Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day twenty-nine

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day twenty-nine
Macron addresses the nation

Day twenty-nine

President Macron’s third address

Last night we gathered as a family to listen to President Macron’s third public address in just over four weeks. It came on the day that the number of deaths in France reached almost 15,000 people, and with 32,000 currently being treated in intensive care.

He began by thanking France. Those who work in the health sector, those who are working in other essential roles, those who are volunteering, those who are keeping the country going and those who are doing their bit by staying at home. He stressed he can offer only hope for the coming weeks as nothing has yet been won in the battle with Covid-19, but research, planning and making decisions are being made a priority.

Our period of confinement has been extended once more, for another four weeks until 11th May, but he is hopeful by then we can enter a new era where France will begin to open, bit by bit, beginning with schools and nurseries. He has given no date for the opening of bars, restaurants etc and there will be no large social events or gatherings until at least the middle of July. The most vulnerable were advised to remain at home, for their own safety, after 11th May.

The next two weeks will be crucial for the government to plan for life after confinement, in terms of financial aid packages, virus testing and vaccination research and treatments, but he was honest when he said there are no answers to the big question of what lies ahead. He urged France to remain united and come out stronger and more united than we were before.

For me, it was a powerful message that conveyed the severity of the situation as well as offering some hope for a future, without making promises that would be hard to fulfil. 

Looking back to the first announcement of a two-week period of confinement, I am not sure what I was expecting, but as the weeks have gone by and the world has changed, visualising things going back to how they were is impossible. I certainly hadn’t planned to blog every day for over a month when I began this daily update, but now I am into a rhythm, I’m going to attempt to keep it going for as long as I can. Even now, as weekdays roll into weekends and public holidays pass unnoticed, I can’t remember what I did and when I did it. I’ve already found myself reading back on those first few weeks and it’s interesting to see how life flows between days when things felt good, and days that didn’t. This has become my record to look back on as proof it happened and to see how I was feeling and what I filled my days doing. Your kind words of thanks and encouragement, here on the blog and on Facebook and Twitter are also great motivators to keep writing. Thank you.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day twenty-nine
#KTTinyTourer Bordeaux to Toulouse April 2019

April holiday memory

On 14th April last year we set off from Bordeaux to cycle to Toulouse, our first Brompton touring adventure. We left the hotel in air just moist enough to dampen our spirits, but not wet enough to call rain. Bordeaux wasn’t looking her best that Sunday morning; jaded after a night of partying and in a bit of a state with broken glass on the cycle paths and underpasses stinking of piss. The perched carrolet fishing huts in various states of disrepair were soon replaced with smart villas, partially hidden behind impressive gates, giving a clean and tidy contrast to the muddy banks of the Gironde river. Sunday morning Bordeaux cyclists were as miserable as Bordeaux herself, never acknowledging our bonjours and giving the impression that fast-paced, Lycra racers are too good for small-wheeled tourers. 

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day twenty-nine
Bordeaux vineyards 14th April 2019

Once we reached the old railway line that is now the Roger Lapépé voie verte, everyone was much friendlier, especially the café that wasn’t quite open, but served us coffees with homemade biscuits anyway. We know from experience that many old railway cycle routes are hidden in cuttings with nothing to see except the straight path ahead, this one was refreshingly different. With many open stretches where we cycled between vineyards, with views of chateaux and church spires in the distance, I was sad to leave it behind when we reached the end of the line in Sauveterre, but more than happy to refuel on hot chocolate when we struck gold, an open café in rural France on a Sunday afternoon.

Lockdown Library

My reading selection today is the memoir series from Caro Feely, about buying and running an organic vineyard in Saussignac, not far from Bordeaux.

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