KEVIN MCCALLUM: When the lockdown came, I said ‘sock it to me’
One day, when someone asks me what I did during the great lockdown of 2020, I’ll tell them I bought socks. Cycling socks, running socks and active socks. I have bought socks with Table Mountain on them, a yellow pair has a big smiley face on them, some have pictures of grumpy monkeys and there are ones with pink stripes.
There are plain socks, with no decoration save for a logo. There are socks by companies called Versus, Privateer and Balega. I think I have bought a dozen pairs during lockdown.
Why? Well, it seemed a good idea at the time. I needed some socks, I suppose. But, wait, that’s not it. We’ve been quite strict on lockdown in our house. The outdoors is a no man’s land of landmine sneezes and coughs. Most of our buying is done online.
Socks are easy to buy on the interwebs and they arrive quickly. And they are cheapish. It’s like getting a birthday present every second week or so.
Then there are the stories. Balega socks are made in Cape Town and Hickory, North Carolina by a company that describes itself as proudly South African and American. The name is wonderfully South African, perhaps the best and more perfect name for a pair of anything to do with running.
Some of the cost of the sock goes towards the Lesedi Project, which supports the 300 children of the Ethembeni School for the disabled. By 2016 they had raised more than $200,000 for the school, which is on the Comrades Marathon route.
The children are a constant at the side of the road during the race, cheering runners on, some of whom wear the Lesedi bead necklaces and bracelets the children make and that are sold at the race’s expo. So, you can buy socks and make the world a better place.
Online shopping is addictive during lockdown. Since March 27, I’ve bought a squeegee mop, a TRX suspension trainer, cake and bread baking pans, caps from the SpiderPig winery in Cape Town and a 50kg set of weights that still have to be delivered.
Yesterday, a sourdough bread-making kit arrived from a baking school in Alberton. It may be the best thing to come out of Alberton since the on-ramp to the N3 north. I suspect it’s the bargains that keep me going back.
Wine estates are offering discounts on cases of wine bought and paid for in advance, to be delivered as soon as they are allowed to. It’s going to be a boozy day in our household when that ban is lifted.
My wine shopping is largely influenced by sport. A case or two of Klein Constantia is on its way because the owner has his own World Tour cycling team and the man who runs the place, Hans Astrom, loves cycling.
I’m on the Van Loveren website stocking up on sav blanc and some bubbles because we always stop at the farm on the way to ride the 202km Double Century. The farm’s sheds were the last water point in the 2012 Absa Cape Epic, where I had to get my gear and brake levers fixed after crashing hard at 30km/h on a downhill, cracking my helmet at the same time.
Then there are the things that were once free and are no longer so. Strava, the cycling and running app, has now put some of its most popular features behind a paywall. The most basic features are free and it would have been the easiest thing to stay free, but it just felt right to subscribe to keep them going. It costs around two large beers a month to subscribe. And so I have.
I’ve also bought vouchers to be redeemed at Giles, my local, and Pirates Sports Club for when they are back and up again. Giles, Pirates beer and some cricket, perhaps with Aiden Markram as captain and, hopefully, still attached to the “absolute arm and leg” he said he was willing to give up to get the captaincy.
Hopefully, we aren’t too far away from some football and perhaps some rugby.
Right, I have to run. There’s a man at the gate with my coffee bean delivery and Versus socks have 25% off on their old range. Lockdown madness takes its toll.