Operation Oysterhood: Day Eighteen

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



My sunshine roses are as old as the lockdown; wilting, they remain beautiful.

Monday. I had a minute of infinite freedom in my street outside the property, staring up at Devil’s Peak, the sky above pale blue, a few white-grey clouds on the horizon, the street up and down empty. I took out the bin and listened. Once back inside, I heard someone walking down the street, searching the bins. A wall between us.

I managed once again not to watch the news, but tuned in to the Wild Earth live safari and found out a few facts about the bizarre sex life of spiders. Not sure that I wanted to know all the murderous details, and the vocabulary that goes with them… But it made me think of all the words and phrases that have become staple vocabulary for so many of us around the world: ‘lockdown’, ‘flatten the curve’, ‘social distancing’, to name the most obvious ones. And there are the less-known, lovely words like ‘self-islanding’ and ‘oysterhood’. A friend wrote to me the other day, addressing me as her ‘Favourite Oyster’. I do have the loveliest of friends.


I tweeted the other day that, when self-islanding, I want to be the Norwegian island of Ona and that ‘ona’ in Polish means ‘she’. Today, when I was drawing and looking up some birds in my guide book, I had coffee in my most precious mug. I brought it from the island of Ona, where it was made by a local pottery artists. I was looking up birds because there was one on safari I got a screenshot of, but not the name. I think it is the Lilac-breasted Roller, but my love will confirm when he reads this post.

Then, there was this beauty in my garden when I was out this afternoon, reading and drying my hair, and the Cats joined me for some sunbathing:

The Southern Boubou (I think), with her? (I think) rufous underparts – or underpants, as I like calling them – visiting my garden. I am completely in love with bird names. I mean: Boubou! Lilac-breasted Roller! One just has to love them. And I am still completely in awe of all birds, even the ones that are common to most others. The fact that I can recognise a few of them and name them gives me enormous joy.


Glinka was also up in the tree. Together with me, she has been following the Wild Earth safaris and wanted to be like the Kruger leopards, hanging out in trees, all cool, as if there wasn’t a Southern Boubou just above her head.


We also saw this majestic creature this morning: white lion with the bluest eyes. Uncanny, to say the least.


And here are my tabby lions, sunbathing this afternoon.

It was good to sit in the sun and read and think. My hair is getting greyer and greyer by the week. I am surprised that I haven’t gained any weight in the past eighteen days. I have been eating quite a lot, not really thinking about it. Carbs, fat? Who cares during the apocalypse? I am just glad that the food I got for the lockdown lasted well and only half a cucumber was wasted.

165After reading Paige Nick’s column about booze in the Sunday Times this morning, I realised that I am not the only one who inspected her liqueur cabinet after the extension of the lockdown was announced. It was strangely reassuring to see all those lovely bottles and their possibilities, but after witnessing all the complaints about the alcohol shutdown for the duration of the lockdown, I actually thought to myself: maybe don’t drink any alcohol until the end of the month – a dry April, instead of a dry January? Even if there is no way I could possibly get through the alcohol in the house in seventeen days. I love my bubbly and I usually like a glass of red or two in the evening with my dinner and I will indulge during feasts with friends, but fortunately, I don’t HAVE to have alcohol, so why fuss about it? And remembering a stupid, embarrassing, even potentially dangerous ‘incident’ with a certain vodka bottle three years ago, I am acutely aware that I am not allowed to drink to dull any hurt, anger or fear. Back then, I was so full of pain and rage which I did not know how to express in the world, I directed it all inwards, and … well, let’s just say washing vomit out of my hair wasn’t pretty. I haven’t touched vodka ever since.

Today was Śmigus-dyngus and I ‘celebrated’ with my Mom and Krystian on Skype again.

Wielkanoc 2020

This is the Easter e-card we got from our uncle this year. He is a poet and photographer and an all-round creative human being, so that’s his take on Easter 2020.

And this is the photograph that Krystian sent me this morning:

Ostern 2020

I just love the two eggs!

I managed to edit another short story today, one full of lekker humour and poignant observations. It did not need much work, just a gentle touch here and there. Editing requires a completely different reading and focus. I always want to go over the text again and again and channel the author’s own voice, make it the best that it can be without my own voice interfering. It is difficult to concentrate nowadays, but the story carried me along and I am so grateful to be able to work on the things I love.

This is the drawing that came to me today, birds-and-love-inspired.


Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. Let your hair down…


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