Operation Oysterhood: 28 August

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

— @HaggardHawks

I did not know her. But our literary lives had touched a few times before she passed away much too early. Her death has been difficult to grasp for several reasons. Gisela Ullyatt was exactly my age when she died of breast cancer last week Friday. We shared a publisher (Protea Boekhuis). She was part of the New Contrast team, although we hardly ever interacted. We often liked each other’s images on Instagram. I thought that the cover of her debut poetry collection – Die waarheid oor duiwe – was the most striking cover I have seen this year. Beautiful, haunting. It is impossible to believe that the author of this book will never write another poem again. She should have had at least another few decades of writing ahead of her, and so much more … I am sorry I never met her.

Early this morning, I went to see my doctor to mainly talk about my skin, but I also asked her to examine my breasts and to do a Pap smear. One of the bruises on my arm was worrying me, so I asked her to look at it, too. It felt like an all-round check-up, although it really wasn’t – just an accumulation of medical concerns. I am also seeing my oral hygienist next week (I was supposed to in April, but …). I know what it means when a virus changes your life, what it feels like to drive to the hospital to have a mammogram because your doctor detects something in your breasts that doesn’t feel right, what it is like to walk away nearly unscathed when a freak wave attempts to drown you. Those personal brushes with one’s own mortality … They make you feel fragile, and terribly apprehensive. Because one never knows.

When we came home from De Hoop Reserve after my encounter with the freak wave last week, Glinka sniffed my arm for a very long time. So did Salieri. I told them, Don’t worry – I am okay; I won’t abandon you. But I know that all I can hope for is that the Universe will allow me to keep that promise. No one knows what Fate has in store for us, not now, not tomorrow. There are no guarantees.

We need to make this – this, now – count.

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After the visit to the doctor, I felt a lot of relief and enjoyed my eggs and bacon (Richard Bosman’s meat products have been great lockdown companions) with a nice cup of coffee. Then it was time for work before my lunch date. My love asked me out to FYN.

And it was amazing. The restaurants itself runs as smoothly under lockdown as their home deliveries had been running before their doors reopened again. Everything feels safe and is perfectly organised. And the food … Just brilliant!

Needless to say, after this feast, I did not have any dinner tonight. And because I volunteered as the designated driver, I was able to complete my work for the day in the afternoon and evening, but now I am really ready for some TV, sleep and The Weekened!

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These gorgeous proteas arrived today, sent to us by the people of Heilfontein, because we forgot to take our bunch home when we were staying on the farm earlier this month. Such an amazing gesture.

Oysters during the time of Oysterhood.

Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

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