A year on, what has really changed? My COVID-19 anniversary update.

"We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls ride over the river, we know not. Ah, well! we may conjecture many things" .John Wesley Powell
Can you believe it…Today we reach the one-year anniversary of those fateful words “My fellow South Africans”, we need to be mindful of how we feel about the fact that this pandemic and the resultant changes will be with us for the foreseeable future. We need to be gentle with ourselves. Just as there were BC and AD, there will be BP( before the pandemic) DP(during the pandemic) and AP (after the pandemic). Perhaps there will also be a change in the normalcy of our situation as we know it. Will the current norm become so ingrained that it remains the new norm going forward? But who are we to decide? Globally, if we have learned nothing else, we have discovered that our governments and politicians are able to control us with a concoction of information and misinformation. Doled out in controlled doses to keep us compliant and in check.

Positioned here at the Southern tip of Africa, I believe that many of us thought that the virus would bypass us. Every disaster movie ever made that involves a virus has only affected the Northern hemisphere. Yet, in real life, it could not have been more different. Almost every county on every continent has confirmed cases. Let us all be mindful of that fact and if you treat this threat to humanity and world economies with the respect that is deserves, then perhaps we will ALL come out post-virus as better and more caring and compassionate human beings. I will be adding updated comments in red to this original posting.



And so it begins. Day 1 or Day 0, depending on your point of view. It does not really matter if you count up or count down, this enforced lockdown will be with us until at least 16th April 2020. Buckle up bitches, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I am so glad that I neither smoke nor drink as I cannot imagine those who do being unable to obtain either. If I am to be a cynic, I foresee a thriving underground market in both commodities starting very soon. And there was! And certain people benefitted even though, to this very day, the ban on cigarettes cannot be explained. Well, actually there have been rumours, but those are unproven and therefore will not be alluded to in this update.


This, for me, is going to be my view for the duration of the lockdown. As my wife is a doctor, she still has to go to work, luckily not in direct contact with those who have tested positive. As a writer will try to use this enforced ‘holiday’ to catch up on a variety of tasks in and around our home, while still producing content for both my Blog and my clients. Walls that were built to keep intruders out are now serving a different purpose…to keep residents in. I learned that 15 laps around our garden equalled 1km. This became incredibly monotonous, so I took to walking it in different directions on a daily basis. It was also really weird when I was allowed to step outside our property for the first time just how uncomfortable and disconnected I felt.


I have also tasked myself with learning at least one new skill…and completing an online course that has been lurking in the background for at least 2 decades! None of this happened…


We are grateful to have this giant Common Ash tree in our garden, that will allow me to get out and sit in its shade. Watching it as it sheds its summer leaves might end up being entertainment…given the fact that local TV has so many repeats. That being said, all those who scoffed at watching daytime TV are going to have to eat their words. Watching TV became my default mode, and although I became a non-travelling travel writer, I was able to continue working with archival images to keep myself occupied and my remaining clients contented. Not easy, but with a bit of practice, I walked from our bedroom to my office on a daily basis. Trying to keep a semblance of my life BP.


There is beauty to be found everywhere you look in a garden. Trapped in a hole in the tree in our garden, this dead twig caught my attention. I have become more aware of the small stuff that gives me pleasure. A spider on a web, birds twittering while I work. And for those I am grateful.


At least I can get out to look at the sky, which, on the highveld at this time of the year is truly breathtaking in its beauty. Even now, one year on, the sky is the only consistent…except the clouds, for they, like the pandemic, change on a rapid and random basis.


This is as close as I am going to get to wildlife for at least the next 21 days. But, do not fear as I will be trawling through my archives to keep new and interesting content on Travel & Things while I am unable to travel. I was able to do some travelling in the latter part of 2020, but nowhere near as much as I did in 2019. This took some getting used to and I am still suffering from the effects of the lack of ‘bush-time’…


Perhaps it is time to do a spot of gardening? At least I have this space to work in. Spare a thought for those who live in apartments who cannot get out. I hope that the next 21 days will be leafblower free… And it was…leaf-blower free! Did I do any gardening? No, I did not.


My window to the world for the next while. My wife and I are so glad that we changed our widow about 3 years ago to these bespoke ones from Orejen. They have given us endless pleasure and now they will become the focal point of the view that I have. And they did and continue to do so…


My Executive Assistant will no doubt play an important role in keeping me sane and active over the lockdown period. I would like to think that knows that the world is turning a corner as he has become more attentive over the last few weeks. Spare a thought for those with large dogs that need to be exercised and cannot. That is going to be a challenge for both owners and pets. My EA has been my constant companion during this uncertain time. Offering solace without words and support without judgement.



Charlie Chaplin lived 88 years
He left us 4 statements:
(1) Nothing is forever in this world, not even our problems.
(2) I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears.
(3) The most lost day in life is the day we don’t laugh.
(4) Six best doctors in the world…:
1. The sun
2. Rest
3. Exercise
4. Diet
5. Self-respect
6. Friends
Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy a healthy life…
Life is just a journey! Therefore, live today!
Tomorrow may not be.

Too true Mr C, too true.



Carolyn and I wish all of my readers strength during this testing time. We as humans crave both company and contact. One or both are currently being denied to many of us globally. Staf safe, stay healthy and stay compliant. It is in all our best interests to do so. We both lost friends to COVID-19 and we will continue to mourn their loss as we were unable to say goodbye. The pandemic has changed us both in a variety of ways, hopefully for the better. Although 2021 is only 2 months old, it too looks like the lockdown will continue in one guise or another until well into the latter part of the year. Will we ever get the vaccine? Will it make a difference? These are topics for another discussion…


Let us light a candle for those who have died in the past year. Taken by a virus that we cannot see or predict. Lost in hospitals, alone with only strangers to witness their death. This is part of what is continuing to affect populations all over the world.