Grammar, Gratitude and Knitting in times of Lockdown.

How our global lockdown became my personal “lovedown”.

Image Denis Friar –

I thought I would share with you how emotional tweaks to words like “thanks to”, “because of” and “despite” turned our global lockdown into my own happy “lovedown”.

Let’s go back…

Some months ago, in the middle of the global lockdown I was in South Africa. One of the things that kept me “sane” was the possibility to stay connected to family and friends, thanks to various online possibilities. In this “never ending” lockdown, it was hard not to feel the emotions and uncertainty of the impact it was having on all of us. We started “comparing notes”. We exchanged information like the conditions, incidences, as well as rules and regulations in our respective countries. I want to tell you that the lockdown in SA was really bad!

After some lengthy “jammering” (slang for moaning and complaining) with a precious friend she shared this: We can refer to our experiences as “because of” the virus or “thanks to” the virus.

I hadn’t thought of it like that! It made me sit up and reflect – some more.

One of the things I fell in love with during lockdown was knitting. I hadn’t knitted a thing since my last school project when I was about 14 years old. When the shops eventually opened for a few hours every day, I went out to get some material and came home with knitting needles and wool instead. I watched a few “how to” videos on YouTube and confidently started casting on stitches. I finished 5 magnificent projects in 3 months. It was fantastic. And blissfully therapeutic.

my own creation and image

One day, while sitting knitting in the warmth of our wintry sunshine I heard the rattle of a contraption outside. I looked out to the street below and saw a man in an overall pushing his bike. The back wheel was flat. He had baskets, laden with with the tools of his trade, tied onto his bike. I didn’t want to take a photo of him, but sometime later this one was posted on fb. I saved it.

Image by Neels Claassen – fb – Oudtshoorniete Staan Saam Group

South Africa is a real time depiction of “life on the edge”. It reminds us of how hard life can be in a country with a shabby social support system. It is a daily nudge that life must go on, even when we’re feeling “flat”. I think of “grateful” differently.

How our lockdown became my “lovedown”.

So, while putting on stitches; counting stitches; dropping stitches; unravelling and picking up stitches; correcting stitches and piecing together the parts with stitches, I thought of life. As I was perfecting I was also perfectly content with my im-perfect work. Knitting is like life. We can cast on (expand); cast off (let go); unravel and pick up (correct mistakes and move on); count (check progress); and piece it all together to create a warm and embracing thing to wear.

At the same time many other South Africans were knitting up something fantastic; they were knitting thousands of scarves to leave in public places for those in need! Awesome or what?

Our lockdown becomes my personal “love-down”.

All of this got me thinking, and assuming, that most of us would rarely start something and not finish it. We would at least try finishing a project to the best of our abilities not so? The same goes for our lives. We can:

  • knit color into our lives
  • tie up loose ends and fraying edges
  • knit the past and future into the present
  • intertwine joy, gratitude and love into every row or road of our life
  • piece together our stories to make beautiful patchwork of meaning
  • warm up hearts

Carl Jung said: “Often the hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect has wrestled with in vain”.

I thought that if we do “opt out” it could be because it’s the right thing to do. Rather that than pursue something that really isn’t going to end up the way we imagine(d). We are able to “unravel”, see where or what went wrong and, choose a different approach or direction. Or, we can simply bail out, cut loose, ditch, dump, surrender and take a walk. Letting go, giving up and quitting is, in some instances, the better option.

I’ve done that a few times in my life. And I’m ever so grateful I did. It has been an opportunity to start over and do better.

Despite, because of and thanks to this virus…

I have collected experiences and stories which I can be really grateful for and which I might still be thankful for in time to come. I also got to add my own “despite” the (vile) virus versions of life.

And I was reminded of pre-India days that many of my clients were resistant to doing online work with me. And now, thanks to Covid…

  • E-learning with online lessons and coaching sessions are safe.
  • Self-paced learning is the way forward to effectively balance work and life. 
  • Personal development and getting an education without having to leave home is rewarding, less stress and less costly.

So what does the willingness to do this online “work” despite the current situation our world is in, say about you?

It says you are the up to date master of self-discipline and personal destiny – despite all the restrictions, adaptations, inconveniences, discomfort and change.


In spite of all the negativity around this viral thingy, it has opened up alternative, pocket friendly and location free training/coaching solutions for you, and, of course, me too.

I thought it helpful to finish off with some South African and grammatical examples:

  1. Because of the pandemic more people have actually died of cold and hunger than the virus.
  2. Despite lockdown laws many people have turned it into a “love-down” by volunteering to deliver food parcels to the millions stricken with poverty related hardships in South Africa.
  3. And, as our winter intensified people ventured out to hand out blankets to the homeless, in spite of the fact that they could get arrested.  
  4. So, thanks to the virus, many of my clients who were not keen on doing online work with me a while back have become used to “online-ing” and “home-office-ing” and maybe, because of that, you’ll now contact me for e-learning language acquisition and skills coaching.

I’m ready when you are and very excited at the prospect of us (virtually) seeing each other again soon! We can hook up on WhatsApp, Google Teams, Google Hangout, Zoom, Skype – you name it we can do it either one on one or in a group session.

image taken from open source

Your can contact me on or WhatsApp +43 664 486 1405.

I wish you love, light, good health and plenty of sparkles,

PS: Have you worked out how to use “in spite of” and “despite” yet?

In spite of and despite are used to link two contrasting ideas or show that one fact makes the other fact surprising. They can be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence. 

After in spite of and despite, we use a noun, gerund (-ing form of a verb) or a pronoun.

It is common to use in spite of and despite with the expression the fact that, followed by a subject and verb.

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