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

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

2 responses to “Birthday in the time of Corona

  1. I just love that one of the ways you are celebrating your birthday is by celebrating gourmet plates out of reach in lockdown…but most of all celebrating one of your family’s favourite ‘clafouti’ recipes. Sante and thanks for the recipe and the read..

    • Thank you Sally! I bet you’ve been to all the restaurants featured .. Spek & Bone – Waterkloof – Upper Bloem – Protege – I forget others. Oh god, I can’t wait for the day I am at one of those again. Or maybe just to be able to walk down the road and grab a Spur Burger (not!!)!!

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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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