Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day two

French Village Diaries Covid-19 confinement day two
Blue, sky, blossoms and sunshine

Feeling Positive

We awoke to a perfect day. The sun was burning through the mist and by the time we took our breakfast outside, the sky was blue, and the birds were singing. Adrian being far more observant than I am noticed what was missing, the aircraft. Our sky is usually crisscrossed with plane trails, but this morning it was clear and quiet. I’m sure we will see an improvement in air quality in the coming few weeks and that has to be a positive thing. Maybe this virus was the something dramatic needed by the planet to stop us in our tracks and save our futures?

I am still bubbling with the excitement you get at the beginning of a holiday. It is not often I get both Ed and Adrian home together for more than a long weekend and I’m going to enjoy every moment of this enforced family time. We are lucky to have a house that feels much too large when it’s just me rattling around but offers each of us space to do our own thing when we need it.

Adrian has decided to try something radically different and grow a beard. We have been friends for twenty-five years, together for 23 years and married for 22 years and this morning is the first time he’s not shaved in all these years. I guess when you are approaching fifty and you know that holding a party will be impossible, you are allowed a moment of madness. I will keep you up to date on what I think about the new man in my life.

Macron has now addressed the nation twice and has mentioned we are at war. With the three of us gathered around the TV listening to his every word (thanks France 24 for the simultaneous English translation), it was difficult not to make the comparison to Churchill’s addresses during the war and I think Macron has shown himself as a true leader able to keep calm in a crisis. 

The situation in France, especially the north east is critical, but I am keeping up to date on the figures closer to home. Thankfully, for now at least, the Deux-Sèvres department where we live is holding its own as is the neighbouring department of the Charente, only a few kilometres from our village. There have been five confirmed cases here and four in the Charente. Sadly, the lockdown has been misinterpreted by many, especially those in Paris, as an extended holiday and the roads to the coast were busy yesterday, including towards La Rochelle and Ile de Ré. I fear this will mean an increase in virus levels in our rural idyll in the coming weeks. Please, wherever you are in the world, think before you leave the house and only make journeys that are necessary and take no risks.
French Village Diaries Covid-19 confinement day two
Security cordon at the village boulangerie
We have been in regular contact with our parents back in the UK, all of whom fall into at risk through age and two certainly with the added risk of health issues. I am happy to report they are all taking things seriously, keeping indoors and not taking too many risks. They have complained about the empty shelves in the supermarkets and the difficulties in getting the basics. Although we have stricter restrictions on movement here, we have been lucky not to see too much panic buying and Intermarché even went as far as sending me a text message yesterday to assure me they would be restocking daily and wished me and my family well. That is customer service. It is almost business as normal at the village bakery too, with just the addition of a barrier to ensure safe distances between them and customers are maintained.

French Village Diaries Covid-19 confinement day two
Afternoon tea in the potager

We will be being as profitable with our time as possible and taking the opportunity to try new things. Adrian is determined to teach me how to do simple bike maintenance and I think I might teach him how to bake a cake as I’m guessing I’ve left it too late to introduce him to the washing machine. We are also hoping to use Ed to help us improve our French. Ed’s first lessons in self-sufficiency began today, courgette seed sowing and weeding while Adrian used the rotavator to start preparing the soil in the potager. Being able to eat from the land might be a skill we all need to practice in the future and if he’s home long enough I can teach him how to preserve our harvests for the freezer.

Stay apart, stay safe and keep healthy.

French Village Diaries Covid-19 confinement day two
Useful phone numbers for emergencies in France


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