Operation Oysterhood: Day Seven

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



What is it with all this policing? As if the official lockdown did not impose enough regulations on us. Let’s stick to those: STAY AT HOME. That’s all that is required of most of us right now. Keep as healthy and as sane as you can. That’s it. But why all this advice along the lines ‘write this, don’t write that’, ‘post this on social media, don’t post that’, ‘follow this protocol, don’t follow that’, ‘reply to this email along these instructions, and forward to these people’, etc… In one way or another, the present is tough on all of us who are taking the global situation seriously. Staying at home has its own individual challenges, whoever and wherever you are. If baking banana bread is what makes you happy right now, and sharing the success of your efforts on social media gives you a moment of joy, please do. Whatever works. If it doesn’t work for others, they don’t have to look, like, read or reply. (The unfollow button is an option we are all free to exercise.) And if a banana bread picture works for someone, great! Any positive energy we can generate right now is encouraging. And I am saying this while being allergic to bananas, so I really mean it! Processing change via creativity – including baking (see the Toilet Chocolate Cake by Kate Pritchett!), sewing, gardening, and, and, and – is human nature and we are undergoing a seismic global change right now, so let us just indulge in whatever activities make this bearable, banana bread included. And all that exercise. And diary writing. And whatever.

Just brilliant!

Last night, I visited Jenny and Nick in Edinburgh. That was a good dream. But I did not get to meet their new puppy (you can see pictures of the new addition to the family here: Jenny’s and Nick’s adorable puppy on Instagram).

To see my Furry Family, you just have to follow me.


Morning coffee with Glinka.

The skin on my fingers has finally healed and is not peeling off. Three weeks ago, I helped build a fence for a large goat enclosure (a long story) and despite wearing good gloves, ruined my hands, especially the tips of my fingers while working with wire etc. All the constant hand-washing before the lockdown did not help the recovery, but now it is all behind me and my fingertips are all smooth and smiling again.


I am sinking into nearly intolerable laziness. One of my friends said: “This is a blessing, you have been working too hard.” I am not sure, but I do remember working myself into a month-long illness publishing a book last year, and I simply refuse to feel guilty about resting, or “momentary resting”, something I have read about recently in South African Writing in Transition (my review of the book appeared on LitNet today).


I watched TV all morning, read for a while, and, inspired by two Twitter posts, got busy with spine book poetry (see above) and ‘recreating famous paintings with stuff that could be found at home’. In my case, I asked one of the Felines to pose with me and recreated my favourite Egon Schiele: Seated woman with bent knee, and cat

Lunch was braaied bratwurst leftovers. Still a delicious mouthful. Then I had a swim and a reading session in the sun. I am getting a proper suntan for the first time in years and it feels good. Long chat with my Mom on the phone. She is doing great, thank goodness! She left the house today to say hello (from a distance) to the new postman, a young man from the Ukraine, who is as happy living in Austria as she is, he told her. Then it was time for emails and admin again. And I washed the floor in the passage. Dinner, and now, with Glinka on my lap, I am typing this, my way of chronicling our bizarre time, coping, exercising the writing muscles in a gentle way without performance pressure…

There is one rule/command/directive/regulation/law – whatever you want to call it – that I would like to see enforced like no other, now and always: DON’T FUCKING RAISE YOUR HAND AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN! DON’T. AN ABSOLUTE NO TO VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND/OR PHYSICAL. I heard Pippa Hudson talk to representatives of Rape Crisis and the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children today on CapeTalk and it broke my heart. I couldn’t help myself and I cried. It’s bad enough to experience lockdown, but to have to survive it in the same space as your abuser…? Rage. Tears. Helplessness. And I am safe. However, from the safety of our homes, we can do something: donate to these institutions which are performing incredible work. Every bit helps.

Please be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Stay at home or seek shelter at a place of safety, if you can. Here is a list of all vital institutions and numbers compiled by Drs and Helen Moffett and Tlaleng Mofokeng: FACING THE MONSTER: DOMESTIC AND CHILD ABUSE DURING LOCKDOWN

Good night. (I hope.)

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