula – currently the Minister for Transport. Now I have nothing against a decent send off for Mlangeni: he certainly deserves it. But so does every other individual dying at the moment. So the question is, why are there so many people there? And why are they standing so close to one another? That goes against the regulations for funerals which have been rigorously applied for everyone else.
And then Mbalula turned up on TV this morning saying that the situation “had been exaggerated”. With advance apologies to my reading audience: fuck you, Fikile. I, like everyone else, can see from the footage that at least two of those regulations above are being ignored and that’s only out of three, given that it’s not nighttime.
Is it any wonder that the lockdown regulations are being so openly and regularly flaunted? The only difference is that there are fines, police brutality and criminal records for the general public. Fikile and his government chums get – at best – a gentle slap on the wrist.
It’s just another example of one rule for them, one for the rest of us.
Right. Rant over. I’m off to mentally prepared for this afternoon’s trip, and to see if I can sort out another couple of GooseChase challenges before lunchtime.