Monthly Archives: August 2020

Operation Oysterhood: 4 August

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

— @HaggardHawks

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Not sure whether the above poster is to be found in all EB bookshops; I saw it in Cavendish today. I was strangely moved by it. It was also good to see people reading at the large desk inside the shop again, physical distancing and all.

Even more heartening today was the news that the CNA shops are recommitting to selling books on a mass scale again and they are planning to offer at least fifty per cent of their bookshelf space to local and African books. I can’t wait to see these plans in action, especially since they are also going to open more shops across the country. More outlets where authors and their books can reach readers. This gives me hope.

What was less heartening – actually devastating – was watching the Jonathan Swan interview with the Tangerine Troll. I am in awe of what psychopaths can get away with. I wouldn’t put that creature in charge of anything (and I really mean ‘anything’ – tried to think of something one could safely entrust him with and I just could not find a single thing) and he is the President of the USA. And I have this horrifying feeling that he is going to be around for another four years. I truly trust Americans to reelect him. The rest of us will have to go into an extreme state of oysterhood/hibernation until 2024 to survive.

A rainy, cold day of mostly working in bed with Salieri catssisting, also accidentally deleting some of my writing (thankfully it was saved and could be retrieved again). A long work Zoom meeting after dinner. I am tired now, but it is good to see things developing in interesting directions.

Dinner included pistachio ice-cream for dessert. About twenty years ago, I developed the Ice-cream Flavour Theory of Men. Basically, it compared men to ice-cream. (Hey, I was young!) It explained, in the most non-scientific way, that you should never settle for your second-favourite flavour, even if your favourite was unavailable or difficult to obtain. In the last while, I have realised that my favourite (ice-cream!) is no longer chocolate, but pistachio. When I bought it today, the pistachio ice-cream made me think about love – how it grows and transforms with time. And if you are lucky, it tastes like your favourite pistachio ice-cream.

In the morning, my publisher, Protea Book House, asked me for an inspirational quote for a campaign they are running for Women’s Month. I said: “Be kind. All else will follow.”

Wear a mask, too. Please.

And if you are allowed to vote in the USA this November, please save the world!

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 3 August

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

— @HaggardHawks

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Another day without photographs, so I am sharing one more from yesterday’s excursion to Elgin.

Now that intra-provincial travel is allowed and there are ways of travelling without endangering others, or at least reducing the risk to an absolute minimum, and at the same time contributing to the saving and sustainability of what is left of the local tourism industry, we are thinking of exploring the possibilities. And one doesn’t have to go far in the Western Cape to enjoy the best of what being away from home can offer. I have an idea that a weekend stay in a self-catering cottage in one of the numerous secluded beauty spots of the Western Cape is much safer right now than going to the crowded beach in Muizenberg (which, technically, should still be empty, or not?). Walking in Elgin yesterday, the splendour of the landscape sinking in and with not a single other hiker in sight apart from us, I felt restored to myself. And I even had some decent sleep last night – a gift not to be sneezed at (especially now!).

Monday. Bin (collected after a two-week pause). Orchid bath (new flowers waiting to burst open). A day of computer work.

I am adamant about squeezing in a few book reviews into my working schedule, even if they are mostly unpaid at this time. I sent off one today.

Writing-related highlight of the day: a writer I admire is interviewing lockdown diarists for an article, and she interviewed me about the Oysterhood Diary in the afternoon. It was intriguing and fun to reflect on the last one hundred and thirty days (!) of daily Oysterhood blog posts. She asked how long I plan to continue … Well, by now, I have decided that I am in it for the long run, i.e. until the official end of the lockdown.

Brace yourselves, poor, dear Readers!

Be kind. Wear a mask.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: Karina Day

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

— @HaggardHawks

Karina Day excursion with my love – hike and picnic – in Elgin, one of my favourite places in the Western Cape.

Be kind. Wear a mask.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 1 August

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

— @HaggardHawks

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Another long, weird night, and it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing all this restlessness. But, the morning had coffee in it, and Alma Café buttermilk rusks. I have been avoiding rusks for quite a long time now, but I felt the need to return to them again. Another little step in healing beyond grief.

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The restlessness still allows me to do my work, but my leisure reading has suffered in the last while. This morning, however I had the huge joy of completing my trip Around the World in 80 Words. Salieri catssisting, of course.

And guess what!? The author of Around the World in 80 Words, who runs @HaggardHawks – one of my favourite Twitter accounts – has followed me back today. Coincidence? Some would say that there is no such thing. One way or another – I am very happy. I have been a fan for years. I love his books and the wealth of knowledge he shares with us about words.

Haggard Hawks

I went to Kalk Bay today to see Dawn Garisch and discuss the next book we will be publishing together (it is beautiful and I can’t wait to start working on it) and was hoping to visit the newly reopened Kalk Bay Books, but the shop will open only next weekend. Such a relief that we won’t be losing this book world treasure. Kalk Bay was busy today! And the traffic impossible. It felt like a summer day in the famous seaside resort.

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During my walk in the area I found a R5 lucky coin. I find coins all the time, but R5 doesn’t happen often. We are in dire need of good omens, so I am grateful to the universe for this one.

The wonderful broadcaster and author Sara-Jayne Makwala King celebrated her fortieth birthday today. And Mika du Preez turned nineteen. You might not know who Mika is – yet – but it is only a matter of time. And I can’t wait for the world to discover this talented, super-intelligent, funny, kind young man, who plays the accordion, writes inspiring poetry and prose, and wants to be a Waldorf teacher one day. He is the kind of person who will make a real difference to others’ lives – he already manages to brighten any day with his mere presence. It is easier to be optimistic about the future when one knows young people like him, and I feel fortunate to know Mika and to be able to call him and his family my own.

Another good day. Now, for one good night. Tomorrow is, after all, Karina Day.

Be kind. Wear a mask.

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

— NICD

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A sexy feline strikes a pose on Topolino.