March 27, 2020 – here we go, folks!

This time it’s not a Netflix movie, virtual reality at a safe distance. We’re not watching reports from the other side of the world; China, Europe, the US, all a very long way from the southernmost tip of Africa.

This is real. This is us. And the world will never be quite the same again.

Frankly, I find it very comforting that we are all in this together. People all over the world are facing the same challenges, the same realities and the same struggles. We are latecomers to this global crisis, so we have the examples of those who have gone before.

We are not going to escape it here in Henley on Klip, even amid the birdsong, our river and our wide streets and green spaces. Even as some panic and line their living rooms with booze, others are discussing ways to help.

I have been so encouraged by the individuals and organisations worldwide that have come forward to assist in so many ways. It is happening here too. And we can all help, even if only by obeying the rules and staying at home; but more than likely there will be someone you can assist, or cheer up, or chat to on social media.

I firmly believe that although the clouds are dark, there will be countless silver linings.

One of them is the humour. South Africans excel at humour. We can laugh at and with ourselves in all circumstances! Watch social media for that! The official comedians will be raking it in too.

Another is the shaking up of old ideas and ways of doing things. We have to be creative, think out of the box, come up with new solutions. It can only be good for us.

Personally, I am rather looking forward to a time at home; there are so many projects I never got around to, cupboards to clean and sort, stories to write, a pile of books to read and review. Perhaps now I can finally get down to that exercise routine; three weeks is long enough to establish a habit, the experts say.

If the internet holds up and Eskom is kind, there are all sorts of measures, extra channels, extra movies, special channels with material to keep the kids occupied. Our new society when it is born will be much more streamlined and digital. If nothing else, there will be a new respect for teachers if parents have to face home schooling as well as trying to work from home. It’s happening overseas.

For me, there is also the Henley Herald to produce. It was due to go to the printers around April 10, but the printers are closed except for essentials. I plan to go ahead with an online edition as usual and get it out on the street as soon as possible after the lockdown lifts.

If it does lift. Think positive, my dear, think positive!

So, now that you’re stuck at home, what do you do? Clean, garden, reorganise, read … and write. I welcome contributions to the Henley Herald (editor@henley-herald.co.za). Let me have your comments, articles, poems and letters. How is the lockdown affecting you? What are you doing, feeling and thinking at this time?

Do you have any ideas for others? Cooking, crafts, making an herb tray for the kitchen? This afternoon I have to get out my salvaged recyclables and spray paint – there is a street sign with my name on it. I need to concoct some flowers and ribbons for the Easter theme.

If you don’t have a street sign allocated, you probably have a gate and almost certainly a front door. I’m sure you can come up with a flower or two.

Stay busy, stay safe, stay well. See you in 21 days. – Jennifer de Klerk