Remembering June Lockdown

What can I say about June in the time of Corona? By this time we were starting to lose our sense of humour, seriously. The virus was raging, numbers rising. It was cold and wet, and booze was suddenly unavailable again. We were warned the virus would get worse before it got better and the few bookings I was still holding for September and October were cancelled. I started wondering if I would have any work at all for the rest of the year.

I seldom ventured out; saw a friend once – for a walk outdoors, keeping masks on – and became very tired of home cooking. I was grateful to not live alone. My companions and I started getting on each others’ nerves but the good times were worth the bad ones. Caring friends continued reaching out with phone calls and check-ins. I did the same to others that I knew would be anxious, alone, stressed. We’d have long conversations, boost each other, encourage each other, and offer advice and help.

It takes a plague to see who your true friends are and I can testify to that.

After years of drought, this winter decided to make up for lost time. In this region we have wet winters, as opposed to the savanna up north where they enjoy wet summers. Cape Town is lovely but sometimes disgusting winter weather. It’s really awful – cold and wet, the rain falls sideways because of the wind, and we have storms coming in from the ocean that have turned the coastlines into a graveyard of ships.

So, one night, in the first of two very bad storms, my bedroom ceiling started collapsing. If it had been any other room I might have been tempted to just ignore it and continue spending most of my days in bed with Netflix and depression. But the bedroom, my sanctuary, above my bed? Had to be fixed. Luckily, my 2 lockdown inmates are very tall men who did an amazing repair job. They did it all despite not having the right tools and by improvising with various items such as a tripod, a strip of wooden fencing, various other bits and bobs, and an amazing type of rude glue, photographed below.

And walks .. oh my god, finally, some proper walks with the dogs. What an absolute joy it was to get out and walk in nature again, to see the dogs run free. Things like that we take for granted until we don’t have them.

Last thing .. ending off with yet another link to my crowdfunding page wherein I try to save my business. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: I have no control over any advertising on these blog entries and derive no benefit from them.

Walkies in the time of Corona

Friday March 20, 2020 – Day 5 since our President told us we are in shit. (Also Day 3 since he told us to stop buying toilet paper).

202 cases in South Africa, no deaths, no-one in ICU. Many public facilities closing, no alcohol to be served or sold anywhere after 18:00. I can’t believe that it’s 6 weeks since I first read about this virus and something told me this is going to be The Big One.

Being a very adventurous thrill-seeker I ventured out today, twice. First the pharmacy because they sent me a text that my monthly meds were ready. I don’t actually need them right now but I figured if I wait it might be riskier to go to a place full of sick people. While I was out I popped into the supermarket to take advantage of the Odd Bins special (buy 4, get 20% off, hulloooo what’s not to love). Odd Bins is the best-kept secret in the wine world and I’m not saying another word on that.

The supermarket was surreal. Not very busy for a Friday but I didn’t get a feeling of impending doom. Toilet paper is rationed, hand sanitiser is gone, and liquid soap is not priced which means we’re about to be ripped-off. A lady squeezed past me at the till and then returned to stand so close behind me I could feel her against my back. Clearly she hadn’t heard the news so I brought her up to speed fast. I am not wearing a mask but I am wearing my trusty buff which I pull up over my mouth when needed.

When people get too close to me I should shout out that I work with European tourists for a living. (Ok, ok, not right now anymore but less than 2 weeks ago I did and some of those are now in lockdown).

Once the wine was safely stashed away at home I decided ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ let’s take the dogs for a walk while we still can.

The contrast between the neighbourhood where I live and shop and the one where I walk the dogs is stark. Home hood is middle-class, but I walk my dogs in a nearby very posh hood – where they still have green spaces and the traveling class lives. I used to shop there, too, but have stopped for my own safety.

The walking trail, known as Alphen, was almost empty. The few people Paul and I encountered kept their distance, as did we. What is strange is how people don’t even greet anymore. As if greeting or smiling were dangerous.  The only person who greeted me was a little girl who tried to befriend my dog – good luck with that, little girl, this Queen Sha-Noopsie (Vida) doesn’t like kids. Or cyclists. Or skateboarders. Or kitesurfers. Or being cooped up at home.

I don’t have a television set so all my news and information comes from the internet and talk radio. I am grateful for that because I can filter out the absurdities that people are swallowing. I am also grateful for my well-managed Facebook feed which brings me gems like this : Bella Ciao – a poignant song where a resistance fighter is saying goodbye to the “beautiful world” as he prepares to die for freedom. In this rendition, a saxophonist in times of coronavirus in Italy. When the mayor of Rome told her citizens to sing from their balconies, did she have any idea what she was unleashing?

Incidentally, the song plays a major role in one of the best series I have ever watched. If you haven’t seen it yet, this the perfect time to catch up – Money Heist / La casa de papel.  I am thrilled to know that the next season is being released on my birthday next month (3 April) – I thought it was going to be a real downer of a birthday but clearly there is a silver lining.


Half Alphen

I was selfishly not in the mood for a walk today because it’s very cold but Vida has cabin fever. When I put on her collar to take her to the shops in the car she got so excited I decided to extend it to a quick Alphen walk, what I call the half Alphen – we turn around at a halfway point. She loved it despite the shortness and ran around enough to let off some steam. I feel less guilty now she’s had a little run.


This lab was such a show-off .. he raced across the stream and back again, twice, in front of me. His owners were in stitches but clearly used to it, and Vida … well, Vida just watched and by the time she reacted wanting to jump in, it was too late, he was gone again. She’d had her swim already by then, anyway.


There she is looking at the lab as he raced off for the last time.


Nasty weather coming this evening …


Council workers have been clearing the trail and now you can see the very very old sluice walls.


A wheel next to the sluice. I tried to turn it but it is as stiff as can be. Not that it would make much difference as the stopper it controlled is long gone.

Post Big Hail Storm walk

After spending the whole weekend indoors listening to the storm,  waiting for the roof to cave in and feeling more sorry for the bored dog than myself, I couldn’t wait to go out today. When Vida saw me putting on my walking clothes she ran around like a mad thing in anticipation of action. I couldn’t wait to see what the Alphen Trail looked like after the storm. It’s full of old trees just waiting for a nudge before they fall over. The stream also promised to be interesting.


Here’s me in my glam walking clothes. Wellies, K-way fleecy/rainsuit two-in-one jacket, and sexy beanie that you can’t see – it’s best that way, trust me. I so don’t care what I look like on these walks, the dog loves me as I am and I stay warm and dry and that’s what counts.


The waterfalls didn’t fail to please – an absolute torrent of water for this little stream. Vida was not tempted to swim, for once.
I captured it from this angle by climbing a tree. Yeah, right.

waterfall 3

waterfall 4


Winter is here!


Autumn leaves turning into lovely compost

dead branches

These old branches will not all last the winter

fallen tree

As I expected, there was at least one branch fallen across the path

getting muddy

Sniff sniff in the mud


I don’t know how a dog can lose its halter – it’s a bit like finding one shoe, how???


This is my favourite view on this walk … the stream meandering.


The poor nasturtiums got hammered by the hail. The ones in my garden (all propagated by seeds taken on this and surrounding walks) look exactly the same.

Autumn at Alphen Trail

I was so chuffed when Caroline said she was coming to my part of town to walk at Alphen with us. I’ve been raving about this lovely waking area so she wanted to see for herself. She brought one of her dogs, Maxi, and her daughter Blom, Blom’s friend Mischa, and a small picnic for the girls. This walk normally takes me about 45 minutes but with this little group who wanted to play, paddle in the stream, explore, take photos and stop for a quick picnic, we were at it for over 2 hours! I liked that because I was able to explore a few little corners I don’t usually bother with. Vida was in her element  – the more time she spends there, the happier she is, and the girls even played her favourite game of chasing her while she ran in ever-increasing circles.

I know it’s a lot of photos but I couldn’t decide on which to omit to keep the numbers down (and I have no idea why the photos are all so small).

Enjoy the walk with us!


Caroline took lots of photos!


The first waterfall – quite a bit of water for this time of year, will soon fill up even more.


Girls strolling along


There are some weird trees on this trail, as I’ve mentioned before


Blom peeking through the bushes


Another shot of Caroline taking photos – look at the autumn leaves! I love the noise they make when you walk on them.


Our dogs exploring the water.


It’s really pretty there!


Girls posing


Girls crossing the stream on a log


This little girl in her bright pink tutu was too cute!


Caroline showing a little boy the photos she took of him


Caroline made me do this


Vida surveying her turf – yes, she does almost own this trail!


Finally, a sunny day and I was able to take the 4-legged wonder for a walk.

But I forgot my camera; I have a lot on my mind and I needed the walk as much as Vida did, if only to clear my mind and walk off some stress. So I forgot the camera sighhh. Luckily, I’ve remembered it on previous occasions so I have lots and lots of photos of the pretty vegetation and water and Vida enjoying it all, although most photos of her are just streaks as she dashes about sniffing and seeing what everyone else has been up to.

We went to the section of the Constantia Green Belt known as Alphen Walk, next to the Alphen Hotel, bordered by large private properties. There are no broken tv sets or bergies hanging around here, oh no siree. Lots of horses though, and they’ve churned up the wet ground big time. My wellies have been a very good buy for the muddy moments.

Today, these grey trees that I shot a few weeks ago, reflect my mood.

I can’t wait to see them full of leaves again.


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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 83 other followers


my new life in france

The Best Ticher

EFL advice, tricks and tips for newbie teachers...

Morsels of Gratitude

Trying to find the positive in a world where negative has become too comfortable

Tales from the African Bush

Brian Connell - Author News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Trekking Across Gondwanaland

My long journey to Australia and back

A pic a day from the Cape

Snippets of my life, my city, and beyond