Operation Oysterhood: 17 August

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

— @HaggardHawks

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I’ve never had any doubt about loving my home and being happy there with my Human & Furry Family. In that sense, the lockdown has been so much more bearable because the space I call ‘home’ feels safe and good despite everything that the world can throw at it. But: I have always loved travelling, too. And even though inter-provincial travel is becoming possible from tomorrow on, I am determined to delight in the intra-provincial option for quite a while yet. The Western Province has so many treasures on offer … and the infection numbers in the province are sinking, the health system is coping in dealing with those who need care, and the number of people dying of Covid-19-related causes here is dropping from day to day as well. There is every reason to believe that we have the worst of the pandemic behind us. And travelling is allowed, even encouraged, because so much of our economy depends on it.

We arrived at the Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in the De Hoop Nature Reserve today. It is our second visit to this magical place. We were greeted by Billy, the amazing guide, and his new colleague, Jan. And! An entire pod of dolphins frolicking in the ocean just in front of the lodge. Now, for many Capetonians, seeing dolphins is an ordinary occurrence, but for sixteen years these beautiful creatures have managed to evade me in the Cape. The only dolphins I have ever seen in my life were the black dolphins of the Bosporus. But today, finally, I could watch dolphins in the waves just outside Lekkerwater.

Anyone who knows the story of this place will understand why coming here is a homecoming for any of us. And so it is. But, unfortunately, my friend, Mr Eland, has decided to move out of the camp, so he wasn’t here to welcome me with flowers in his horns like the last time. I think he might have asked the dolphins to appear to make up for his absence. I did declare my love to him last year …

Lekkerwater is pure luxury, and after our first visit, I did not think that one could improve what this place has to offer its visitors, but there is something new at the lodge that we tried out the moment we got here: a hot tub on the beach just underneath the viewing deck of the lodge. We did not have long in the tub before the long-awaited storm arrived and we had to run for cover, but we were there long enough to see whales passing by in all their glorious majesty. A surreal moment if there ever was one!

The storm has been raging ever since, but who cares about the weather when you are in paradise and have a great book to read?

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The first time I was here, I promised myself that I would deliver a copy of Melissa’s Shadow Flicker to this place, because it felt like this book belonged in the little library of the lodge. And because of this spot’s remarkable history, I also think that a copy of Thembi Mtshali-Jones’s biography, Theatre Road by Sindiwe Magona, will find a good home here – to be enjoyed and to inspire anyone wanting to read a good book on a rainy afternoon in bed, or on a quiet, sunny morning on the pristine beach.

I wish I could say that our mini-break is all leisure and no work, but I haven’t been able to complete all the work that I was supposed to last week, so some of it is travelling with me. But even work in such surroundings feels special, so I am not complaining.

I remember Lekkerwater from last time as an incredibly social place, but we are still in the midst of a lethal pandemic and everyone is aware of the danger we are all in, so there are eye-smiles above masks, courteous waves across spaces and a bit of shouting to communicate across distance – a different kind of bonding.

The storm is ruthless tonight, so after dinner, we are all huddling around our own private fires and going to bed with the wind’s tantrum replacing a quiet night’s lullabies.

I also have a sweet birthday song playing in my heart because two of the most special women I know are celebrating their birthdays today: Erika and Sally. Both are my SA family and I cannot and do not want to imagine my life without their presence in it. Happy Birthday, dearest Erika and Sally! Thank you, for everything, and so much more.

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For Sally & Erika, happy veld flowers outside our Lekkerwater cottage.

Wishing you health above all!

One of the guests of the lodge is celebrating his fiftieth today, but he seemed quite shy about it. It is also my Dad’s name day. I sent him wishes earlier in the day.

:)

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

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