Lockdown survivors’ guide

In the last two weeks I have written two long and very serious pieces about how people and the world are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. I will write another – to keep a promise. The first was ahead of the lock down.

Half way there?

South Africa is halfway through the period initially set for the country’s lock down. It’s not impossible that we might be forced to stay at home for longer than the 21 days that take us to just after Easter.

Last week, I reflected on how learning to live alone (again) and working from home can be applied to an enforced stay at home.

Ahead of our shutdown and all over the world, it seems, people’s brains fell out of their heads. I know mine did. I went shopping to discover no chicken to be had and when I got home, I added another packet of cornflour to the two (!) already there, among other crazy things…



Anyhow, as I said, we’re half way through our compulsory stay at home and the weather’s turning.

It occurred to me, now that we’re settling into a rhythm, to follow-up to my survivor’s guide to load shedding with a kinda, only half, tongue-in-cheek survivor’s guide to an enforced stay at home.

Fiona’s lock down survival guide

  • Pray the Internet never goes down.
  • Save toilet paper.
  • Ration the wine. *
  • Cut your own hair. If you must. But don’t do it in anger.
  • Stop smoking when the ciggies run out. *
  • Every time you see an item is nearly finished, put it on the shopping list – just in case you lose your brain again when you shop.
  • Save toilet paper.
  • Learn to make natural yeast (see the last but one point).
  • Send your friends virtual flowers.
  • Share a virtual toast – only one sip – with the guys and gals who are independently locked down.
  • Learn to cook without wine.
  • Hold a virtual dinner party: sharing pictures of one’s food is a sure fire way that they visit (or stay away) after lock down is lifted.
  • Try not to kill mother. Uncle Richie died. Auntie Doris is still alive.
  • Save toilet paper.

* In South Africa, the regulations prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • This is my cheeky entry into this month’s @yourtop3 contest – now on Hive.
    And before I get into more trouble, here is the list of my actual three must-haves while staying at home: Internet access, toilet paper, and, of course, wine! No explanations required….
    Read more about this month’s contest here
  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”… and…
  • It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.

  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.

Loadshedding survivors’ guide

In March, South Africa, was on the brink of a national electricity blackout.  And we are there again.  Why?  At the time, I said that the reasons are myriad and what one chooses to believe, also depends on to whom one listens.   Now, it seems, we are getting closer to the truth:  acknowledgement not just of the failure to follow through on routine maintenance, but also of the “success” of the project to systematically loot state owned enterprises through the project now known as “state capture”.  The Zondo Commission is unearthing hair raising facts.  The Auditor General is doing the same and his staff are feeling the heat.

This is good news

In March, for the best past of two weeks, there was no power for between two to five, sometimes more, hours a day, and I noted that it was likely, that similar outages will happen again over the next few years.  Well, it all began again last week and on Monday, the state-owned electricity utility went from stage 4 loadshedding to stage 6.  Stage 2 means that in McGregor, we are without power for between 2,5 and 5 hours in a 24 hour period, scheduled in 2,5 hour slots.  Stage 4 means that we are without power for 7,5 hours – also staggered.  Stage 6, we had no idea.  Suffice it to say that it was rather startling and the President has cut short a state visit to Egypt.

The March crisis was an act of God:  Hurricane Idai, damaged power lines in Mocambique that supply electricity to South Africa.  This time, it’s also weather related:  wet coal accompanied by heavier than normal rainfall and flooding.

In my original post on Steemit, I noted

The electricity crisis notwithstanding, I have long aspired to being self-sufficient and off the grid – as I explained in this interview, so at the first real opportunity, i.e. when we owned our own home, and had the money, we installed a solar geyser.  The next step was converting from electricity to cooking with gas.  In this instance, it was as much to do with the cooking experience as with the repeated electricity cuts – at cooking time.

In March, I developed a survivors’ guide to loadshedding and I thought it worth sharing again.  Now that I am beginning to recover my sense of humour.  It’s essential to survival:

Loadshedding survivors’ guide

  1. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
  2. Pour a glass of wine.
  3. Download – if you get your electricity direct from Eskom, the app.  Or the schedules from your municipality. Prior to this most recent rash, we had loadshedding in 2015.  I uninstalled the app a week before it struck in March;  I’ve kept it up to date since.
  4. Have a sip of wine.
  5. Keep your sense of humour.
  6. Pour a glass of wine
  7. Fish out the old Telkom phone that has a handset connected with a cord;  ensure that your stock of candles, lighting implements (matches, lighters, etc.) and solar jars are charged and close at hand.
  8. Have a sip of wine.
  9. Check the schedule and plan your day(s) in anticipation of the scheduled outage.
  10. Check the wine stash.
  11. Invite friends over and braai – timed for when the lights are off.
  12. Pour more wine.
  13. When it’s not practical (or sensible to have friends around and drink lots of wine):
  14. Cook by candles and solar jar (with wine).
  15. Clean:  cupboards the you’ve not cleaned for a gazillion years; sort through the old clothes that you’ve not worn for a gazillion years – throw them out or sort them for a jumble sale, clothing swop or charity shop.
  16. Pour another glass of wine.
  17. Make sure all your devices are charged:  assuming you’re using a laptop, and work for as long as you have juice.  Uninterrupted without Facebook, WhtasApp, Discord – yes, you know who you are – and Instagram
  18. Get the next bottle of wine.
  19. Fish out and start working on the projects that you haven’t worked on because you’ve been distracted by the social media (your phone).
  20. Pour another glass of wine.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

Originally posted in December 2019, but “re-constituted” for reasons I you will find here.

It’s also why some of the links may not work properly.  If you come across one, please do comment and let me know so that I can fix it.

My apologies if you feel you’re being spammed.  I’ve tried to stop the email notifications – will continue trying – but haven’t been successful….