We have been in lockdown for 16 weeks already. This has brought with it anger, frustration, sadness, new hobbies, new skills and lots of time for spring cleaning. We asked our clients to share what they have been doing during lockdown, and it’s so encouraging to see so many people making the most of their time at home.
Finishing all those projects on the to do list has been popular amongst clients, and lockdown, it seems, has certainly been the perfect time to do so.
Keeping some type of a routine and staying connected to body, mind and spirit has been essential to many clients, especially as we have no idea when this will be over, so we have to keep our mental health a priority.
There has been lots of cooking going on, with some clients wondering whether to buy new freezers and more containers to keep all their frozen food.
There has been a lot of upskilling taking place, and most the clients are now extremely comfortable with Zoom, one client is even doing an online Zoom computer course.
Lots of books have been read, and clients have discovered some beautifully written and inspiring reads.
And lastly, but certainly not least, some clients have used this time to reconnect with their partners, through doing activities such as gardening, or by simply sitting on the couch, holding hands while watching Netflix.
Please let us know what you have been doing during lockdown. We would love to hear from you.
I have reconnected with daily, online, yoga practice and find the connection with body, mind and spirit to be a welcome, healing and regenerative blessing and I exercise more than ever. I am fitter than I have been in years, have made fantastic new connections globally who inspire and stimulate thinking and action, have reorganised my living space to accommodate my new lifestyle and more.
Routine really helps in dealing with lockdown and the stresses of facing an even more uncertain future than usual. I have found that focussing on four or five core actions daily helped me get through the months of isolation and all the associated apprehension and anxiety.
We have found Lockdown a breeze! We returned from Hole-in-the-Wall the Sunday before Lockdown, and were initially a little confused about how this was going to affect us! However, we quickly took stock of the situation, and compiled a structured approach to how we were going to cope with it forthwith.
We wrote down a random list of projects we would like to address and complete in the following 3/5/10 weeks (added to as the period of Lockdown was extended, and extended.) My list consisted of the following:
Cooking to freeze; I eventually cooked 40 meals for 2!
Knitting for charity and friends’ grandchildren.
Getting all filing sorted.
Going through and rearranging all cupboards in sequence; starting with the study.
I intended to be ruthless in all cases, evicting items I have balked removing for decades! In doing all this, I wanted to rearrange all cupboards into a logical format and label each shelf! This was particularly applicable to the study.
With winter coming, I recalled a number of long sleeves of jackets and t-shirts, which had long been waiting to be shortened, so that was added to the project list: I eventually gathered 18 items of clothing, i.e. 36 sleeves to hem!
Once I achieved the above tasks I decided it would be lovely to revisit all my cards and letters of sentimental value which I had kept over decades, including numerous precious cards and letters received from pupils from over four decades of teaching.
I always write a detailed diary for every special holiday I have had been privileged to experience: every overseas trip and local holidays to places that were very significant with family and/or close friends.
As a reward between tasks, I added “reading” to the list, I have a Kindle. I also phone and message family and friends on a regular basis.
Peter’s list consisted of:
Fixing security lights.
Sanding down every cottage window and re-varnishing each.
Reorganising his workshop.
Sorting his photos on his computer.
Painting a gutter down pipe.
Paint one of the spare rooms.
Make a shelf for our sister-in-law’s patio.
Sort all filing.
Sort all his cupboards in the study.
Keep in touch with family and his close friends who were alone.
On-going gardening, resulting in a stunning winter garden!
Next we planned a daily routine. Wake up time became interesting, as we were guided by daylight, so, we started getting up between 6.00 and 6.30! Currently we rise between 7.00 and 7.30. Then onto bed making, exercising and tea in the upstairs sunroom, which offers us beautiful sunshine, as well as a stunning view over the Ebotse golf course. I have to add that the abundance of sunshine that has basked in all its glory, almost daily, makes a huge difference to one’s morale! Then came shower time and downstairs for breakfast (around 9.00).
Thereafter we go our own way to embark on the task underway at the moment! Coffee has played a large part in our rituals, so we meet in our garden for a cuppa around 11.30 and catch up on what each of us has achieved! Snack lunch, again outside, is on the agenda around 1.30! Back to the list until 5.30ish, when we adjourn to the lounge or upstairs, to indulge in some well-deserved liquid refreshment ! Candlelit dinner follows, then off to watch some TV: either a David Attenborough type programme or Hudson and Rex. 9.00pm sees us reading until we drop off to sleep.
We have achieved all items on the above lists! I must say, achieving them was very gratifying. However, the most rewarding for me was re-reading my cards, letters and diaries, as well as the numerous photos! What a journey down memory lane on all accounts, with many a tear shed along the way!!
I have enjoyed composing this record, and will add it to my diary file for me to look back on in years to come. Learning to manage Microsoft Team and Zoom, has of course, been an amazing experience for the two geriatric digital souls that we are.
In conclusion, I would like it noted that during this three and a half month sojourn, we have not once been at one another’s’ throats! We have realised that we don’t have to rush around “renting a crowd” for pleasure. We have missed our family and friends, nevertheless, and will value them greatly when we are permitted to socialise once more.
I am not sure what all the fuss is about. I have for the first time in 23 years had the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy my home, and I have revelled in it. We had to do all the cleaning and gardening while we gave the help paid leave. Somehow this has kept us very busy, and there has not been much time to do other things.
As the lock down has eased up we have had a toddler to look after, so that has kept us very busy with not much time to attend to the normal day to day administration, until he has been collected by his parents. It is trying, but I think it is a wonderful opportunity to correct some of the mistakes we may have made in bringing up our own children. I am a lot more patient, even when he switches of my computer when I am trying to send off an email. There is a lot of comfort to be had when everything just stops. How often have we wished we could just stop for a day or so to take stock. Life has become much simpler. How wonderful?
Having retired in September 2019 I had ticked off a few of my priorities on my bucket list for the next exciting stage of my life. These were:
Spend more time with our grandchildren. Then along came lockdown. The irony was that this put a stop to the time to spend with our beloved grandchildren and in its place I landed up home schooling the seven year old granddaughter of my housekeeper! The child , and her mother, had been sharing a room on our property with the granny since she was born. As her mother commuted by taxi every day to work she became a health risk. Consequently, we hastily, the day before lockdown, rented out and furnished a room for her. Now that school has begun, as was the plan, the child has gone to live with her mother, having not seen her for over 100 days.
Go back to doing volunteer counselling. I attended a course and have been doing volunteer telephone counselling for the past 10 months. Since lockdown I have been doing the counselling in the comfort of my home instead of in an office. I am glad to have resumed this after a break of 20 years, when I stopped counselling due to the pressures of work.
Attend lectures to broaden my knowledge and interests. Thanks to Zoom I have more than fulfilled my desire to attend lectures, and the bonus is that I listen in the comfort of our home, and am often joined by Ronnie for this. I am also attending a computer course on Zoom.
Spend quality time, as opposed to work time, with my husband Ronnie. Besides attending Zoom lectures together on topics like politics, religion and cooking. Another benefit of the lockdown is that we have date evenings, and sit holding hands on the couch watching Netflix!
We were able to attend the funeral of a friend and to vicariously support his children living overseas who, because of lockdown, could not come to the funeral. We have also been present at a family circumcision (bris) service with the grandparents in S.A. who were unable to fly to Oz.
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.
The Tenderness of Wolves
A gem and so beautifully written
Life after Life
Not enough words to praise it!
A Long Petal of the Sea
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.