Operation Oysterhood: Day Seventy-Three

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

— @HaggardHawks


How to heal invisible hurts: love – human and feline – music, books, walks, coffee, food, and, if all else fails, a Hoghouse porter at midnight to make you sleep.

I know it is just a matter of time, not even a long time; a few days at most. Life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is nowadays. Yes, the neighbours’ dog barking at passing strangers and every weird sound on the property had me freaking out last night, but only a day later, the world is beginning to feel slightly more familiar, calmer. It doesn’t feel safe, because it isn’t. Neither at home, nor outside of it. But it is losing its sharp edges.

Glinka on Karina watch, night and day.

By today, we are at nearly fifty thousand confirmed Covid-19 positive cases (thousands unconfirmed, I suspect) and nearly one thousand people dead. And I keep reminding myself that each one of them is a family and circle of friends shattered and trying to grasp the ungraspable. Yet, I see people everywhere without masks, hear about people getting together for birthday parties, listen to a discussion on the radio where some woman insists that having her hair washed and blow-dried by a hairdresser should be considered an essential service. Perhaps these people think that dying should be an essential service, too, because it feels to me as if they are begging for it.

I mostly stayed off social media this weekend. Sjoe, it’s rough and ugly out there, and my skin is paper-thin right now.

I have three book recommendations for today. The first is highly topical:

It’s Only Blood by Anna Dahlqvist. This book changed my life and I think of it every month when I menstruate. I reviewed it for LitNet in 2018.

Mum and Dad

The second is a pure comfort read, wise and wonderful about relationships: Joanna Trollope’s Mum & Dad. Also, the way it describes a vineyard in Spain made me dream about another visit. One day…

The third is Sea Star Summer by Sally Partridge. I started reading it this afternoon and just want to move into the world of Naomi and Elize and their budding friendship, with the sea as their constant companion. Sally, if you are reading this: thank you! Another gem. For me, you are the Queen of YA in South Africa. Love your work!

And you might be happy to hear that The Potluck Club is making home deliveries (or you can pick up your feast at the restaurant). Their food was the best possible Sunday treat. Especially on the stoep, in loving company. Mozart insisted on having his share of the special lunch :)

My love sent me a link to a wonderful article today: Mysterious and mischievous medieval doodles. I still find it difficult to understand how any of these incredible images were possible hundreds of years ago, but they are simply delightful. Although snails are cool, for obvious reasons, I have been on the lookout for szczureks in these medieval drawings.


The one ancient book replica I have, The Sarajevo Haggadah, features quite a few fantastical and real animals, but not a single rat. So, inspired by an original image, I decided to draw a rat myself. In a way it portrays exactly how I have been feeling this weekend, trying to shelter in an unsafe place:


No midnight beers to make me sleep tonight, I hope. I am just going to dive back into Sea Star Summer and allow it to carry me into my dreams.

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

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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