Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Essential shopping in lockdown

French Village Diaries essential shopping in lockdown
Essential shopping in lockdown

Day five, Tuesday 3rd November 2020

This lockdown isn’t quite the same as we experienced earlier in the year. Whilst we are still restricted in what we do and where we go, so much more is open, it doesn’t feel that way. 


The attestation we need to fill in to leave the house for shopping states ‘purchasing items for your basic needs’. This has meant many small independent shops that don’t sell food have been closed, although other stores, including the large DIY chains are permitted to open, and until today supermarkets were not restricted in what they could sell you. It was a little confusing and in order to clarify what classes as essential, and to redress the balance between the large chains and the high-street independents, from today the following rules came in.


Essential items you can buy from the supermarket:

Food products

Fuels and parts to service cars, motorbikes and bicycles

IT and telephone equipment, and software

Gardening and farming products

Sanitary products

Newspapers and stationery 

Certain pharmacy items including plasters and surgical spirit

Clothing that is essential for manual work (the famous French blue overalls)


Items that will be withdrawn from sale from today:

Cultural products (including books, DVDs and music)

Toys and games


Electrical goods


Crockery and tableware



Trying to balance the economy with lockdown was never going to be easy, and ultimately it is up to us to make responsible decisions about what we consider to be an essential reason to leave the house. We go out, we get what we need, we don’t linger, and we return to the safety of our homes. That has been my philosophy regarding shopping for many years, but it still seems a bit odd that we can only walk or exercise for one hour, within one kilometre from home, but it would be allowable to drive an hour to a large DIY store and spend as long in there as we want, browsing the aisles and making a mood board for our dream bathroom or kitchen.


Although the winners will once again be the big online retailers, many independent book shops have been quick to get a click and collect online ordering system in place, as has the library in our local town.


French Village Diaries essential shopping in lockdown
Ed's new wheels

Ed’s big lockdown adventure

Before lockdown was announced we had booked Ed's car into a garage in Poitiers and prepaid for two new tyres and tracking, for an appointment at ten o’clock today. We initially thought the garage would be closed and the appointment rescheduled, but no, as they are able to remain open, the appointment was unchanged. With Ed now back with us, rather than in Poitiers, he set off this morning, with an attestation and proof of appointment, to drive 80km for the new tyres. I think I was more concerned about him travelling that far during lockdown and worrying about the possible questions he’d be asked if he was stopped by the Gendarmes, than he was. Happily, there weren’t many cars on the road, although there were plenty of trucks, and he didn’t get stopped or questioned about his movements. 

In order to reduce the number of journeys we make as a household, giving him a shopping list for the way home seemed a sensible idea and now I have a nice full fridge once more. He even added turkey fillets and crème fraiche to the trolley, in order to cook us a meal tomorrow. I am classing this as a major parenting success and if I’m lucky, I’ll not be shopping at all during lockdown. Dinner tonight will be homemade fish pie, requested by Ed and after his help today, I couldn’t refuse.

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