Monthly Archives: October 2021

Operation Oysterhood: 16-17 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

A weekend of family celebrations and relaxing, even hours of reading for pure pleasure.

My love and I celebrated the 70th birthday of a family member on Saturday. The company was great, the food and bubbly delicious, and the stories around the table punctuated with laughter. A really good day.

Today, I stayed in bed until well after noon and just read for the fun of it. The Cats loved it. Then, I adapted a Polish dish to our new diet and took it to my love’s house where we watched TV and had the Polish almost “gołąbki” for dinner.

A busy week ahead with new Karavan Press books going to print and a lovely announcement to be made. We are ending the literary year with a bang.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 14-15 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Two loooooong days of work: proofs, reading, design, meetings, admin. Today, it was ten hours straight with only a break for food and pool cleaning (a good excuse to be in the sun for a little while).

To celebrate the end of the working week, my love and I went for dinner at The Hoghouse. They are back in their ordinary evening venue and the food and beer are as divine as ever. A feast of note has been had. We have been very good about the healthy eating, so it was nice to relax for an evening and just have fun.

On the health front, I had good news. I saw my doctor for the annual gynecological checkup a few days ago and the results are in: “nil cancerous cells”. Always a relief.

My own patient Salieri is on special liver supplements now and she is doing better and better, even gaining some weight.

And I am delighted to hear about the teens getting vaccinated.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 13 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Conjectures in great company :)

I just got home and am about to go into enforced darkness in a few minutes, so this is going to be quick. I was so anxious about loadshedding this morning that I hardly slept after four a.m., and then it turned out that I got the stage wrong and ended up with a pot of coffee and two unplanned hours of listening to fascinating podcasts about vulnerability. My meeting with the counsellor later that morning was also enriching. The rest of the day was work, and coffee with James Leatt – his book is available at his local EB in Somerset West, which was great to see. I spent the evening with my dear Friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. Rushed home to get everything done that still needed to be done before the power is cut off (last time for now, I heard on the radio). This is the worst time for loadshedding. Ugh. Off to light my candles. Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 12 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

With Monique and Cathy

A busy and rewarding day with an amazing surprise in the middle of it. In the morning, I met with Monique and Cathy to finalise the cover of Cathy’s memoir, Boling a Frog Slowly (coming soon from Karavan Press). In the afternoon, I completed the transfer from the hardcopy to the electronic file of the first round of edits of a manuscript I have been working on for a while. It is a stunning book, although it still needs quite a lot of work, but one day …

The surprise was news of one of my plans resulting in an unexpectedly positive outcome. It will make the rest of this year so much easier in all kinds of ways.

My cheeks have been sore for the past two days again, but I hope this will not continue, especially now that everything is gradually under control.

When it was time for afternoon loadshedding today, I just read and then went over to cook dinner at my love’s house. Our healthy diet is delicious, but I feel like I am eating tons of veggies, because I am more hungry than usual. It might also just be the refugee child in me feeling deprived and anxious and wanting to make up for it. My weight is stable, so all good one way or another.

Tomorrow’s loadshedding starts at six a.m., so I am making sure to get up earlier to have a pot of coffee ready for the morning.

Austria has a new Chancellor and there is talk of Plexit in the EU – my former homes in turmoil.

At home, there is also chaos and horror, but there are also spooky stories to look forward to at one of my favourite bookshops:

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 11 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

A good day. During loadshedding, I did some admin and got through the household Monday morning to-do list.

Then, I went to Camps Bay to see Jo and Karin. I met Jo on board the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town on 6 February 2015. She was one of the crew members who held my hand during the darkest hours of my life. And today, she and her wife are my friends and they continue to bring light into my life. They are visiting South Africa and we met for coffee this morning. The last time I saw them was just before lockdown, but we always keep in touch, and it was simply wonderful to see them again while they are on holiday – overseas tourists in our beautiful land! Good news all around.

The rest of the day was work, but I smiled throughout and felt for the first time in days that I am gradually regaining control of my workload.

None of it would be possible, of course, without my mouse-and-catssistants … Today morning, they started off really well, but once again fell asleep on the job.

Salieri did make up for it and was a bit more attentive in the afternoon. The coffee helped (me).

Are you following Short Story Day Africa on Instagram? If not, maybe this will convince you to:

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 10 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

I had every intention of putting in a few hours of hard work today, but the spirit of Sunday and Glinka put some sense into me. So, I read, had a lot of coffee, watched some TV, stared into space, met Mom and Krystian on Skype, prepared a delicious meal for the evening, cleaned up the kitchen and joined my love on his couch in the late afternoon and we watched two episodes of our current series and had dinner. His part of town had loadshedding in the evening, but he now has a backup battery that keeps all essentials going during the blackouts. Tomorrow morning, I won’t be so lucky. No matter what the stage, I will have loadshedding from eight a.m. and am already charging my laptop battery for the event. It astounds me how we learn to cope with all of this. I am reading a post-apocalyptic novel at the moment and it feels more real than it probably was intended to at the time of writing …

Chaos is Austria. Even if I am mostly out of the loop, what I do admire is that politicians know how and when to resign, even if only for a period of metamorphosis.

It seems that the local third wave is officially over in the entire country. Great time to vaccinate.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 9 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

My love and I went to Greyton for the launch of The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy Richards today. At the event, we had the perfect audience (welcoming and attentive), venue (beautiful garden of Nancy’s friends), wine (Gabriëlskloof), weather (spring sunshine) and, of course, the perfect story to tell: The Skipper’s Daughter and her author are an irresistible duo. It was a lovely literary afternoon in the sun.

While we were in Greyton, Penny Haw was signing copies of her The Wilderness Between Us at EB Constantia. I am sorry I could not attend, but two Karavan Press authors did, Melissa A. Volker and Cathy Park Kelly. Seeing them together in a photograph made me count my lucky stars – how fortunate am I to work with these fabulous women!? In Greyton, we were joined for the launch by Christy Weyer of Liberty Books. Another superwoman, who is one of the most dedicated booksellers I know. And, of course, there was Nancy – who praised the women who shaped her path, including her larger-than-life mother.

Back home now, I am having a cup of tea in bed while typing and I am just overwhelmed with gratitude that my own path has crossed with the paths of these women, who bring light, wisdom and joy into my life.

And the day was so much more special because it could be shared with my love. He has had a rough week (to say the least), so it was good to be able to do something lighthearted together and to just get away. It was my first time in Greyton and I thought it was beyond charming – certainly a place to return to.

It was also the first time I tried out my Yoco – it worked perfectly, and many books were sold.

In the evening, after returning home, I did not feel like leftovers or cooking and all I could think of was pizza. I first considered a takeaway, but when I saw how empty Bruegels was, I decided to have my pizza then and there.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 8 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Not enough hours in a day. No matter how hard I try to catch up with my workload, I just don’t seem to be able to get through the to-do lists. But it is what it is and all I can do is try.

A few days ago, I ordered a Yoco card machine for Karavan Press and it arrived this morning in all its glory. It is one of the best devices ever – I am thrilled.

My love and I are trying out new – healthy – recipes. The results are delicious. I just wish I had more time to explore … But, it will come. A few more days and the worst of the rush should be behind me. And, courtesy of Eskom, I might have a few hours of enforced relaxation every day. We can’t win, can we?

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 7 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Salieri holding on to me last night

A registered letter was sent to me from Austria on 16 September and it arrived already! This gives me a lot of hope for the restoration of the worldwide postal service (and we might need it if Facebook and Co. give up on us again).

Hello loadshedding! Again. Scheduled for the middle of the night. I can only hope that insomnia does not strike during those hours. I did have such a gap last night and it wasn’t pretty even with the lights on.

After the last three intense days, I found myself staggering through today. And right in the middle of it, my alarm went off twice while I was in a meeting with a future Karavan Press author. It seems it was only a heavy branch in the wind, but … not only the alarm was triggered. Yep, the wind is back. Yep, I did cut down the branch. Thank goodness my alarm backup batteries are still okay and will last through the blackouts.

Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the 2021 Nobel prize in literature. I am thrilled, of course, but I do wonder why is it sooooo difficult to give the Nobel prize in literature to women?

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 6 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

We launched The Skipper’s Daughter at the Alma Café earlier tonight. Full house, wonderful audience, including two real skippers, great food and wine, and Nancy’s amazing stories – it was all pure joy! Books have been sold and signed.

The rest of the day was cover design discussions, tons of admin and the quarterly trip to the post office with boxes of copies of the latest New Contrast issue ready to set sail into the world.

I am beyond tired again and cannot remember what it felt like to be on holiday any longer …

I did see my counsellor again. She had been away on sick leave, but she is back in her chair, welcoming people to tell their stories on her comfy couch.

Exhausted, but going to bed a happy publisher.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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

— NICD