Category Archives: Memories

Operation Oysterhood: 23-24 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Loadshedding in the small hours

The transcontinental Start Trek: Picard watching with my brother was a great success. We are three episodes in and loving it.

And my love and I finished watching Call My Agent! – a delight, although I am quite ambivalent about the ending and pleased that another season has been announced. Next up: Sex Education, latest season.

Otherwise, a working weekend, apart from a lovely Saturday lunch with friends at The Black Sheep. My first meal at the restaurant, but certainly not my last. Delicious. And the company was great.

Yet, nothing beats my love’s roast chicken, Sunday evening’s treat, which I am about to enjoy. My area is loadshedding tonight, but I am safely elsewhere. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the blackout and read until power came back on and I could fall asleep again. Loadshedding and insomnia are a horrible combination.

Anyway, I did catch up with a lot of work this weekend and feel ready for the week. I hope that life will become less stressful again in November. I am looking forward to the McGregor Poetry Festival and another festival to be announced shortly … :)

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: 22 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

As he is based in Edinburgh nowadays, it is wonderful to welcome Nick Mulgrew back on South African soil. He will be visiting family towards the end of the month and will launch his beautiful debut novel, A Hibiscus Coast, in Johannesburg on 28 October. He will be in conversation with Maneo Mohale. Not to be missed, if you are in Joburg!

Cape Town, no need for FOMO – Nick will be with us early next year and we will definitely celebrate him and his book during his visit.

I am in the process of planning a few more exciting literary events this year. Watch this space!

Today, I met with another author visiting from overseas. We have never met before, but I felt that we had an instant connection, and I sincerely hope that we will be working on a project together early next year.

So, another busy day. The to do list is getting shorter, but this will be a partly working weekend.

I had dinner with my love at his place tonight and we watched an episode of our series. Saw a terrible car accident on the way home. The weather might have played a role. It feels good to be safely home under a dry (still) roof.

My brother and I used to arrange cinema outings across continents: we would go to our respective cinemas (he in Taipei, or Salzburg, or wherever else he would be in the world) and I in Cape Town at the same time and watch the same movie. Tonight, we are attempting to watch an episode of Star Trek together online … let’s see whether it will work … :)

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: 21 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Salieri and I were on the radio this morning, talking about publishing. She was much more eloquent with her purrs than I was with my contribution to the conversation, but ,,,,,,,,,,,,, [Salieri catssisting here, too] we both had fun, and it was interesting to listen to what the other participants had to say.

I spent an hour at the bank today, sorting out yesterday’s issues with the account, and I got only halfway through the list of things that need to get done, but there was progress.

For most of the day, I kept thinking about a Polish saying that does not translate well, and is terribly sexists, so I won’t even attempt it, but it made me realise that people often take advantage of kindness and that I mustn’t always dismiss selfishness as a mode of being for myself.

I finally managed to buy myself a new hairbrush and hair combs – I have been meaning to do it for a few weeks now and could never find the time. Tomorrow, I am replacing broken lightbulbs in the house – they have also been waiting forever. I might even find time to wash the dirty kitchen floor.

Highlight of the day: dinner with my love at HARU. Sanity saved.

Lovely to hear about the youngsters getting their vaccines. Mandatory vaccination is gradually being introduced for institutions, companies and events. My brother told me about Austrian doctors taking to the streets and begging people to get vaccinated because hospitals are beginning to fill up again. I wonder how bad the fourth wave is going to be here.

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: 19-20 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Salieri – happy in the gutter.

The Cats are an inspiration: they are all getting old and their health is failing, but they know how to enjoy themselves – no matter what!

And I can’t find half an hour in my day to sit still in the sun. Sigh.

I did discover that CBD chocolate does NOTHING for me, nothing unusual. The chocolate was nice. That’s all.

The Monday frustration of working around the clock and not getting much done continues into the week. I don’t seem to be able to get on top of things. My love noticed my heavy sighing at dinner tonight. I put really lovely Angus beef Denver steaks on the fire and made a salad. The fire did soothe my soul, as it always does, yet I could not suppress the deep sighs. But then, I spent nearly an hour on the phone with the bank today. One of those situations where I had been aware that a problem might arise, went to the bank a while ago to inquire whether everything was in order, was assured that it was, and then when I wanted to actually do something related to the matter, nothing functioned. It happens over and over again, no matter how proactive I am, especially when it comes to banks and other institutions. I won’t mention SARS … Sigh. Sigh again.

Last night was unusual. James Leatt and his wife Jenny invited me to accompany them to the monthly Owl Club (established in 1894!) dinner at which the club members’ recent publications were showcased, James’s Conjectures proudly among them. I had never been to a gathering of such nature before (this was their 1332nd meeting!) and was intrigued. When I learned that the Owls welcomed the first women as members only earlier this year, I immediately thought of that Out of Africa scene … It was strange to see that this kind of thing still exists. I am glad that it is transforming, even if it is at a snail-pace.

What else? We have quite a few great live book events happening before the festive season. I look forward to making all the announcements.

The big personal news: my friend Sally got engaged!!!

A ladies’ lunch to celebrate the occasion will be organised! :)

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: 18 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Multitasking Monday – the heading for the day. It was a day of treading water, at least seemingly so. A lot got done, but it did not feel like it while I was at it. Salieri helped throughout, of course. She is my faithful catssistant, or catellite, always near me wherever I settle in the house.

It also could have been called Monstrual Monday. Headache, cramps, chocolate cravings and a weird hip pain I haven’t felt before. It is the perfect day for an experiment. I have never tried CBD before – in any form – so I was a bit apprehensive to try this at the beginning of a working day, but the work is now done (or rather I am too tired and in too much discomfort to continue) and I am about to brush teeth and get into a warm bed to watch TV until I fall asleep. But first: chocolate!

“Cannabinoids such as CBD, are non psychoactive and will not get you high but may assist with relaxation and reducing the effects of anxiety and stress on the body.” [sic]

[They clearly do not improve punctuation ;)]

Let’s see …

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: 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