Lockdown Journal: Day Twenty-One of Twenty-One

Day 21 – Thursday, 16 April

On the last day of the initial decreed quarantine of twenty-one days, the weather starts to turn for the better, announcing a pleasant weekend ahead, meaning outdoor braais, alfresco lunches and sun lounging on the patio. I publish two more blogs in the lockdown journal series, reminiscing about the days when we still had hope that the quarantine at home would end. That hope has now gone. 

I’ve read once that the ‘quarantine’ word is derived from the Italian numeral ‘quaranta’ which means forty. In the times of the deadly black plague, Italian ships voyaging to the Venetian harbour had to wait forty days at sea before docking, on accounts of the contagious disease. Nowadays, the medical profession claims about two weeks for the incubation period of a virus and the appearance of symptoms, therefore a minimum of fourteen days quarantine. However, it seems that we would get to those historical forty days, after all, sometime at the beginning of May. Only God knows what happens next. 

We will have to wait and see how to proceed during the lockdown extension, and which regulations will come into effect. It’s hard not to get caught up in the news, although we’re trying to stay away, as much as possible, from negativity and media hype. The number of coronavirus cases in the county has slowly risen, with half of those cases in recovery. However, the figures are low (hovering under 3%) compared to the tens of thousands tested done so far and the fifty millions of people calling South Africa home. I’m not convinced that such numbers justify the severity of the lockdown, including the closure of most businesses and sectors of the country. But I digress. 

We are still working from home, my husband and I, and I continue to enjoy this closeness as much as I can, knowing that he might have to start going out to supervise client projects again. Sadly, not every business can be entirely done from the comfort of impromptu home desks and Zoom meetings. I am grateful that I can pursue my writing endeavours from whichever place I want and home sweet home at the moment.  However, it would be nice to sit down and work in a bustling coffee shop once in a while, surrounded by the hissing sounds of the espresso machine and the baristas’ joyous laughter. Oh, how I miss that. Speaking about coffee…I keep my promise to make coffee for my husband for the next coming days – a bet I’ve lost thanks to his sudden and unexpected win in yet another competitive game of Chinese checkers. It would have happened, sooner or later. 

A few mugs of freshly brewed coffee later, I’m excited to start reading Jo Nesbo’s crime thriller The Snowman, a book I’ve had in my mind to read for months after snatching it for a bargain at a local bookstore sale. I’m hyped, as always, about discovering new authors.  The fact that the writer (also a musician, it seems) is Norwegian and the book is set in the far northern corners of Oslo, gives me the temporary wanderlust I need in my life. It is chilling stuff, and I am hooked from the first pages. Intrigued, I push through the first chapters and add Norway pronto on my travel list. 

Following a writing session and more reading (can’t help myself), I take the rest of the day off to join in the groceries run and household paraphernalia. We plan the remainder of the week: cooking up a storm for the Easter holidays (twice the fun), prepping the barbeque/braai for sizzling meats, eating the fruits of our labour, savouring sweet desserts and ensuring there is enough food left – and a bit of wine – for days after. After all, it all revolves around good food and company to make this lockdown easier to handle. 

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