If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day (now 35-day) lockdown, my first post  has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts.

Welcome to Lockdown Day 20. Twenty days, each of which feels like a year. It’s like two decades of lockdown.

For me, it’s been a day of circles.

Trixie and me in the round bathroom window.
Lockdown photo Day 20: Trixie and me in the bathroom window.

I spent the first half of today feeling unproductive and hating myself for it — a mental game I often play even in “normal” times. I didn’t exercise (sorry Xolani), I didn’t follow a routine, I didn’t do my taxes. I tried to make progress with a story I’m working on but mostly didn’t.

I did a lot of dishes. (I can’t figure out how I’m generating so many of those lately.) I swept the floor of the swimming pool but the algae wouldn’t come off. I thought about going food-shopping — I haven’t left the house in nearly ten days — but I’ve ordered a lot of food online and realized there’s nothing I urgently need.

I felt useless and a bit desperate, like my mind and body were running in circles.

The tide started to turn when my bell rang (always an exciting occurrence these days) and it was my food delivery from the Refillery. The Refillery sells dry goods — pasta, cereals, beans, grains, dried herbs, etc. — with a “zero waste” ethos, meaning customers go to the shop and buy food using their own reusable containers. I had heard the Refillery was open during lockdown and wanted to try it out.

The food I ordered — coffee, bulgar wheat, dried cranberries, herbs — was delivered in brown paper bags. (Obviously there’s going to be a small amount of waste at times like this.) I had fun photographing everything, transferring it into containers, and photographing it again.

Items from the Refillery
A few of my items from the Refillery.

I have a lot of herbs now so it’s time to get cooking. And I’m relieved I wont run out of coffee.

Spirits lifted, I finished preparing my lunch of salad, scrambled egg, and the half-risen pot bread I made yesterday. I decided my half-risen bread actually looked quite pretty on the cutting board, and took it outside to photograph.

Half-risen bread.
My circular half-risen pot bread, which tastes kind of like sourdough cornbread.

I can’t remember what I did for the next couple of hours. But I’d already mentally written off this day so probably not much.

In the late afternoon I took a walk around the garden. The light was beautiful and I remembered a blooming day lily I’d seen yesterday morning and wanted to photograph. Alas, the lily wilted in last night’s rain.

I circled around to the other side of the house. Trixie was trailing behind me, as she often does. Smokey also appeared, down from his hedge for dinner hour.

Suddenly I noticed the round bathroom window and stopped to take a self-portrait in its reflection.

Round bathroom window selfie
Bathroom window self-portrait. Trixie is walking past at my feet.

This window provides such nice symmetry with its bisected sphere. The garden ornament on the wall behind me added a circle within the circle.

Then Trixie jumped into the window, photobombing at exactly the right moment, and the picture at the top of this post was made.

This, my friends, was lockdown magic.

Today’s Worthy Cause

My friend Elodie — a “Frenchie in love with Joburg”, as she calls herself — has started a great new Instagram account promoting local businesses called @Find_the_locals. She features different local shops that are open during lockdown. Thanks to @Find_the_locals I learned one of my favorite bakeries, Patisserie de Paris, is offering free delivery for bread and other baked goods. [NOTE: A friend just informed me Patisserie de Paris is NOT open for walk-in business, only deliveries.]

Find the locals

I have become obsessed with supporting local businesses since the pandemic started and I’m realizing there’s a subconscious reason for that. The local economy is our lifeline during times of crisis, and yet local businesses are currently at dire risk of going under. COVID-19 proves what we already knew, deep down: We need to stop relying on the global supply chain to keep ourselves alive and start turning to our own communities.

Supporting local businesses feels amazing and the food tastes way better. So follow @Find_the_locals and start thinking about ways you can support your local economy.

I’ll circle back tomorrow for Day 21.

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