Saturday 25th April 7ish.
I sit watching the sun, on my deck, my laptop where it was intended. On my lap. ‘Oh woe is me’ are the words reverberating in my slightly throbbing head. My Latin teacher, Miss Brogan. Bless her. It was what she said if I didn’t understand what was going on in class. Which seemed to be quite a lot of the time. Thank goodness for you, Mary. You at least got me into Latin I at varsity, rather than Latin Intensive though that was quite a struggle too, I recall. Scraped in by the skin of a supp and some extra lessons from a wonderful old Italian woman who taught at King David I think. Anyone remember her name? I still have the little tapes somewhere, recorded on a dictaphone with her strong accent explaining the translations of her beloved Latin.
Oh, how many years have passed since then hey Parktown girls? Parktown prawns? I’m so glad we got to reconnect last year, some of us at least, last year at our 30th reunion. (oh my gosh, it was our 35th! And a year late!) It made me think about the value of friendships and old connections, the things which spark memories, and how little we really knew of each other, often bound up in our little clans us girls. How different we all are and yet how similar. I wish now, I could have some of those years back in some ways. I feel I missed out on some fabulous friends. What fun you were! And look at you now! Appearing on British TV in your dress- up gear Megan? (pls see link below!) Damn boyfriends can take up too much time during school years. Girls do that a little. Forget their friends and favour the new boy. To explore female friendship is a wonderful topic. Now, still having the contact makes me realise the richness of uniqueness in individuals and how we learn from each other. ( oh no, I sense myself slipping into nostalgia here. Not what I was intending. It makes for melancholy which can only set you on a different path. No, I must not digress. )
I started with the throbbing head didn’t’ I? Mm, what an idiot. Still haven’t learnt much in all my 35 years. (Or is it 53? This number does not look right here on this page.) Blame it on the late swim with a cold breeze ( I think of Lewis Pugh in the Antarctic sometimes when I dash down those swimming pool steps like a woman possessed) and a silly decision to sit outside for a while – for a ‘little glass of wine’ just the two of us- to savour the last of the outdoors, a hasty retreat inside, a refill of the Konkelberg Shiraz, and warmth of fire, all 6 of us gathered around it for a change, (supper was snacky, not great in fact, plates of hot oven chips, a few apples and some marshmallow Easter eggs stolen from a box intended for more donation and thrown at us like pigeons at Trafalgar Square ( I wonder what they’re eating now, poor things) not at the kitchen table with plates on placemats as we do every night, always have, having one hectic of a chat about …the meaning of life, ( how seemingly insignificant and yet wholly meaningful to each other) and growing up, the pressures of different genders to work and manage family ( blog brewing on who has the most pressure in lockdown) . How to do it all? How everyone’s circumstances are so different. No, it’s not always like that I promise. But when it happens, it’s lovely.
Of course, people get tired and move off at some point. Hubby to catch up on news, boys with girls and girls with boys on phones, and me? Well, I remained on the couch with FMR jazz for company and Maggie O’ Farrell on my chest. By then I think the wine was slowly inching up towards my head where it stayed, tapping away until I dozed off. I hate that feeling, waking up after a catnap and no-one else is around. So I turned off the lights, grabbed my laptop and book and toddled off to bed.
Arrive to find my husband there and a massive bonsai plant right above my head (we have a low wall separating sleeping space and other in our bedroom) and he’d thought to put it there. Bless his kind, selfless heart. But I object. Of course. I’m a woman of opinion remember, not the gentle soul I tried to have you believe in yesterday’s blog. Though I do think I try.
“I’ve read that it’s good to have plants near you when you sleep.” Why as a matter of principle do you have problem with everything I do?” “No, not principle just preference I say.” I’m quite proud of that little phrase that popped into my head at that exact moment. Considering that my head was now throbbing. He never said another word. Most unusual if any of you know my husband ( blog been brewing about everyone saying more babies and more divorce will be the results of lockdown )
I love him. Mostly.
I went to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Not much make up to remove. Notice hair looking distinctly greyer than a few weeks ago. Oh flip! I left the laundry in the machine and now the light will be flashing. Disarm, unlock, switch off, alarm on, blah…
Well, of course now I’m wide awake again.
And I pick up my phone which had been charging next to my bed for a few hours. Didn’t miss it one bit. Wrong move. Saw about 60 WhatsApps (thinking how does Cyril cope?) and was then catapulted straight back into the ‘new normal’. What’s happening in ‘my hood’, the chaos at PicknPay, new Covid cases in Hout Bay, the need for more donations, blankets and sign ups for another initiative tomorrow, and then the emails: some further input on a legal document on Constantia Can initiative ( thinking of the scale of the legal work which Covid must be initiating around the world) and a lovely email from mum, with a short annexed extract on anti-semitism in South Africa in the 1930’s. Scrolled through some photos, pre- Covid remember that? Argus cycle tour! A hike up the mountain! Just the other day. Insane to even think.
And then, the real cause for the sleeplessness: a stupid decision to check my FB notifications. A post about Lauren Beukes’ new book, Afterland. How extraordinary to think that she imagined a post-Covid scenario in her fiction. But do I want to read more Covid-like stories? I don’t know. What do people want to read? After Covid? Can we even imagine? How do people read now? I see another book by Michiel Heyns I need to get. Still cannot bring myself to read on Kindle. When will the bookshops open?
But then see a simple black background with bold white words on a post on the Village FB group ( how does relentless Vanessa Raphaely control this mob so effortlessly and selflessly?) which reads: ‘hi guys, do you wipe down your groceries,’
and then both my heart and my head started to throb. Because quite frankly, I’ve only done it half- heartedly I know. I mean I can’t even think what I now did with the wiping off cloth! Definitely didn’t wash the bags. And I didn’t strip my off my clothes and shower either! With a load of grocery items for 6 humans and 2 dogs and some extra for charity, are you wiping down everything?
Ok. I’m done. I think I’m going to interview Vanessa, right here on this bloody blog. There were 1000 comments by 12. Does she read them all? Still have time to shower, make food, live and life and stay married?
You see how many blogs I have to write still?
I need to go. And soothe my head. It’s Saturday after all.
Enjoy your weekend lovelies.
I do love you, even though I can’t see you. Thank heavens I have my kids to hug. I’m sorry for those in Lockdown alone. And those who are HUNGRY and in Lockdown.
Stay safe my fellow human beings. Bless us all.
PS. And now for some cheer and the link to this fabulous family who appeared on TV with their dress up outfits
And a pic of the offending Bonsai, which safe to say, was moved to here.