Lockdown Journal: Day 26 (Spiral)

by | Apr 21, 2020 | COVID-19, Johannesburg | 16 comments

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.

It’s Day 26 of the South African lockdown. I’ve put my garden flower photos aside for the day and moved on to succulents.

This spiral aloe plant has an interesting story — I can’t believe I haven’t told it sooner in this series.

Spiral aloe
Lockdown photo 26: Spiral Aloe.

Spiral aloes are native to Lesotho and fairly rare, as far as aloes go. This is the second spiral aloe I’ve owned; I blogged about the first one almost exactly eight years ago, soon after Jon died.

I received the first spiral aloe in 2011, from Jeroen. Jeroen was one of my first friends in Joburg and he gave me the aloe before he left to move back to Europe. He had bought the aloe several months before during a trip to Lesotho — I don’t think they’re easy to find anywhere else — and obviously Jeroen couldn’t take it with him when he left.

Spiral Aloe lived happily in my garden for a year or two. I spent lots of time communing with it during a very difficult period of my life. There’s something calming about the aloe’s spiraling leaves, which kind of twist on into infinity (especially once the plant becomes mature).

Eventually Spiral Aloe died mysteriously. They’re sensitive plants.

Jeroen and his wife Soulafa, who now live in Berlin, came to Africa for a visit last year and stayed in my cottage. They also spent some time in Lesotho while they were here, and they brought me a new spiral aloe. Spiral Aloe Jr.

As you can see above, the Spiral Aloe Jr. is thriving. (It’s due for repotting soon.) I had kind of forgotten about it lately, amidst all the madness and flower photography, but I’m going to start communing with it more often. Thanks again, Jeroen and Soulafa. I love you guys.

Aloe closeup

In other news, I’m attempting the same ice flower photography DIY project that Mark Straw did yesterday. I gathered a bunch of leaves and flowers into a pan, covered them with water, and they are currently chilling in my freezer.

Fall leaves and flowers from my garden
I’m going with an autumn theme.

I’m excited to see how this turns out tomorrow morning.

COVID-19 in South Africa

President Ramaphosa is scheduled to make a speech to the nation tonight. So far the president’s office hasn’t announced a time for the speech though, and I’m now wondering if it’s going to happen tonight at all. [UPDATE: The speech will happen at 8:30 p.m., about an hour from now.]

There is a lot of speculation about whether or not our current lockdown will continue beyond 30 April, and a lot of armchair quarter-backing (as we say in America) about how the government is handling the situation and what the president should or shouldn’t do.

I have more or less the same opinion I’ve had since the beginning: I have no idea what’s the best — or the least horrible — course of action for dealing with this pandemic in South Africa. I’m very glad the decisions aren’t up to me.

Today’s numbers just came in and South Africa now has 3465 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up 165 since yesterday. There are 58 confirmed deaths. Although the curve has steepened slightly, it’s still been incredibly consistent since the lockdown started.

At the same time, the lockdown is causing unbearable economic suffering and I don’t think it can continue — in its current format, at least — for much longer before mass starvation sets in. Or maybe it already has.

Today’s Worthy Cause

I’m struggling more and more to choose a worthy cause each day — not due to a shortage of causes, but because there is so much need and I’m overwhelmed by it all.

Today, I’m going to suggest that all of us (who are able to) simply put some food in a bag and set it outside with a sign reading: Please Enjoy. Someone hungry will come along soon and take it.


  1. Albert

    Great post today. And I had to go back to read the first blog post of Spiral Aloe 1 too… Very poignant.

  2. Catrina

    Thanks for the COVID19 update. I wonder what the decision will be. And yes, I wouldn’t want to be in the government’s shoes right now, either.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your ice flowers!

    • 2summers

      Thanks, I hope I succeed!

  3. AutumnAshbough

    I love your fall motif for the ice plant photo!

    The situation is heartbreaking in so many countries. I think only the richer, socialist ones can manage the long-term lockdowns without tremendous hardship. The U.S., has, of course, in true plutocratic fashion, chosen to bail out corporations rather than individuals (as Canada has done) and now those same corporations use social media to whip up white people into protesting lockdowns. Good times.

    • 2summers

      Yes. It’s so horrible in a different way.

  4. dizzylexa

    I love those spiral aloes. Can’t wait to see your ice photography.

    • 2summers

      I hope it works! I think I’m going to struggle to find the right place to take the photos but let’s see.

  5. Sharon

    In case you didn’t know, we have 1 of the 3 largest cactus gardens in the world in Graaf Reinet. Owned by a unusual, complex and interesting gentleman. Well worth a visit once you’re able to get out and enjoy our beautiful country again.

    • 2summers

      Hi Sharon! Yes I do know about your garden and would absolutely love to visit someday.

  6. Soulafa

    Hey! How nice to see your spiral aloe jr is doing alright. We got it from a plant nursery in Malealea. Mr. husband decided to pick it up after dark so I remember sharing my feelings with all of Lesotho as we tried to find our way back to Malealea lodge (the most amazing lodge ever). We think of you often, Heather. We will see you soon again, either here or there.

    • 2summers

      I can imagine that would not be an easy drive in the dark 🙂

  7. Russel Ray Photos

    Aloe polyphylla just in case you don’t know it’s botanical name.

  8. John Nickel

    There’s no way South Africa can stay locked down much longer, the riots would overwhelm what little there is left of military and police, they can’t even deal with day to day trouble. Starving people will become desperate, rightly so! Just think what you or I would do for our family and loved ones if we were in that situation.

  9. Graham Burgess

    For those persons traveling to collect medication or to buy food it’s a good idea to have a few extras in the car to hand to the homeless at traffic lights.


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