Lessons in Lockdown

The news of lockdown was almost a relief. Decisions taken right out of our hands. Of course, we are now attempting to live a normal family life in a rather large space and there are a few little things which have been quite enlightening.

We have a house at The Cavern but mostly we live our lives within the resort. We have always eaten three meals a day in the dining room, we have showered and changed for drinks and dinner every night and we have socialised and entertained in the Cave Bar, always taking advantage of our wonderful cellar. So, the very first discovery is that our house is not really a lived-in home. The freezer is quite tiny, stocked mostly with frozen livers for the dogs, and we don’t really have containers to store left-overs after a meal. The mother is not much of a cook and cleaning is hard work! But, we have loved using our special Royal Dalton dinner service which was a wedding gift, 20 years ago! We have also taken out the crystal wedding glasses and moved the furniture around to fit us all in. We have loved our special family time in just these past few days.

We have had to consider all the chores around this large estate and manage who does what. The girls have been in-charge of getting the horses fed while Hilton & Noah are on patrols on the mountainside and keeping the pool from going green. Our lockdown team gets a meal a day thanks to Donald & Munya and the main areas are getting a sweep and a dust from time to time. Phila has been checking paths and routes and doing some important maintenance while Samson and Winnet provide support in the office. Dumi has swept the kitchen this afternoon, helped with cash-ups and we are all taking turns walking on different parts of this large mountain estate. We’re a bit isolated now and we need to be aware.

Lists of things we’d like to achieve keeps being added to. Check all the board games. Redo the outdated walk notices. Clean out the playroom cupboards. De-clutter the walk-in safe. Reorganise the pantry and the freezers. Check the shop. Get rid of expired stock….

But, perhaps the reward in this lockdown is the quiet. It is indeed a gift. In this space of quiet reflection comes great anxiety too. The what ifs? The what then? The how and the why? But, it is about stilling the fears and taking one day at time and for really being grateful for what is.

What is, is 3 teens helping out and then arguing the pants off each other. What is, is 2 grandparents who are solid and supportive and who continue to keep us on our toes. What is, is a small band of staff that have chosen to stay and help. What is, is a family that has everyone’s back. What is, is a pack of dogs which bring us enormous joy. What is, is a mountainside of astounding beauty which we can share remotely with those confined to small spaces. What is, is a time for introspection and growth.

Look for the light in the lockdown. Enjoy the quiet.

I am certain we will miss it when it’s done.

Take care. Stay safe. Stay home.

Love and blessings from the Drakensberg.

21 thoughts on “Lessons in Lockdown”

  1. It seems , from what our president said that we are in our final week of strict lock down. On May 1st there will be an easing off. A friend tells me that in Canada there has been an easing off but not for older people and by law they are to stay at home , groceries delivered etc.
    Some of us are making plans . Just think , what if that happens round here . We must be prepared .
    Brown and red hair colouring has been purchased and a hectic ‘ made for the stage ‘ make up kit has been acquired.
    With a bit of luck and doctored ID cards ( there is plenty of talent among old people ) we will get our freedom.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Oh dear! I wonder if the President is aware of the craftiness of the older generation!
      We’d prefer you to stay home and stay safe! I know we can celebrate with Rose wine soon again!
      Lots of love to you all in the Ambers.

  2. Lockdown . In this family it was decided ( not a democratic decision ) by me, that some of the cooking should be done by Tony . So indeed a fine supper was duly produced.
    Next morning I opened the large drawer for pots and pans and sieves and lemon squeezer and…….it was empty . Tones had managed to use every single pot . A good chance to clean the drawer and …..the cupboard where cutting boards are stored …same story ! He had managed to use every single board.

  3. Hallo Megan and family
    Good to see all the lovely photos and positive remarks. Here in a very quiet Amber Valley we have also been having our bit of fun. At 5 pm each evening we go onto the street , which is not really allowed and we bang pots around in a totally childish fashion . We laugh a lot and commiserate with no 5 who has run out of beer and no 2 whose dog is going a bit moggy because we aren’t allowed to walk on the property. I did a short illegal walk and fell into a hole and now with feet up and ankle bandaged I can’t walk. ( don’t say it Hilton )
    We miss you all and will be thrilled to join you again and enjoy the beautiful walks and delicious food.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Liesje, love the bit about the banging of pots! I think we might all go a bit moggy – just like the dog – if the lockdown goes on for too long… we are so fortunate to have hills to hike in! No sprained ankles yet! Have warned the children that there is to be “no buggering around”! No hospital visits allowed!
      Lots of love and catch up again soon!

  4. Andrew Meintjes

    I love reading about the “old days”. My first stay at the Cavern was in what is now one of the workshops, we had the old generator a few rooms away as was the milking shed. It really was a guest farm with the pigs down in the valley, the veggie gardens and “uncle Peter” having to chase off marauding baboons with a shotgun. The Cavern became a home away from home twice a year, January and July, and although we were never lucky (or unlucky) enough to be snowed in, we did require rescuing once when leaving he Cavern after heavy rain and our little car just couldn’t cope with the slippery hills. The Cavern has changed so much, and yet, in many ways, it has stayed the same. Just as the Cavern has its ‘pack’ of dogs now, I can fondly remember Angus, Leo and Upsy. I also met my first Siamese cat at the cavern, Ming, who was the apple of “aunty Ruth’s” eyes. The story of your tea time brought back so many memories. Thank you.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks so much Andrew. So many wonderful memories. And hundreds of teas. I think Leo & Upsy were before I can remember but Angus was such a beautiful hound. And Ming-a-Ling… Gogo loved that cat! I remember chocolate treats for the cats, carefully stored away. Much more time now to reflect and remember. We’ve had some wonderful chats with my dad, sharing stories that we haven’t heard before. And, the baboons, well, they remain a menace when it comes to the veggie garden and the thatch roofs! Some things change but others stay the same. Hopefully the essence of what the Cavern is all about remains…. that’s important!

      1. Andrew Meintjes

        Thanks for that reply, If I remember correctly you were about 9 and Murray was about 5 or 6 . I used to play ‘cars’ with him while my Mom and Aunty Ruth chatted. Very special memories.
        Take care of yourselves and all of the best to all of the Cavern families for the extended lockdown.

  5. Such a newsy letter that draws us all together as a wide family of collective Cavernites. Thank you.
    Interestingly, this enforced quiet time has seen cupboards being decluttered and dusty photographs of the old Cavern days emerge. Wonderful memories starting for me in the early 70s. In this high tech age of gazillions of selfies and pics, I cannot help but wonder if they will stand the test of time and still be able to be viewed 50 years from now, like these trusty Kodak moments.
    Stay safe and enjoy this special family time. Regards Andy

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks Andy. Much is emerging from this forced lockdown. Besides photos, we have had longer-than-usual chats with the old people and our children, discovering stories that we just didn’t seem to have the time to listen to before. It’s a rare gift. Enjoy the memories and I do think the digital age will store them too, just in a different way.
      Take care too.
      Very best wishes,
      Megan & the family

  6. Iwas a student nurse in 1969. I spent my annual leave at The Cavern. The bus dropped me off at a point where I was picked up by someone from The Cavern. The accomodation was a few thatched rondawels with green doors. I had a wonderful time walking reading and swimming. Over the weekend the owners children came home and together we undertook a sleepover in a cave on Mt. au Source at the source of the Tugela River. The route even included going up a chain ladder. I met lovely people and have fond memories.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Dear Evi
      Thanks for sharing! What a lovely picture of times past. We have chatted about those overnight hikes to the top of the Amphitheatre. Too far to do just in a day.
      Take care. Our best wishes to you,
      Megan & the family

  7. Julie Rosenbaum

    Keep up the high spirits Cavernites! Your small piece of Heaven has brought so much joy to so many families for decades and will continue to do so. Like you, we are learning so many lessons during the lockdown, and are so grateful for what we have. Love and light to all of you.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Hi Julie
      Thanks so much. We appreciating our children, our old people and every step in the hills. The walks are so incredibly therapeutic, especially when we are so unsure of what is to come. Thanks for being in touch.
      Best wishes always,

  8. Chantal Sargent

    You may not be a good cook but you write so beautifully and really make us feel a part of all that is so wonderful about The Cavern and all its special folk. There is only one place in the world I need to go back to when all this is over❤️ The Drakensberg but especially The Cavern, seems to call one’s soul. Thank you for making it seem so near, but so far!

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks Chantal.
      Too kind but we’ll take the compliment! I think each day we are reminded that the place we have been given to call home is a fabulous piece of mountainside but best shared. Shared with all those that continue to support us.
      We look forward to seeing you SOON!
      Take care until then,
      Megan & the family x

  9. Carolyn Borchard

    Spot on. SO much to be grateful for and your pics are food for the soul. Time to re-connect, rest and restore. There WILL be many many more “happy returns”.
    Carolyn Borchard

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks Carolyn. We feel propped up by the continued support and encouragement.
      Take care and we look forward to catching up on the other side.
      Megan & the Cavernites

  10. Sounds like bliss. Although there is work to be done, the quiet and clean air can be appreciated I’m sure. I’m living in a complex, no walking allowed and neighbours are noisy! So first order of the day once this is over will be a visit. Been to the Cavern a few times and will always return. Be safe and stay strong. Regards Lorna.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks so much, Lorna. We are indeed privileged to be here. The quiet is something to behold. Daunting at first but now just lovely and peaceful.
      Do take care and we look forward to welcoming you soon.
      Our best wishes,
      Megan & the family

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