Operation Oysterhood: Day Eighty-Six

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

— @HaggardHawks


For the past twenty-nine years, I have been missing the chocolate chip cookies that the St. Stephen – St. Edward School cafeteria in Warwick, NY, served. I have finally found another chocolate chip cookie to take their place: another Hoghouse treat! I had four of them with my morning coffee and will have to get many, many more at the next opportunity…


A day of reading laziness, almost. Inspired by Salieri, I just stayed in bed until mid-afternoon, apart from a rugby/ironing (one of my favourite combos) session in front of the TV, Glinka assisting.


Today, fourteen years ago, I married André. One of the happiest days of my life. Every year, on this day, I watch our wedding video, today alone for the fifth time. For the first time in five years, the day was full of good memories – only. No pain. Time, the miracle healer.

In the last while, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to take care of somebody’s legacy. It is mostly an incredible honour, and when that person is someone you love, it is a deep-seated pleasure, too. But, it is also a heavy burden of responsibility, and reflecting on this aspect of my work in the past five years, I feel that I have often blundered more than done justice to what was entrusted into my care. The reality is that it doesn’t matter that your heart is always in the right place and you act in good faith when dealing with a world that often lacks integrity and where your trust and goodwill are often taken advantage of. In the words of Fawlty Tower’s Manuel, “But I learn, I learn.”


I am now a few stories into Searching for Simphiwe and am absolutely loving the writing. Short stories can be so satisfying. The titular story is wow, just wow.

The other book I have dipped into today was the Herron stand alone novel. It is becoming darker and darker and I am beginning to feel that I know what is coming and I am not sure that it will be easy to read.

I skyped with my Mom this afternoon. She is healthy and well, but Mr Mozart’s cat-mom is spending the weekend at the vet’s. Most likely a poisoning. We are hoping that the vet can help her recover fully and go home soonest. She lives with one of Mom’s best friends. There was other sad news in our acquaintance circle to report and it was the first time since the lockdown that I was trying to cheer up Mom and not the other way around.

A message from a Twitter friend brought with it deeply saddening news of her cat passing after seventeen years of close companionship. I asked her for permission to post here the beautiful, heart-breaking poem that she shared with me.

Poem by Monica Kagan


Any cat lover who has ever lost a feline companion will know how she feels. We are thinking of you, Monica! And sending purring love.

I also found out that one of my dearest friends in Austria ended up in the hospital with very strange symptoms (not Covid-19-related, but scary). I had to google the name of the illness they are suspecting because I had never heard of it before. She is a fighter and she has the best possible care, so I hope she can get a proper diagnosis and recover as soon as possible. She told me about the giant squid that was discovered on one of our beaches here. I had no idea, but the news made it into the Austrian media. I had a look at a few reports. What an incredible creature!

So, all in all, a certain heaviness crept into my day.

In the evening, I cooked chicken soup while listening to a live Derek Gripper concert that my love alerted me to. Balm for the soul.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. Today, the NICD recorded nearly five thousand new Covid-19 infections. People are dying all around the world because of this.

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



The Boss.

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