Overdosing in the time of Corona

Day 11 of South Africa’s lockdown and we have not reached the peak of this pandemic. People are speaking of halfway marks and planning post-lockdown activities but I suspect this is very premature.

Stats:  Officially, 1655 infections and 11 deaths, which proves my point that we are not peaking or even halfway there. These stats aren’t accurate at all but give a general idea.

Between my fears and concerns which are pretty much the same as everyone else, and my abnormal but usual high levels of anxiety, I am a wreck at the moment and have started taking a tranquiliser every morning instead of only when I feel stress coming on.

The title of this entry relates to yesterday’s kitchen activity. My son decided to bake a cake and make some bread known as ‘dinner rolls’, because we ran out of bread 2 days ago. We have no yeast so after searching all over the internet I settled on what appeared to be a simple recipe without yeast. I started helping him, i.e. supervising and annoying him, but that was clearly not a good idea so I went back to my laptop and Homeland.

He made a mistake with the sugar quantities in the cake icing and the result was a delicious but sickeningly sweet cake.  The rolls, which were made in a miniature muffin pan, had an error in the recipe so the salt was excessive.  They had the most wonderful texture and consistency and we’ve scoffed them all. And most of the cake.

Result? A bad night, a very very bad night. Now I know what it means to overdose on both sugar and salt in the same day. I have no one to blame but myself.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping. We hope to find some yeast but not holding our breath. Let the record show that we have lasted 2 weeks with the last grocery shop and there are 3 of us, and the freezer is very small and not empty yet. So I don’t understand people who feel the need to go out all the time. You can do without most of what you are buying between the big shopping trips. I bought milk and bread to freeze, we don’t eat meat every day, we don’t snack, and we plan meals according to what there is.


The mini rolls. Will definitely be repeated but with less salt.


This is what’s left of the cake. A simple sponge cake with a killer sweet never-to-be-repeated icing.


And in other news, this is what lockdown means for a normally vibrant city full of people who love the outdoors.

And last, my sweet little Vida who has been deprived of a walk for so long, trying to hide in my flowerbed.



Birthday in the time of Corona

Day 8 of South African national Covid-19 lockdown wherein I am in two minds about it because it’s my birthday and it’s not exactly the sort of birthday one would ever choose, is it?

Stats: 1505 infected South Africans, 7 dead.  It still does not look too horrific for us but what is more frightening is that this country started off with a very strict lockdown, applauded globally, but now restrictions are being relaxed one by one as a result of pressure from a variety of people who might (not) live to regret it. When Covid-19 makes contact with our very high rate of HIV the shit will really hit the fan. Having said that, it is reassuring to know that our government is very forward-thinking and making all sorts of contingency plans.

So, the birthday … firstly here is the song I have been waiting for a long time to play on my birthday. It doesn’t sound quite as it did, to my ears, back when I first heard it. But then, those were very different days many submarines ago.

What exactly is a lockdown birthday? Well, calls from friends, many more than usual so that’s awesome.  Everyone is at home with more time than ever on their hands so I’m the happy recipient of many calls. My Facebook timeline is filled with the usual greetings  and I love the creative ones trying to avoid normal words like happy or good or festive or joyful because we all know it’s far from that.

Retailers have been fabulously generous with text message greetings urging me to use my points, fetch a free coffee, double up on my savings, and a host of other bullshit enticements to get me out of lockdown, against my wishes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go out and there are a few groceries I want but until I need something essential very very desperately, we are not budging.

My son has made a cake – a clafoutis– using an old family recipe. This cake comes from the south-west region of France, which is where my late father came from. We often make it as it is really simple and can be made with almost any fruit, including the humble apple. Today I’ll have it with apricot which gives it a nice tart taste.

Want the recipe?

4 eggs – 125g sugar – 1 pinch salt – 80g flour – 250ml milk – 60g butter, melted – 500g fruit (pitted if a stone fruit) laid flat in a flan dish.

Beat eggs, add salt, sugar, flour, butter and slowly add the milk. Pour mixture over fruit. Bake at 160 degrees for 45 minutes.

A unexpected birthday gift was the release, a whole day early, of the latest season of the best series I have ever watched – La casa de papel, aka Money Heist. I am forcing myself to wait until this evening to start binging.

Finally, a lockdown birthday is a NO RESTAURANT birthday. Not even your favourite, not even a budget meal, not at all. So, instead, some photos of past meals and favourite restaurant locations to make my mouth water and remind me that maybe, this, too, shall pass. (I believe those commas are ALL needed and correct).

22 Spek en bone23 Spek en Bone20180415_12582720180415_13121420180415_13464220180415_16260120190705_12424620190713_131850gnocchi spek n bonespek1 - Copy

A greatly redacted rant in the time of Corona

Day 7 of National Lockdown wherein this blogger has completely lost her shit and found it impossible to blog for several days.

Stats: 1462 infected and 5 deaths. These stats are still low. Either this is going too slowly or we will be spared what other countries have experienced. I fear the former which would mean the lockdown will be extended. However, the following graph shows our trajectory better than countries who did more tests than us at the same stage of the virus.


Personally, it’s been a rough few days. Very rough. The point of reviving this blog was to entertain or give pause for thought, or provide me with release, pass the time and document this horror we are all living. It was not to offload personal drama so when the tears come and it all gets too much, I don’t write.

Having said that, I’ve just spent two days raging and crying, and I am worn out. I have a supply of tranqs and sleeping pills but if I abuse them I can’t function, so I limit myself and leave myself open to my emotions and reactions

Many people have shown compassion and reached out to me because they know that, over and above the financial impact of this virus, I live with a specific difficult and exceptional home circumstance. They can’t solve it, but they thoughtfully reach out and check-in and remind me that they care. These are people who know they are not alone in this; they care and remember to ask how I am coping given my shitty situation, people who are not totally self-absorbed. I love you all for that. I really do.

Sorry to sound so needy, but it’s a highly sensitive issue; compassion and caring cost nothing and go a long way with me. I react hugely to even the smallest gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness but, when certain people make it obvious that they don’t, I am crippled. Crippling me right now is not going to help anyone, not you, not me.

So, last night as the sleeping pills kicked in and I was worn out from crying, I decided que fucking sera sera – if I come out of this on the wrong side, so be it. As one of my friends told me – the now, the present, is all that matters.

So that’s where I am right now .. hovering between anger and hurt and rage and hysteria and some good loving moments. And having a little rant.

I started walking today. Down my narrow driveway, back up again, around the garden, down again. Repeat and repeat and repeat. 750 steps today. Fuck, it’s boring … tomorrow I may sneak out the gate all the way to the corner.

Some photos of happier times and places where I would LOVE to be right now.


My son in a field of canola last spring.

clarence drive

The magnificent Clarence Drive along False Bay.

fynbos good hope


Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens

table mountain aloes

Aloes at the top of Table Mountain



A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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