Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Lockdown diaries, day twenty-seven, confinement update from M Macron

French Village Lockdown Diaries day twenty-seven confinement update Christmas
Our 20km permitted radius for cycling and exercise

Day twenty-seven, Wednesday 25th November 2020


Time for a happy dance

President Macron spoke last night and from Saturday 28th November, we will be entering a three-phase plan of deconfinement. The most exciting thing for us is that from Saturday we will be able to get out on the bikes, for a maximum of three hours (it’s one hour at the moment) and roam within a twenty-kilometre radius from home (currently only a one-kilometre zone). This gives us ample opportunity for some real leg stretching bike rides as far away as Melle, Brioux-sur-Boutonne, Aigre, Ruffec and Sauze-Vaussais. I didn’t set myself a distance challenge on the bike this year, but as I’m only three hundred kilometres short of hitting five thousand, this has given me all the incentive I need to get out there and smash it. 


Our attestations will still need to be filled out before leaving home, but this should be lifted in phase two on 15th December, assuming the Covid-19 numbers are still heading in the right direction. France has passed the peak of this second wave and infection numbers are now less than a third of what they were before lockdown began. Many more shops and business will be able to open on Saturday, including hairdressers and treatment rooms, although bars and restaurants are not part of this phase. It looks like being a pretty grim Christmas for them as they won’t be able to open again as normal this year. The bar/restaurant in our village has already closed its doors for good, and I’m sure it won’t be the only one.


An overnight curfew throughout France, from nine o’clock in the evening until seven in the morning, will come into effect on 15th December until 20th January, but with two night’s grace for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The good news for Ed is that from 15th December households can mix, sensibly, once more, so he can spend some time with Pearl again. His Christmas options are also looking more positive as he will be able to join Pearl and her family for a real French Christmas, so much more exciting than spending it here, just the three of us.


The really great news is that Ed won’t be going back to on-site university lectures until the middle of February at the earliest, so I get to keep him in my nest and use him for the weekly shop for a few more months, although I am happy to share him with Pearl.


President Macron has emphasised that we still need to do all we can to ensure we don’t get hit by a third wave and he hopes a vaccination programme will begin by the end of December, starting with those most vulnerable. 


French Village Lockdown Diaries day twenty-seven confinement update Christmas
Homemade mincepies

One month to Christmas

With Christmas now only a month away, there is no doubt it will be different from normal for many families, especially those who cross borders. We certainly won’t be going mad this Christmas, but then we never do, although we have always tried to get back to the UK for either Christmas or New Year, to ensure Ed gets to be part of an extended family celebration. 


In a normal year I would already be feeling a sense of Christmas gloom by now. The days are shorter, the weather is often harsh, and I am usually home alone as it’s one of Adrian’s busiest times for work. It has sadly become quite normal to find myself stressing over everything from weather worries, airport runs, flight cancellations and strikes, plus the potential impact of letting clients down due to travel disruptions. I find myself putting off doing the Christmas cards for so long, that another year passes, and no cards are sent, and then there is the sense of panic about what to buy for gifts and coordinating getting back to the UK around Ed’s school holiday dates, Adrian’s work schedule and the weather. My enthusiasm for entering into the spirit of Christmas and putting up the decorations left a long time ago.


Things are certainly feeling better for me this year. The November weather has been kind, Adrian is working but without the stress of travelling and although we will miss seeing our families, we know there is little choice other than being in France over the Christmas period. 


French Village Lockdown Diaries day twenty-seven confinement update Christmas
Christmas Day 2019, on the bikes

Last year we let Ed go back to the UK without us for Christmas, while we went over for New Year. For our Christmas Day celebrations we chose to go out on the bikes for a seventy-kilometre ride, taking with us a posh picnic and bubbles. It was simple, stress-free and just perfect. Now we have confirmation of the Covid-19 rules around Christmas, we are hoping the weather allows us to do the same this year. 


  1. Well, first, before I forget, thank you so much for taking time to visit me at Marmelade Gypsy. And yes, gratitude is good any day of the year!

    You are lucky to have M. Macron. I fear the U.S. is doing terribly and I wonder when/if any of us will be allowed back in France or the UK again. (I was supposed to be there in September/October.) I'm glad your restrictions are loosening up a bit. The problem with ours is that there really aren't (masks are strongly encouraged, not mandated apart from in some businesses). I never thought I'd see my country being so ignorant -- but then we had a good four years to practice.

    It looks like you are an enthusiastic cyclist. Rick would be riding with you. I'm not sure how many thousand miles he got in this year, but it was a lot and I think in the summer the bike kept him sane. His cycling days are wearing down with early darkness and soon, snow.

    I send you all good wishes for a lovely week and very safe and happy, healthy times. It sounds like you are surrounded by those you love and you can't get any better than that! ~ jeanie

    1. Thanks Jeanie, cycling certainly has helped us this year, and heading into winter will make it more difficult, but we're going to try our best! Take care and stay safe xx


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