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HANDY MAC: Health comes first

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Staff wellbeing is more important than finishing a project on time

One of the tricky things
about writing this column, especially when
chatting about current
affairs, is that things can change
before you read it, and I could be
slightly off the mark.
However, I don’t think Covid19 is going to disappear soon. I
want to appeal to you to observe
all the safety tips that are being
put out there. Cape Town cannot
afford to be its usual laidback self
– we have to be prepared if the
situation does get worse.
The news is on television as
I am writing and I see more and
more events are being postponed
and airlines not flying. This means
I have to think about what I am
going to do about my staff and
my clients, if we are forced to halt
Some companies can arrange
for their staff to work from home
but you can’t do that with carpenters and roofers – and people
need to be paid.
We must understand that,
if our situation gets worse in
South Africa, some things will lag
behind programme. Everybody’s
health must come before finishing
a project. 
Mrs Mac, of course, sees the
practical side of everything and
is already filling the job-jar with
ideas for me to do if we have to
“self-isolate”, but I do have it on
very good authority that one must
rest if one is to recover quickly.
She has also filled the house
with different types of hand
sanitiser and is ensuring that our
domestic help and guests wash
their hands regularly.
I suppose I will be asked to
sleep in the spare room next…
Tip of the week
Trim trees that are growing too close to your house. Picture: Supplied

Autumn has started, so it is time to see what you should be doing around the house to prepare for winter.

Scanning the internet on this topic, the first thing that comes up is – believe it or not and this is a worldwide search – “get ready for power outages”. I think we have that one covered.

Another suggestion for autumn is to check that windows and doors close smoothly and don’t let in draughts.

This can make all the difference in creating a warm home once the temperatures drop. A few weeks ago I wrote about how to repair damaged window timber.

Check the trees and plants in your garden and, if necessary, trim them back. Trees especially could be getting too close to power lines or your roof and could cause damage.

Also check that your trees are healthy and sound. Strong north-westerlies are around the corner and a falling tree could cause serious damage.

If the tree was rotten, you might not be covered by insurance.

Prepare for fires and heating by checking the batteries in all the smoke detectors you (hopefully) have in your home. Test them to make sure they’re working properly.


This week, Mrs Mac would like
to offer some advice regarding
the shortage of toilet paper.
Please don’t flush wipes,
paper towels or facial tissues
down the toilet.

They don’t break
down like toilet paper does and
could cause a sewage spill.
This might seem obvious but it’s
something we often forget about.

With the coronavirus hanging
around, we are all going to
be using more of the abovementioned products, so we need
to ensure we don’t overwhelm
the country’s already struggling
sewerage systems.

Mrs Mac also has advice
about cleaning the metal grid on
your kitchen extractor fan – a
build-up of grease on them is a
potential fire hazard.
Remove the grid from the
extractor and place in the sink
or in a large bowl. Carefully pour
boiling water over it to dissolve
the grease.

Squirt on a liberal amount of
washing-up liquid, sprinkle it with
bicarbonate of soda and scrub
with a firm brush. Repeat on
both sides of the grid, then rinse
thoroughly. Allow to dry.

*If you have a question for Don, send it to or SMS only to 0824463859.


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