Operation Oysterhood: Day Four

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.



No dreams, but an early wake-up to more worrying news. Maybe I should not be watching eNCA first thing in the morning, yet I am even more concerned if I don’t…

But no time to wallow in worry on a Monday morning. The bin had to be put out (it hasn’t been collected though; I just brought it back in), the stoep plants had to be watered, the orchids always get their weekly bath on a Monday, and it was time to do some laundry. Coffee first, of course. Taking the bin out, I waved up and down the empty street and smiled at Devil’s Peak, all glorious in the morning light. My first twenty seconds outside the property since Thursday. It felt amazing.


I spent the rest of the morning reading in bed and then had a shower and washed my hair. All energised and clean, I sat down to my computer to write two book reviews. In the meantime, I made lunch and hung up laundry. Once the writing was fished I continued with reading in the sun. Today, I did not feel like moving a lot, but the sunbathing was soul-restoring. Apart from showering, there is not much that I can do without the assistance of at least one cat in this house (and even the shower is not always a place they stay away from – today I sprayed the shower cubicle with mould buster and there is something in the spray that makes Salieri go cuckoo; it’s hard to explain, but I think she would be embarrassed to have videos of her reaction to the substance posted on the internet … if mould buster was prohibited during the lockdown, Salieri would have a problem!).

While I was reading on a blanket in the garden, Glinka came for a scratch behind her ear and then settled in my shade for company.

We are really enjoying the latest Michiel Heyns, A Poor Season for Whales. I was supposed to interview Michiel at his book launch tomorrow at the Book Lounge, but… it is A Poor Season for Book Launches, too.

I adore Michiel’s writing and I am so pleased that I was asked to do the interview. I hope it will still happen. One day. It will be a pleasure to at least write about the book if I have the opportunity. When Michiel and I were regular reviewers for the Sunday Independent, I used to read his book reviews every week with awe and I am still hoping that, one day when I grow up, I can write like that.

After all this literary laziness, it was time for emails and updates and more work and dinner. Today’s meals were all simple, but I did make an extra effort with the potato salad which includes a secret ingredient tip given to me by my very dear friend Erika (her Family: Kobus, Roland and Mika – my Family – mean the world to me). The tip was passed on to Erika, as all worthwhile tips are, from her mother.

All in all, a calmer and more successful day than yesterday, but my cheeks are sore again and, even though I had hoped to skype with my cousin in Poland, I need to get into bed and just relax.

After dinner, we all got in front of the TV to watch the President speak. I am Polish by birth, Austrian by citizenship (and the Austrian consulate has been in touch with me to make sure that I was all right, which was very comforting in all kind of ways, but…) and, for the past fifteen years, I have been South African by heart, and when I watched Cyril Ramaphosa address the nation tonight, I felt that he was my President, too. Because South Africa is my home.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that we will overcome.” President Cyril Ramaphosa on 30 March 2020 in his address to the nation

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home.

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