Day 60 – Good morning

Not just a salutation, but also a description of how my pre-9am period has gone.

So let’s run through the happy stuff for once, shall we?

A really cool quiz last night. I’ve been quizzing for 25 years, and I played rounds I’d never done before – novel stuff. It’s made me look at how I’ve been writing quizzes during lockdown and thinking about how to break the mould. Some really good ideas, even for regular stuff like music and geography.

There was Cyril’s speech. He was on time for once, nogal. And finally, a meaningful relaxation on the lockdown, countrywide, from June 1. As predicted/hoped for here:

If the purpose was to ready the healthcare system, then whether or not we managed to do that, there is very limited purpose in keeping the lockdown on: even in Cape Town, capital of the African branch of the pandemic.

Alcohol, yes – under strict conditions. Tobacco, no – which still rankles, even as a non-smoker. Exercise when you want. Stay at home if you don’t have to go out.

But we’re getting there. This was overdue.

Overnight, the first decent storm of the winter season. Over an inch of rain, 80kph winds whistling around the house even now.

Love it. Not every day, obviously, but there’s something so cleansing about a good storm, washing away the leaves, the dirt and in this case – metaphorically, at least – the virus.

And I went out for a run in this.

It. Was. Amazing.

It may have been my favourite run ever. No worries about aresholes with no masks, because there was no-one sensible enough to be out in the gales and the rain, and even if there had have been, the wind would likely have dispersed all their infectious exhalations anyway.

Link I said: cleansing.

That fifth kilometre. Downhill. Fast*. Alone. Such a fantastic feeling of freedom.
I really needed that.

It feels like we’ve turned a bit of a corner. The virus is still wreaking havoc out there, but we are at least a bit more on top of the things that we can control.

 

* 4:32. fast for me. 

Day 59 – Another address

Not me. I’m very much still at the same address.

Quiz news: We quizzed last night (joint first after a disastrous collapse in the popular culture round) (and I was one day off on the date of the sinking of the Titanic earlier in the evening) (unforgivable).

I’m doing a friends’ UK quiz this evening.

I have a quiz on Wednesday.

As far as socialising goes, that’s it, but it’s valuable time with friends and we’re very grateful for it. We need that bridge to sanity, even if I did awake in a cold sweat at 3am dreaming about the 14th/15th April 1912.

As the worst of the pandemic hits Cape Town, the President is due to make another address this evening. 7pm, he says, but he’s not been on time for one yet. This is to announce (we think) a relaxation in the lockdown for some/most/probably not all of the country. The government has lost the faith and  support of the nation on the lockdown. It’s not going well.

The kids are 8 days away from a potential return to school, by which time the virus in Cape Town will be at the highest levels ever seen. The jury is still out whether this return is a good idea or not – or if it’s even going to happen. Maybe we’ll get some direction this evening. Maybe not. Probably not.

Our lockdown was meant to allow time for the healthcare system to prepare for the virus. Did we delay the start of the worst phase? Yes, probably. Has it made any difference? I’m not sure. We’re still being completely overwhelmed by the numbers. Would we have been more overwhelmed if this had happened two months ago? It seems hard to believe, but who knows?

But we can’t go back and do things differently: we don’t have a time machine, and even if we did, what sort of muppet would head back to late March and wait for the virus to hit SA? I know that there are some pretty stupid people out there, but honestly.
That would be like going back to the Grand Staircase of the Titanic on the 13th April 1912.

Safe for 24 hours then, at least. [swearword]

Sorry. I digress. Often.

If the purpose was to ready the healthcare system, then whether or not we managed to do that, there is very limited purpose in keeping the lockdown on: even in Cape Town, capital of the African branch of the pandemic.

Many people will be looking forward to being allowed to purchase alcohol and cigarettes again, but it’s doubtful that we’ll be allowed both – we might not even get either. Decent research shows that the prohibition on these items has been wholly unsuccessful and has generated a significant and structured black market which will likely continue after the lockdown and which will supply funds to organised crime.

So that’s good news. If you like organised crime.

Depending on what is announced this evening, tonight (and by tonight, I mean tomorrow, because we all need our sleep and it’s going be stormy and cold here this evening) could bring a huge celebration or widespread rioting.

Rest assured that I’ll bring you all the news from the streets with my bottle of petrol (or beer) in hand.

Keep safe. Keep well. Put a damn mask on.

Day 50 – The last day

Today is the last day of my lockdown…

 

photo album on Flickr.

I’ve shared a photo every day of lockdown. Some have been quite good, some have been really very, very bad.

Please click through and have a look.

But now it’s been 50 days. It’s run its course.

It’s time to get back to taking photos of things I want to instead of things I need to. And so it’s time to close.

I’m finishing today on a positive note with the image above, entitled “Look straight ahead: there’s nothing but blue skies” from the Jimmy Cliff song I can see Deirdre now Lorraine has gone.

Of course, there’s a lot more than blue skies to see: poverty, draconian regulations, corrupt government officials and virus… virus everywhere.

But a little blue skies thinking can go a long way to making you forget about all that nastiness.

Day 49 – The nextension

The President was only 22 minutes late for his address last night. In it, he said that there would be some relaxation of the lockdown at the end of the month and a gradual re-opening of the economy, but not for those areas with high and/or increasing transmission rates.

The next extension. The nextension.

The nextension means at least another 18 days at Level 4 before we even get considered for any sort of parole.

 

But as you can see, Cape Town is very much one of those red areas (it’s right at the top of the South African Covid tree, in fact), but then so are all the major metros to some extent. And Port Elizabeth.

And so it seems unlikely that we’ll get any lockdown relief any time soon. In the meantime, the economy will have rely on the 27 people who work outside Cape Town and Joburg, including the 2 guys in the Northern Cape.

Phew. Recession and economic disaster averted.

Not really – unless we are going to become a sand-based economy.
Still, I’m past ruling anything out at this stage.

Today, I’ve mainly been walking a grumpy beagle, putting the finishing touches to a quiz I’m hosting tomorrow evening, and helping out with school science projects. We’re delving deeply into Physics: my favourite of all the Sciences (assuming you exclude all the good ones first). I’m knee-deep in frequencies and wavelengths. I thought I’d left this all behind at school. That was always the plan, and indeed the intervening n years have been blissful – at least in their lack of physics.

(I admit that I have used gravity quite a bit, if I’m honest.)

My brain hurts and I need a beer. But even those have become much more valuable given the guaranteed extended time before I’m able to buy any more.

Day 38 – Best lyric

Bit busy today, so just a quickie to keep you all going.

Jarv Is is Jarvis Cocker’s new musical vehicle, and the Sheffield superstar is the first mainstream artist to release a “proper” lockdown song.

It’s called House Music All Night Long.

Of course, it wasn’t a lockdown song when he released it at the end of February, but wow – did he see it coming or what?

And much as I told you that Baxter Dury’s I’m Not Your Dog was the best song of the year (so far). This one has the best lyric of the year (so far). Only Jarvis could come up with a rhyming couplet like this:

Goddamn this claustrophobia
‘Cause I should be disrobing you

It was another one I couldn’t believe I’d heard right. But I had, and actually, the whole song is packed with clever plays on words.

Soon: more music from middle-aged white men. But right now, I’m off to roast a lamb (not a euphemism).