Author: Clients in Action

Bev Goldman

I won’t tell you how frustrated and irritated I have been during this time, and worse the longer it carries on, but I will tell you about some of the wonderful books I have read.

Anthony DoerrAbout GraceAbsolutely wonderful!
Stef PenneyThe Tenderness of WolvesA gem and so beautifully written
Kate AtkinsonLife after LifeAnother gem
Irene NemirovskySuite FrancaiseNot enough words to praise it!
Isabelle AllendeA Long Petal of the SeaBrilliant

I feel so privileged to have been able to find and read these – they take one out of the mundane of life and isolation and open new and fascinating worlds expressed in the most beautiful of language.

I also make soup – lots and lots of soup – which feeds my soul. I now have more than 30 containers of soup in my freezer (fortunately Dennis loves soup – any kind,) but there are no more containers and no more room in the freezer, so either he’s going to have to eat much more and more often, or I’ll have to buy both a new freezer and more containers!

And this last week I have bought, and pot-planted, a number of gorgeous geraniums, and am nurturing them daily. The colours are breath-taking.

I haven’t learned any new languages or skills, I haven’t knitted or crocheted baby beanies or socks or scarves, but I have been very involved in the NGO of which I am a member, and I am so delighted to say that we have impacted positively on the lives of thousands of needy people, new mums with babies needing baby bags filled with all the essentials for newborns, the very lonely and isolated elderly, and the hundreds of children needing stimulating stationery to help them cope in this new an unfamiliar world in which they find themselves, especially those whose parents have had to work and who have been forced to stay home often alone and without care or comfort.

Living through Covid-19 (after losing your spouse)

Living through Covid-19 (after losing your spouse)

Roy Irvine shares his experience of losing his wife prior to lockdown and how ‘life goes on’.


Even before Covid-19 was well known outside of China, my 2020 didn’t start off well, as my darling wife and soulmate, lost her battle with cancer in January. We had talked during our 33 years of marriage about the day when one of us would be left without our ‘better-half’, so I had some sort of blueprint to follow.

Thankfully we were able to have a wonderful memorial service in February, which allowed our friends to remember Marita’s life.

I was now left with two lovely daughters, the eldest of whom was already working and settled down, and a fifteen-year-old, who had just started Grade 9.

Then the lockdown started. It influenced us in a number of ways, including having to start with on-line schooling (a steep learning curve for the teachers, students and parents). As my career in mining involved going to sites, or going to the office, all of that stopped, so I had to find a new way of earning some money. As has happened often in my life, the stars aligned, and I was offered work that I could do from home, with very flexible hours, so that I could still run the house, walk the dogs (thanks to Level 3 lockdown), monitor the on-line teaching and try some new things. My wife was a great cook, so I have a fabulous kitchen, a library of cookbooks and a daughter who will eat anything! To set myself up for the day, I now follow ‘The Art of Living Happiness Course’ which uses Yoga and breathing exercises to get you aligned for the day; a much easier and so far, more productive way to start the day, and greet the sun, than my old pursuit of jogging. The course also taught us that the only thing we can control is ‘Now’, so don’t put things off, if you are able to do them now.

One of the items on our life blueprint was that ‘life must go on’, so my new life is not the same as the old one, but is turning out to be wonderful with the support of my daughters, friends and the wonderful teachers at my daughter’s school.

Meeting the demand for masks

At the beginning of March when the Covid-19 virus started appearing in South Africa, myself and my employees decided to make masks for ourselves because we had people continually in the shop. We also offer social classes in crochet, knit and sewing, and none of our regular ladies wanted to stop attending, so we offered the ladies masks and classes on how to make them. This became a fun exercise for us.

Once our president decided to put South Africa on lockdown, the demand for masks grew. When lockdown started, people working in essential services started approaching us to make for themselves and their staff members. Our first big order was from a Standard Bank branch. We have since supplied masks to numerous companies, doctors, dentists and of course to individuals and families. We make them in 3 sizes: men, women and children, and in many different colours. The masks are made with 2 layers of 100% cotton, and the inner is a 3- ply surgical mask filter. The cost per mask is R50.00, and although we do not make a big profit it is keeping the three of us busy during the lockdown period as well as creating income.

Pat Schneider is the owner of The Cotton Ball, a wool, material and haberdashery store based in Doringkloof, Centurion.

How we are dealing with lockdown by Una Perry

Having children is the best investment you will ever have, the dividends will start coming in when they turn 18…these were the words of my mom when I one day reached out to her for advice on parenting.

Lockdown has suddenly brought families back together in homes and how do we react and guide each other in this unpredictable season? I decided to ensure that our home is a place of safety in this time of uncertainty.

“Comfort food” is one of my safety vehicles in lockdown. Familiar aromas of special treats, favourite meals and new aromas from the kitchen forms a daily part of our house hold now. Everybody pops into the kitchen excited to find out what is on the menu and they stick around to help too!

Mealtimes are sharing moments too – and it is priceless to hear our young adult children recalling moments as young children. They remember moments we didn’t even realised they understood.

It turns out that during lockdown first dividends are coming in from this investment. Definitely worth depositing further into our memory banks for the future.

Marina and Frank Davis’ list of lockdown tips

Here are some of the things we are doing to stay focused and positive under the circumstances:

  1. Marina has found a wildlife site which live-streams game drives in the Kruger Park:
    • Morning drives are from 06h00 t0 09h00.
    • Evening drives are from 15h30 to 18h30.
    • The site is called Wild Earth.
    • The link is https://wildearth.tv/safarilive/
    • Marina starts most of her days watching the early game drive, in bed with a cup of coffee and rusks.
  2. Enjoying watching, and photographing, the birdlife in our garden.
  3. Instead of our usual daily shopping, we only go the shops every 7-10 days, to stay safe.
  4. Enjoying being creative with cooking, enjoying watching our three children, two spread around SA and one in Amsterdam, also getting creative with meal preparation.
  5. Having video calls on WhatsApp, as a family, to stay close together.
  6. To keep informed of the news, but trying to avoid information overload -not so easy.
  7. To keep a sense of humour, this is helped by all the funny stuff received on WhatsApp.
  8. Most of all, to keep a positive outlook, although the health threat around the world and the terrible drop in the stock markets is of real concern.

Lockdown musings and tips to stay safe and sane from Ronelle Baker

So we’re in day 12 of lock down (by the time you read this it will be day 12) and we’re trying very hard to get some routine going.

Tip 1: The first thing in the morning is a time to give gratitude for where we live, how we live and we bring the multitude of less privileged people up in prayer. How would we be “distancing” if we lived in a squatter camp – so our first thought and prayer in the day is one of gratitude.

Tip 2: We then try to keep to a sensible routine, do a little gym in the garage, have a healthy breakfast with lots of coffee (Moses – where are you!!) and do one or two chores a day.

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Tip 3: We try to have tea and a biscuit outside in the morning and afternoon, to catch that very welcome bit of sunshine before winter sets in and we eat very well. (More reason for enormous gratitude)

Tip 4: We also try to do the odd line dance in our garage, with the music very loud, which normally results in great mirth at how little we’ve absorbed during all the lessons we’ve had!

Tip 5: We have a video conference call every evening at 5pm with my nephew and his wife, when we discuss the day, what our plan is for tomorrow and have a small prayer session before ending our call.

Tip 6: And often we sit on our patch of lawn and have a drink with our neighbours who are sitting on their patch of lawn – another new way of communicating.

Learning to order provisions on line is a challenge, (more gratitude) and having technology around us that allows us to communicate with loved ones is another privilege. So many things we’ve taken for granted . . .

We trust all of the Chartered family are staying home and keeping safe and we wish you well over the next few weeks as this pandemic changes the world and our view of it.

Lockdown tips from Cathy Morris

Cathy and Bud Morris

I can’t believe we’re more than half- way through Lockdown! Time seems to have flown. I guess we do live in our Little Piece of Paradise in Pennington, KZN. There is nowhere else in the world we would rather be.

Well, what has Lockdown meant for Bud and me? I reckon the most important thing was to keep Bud away from people and all the germs. The Doctors had told him if he wanted to live another 10 years, we should we leave Edenvale. Eight Weeks later, businesses sold, house sold, vehicle sold, new home bought, and we were out of there. Almost seven years later and he is healthier than ever.

We have pretty much been in Lockdown for the last month. I have been out to Clicks Pharmacy to collect our Flu vaccinations and once for shopping. We have made sure we have enough “essentials” to last at least another month. We created a WhatsApp group for the 6 homes that are in Lockdown in Pennington Park – we are five couples, and my friend Rosie, who lives next door. The main aim of the group is for asking for help…golly…when was the last time any of us asked for help from our neighbours? I reckon we always assume our neighbours don’t need us, as sometimes we feel we don’t need them, but we all need each other.

These are the kind of messages on our group, “Hey, anyone going to the shops today…please can you pick up some bread and milk and fresh veggies?” We have put markers outside each unit and shopping gets left at x marks the spot. We disinfect the shopping in a mild solution of Milton and transfer the moola to whoever did the shopping, and Bob’s your Uncle.

Social distancing is a huge thing, especially for “huggy” person like me. What do they say, adapt or die, and dying is simply not an option -too much to live for! I have created a “Lockdown Ladies” WhatsApp group where we cook and bake and share. Lindy needed Coco to bake a chocolate cake. I put the container outside, sanitised of course, Lindy collected. Next thing…chocolate cake at X marks the spot. I baked cheese scones and delivered to their spots. Rosie needed movies, so I transferred a whole whack onto a flash drive for her. I needed faces put on my batch of bears I completed for the little rape victims at GJ Crookes Hospital, Rosie put the faces on for me.

For me, my heart goes out to those that are on their own. For those of us fortunate and blessed to have someone – embrace every moment. Love each other like there won’t be another day. Cook together, clean together, walk together wherever you are permitted. What do we feel deprived of during this Lockdown? Nothing. What do we miss the most? Not being able to do our morning walk on the beach and chatting to all the other “Golden Oldies” in Pennington. But hey, time will pass. We’ll come out on top. Be safe. And remember…SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WASH, WASH, WASH!!

Lockdown tips from Michelle Reid

As the owner of a small business who has been working virtually for the past two years, you would imagine that the past few days in lockdown for me would be easy and relatively simple to navigate. This has unfortunately not been the case with increased ‘traffic’ on both my laptop and my cellphone and this is without drilling down into SMSs, Whatsapps, E-mails, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the likes.

I am a naturally planned person so planning comes easy for me. The challenge however is to exclude my coffee dates and other social interactions which would normally populate my day.

These few points are what have helped me to manage:

  1. Plan and diarise all the activities which are routine i.e. quiet times, meal times, personal admin, business etc
  2. Make a list of those activities that you have been putting off for ever i.e. cleaning and clearing of cupboards, sorting through your clothing and discarding what doesn’t fit or what you haven’t worn for a long time or packaging those older books which you can donate to the local library or church
  3. Break the chores up into bite size chunks i.e. if you have a kitchen with many cupboards, segment the kitchen into four and diarise to work in these areas separately and diarise these, making sure you are allocating enough time for each activity
  4. List the projects that you would like to do or plan i.e. a photobook of an occasion or planning a herb garden and diarise these.
  5. Ensure that you also diarise breaks and down time for reading, an afternoon nap or just sitting and having a cuppa with your partner.
  6. If you are allocating business time, make sure that you separate the place that you do business from the place that you would eat or watch your favourite TV series.
  7. You cannot visit people at the moment so why not set up a Zoom or Skype call? At least seeing people, even if it is on a screen, is encouraging.
  8. My husband and I have scheduled quiz nights with friends using Zoom. Each of the people on the call must think of 5 questions to ask. There is always a lot to learn and interesting facts to hear about.

Don’t change your normal schedule by getting up late and watching Series on Netflix until all hours – there is so much to do during this time!

Resources

These sites are provided free until the end of May, for people isolated at home due to Coronavirus.

  1. Free audio books from Amazon in 6 languages
  2. Free virtual Visits to 17 European museums.
  3. 700 Free books from Cambridge press
  4. Free Broadway shows
  5. Yuppiechef online cooking classes- free for a month

Lockdown tips from Margaret Kearns

Margaret Kearns

I have got used to being on my own, so the social isolation has not been that bad, but I am missing going out. I don’t have TV, only Netflix and I think I have seen everything worthwhile including some really terrible stuff, dubbed and subtitles, so I have exhausted that entertainment for now. My lifeline is the internet and unlimited fibre. I absolutely love Instagram and can while away the hours looking at pretty pictures and imaging a time when the lockdown is over, and I can enjoy inviting people over.

I would like to tell you about what my daughter in London is doing during lockdown. Kathryn works for Peninsular Petroleum and they have offices in 24 cities around the world where she is responsible for all their travel arrangements. They also have a superyacht with a crew that she managed to get home safely before the lockdown. Peninsular have implemented a ‘buddy system’ where every employee has a buddy with whom they check into every day. Kathryn’s buddy is her assistant, a young girl from Belarus living in London without any family. Kathryn also keeps in touch with their IT guy, who is currently in hospital having chemo, who is not allowed any visitors.

Kathryn lives in a tiny flat in Chelsea and she has a Japanese neighbour on the top floor who speaks very little English and Kathryn has become her buddy too. This has encouraged me to reach out and try and make contact with at least one person every day. I have been baking and even sent some goodies to my neighbour.

Another small thing suggested by my book club is that every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, or invite people to visit us, we are going to write it down on a post-it note and put it in a jar. When this is over, we will work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the little and lovely things in our lives. Until then we’ll enjoy watching the jar fill up with magical things to look forward to.

Lockdown Reflections from Frances Meeser

Francis Meeser

I am in lockdown with my helper from Malawi, who lives on my property, and my two dogs. Our lives are generally so busy, and although I am working from home, this time of lockdown has made me slow down and take some very deep breaths, and so I have given myself some time for doing some things for myself…..

  • I have completed my Vision Board which I hadn’t completed after attending a workshop a few weeks ago. I have stuck this up on the study wall so that I see it day when I am working.
  • I very luckily have a treadmill that I inherited, so have set it up in the garage and walk 5-6kms every morning listening to a podcast series – the series I am listening to at the moment is Unlocking Us by Brené Brown. Other podcasts on my list are Malcolm Gladwell – Revisionist History and Daily Boost by Scott Smith.
  • I have started taking some time to write in a journal – this is being made easier by using the ‘Becoming’ journal by Michelle Obama which gives prompts and ideas on the pages – a wonderful Christmas present from my daughter.
  • I have signed up and started an ‘Authentic Resilience’ Online course facilitated by Gabi Lowe and Pippa Shaper from the Resiliencefactory – it is a two- week course which I am really looking forward to completing.
  • Kim suggested a few books for me to read when I met with her, and I have been ensconced in Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and have Rising Strong and Braving the Wilderness waiting.