In my case: “if you find yourself trapped in a crowd situation, you probably experience extreme physical, cognitive, and behavioural symptoms that you feel powerless to manage”.

Yes, I’m afraid I don’t handle a lot of people, too close for comfort, very well. I become irrational…

The day before lock-down, we went shopping for essentials to see us through as many days as possible without ‘panic-buying’ – there will always be more. We have not arrived at the end of the world; it will only be 21 days of self-discipline.

Let me give you a little back story. On 8 March I boarded my flight to South Africa to join my brother for his 88th birthday celebration. There were already rumours of a virus making the rounds and I used my hand sanitizer and wore a mask in public, especially moving through the Dubai airport hub.

20200308_181628   Don’t I look lovely!?

As you may know, South Africa is deemed an ‘unsafe’ place regarding movement of single – especially women – in their cars. At least, that was the impression I was brought under whilst living in Cyprus, many miles away. So, I arranged with my late sister’s grandson to be my bodyguard and chauffeur! Believe me, he would frighten away anyone with ideas; he is 6’4” and a body to match. We had to make sure he fitted in the Kia before driving off!

He fits!

The young man did a splendid job and delivered me to my brother’s doorstep, safe and sound.

The birthday celebrations were outstanding as my sister-in-law arranged a little surprise for him at the golf club. He is the oldest member and, as far as I could judge, very well-liked amongst his fellow golfers.

On the golf course, joined by the wildlife… and a tribute to the 88-year old.

The plan was to fly from Johannesburg to Mauritius on the 18th of March, and my ‘bodyguard’ once again collected me and got me to his place in Pretoria. I duly checked in with South African Airways for the following morning’s flight. However, news of the Corona Virus truly hit the fans all over the world and by 19:00 my AirB&B lady advised that the Mauritian Prime Minister declared their borders closed with effect from 10:00 on 19 March. My flight was supposed to take off at 09:45! Shortly thereafter, SAA advised that all flights in and out of Mauritius were cancelled.

My next choice was to fly back to Cyprus but… notification from Emirates arrived, advising that all flights in and out of Cyprus were cancelled.  They subsequently advised that they envisaged resuming normal service AFTER 14 May! They have also informed me that my return ticket, already paid for, will remain open for 760 days. I trust I will get home before then!!

Well, I had two choices: stay with Jannie in Pretoria or return to my brother’s in Thabazimbi. We all agreed that the second choice was the best and… here I am. They have taken in the stray sister… and thank all the gods for that! We are working it out and are determined to enjoy this windfall of time together to the best of our abilities.

I scratched myself a little nest, as you can see and am fortunate enough to have several rooms and a garden to move around in. My heart goes out to those who are confined in apartments, especially with small children… have strength! This too shall pass.

Cyprus declared a lock-down – no open borders. South Africa and other countries did likewise. I must say that I don’t think every country was as efficient about it as Cyprus… I happen to know my Cypriot countrymen and women! They can be a stubborn as they come. But I love them nonetheless – or maybe because of it!

I did what I had to do and reported, telephonically, to the local Cyprus Consulate who have subsequently telephoned me twice to obtain my personal details as well as a check-in regarding my well-being.

Friday, 27 March was Day 1 of lock-down here. The day before, we went shopping for essentials without ‘panic-buying’. However, that’s where my enochlophobia reared its lovely old head again… I had to take a firm hold of myself and got out of the supermarket as soon as was humanly possible after paying. The mall was heaving with people… Have a look at the traffic!

Pre-lock-down day This is a rural town – traffic like this is unheard of!

I have always savoured a solitary existence and the last seven and a half years have lived alone, very happily. The situation has shifted slightly in that these days of isolation have been ‘forced’ on the human race and I think some people might not like it a lot or handle it very well. As for myself, I love the ‘retreat’ feel of it all.

I feel truly blessed by having been granted this (extra) time with my only surviving original household member; we grew up on a farm with an extended family under one roof. Now, it’s just the two of us left. We only recently became a lot closer and this, to my mind, is a blessing in disguise for getting even closer. We seem to have a lot in common… all of which I would like to explore!

I must also here include my dear sister-in-law whose passion has been curbed: no face-to-face drama teaching for a while. She is determined though and is investigating ways and means to support her young students. Online is the answer now…

This will do for now – more will follow.


8 thoughts on “Lock-down”

  1. Thanks Maria for this info, it sounds like this is meant to be you and your brother having a good time together. We are in Switzerland don,t know when we will return taking one day at the time. Big hug Brit

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hello Brit – Yes, I am blessed to have this extra time. Take care of yourself and your family – stay safe!

  2. Thanks for the info Maria. Still a wintry here in Cyprus though today was warm again and plants beginning to show some Springtime energy. More storms tonight I believe.
    Life indeed is rather strange but so far morale is high and there are no shortages. Give it another month and who knows?

    1. James, it seems that every path (for me) is blocked until at least 14 May when Emirates will start flying again. Well… we hope!

  3. Hey, you! How lovely to ‘hear’ from you! Working on the next instalment. Stay safe!

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