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When the lockdown came, I said ‘sock it to me’

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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.


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Fashion & Style

Amazon’s ‘Big Style Sale’ Aims to Boost Retailers Impacted by COVID-19

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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Amazon Prime Day may be postponed this year, but Amazon is still planning to hold a summer sale this month for those retailers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a memo sent to sellers, and viewed by CNBC, Amazon will host a “Fashion Summer Sale Event” starting June 22. Expected to run for seven to 10 days, the digital spree aims to “drive excitement and jump-start sales,” the document said.

Less than three weeks ahead of the affair, details are still being finalized. Amazon is working on landing pages and has reportedly asked sellers to submit deals with a discount of at least 30 percent, CNBC said. It’s unclear whether items will be reduced for all shoppers or only Prime members.

“The ‘Big Style Sale’ is slated to take place later this month and will include seasonally relevant deals from both established and smaller fashion brands,” an Amazon spokesperson told PCMag in an emailed statement. “We are delighted to help brands connect with our vast global customer base for this event.”

The novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the world, bringing chaos and disorder to the health, education, and business sectors. Everyone from local Mom-and-Pop stores to global conglomerates have felt the effects of this pandemic. Amazon’s annual Prime Day shopping event, normally held in July, appears to be postponed until later this year, according to Reuters.

The e-commerce giant, flooded with online orders, has been prioritizing those for essential goods like groceries, cleaning items, and medical supplies. Shipping times for purchases have slipped to five days or longer, even for Prime subscribers. Despite trying to hire an additional 100,000 workers, some warehouses have reported cases of employees contracting coronavirus. The risk of infection, along with staff protests, has prompted Amazon to distribute face masks and conduct temperature checks.

All of which suggests that holding Prime Day during a crisis would be a logistical nightmare for the already overstretched company. (Last year’s event sold a record-breaking 175 million items to members worldwide.) How Amazon will handle a summer sale instead remains to be seen.

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Four simple games that will keep your unruly kids entertained for at least 20 minutes

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It’s been a long time since lockdown started. For some of us that’s meant weeks of mindless TV-watching and worrying about the future. For anyone with kids, it’s been hectic, busy, chaos, juggling jobs with being a parent and teacher 24/7. Don’t fear if you’ve run out of ideas for fun things to do. We got Mike Rampton, author of new kids’ games book ‘Open in Case of Emergency’ (Pop Press, £9.99), to reveal four you can play with minimal effort, minimal mess and minimal outside. 

1. Beasts in the tundra

A bit of preparation the night before and everyone becomes an archaeologist.

Age Four and up
Players Two and up (dependent on freezer space).
What you need One plastic box and one toy per player or team, a freezer.
How to play Freeze the toys in water in the plastic boxes the night before. Action figures or dinosaurs are ideal, and you can consider adding food colouring to the water to make it that bit wackier. Players then have to release their creatures from their frozen slumbers – just like Captain America – before their opponents do. Breathing heavily on to the ice, rubbing it or wrapping it up might all work, or (with adult supervision) heat and gravity can work wonders…

2. Blow football

A huffing, puffing, indoor version of the world’s most popular sport.

Age Five and up.
Players Two.
What you need Two straws, a ping-pong ball and something for goals: margarine tubs, books, whatever works.
How to play Mark out a pitch (or use something that already has two ends, like a rug or a table) using tape if needed. Work out where the centre line is, and go for it [blowing the ball through the straws], trying to score goals against your opponent. If anyone touches the ball with their hands, the other player gets a penalty from the centre line. The first to five goals wins.

Or blow skiing

Make a slalom course around a table using whatever is to hand – clumps of Blu-Tack with toothpicks sticking up out of them and a little paper flag make very nice ski gates, for instance. Take it in turns to do time trials [blowing the ball] around the course, with a ten-second penalty for every flag hit and a 30-second penalty if the ball falls off the table.

3. The great sock hunt

A scavenger hunt that makes up in ease for what it lacks in glamour.

Age Five and up.
Players Two and up.
What you need As many different pairs of socks as you wish.
How to play Hide one sock from every pair around the house, then present players with a pile of odd socks. Within a time limit (which depends on how big the house is, how many socks you’ve hidden, how good at hiding socks you are, and how good at finding socks they are – start with five minutes and experiment), and never carrying more than one sock at a time, can they reunite all the pairs?

Or super secret sock search

Hide the odd socks apart from one, which, instead of being hidden somewhere around the house, goes in your pocket. Players take it in turns to spend one minute each searching for socks, with each one they find eliminating one option as to what your pocketed ‘secret sock’ could be. The player who correctly describes that sock wins.

4. Five pence hockey

Air hockey tables cost a fortune. This alternative costs less than anything.

Age Seven and up.
Players Two.
What you need A table, tape, two 2p coins, one 1p coin.
How to play Don’t play on a table that is likely to get scratched – that’ll make the game a lot more expensive. Use the tape to mark out equally sized goals. Then stand one at either end and play hockey: slide your 2p around with your middle finger, using the penny as a puck. First to ten goals wins.

In homeschooling hell? An expert reveals how to make things as good as they can be.

What to stream if you’re in lockdown with kids.

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Amazon announces its 10-day summer fashion sale Video

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