Thursday, March 26, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day ten

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day ten #purpleday
Ed and the car he can't drive

Two weeks clear

Although today is the tenth day of official lockdown here in France, it is actually two weeks since Adrian arrived back from working in the UK and Ed came home from uni, supposedly for a long weekend to have a last few driving lessons and then take his test. The lessons went ahead as planned, but in the 48 hours between his last lesson and the test, everything was shut down and cancelled. Poor Ed. We can’t even use this time of nothingness productively to go out and practice, as that isn’t classed as an essential need to leave home. It also brings back memories for me from a similar age. Aged 17, my driving lessons were going well, I had my driving test booked and then I suffered a seizure, the first in seven epilepsy-free years and a huge blow to my confidence and independence. It would be another two years before I had the opportunity to restart lessons and take my test. Fingers crossed Ed will be driving sooner than I was.

Two weeks in and miraculously we are still talking to each other and surviving our family lockdown. Given we haven’t spent this long living under the same roof for months, and then only during the summer holidays when everyone comes and goes as they please, it’s pretty good going. So far so good in terms of us all feeling fine and no one showing any symptoms, so let’s hope we were all virus free two weeks ago and have stayed that way. We are still in a fairly low risk area, but with a lack of testing here, as everywhere, and the advice to self-isolate if you do have any symptoms, I’m not sure figures can be believed anymore. Our local paper reported today that the hospital in Niort is preparing for a spike in hospitalised cases next week.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day ten #purpleday
Curry, rice and homemade naan bread

A change to my cooking habits

I have to admit to being a lazy cook when there is just me to cook for. I will usually start the week making a huge batch of wholesome soup packed with as many vegetables as possible and lots of bone broth stock. Some batches will have lentils, some barley, some chickpeas, some beans and I have no problem with eating the same meal for as many days as it lasts. These last two weeks have shown that I’ve forgotten how to feed a family. It would seem not everyone is happy living off the porridge and soup diet, and now it’s not just me and my funny ways to cater for, it’s been quite a challenge to plan and cook something different every day. Thankfully the freezer threw up a few suggestions when we cleared it out at the weekend, but having used my last courgette yesterday and the last red pepper today, I’m running out of ideas and resources. I fear a shopping trip might have to happen in the next few days, but one of the things that feels the strangest is having Adrian home, and not being able to pop to the shops together as we always have.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day ten #purpleday
Victoria sandwich cake

I’ve just made my third Victoria sandwich cake (see here for recipe) in two weeks and I can’t remember the last time I was organised enough to always have a homemade cake ready to eat in the kitchen. This is not a habit I will be continuing when it’s just me to feed as I’m not the biggest fan of carbs, unless I’m fuelling for a bike ride. Most days I am sat at the laptop all day or stuck with my head in a book, so I’m careful with my carb intake. It is all about balancing energy consumed with energy expended. 

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day ten #purpleday

Purple Day

Today is also Purple Day, a day to get the world talking about Epilepsy and how it affects lives. Here is a handy guide from Epilepsy Action about what to do if you are confronted with someone having a seizure:

Protect the person from injury - (remove harmful objects from nearby)
Cushion their head
Look for an epilepsy identity card or identity jewellery
Aid breathing by gently placing them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished
Stay with the person until recovery is complete
Be calmly reassuring

Restrain the person’s movements
Put anything in the person’s mouth
Try to move them unless they are in danger
Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
Attempt to bring them round

Call for an ambulance if...
You know it is the person’s first seizure, or
The seizure continues for more than five minutes, or
One tonic-clonic seizure follows another without the person regaining consciousness between seizures, or
The person is injured during the seizure, or
You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Please feel free to share this post with your friends. The more people who are aware of what to do and what not to do when someone is having a seizure, the better.

Lockdown Library

Today’s reading selection comes from Laurette Long whose French Summer novel series will whisk you away to Biarritz and the Pays Basque.

Stay indoors and stay safe.


  1. Jacqui, Thanks for sharing your quarantine experiences. I'm cooking so much more than I did before both because no restaurants are open and because Grace and Jack are here. I'm hoping we end up with a schedule of who cooks win, since I'm still working every day. Earl always cleans up, so that is nice. Maybe I'll try your Victoria sandwich cake, but I stopped at the vegetable stand at the market yesterday (open air) and the owner always gives me a free lemon, so I'm much more likely to make lemon tea bread, which my Irish friend Derrick tells me is more like cake than bread. Hope you all stay healthy. Oh, my books are free through Sunday, not sure if that includes the or not.

    1. Stay safe and definitely get a cooking rota going. It must be lovely to have Grace and Jack, are they stranded in France, or was it a long term stay anyway? I'll give the books a shout out on Facebook, I did add them to day nine's blog as they are free on UK too. Thank you xx

  2. Jacqui, just been reading your diary extracts backwards, yes, it's all totally unreal and I think it was a great idea of yours to keep a diary. I wanted a change from my Dickens-binge (re-reading all is the aim) so was looking at your suggestions for books and doing some 'borrowing' on KU then lo! a familiar name came up!!! Thank you so much for the recommendation. I would LOVE a few days in Biarritz, walking the cost and doing daily trips to the market - will certainly appreciate the opportunity when things return to normal (fingers crossed) Stay safe!

    1. We can't wait to get back to Pays Basque and Biarritz. With the bikes, the coast, the mountains and the food, it will definitely be the first place we escape to!


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