Temporary escape

I mentioned that I had had to leave Cape Town for a urgent trip before we lockdown on Thursday evening.

It wasn’t a decision I took lightly: travel is one of those things that needs to be curbed if we are to stop the spread of Covid-19. But it’s been two months since we’ve been able to get down to Agulhas, and I don’t think we’re going to be able to get down here for probably another two months now, and so I needed to make sure everything was ok at the cottage.

It was… it is. Well, just about. It wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t have come though. We needed electricity putting on the meter, the gutter had been damaged and needed some work. Nothing huge, but nothing you want leaving for however many weeks either. All the minor things that would normally have been done if we’d popped down for the weekend like we used to be able to before real life and sickness and now lockdowns got in the way.

And so the trip was worthwhile and we have had minimal contact with the locals: this is usually a pretty quiet place anyway.

But it was life as usual all the way through – restaurants are open (but quiet), Caledon and Bredasdorp were relatively busy and bustling with shoppers. But not in any way manic.
Struisbaai was also busy – lots of activity in and around the harbour particularly.
In Agulhas, we were the only customers in the 7/11. It was fully stocked, and the guys in there were stocktaking and getting their next order prepared. Nothing out of the ordinary. And that was weird, because normality is now weird.

We walked along the beach here (not Cape Town, so not closed). A few fishermen, same as always. Some birds. Sunshine, light breeze. You wouldn’t know that the world had changed.

Half of me wants to stay here, a million miles from anywhere and seemingly several weeks back from the present. But it will all change. It has to. And I don’t want to be here when it does. This place has always been a perfect escape from the stress of modern, daily life – something it’s proving again right now. I don’t want to see it polluted by reality.

Let me rather return when things have settled – however long that may be.

But right now, I need to get back to the braai. Because some things will never change.

Dash

I’ve had to make a quick trip across (a bit of) the country, so might not be able to get a blog post in later.

Nothing desperate, but really not ideal either: just some pre-lockdown admin. Got to be prepared, because I really don’t believe that three weeks is going to be enough…

Anyway, thoughts to follow if I get chance. And if not, at least there was this here today.

Advice

There’s more to this pandemic than just virology and epidemiology.

There are the huge economic consequences, the social and psychological effects of worry, panic and a future unknown. And then there is the sheer logistical challenge of just trying to live your daily life (or something close to it), educating your kids, buying your food, looking after your family.

I know what’s going on with the science stuff, but the rest of it is as new to me as the next guy (a safe social distance from me) on the street.

The situation is grave, especially in SA given our existing problems of unemployment, poverty, crumbling economy and social division, but I have some hope.  I’m noticing a willingness among the majority to unite and try and get through this. And without wanting to be all doe-eyed and sentimental, things really do work on the odd occasions when this country pulls together.

There will always be the idiots out there who will not get involved or even try to derail these processes, but there are definitely the first signs of cooperation and unity beginning to show through.

I’m doing my bit, trying to help coordinate schoolwork for the shutdown, offering assistance to neighbours and volunteering my (surprisingly still quite professional) services where appropriate.

The rest of the time, I’m washing my hands, watching funny TV (because argh! no sport…), getting some fresh air and trying to keep fit and healthy. We will get through this. It’s going to be difficult and it’s going to be ugly, but if we do choose to look after ourselves and each other, we will prevail.

Stay safe, stay sensible. And now… wash your hands.