Operation Oysterhood: 30 May

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

— @HaggardHawks

Sunday morning was our last in Franschhoek during this short break and we woke up to crisp sunshine dispersing the mist around the beautiful valley.

To start the day, we had a leisurely walk and a delicious breakfast – exceptionally, I ordered croque monsieur and did not regret my choice; the entire dish was great, but the cheese sauce topping was phenomenal.

Then it was time for some culture: Everard Read Gallery at the magnificent Leeu Estate. There is a statue at the entrance of the gallery that made me immediately think of the last fifteen months of the pandemic, with most of us crashing to earth head-first despite our wings wide open. Blue. High heels, pretty dress and all.

Inside, a few artworks spoke to me, but I find it difficult to respond to a lot of modern art. I look at some of these artworks and their price tags and think, ‘How?’

‘Bearing Your Becoming’ by Angus Taylor was intriguing, because of the beauty of the statue, the materials it is made from (bronze and gem stones), the title, and the fact that a male artist brought it to ‘life’.

I also loved this artwork: ‘A Textbook of X-Ray Diagnosis’ by Barbara Wildenboer. I have now seen a few of her ‘books’ and find them always fascinating to engage with.

And as always, I could not resist a few tongue-in-cheek selfies.

Fallen Angels / Bearing Our Becoming / Holding My Selfie

Someone (yes, a man; yes, a complete stranger) on Twitter asked about the last selfie, ‘What’s the point?’ He obviously did not look closely or read the text in the mirror. ‘Hold your tongue,’ I say. No one asked you for your opinion, sir.

I returned home to a relaxed and happy Cat Family – they were in the care of a dear friend who even managed to give Salieri her medication twice a day (with only a little bit of feline fuss around the administration). Going away has always been difficult because of the Furry Ones, but now that they need special care, it will take some more careful planning.

A happy cat mother with one of her fur kids

The return home meant a return to simple everyday pleasures (although the French cheese I bought in Franschhoek is a taste-bud delight of note) and some household chores, but I could do my ironing while watching the first day of tennis at the French Open – Dominic Thiem :( – and do some gardening while basking in the beautiful afternoon sun.

My love and I had a simple soup for dinner and watched TV together before I returned home to Level Two Lockdown and Friends: The Reunion. The slow vaccine rollout with all its teething, or rather fanging, problems, the Health Minister’s dubious digital vibes, people’s refusal to adhere to the simplest non-pharmaceutical protection measures … and I am sitting here and bracing myself for more morale-crushing news and suffering.

The Reunion was not what I had expected. I never really watched Friends – in total, I might have watched about twenty episodes – so I do not consider myself a fan, but I was curious.

I often think of the artists associated with the Bloomsbury Group, how they defined an era. Or the Sestigers here in South Africa. How a group of friends and family members working together and believing in their vision and the possibility of change influenced generations of people who came after them. Friends was a TV show, but just as much a cultural phenomenon, the creators and actors involved also captured the zeitgeist of their era, and judging by some of the Reunion‘s testimonials from around the world, they made many people feel better about themselves and their lives, and that is quite something.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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


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