For those of you who are new to this blog: The Melville Cat is an occasional guest contributor. Tonight he has written his first lockdown journal post.

Read all of the Melville Cat’s posts here. Read all of the lockdown journal posts here.

Dear friends,

I understand it is the 7th day of something called “the lockdown”.

Smokey the Melville Cat during covid-19 lockdown
Lockdown photo Day 7: Moi.

Heather tells me the lockdown is happening in response to something called a pandemic. The pandemic is a virus, which makes humans sick.

I asked if I could potentially become sick from this pandemic — after all, I am a senior citizen in feline years. Heather says she believes this is unlikely. Although the virus originated in an animal (not a cat, mind you), it is mainly a human problem now.

I am not terribly concerned.

Melville Cat unconcerned
Do I appear concerned to you?

As a precaution, since learning about the pandemic I have chosen to spend the majority of my time outdoors in the fresh air. Just in case Heather or the midget become infected, I think it’s best to stay away. I am the oldest member of the household and missing most of my teeth.

I now live outside for 23.5 out of every 24 hours — even when it is raining. I enter the house three times daily and wait to be fed. (Fortunately Heather is always at home, ready to serve me. For safety reasons she is not permitted to leave the house during lockdown.) I eat the food and immediately depart.

Smokey indoors awaiting food after a rain storm
Heather took this photo of me (with the midget in the background) earlier today after a rainstorm. I came inside for three minutes, awaiting food. Instead Heather wasted time taking photos so I gave up and left.

I pass the time on the roof of the house, watching the world go by, or sleeping beneath bushes. I enjoy my own company. Now that Heather has the midget, I do not need to act as a constant source of emotional support for her. What a relief! Humans are tiresome.

The Melville Cat
One of my favorite lookout points.

When Heather walks around the garden, I sometimes come out of hiding and stroll around with her. These days, she also comes outside to do something called exercise. Rather than walk around the garden slowly, as she normally does, she moves very quickly in circles around the house. This is quite amusing. Sometimes I come and rest with Heather on the soft, purple pad that she calls a “yoga mat”. She tells me I’m in her way but I pay her no mind.

The midget also accompanies us (a bit too enthusiastically for my taste) on garden walks. The midget likes to climb high into trees and hedges, just to show off.

Melville kitten in a hedge
She’s just showing off.
Melville Cat in the garden
Here’s what I think of the midget showing off.

Thus concludes my first lockdown journal guest post. Please stay at home and feed your felines frequently.

I understand the lockdown will last for another fortnight, so perhaps you’ll hear from me again. Good evening.

Today’s Worthy Cause

Heather here. The Melville Cat doesn’t care about worthy causes so I’m popping in to tell you about Upcycle, a unique Joburg junk shop that I’ve blogged about before. Upcycle is making and donating cloth face masks using their huge supply of upcycled fabric. They need financial support to keep the operation going during the lockdown.

Upcycled facemask
An upcycled face mask. (Photo courtesy of Winnie McHenry)
Another upcycled mask made from lovely shweshwe fabric. (Photo courtesy of Winnie McHenry)

Here is what Winnie McHenry, founder of Upcycle, said about the masks on Facebook today:

Masks Masks Masks. We are able to produce masks but I am not able to keep paying my ladies to make and donate for free. There are so many requests for masks to donate but unfortunately I cannot fund this alone. I have fabric and all the requirements but people need to eat. Help us donate to the people out there that are helping to save our lives.

For every 10 masks paid for I am making one for free. We are making the face-fitting design with a layer of cotton and a layer of t-shirting for 35 rand per mask. The 15-rand one is a double layer of t-shirting. I will keep you posted on our website as to who we have donated to.

There is obviously a lot of conflicting information about whether or not masks work in preventing the spread of COVID-19. But I think at this point most experts agree they at least help somewhat, as long as you wear the mask over both your nose and mouth and don’t mess with it once it’s on.

Winnie is also selling these masks to the general public. (She has an essential services permit.) If you’re interested, please contact her at the number below.

If you’d like to donate to Upcycles’s mask-making operation, please use the following bank details:

Name: Upcycle creative
Bank: FNB
Account: Cheque
Act. number: 62623937200
Ref: donate

Phone: 082 780 3673 or 083 855 2236
Email: winnie@upcycle.co.za 

If you’d like to donate from overseas, please contact me privately. Also Winnie created a handy video on how to make your own masks.

One week of lockdown, down. Be strong.

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