Operation Oysterhood: Day Thirty-Two

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



Monday. The usual: Bin, orchid bath, watering of stoep plants, laundry & other household duties. On my way back from the great outdoors beyond my gate where I left the bin for collection this morning, I saw my bedside light illuminating a corner of my bed through the window, and the scene looked so cosy, I was overcome by gratitude for all the blessings in my life. (Just a pity about the burglar bars, but one can almost, almost, unsee them.)

Coffee, Wild Earth, a little bit of reading. Poor focus today.

27 April. I know exactly what I was doing on 27 April 1994: celebrating my best friend’s birthday in Austria. We were still in high school, having met two years earlier and becoming inseparable. One of the many traditions we started way back then was me delivering tulips from my Mom’s garden to Isabella on her birthday. There were always strawberries, too. I messaged her early this morning and she responded, saying she thinks of me. And when my Mom phoned a few days ago, she told me about the tulips in her garden and that she was so sorry I wouldn’t be taking them to Isi.

With Isabella

With Isi in Linz, 2014

Today is also Mary Wollstonecraft’s birthday. I love the fact that these two incredibly important women in my life share a birthday. Alles Liebe zum Geburtstag, liebe Isabella. And happy birthday, dear Ms Wollstonecraft. Where would I be without you two? Thank you for showing me the path.

And, of course, Freedom Day. Happy Freedom Day, dear South Africans. Thank you for allowing me to know your stories, for making me feel at home in this remarkable country!

A dear friend sent me the 1994 video of Evita and Cyril going trout fishing this morning. It made my day!

And the ICU vibrators. Priceless. Still chuckling. They did use vibrators to treat hysteria in the olden days. Nothing like an orgasm to make one feel better. But the best ones are enjoyed together, and level one seems like a distant dream on hope’s horizon…

And so we bake bread.

I chose the easiest route and bought a half-prepared one last week from Ou Meul that waited patiently in the fridge until this morning when I baked it ready. I had the first slice with butter and honey, the best combination for freshly baked bread – the taste reminds me of childhood outings to a family friend’s farm, where they baked bread and made butter themselves, and they also had beehives. Good memories.

256I survived the night on a colour-coordinated-home-concoction of medicine I applied to my poor body to heal the backache. Not sure what worked best, I suspect the hot muti, but I felt much better in the morning, and will apply again tonight.

I survived another shopping excursion today. I ran out of one major essential for the Furry Family and had to brave the shops. I meant to go to only one, but they did not have what I needed, so I had to go to another. While at it, I got some other ‘essential’ stuff like window cleaner, coconut cream (yes, I have rum…), and a hot-water-bottle (among many other more truly essential items). The beautiful wine bottle that has been serving as my temporary hot-water-bottle could not be easily applied to my back last night.

Heart-breaking observations during the excursion: beggars are everywhere & those who do not have to beg have turned shopping into a national sport (the number of people I saw buying only an item or two and the congestion in the aisles were frightening). During the past thirty-two days I have visited four shops, two of them today, during two shopping outings. Anyone who can do the same, please consider it. Please. On my way back home, I heard Africa Melane on CapeTalk discussing the infection clusters around supermarkets in Cape Town. We are so eager for level four, but at this rate, we will be back at level five before we can say a packet of cigarettes.

And then we can say goodbye to most bookshops in the country, among so many other businesses.


I got a copy of Getaway magazine today. I just love the irony of its main story. In the morning, I looked at all the photographs I took while my love and I travelled around Poland exactly two years ago. Reminiscing, I thought: I have no regrets concerning the way we’d embraced life before the lockdown. We travelled near and far at every opportunity we had; we went to the theatre, to festivals, exhibitions, book launches; we treated ourselves to restaurants, even when it was not always financially wise to do so; we entertained friends whenever possible; and we spent so many hours just being in each other’s presence, knowing that the other was near was enough. We lived fully and passionately. And we miss all these things, especially all the occasions that could be enjoyed with family and friends, but we miss them because we lived them and not because we regret not having lived them. And so I will allow the Getaway magazine to take me back to those times of lived possibilities and inspire dreams of the future. Everything will be different for a long time, if not forever, no doubt, but there are places we will go, near and far, again. And that makes me happy.

One of those places will be the bush. Because I have to see ‘greeblings’ (James Hendry of Wild Earth), and…


Until then, I will delight in my Furry Family. Today, Mozart came to visit me on the bed again.

And on my way to the car with all my shopping this afternoon, I found another coin. I did not blow on it for luck (face mask, etc.), but brought it home and disinfected it, then washed my hands a million times. And then I blew on it. We are going to need all the luck we can get.

Time for hot muti.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s