The Privilege of Being Safe

With the situation of a Lockdown for three weeks, I sit and ponder about the huge privilege of being 'Locked Down' in my own safe environment and home. We know many others who are 'out there' dealing with the very real threat of 'the virus', my own son David being one such person. He has daily contact with patients and families at Baragwanath and deals with crisis situations constantly. He and his colleagues continue to provide constant care and treatment in challenging circumstances and I salute those who work through the situations as presented at the moment. My husband David's veterinary hospital is also considered an 'essential service' although their working hours are curtailed and procedures changed. They have arranged for their staff to work staggered hours and hopefully will be able to service their clients and animals to the constant good service that they have always maintained. Fortunately we prepared for this lockdown for the less privileged and managed to organise food and blankets for those in need as we are not able to process these requests at the moment. It's been fascinating to hear various comments when asked 'How are you coping?' to my response. When I reply 'Well thank you' my response is seen as a cavalier, unthinking and uncaring 'English' person. How little people know me or perhaps they simply haven't asked the right questions?

The only issues I have to deal with is not socialising with my very dear friends or popping down to buy yarn at my favourite yarn store in Parktown or playing bridge, or presenting calligraphy and art classes. But no doubt that is something I can deal with and honestly the creative time I've had is wonderfully challenging and motivating. I have set various projects for students (and anyone else who would like to try) and these can be found on Penfriends Calligraphy FB page. Do have a try, not only will the exercises stimulate you, but it will help pass the time.

Not only do I have incomplete knitting/crochet projects, but left-over calligraphy projects and I've pulled them onto my desk and will be playing with them in the next few weeks.

We are extremely proud of our artist son John whose print 'Diceros Socious' - Rhino Weaver has been included in the Lockdown Collection under the auspices of the Artist Proof Studio. It is a black and white linocut 130cmx 80cm printed on Hahnemuhle paper. Day Four. Today’s work is an evocative and thought-provoking piece that makes us confront what it means to be an endangered or vulnerable species. John Moore - Printshaman Master Printmaker's large-format linocut print of the black rhinoceros filled with social weavers, evokes the idea of what it means to be occupied by something. Just as the rhinoceros is invaded and overcome by the weavers, we may think of ourselves occupied by the COVID-19 virus - rendering us, as thehuman race, as vulnerable as the black rhino. The Lockdown, as John describes, is a time for us to contemplate our relationship to nature and how, after we are liberated, we may correct this imbalance. For more information please visit John Moore's FB page.

I've been very strict about not buying yarn and completing my colourful projects but I nipped off to the Yarn Tree's shop just before isolation and bought a few cakes of cotton to make a teddy for Dov as I'm making a Bunny for Gila. Sadly the two older granddaughter will only get coffee dates from nana as I'm sure they are too old for bunnies and teddies! I've also started a beautiful shawl which I will add to my growing pile of completed things.

I've re-reconnected with friends. Some who've been busy with work until now and it is a real treat. A friend and I are emailing our thoughts daily and Paddy often makes me laugh. I have a few WhatsApp conversations and have now discovered Zoom and share good moments with grandchildren while on it. I've also joined a one morning Poetry group with good friend Dorian Haarhoff and will be participating in that tomorrow (31 March) morning. I've also joined a 'Covid-19' writing commentary with the All About Writing group which I pop into now and again but am not yet fully engaged. I do enjoy poetry and look forward to sharing time with like-minded people. I know there is 'on-line bridge' but it's not as exciting as sitting across a real life partner.

David celebrated his birthday over the first weekend behind doors and Elizabeth, Helen and I tried to make it enjoyable as possible. Helen made a most delicious Lemon Yoghurt cake (ask me for the recipe, it's very easy) and we almost had a family lunch. We will have a similar 'family' Easter soon and hope the bunny will hope into our garden. (Or perhaps he's in isolation too).

If this sounds 'terribly upbeat and busy' I suspect it is simply the way I am. Yes, I really am aware (to a certain extent anyway) of what's going on 'out there'. Yes, I do know that people are facing great hardship. I am also concerned for the economy and what it will do to our beloved country. We are fighting a very real war. So did our parents in WW11. I believe that South Africans have been engaged in some sort of war for many years. However, I constantly try to look for that spark of good, the light through the cracks, the beauty that surrounds us.

So may I suggest you go and make that cake, or tidy the shelf. Sit quietly under a tree and breathe deeply to settle your heart rate? Read a book - Unorthodox and The Beekeeper of Aleppo come to mind. Binge on Netflix if you can: Unorthodox a four-part series is beautifully acted and the story is real and poignant. As too is The Principal, an Australian production about a Muslim boys school, another four-part series which is also thought provoking and well acted.

My friend Adrienne of The Yarn Tree sent me this quote today: 'Honey, knitting is so much more than just plain, obsessive compulsive behaviour, it's the healthiest addiction I know'. Antje Gillingham, owner of the Knitting Nest in Maryville TN. Never a truer word has been written for me at this moment.

So excuse me for a while, I need to find my secret corner and curl up with my latest viewing and beautiful shawl-in-the making before my daughter hauls me into the garden for a round of brisk walking and lunges.

From my home to yours, stay well and stay safe.