Life in Lockdown

I am startled and yet not surprised, in returning to my blog, that almost a hundred days (of solitude, I am tempted to add, in the spirit of Marquez) have passed since my last post.

Last time I wrote we were 10 days into the lockdown, and the number of reported cases in South Africa was 1585. Today, as I write, 97 days later, the number of recorded infections is 166 times that – over a quarter of a million cases, and almost 4000 dead.

Gauteng, where we are ‘sheltering in place,’ is the new epicentre, with the largest number of cases and the fastest daily rise in new infections.

It is all very strange, as I have written before – strange, and yet oddly normal. As if we have always lived like this, as if we were not, only last August, off holidaying with our children in the South of France, stopping in Istanbul for a little innocent sightseeing at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, spending Christmas in Cape Town, visiting the idyllic little village of Rosendal in the Free State in the New Year, then back to Cape Town for a few days as recently as February.

Sweet liberty! Since March, we have barely left the house.

If we had been singled out for such treatment, we would be entitled to complain. But to be caught up in a global pandemic is hardly being singled out, and we don’t complain. At least, not often, and when we do we are conscious of how ungrateful it seems, how lucky we are, at least in relative terms.

To want to get out, though, to see people, to travel again, do things – go out for a meal, go to a movie, heck, go on a game drive and take a hundred photographs – is only human. So that is our excuse for feeling a little – not glum, not down, but flat, I guess is what you’d call it.

There have also been losses and anxieties to darken the atmosphere. My wife Rob’s only brother, Jim, passing away in Michigan, and not being able to travel to attend the funeral. Covid-19 striking people a little too close to us, though miraculously, so far, without serious harm. An old (in both senses) friend of Rob’s, in Vancouver, having to come to terms with the indignities and infirmities of age.

So it has not been altogether easy.

Life carries on, though, which is the important thing. Work keeps me busy, and too much housework keeps Rob busy, too, occasionally grumbling but for the most part simply rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck in, as she always does.

Along with work – paid work, and all the unpaid work that keeps our daily lives ticking over – we both make time where we can for the more creative part of our lives, Rob working on her fabulous collages, me on my photographs, including a series on the Desert Elephants of Namibia, from our last trip there, in 2016, following my son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Hayley’s wedding.

The purchase by a friend of ours, in Montreal, of one of my images, triggered a long-intended, oft-postponed plan to showcase my work in a more focused way, and so I have been labouring away on a new website, where people interested in my images, whether simply to enjoy or perhaps to buy a print or two, can browse through my portfolios.

So I have been busy. Although the website is brand new, and the portfolios are few, be assured I will be adding to them. And when I do, I will write up the new portfolio and post a link on these pages.

Stay safe, keep well. And let’s make a better world when all this is over.

3 responses to “Life in Lockdown”

  1. Mark Lafer Consulting Avatar
    Mark Lafer Consulting

    First, belated condolence’s on Rob’s brother. We had a related experience recently: Theresa’s aunt – her mother’s sister – died just shy of her 100th birthday. Even I had known, and thought fondly of Aunt Ellie for more than half a century.

    Second, welcome back. Your photos and posts were always bright spots among the dreary and often disheartening emails I receive.

    Finally, mazel tov on joining the ranks of semi-pro photographers! I look forward to your growing fame and recognition and being able to say: “I knew him when!”


    1. Thanks Mark, always good to know you are keeping a friendly eye on my misdeeds 🙂 Sorry to hear about your loss, my sympathy to you and Theresa. Stay safe.


  2. […] odd sense of unreality rests, uneasily, on a simple fact: after more than four years of living in South Africa, we are just six months away from packing up our rented townhouse in Johannesburg, moving out and […]


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