If you’re new to this blog series (and/or you live under a boulder) and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown journal entries.

It’s Day 6. We’re nearing the end of Week 1.

Melville Main Road during lockdown
Lockdown photo Day 6: Melville’s Main Road.

Happy April Fool’s Day! Don’t worry, I’m not doing any April Fool’s jokes because we can get arrested for that. But honestly I wish this whole year were an April Fool’s joke.

I’ve stopped reporting the daily COVID-19 case statistics for now. The numbers have been holding steady for several days, and while I hope that keeps up I fear it has more to do with access to testing than the spread of the virus itself. We’ll see in the coming days. There have been five documented deaths in South Africa (as of yesterday), including a prominent HIV/AIDS researcher.

Today’s thoughts:

  1. Thank you for all the kind, encouraging responses to yesterday’s post. They really cheered me up.
  2. Last night I thought my electric fence alarm went off (it turned out to be my car alarm, probably activated by a cat), so I called my security company in a panic. Lesley, my local security guard, came to check on the property. I was so excited to see another human up close, I almost wanted to hug Lesley. Don’t worry I didn’t.
  3. Today I left my house for the first time in six days, which you’ll read about below. I actually couldn’t wait to get back inside — I feel like I’m developing an almost OCD-like obsession with my comfortable, always-home routine. How hard is it going to be for me to leave the house and do things like a normal person again after this is over?

Lockdown Journal

6:20 a.m.: Wakeup call from Xolani. Don’t answer. It’s getting darker and colder in the mornings and hence hard to maintain my 6:00 a.m. wakeup time.

6:40 a.m.: Get up, promise Xolani I’m getting dressed. Feed cats, make coffee.

7:00 a.m.: 22 laps around house. Get leg cramp after 600 skips. Perform new water-bottle exercises from Xolani.

8:00 a.m.: Buttered biscuit for breakfast! Yay.

8:30 a.m.: Bath, podcasts, procrastinate.

10:00 a.m.: Work at computer.

11:00 a.m.: Decide to walk to Spar. Need vegetables, and ketchup. Create carefully curated grocery list. Put on jeans for the first time in six days. Almost like a date! (Except no makeup or jewelry.) Pack money, ID (just in case), reusable grocery bag, sterile gloves, mask.

11:15 a.m.: Open gate. Step tentatively outside. Walk half a block to Main Road.

11:20 a.m.: It’s pretty much a normal day out here. Cars, taxis (although not as many), pedestrians (although not as many). Cross road and shoot photo from the median strip. Crest the hill to the Spar parking lot. Surprised to see it’s nearly full.

11:25 a.m.: Spar is crowded inside. Many people are shopping with month-end social grant money and I’m happy the store is fully stocked — and the produce definitely looks better — but disappointed there aren’t some crowd controls in place. Nonetheless it’s good to see you, my old friend Spar.

11:40: Find everything on my list except Spar magic dough and yeast (was thinking of attempting bread-baking). Chat with Nelisiwe, my usual cashier, who looks different behind her mask. Nelisiwe is in good spirits.

11:45: Outside, meet my friend Peter of Jozibug Tours, who tells me he has pivoted his business from tourism to food deliveries for Spar. (Melville Spar has just set up an online delivery service for the lockdown.) This is brilliant. The next time I shop at Spar I will definitely order online and have it delivered by a Jozibug.

Jozibug in Melville
This is a Jozibug. I totally want my food delivered in this.

11:50 a.m.: Walk home, unload groceries, wash hands repeatedly.

12:00 p.m.: Write an article on amateur stargazing (the perfect new lockdown hobby) for a client. Excited to share once it’s done.

4:00 p.m.: Talk to friends. Blog. Argue with people on Facebook about whether or not Spar should implement crowd control (my mistake for engaging on social media, I know).

7:00 p.m. (now): Dinner time.

Today’s Worthy Cause

In keeping with the recent frustrations at Spar, today I am featuring small(ish) Joburg businesses who will deliver food to our doors during lockdown. This is how I’ll be shopping from now on (including from Spar because Jozibug is a small business). Thanks to everyone who pitched in recommendations:

  1. Island Fresh Produce
  2. The Refillery
  3. Bean There Coffee
  4. Munching Mongoose
  5. Ferreira Fresh
  6. La Marina
  7. Farm Fresh Online
  8. Crisp Meals
  9. Fresh Earth

I’m already getting excited thinking about which one of these services I’m going to try first.

Happy Lockdown.

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