Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hope and peace for 2021

French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Looking forward to a new year

Hope and peace 

Hope and peace were my words for welcoming in 2021, but neither seem to be doing their bit to live up to my expectations just yet. We are two weeks into the new year and the world seems equally as mad and scary as it did in the run up to Christmas.


The situation in France

The French vaccination programme seemed to get off to slow start but after reading our local (Nouvelle Aquitaine) health authority’s recent press release, I am more reassured. The start of the vaccination programme, at the end of December, was only to obtain the consent from the residents of the care homes, to determine how many vaccine doses to order. Many residents have a legal guardian to handle all their affairs, so I guess it was quite a task to coordinate, especially over the New Year holiday period. It wasn’t until early January that vaccinations began to happen. To begin with it was for those in care homes only, but from tomorrow an online booking system will be opened up to anyone over 75, whether in a care home or not. Staff members at care homes, aged over fifty, are being vaccinated too, and a report out today claimed 200,000 people were vaccinated in France yesterday, so numbers here should soon begin to rise steadily.


The situation in UK

The UK has gone back into lockdown, mainly thanks to the new UK variant of Covid-19, that although not rampaging through France like it is in the south of England, has reached French shores. UK schools are closed once more, and exercise must be kept ‘local to home’; whatever that means seems to have caused a bit of media debate these last few days. During our lockdowns here, we knew exactly how far we could go as we were given a one kilometre from home radius, extended towards the end to a twenty-kilometre radius. It’s not rocket science Boris, just simple-to-follow rules. Our parents in the UK are still waiting to hear when they will get their vaccinations. Dad is over eighty, Mum over seventy-five and although Adrian’s mum is younger, she is still classed as a high-risk, and yet despite all of them living in a Tier 4 area, still they wait. 


French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Our region's Covid-19 figures per 100,000 people.
We live in the top left bad pocket!

What next?

The French government were meeting this morning to determine what happens next for us. The main concerns are the effects of rising numbers following Christmas and New Year and the arrival of the English variant of Covid-19 on French soil. The press seems to think it unlikely, for now, that a new country-wide lockdown will be put in place, but it could be that the overnight curfew is brought forward to six o’clock for all of France. Our department, the Deux-Sèvres, isn’t fairing too well compared to neighbouring departments, and whatever happens nationwide, I wouldn’t be surprised if our curfew was brought forward to six o’clock in the evening, instead of eight. As it’s cold and dark before six, this really wouldn’t inconvenience our daily lives at all.


Ed got a brief taste of freedom last week in Poitiers, as there are certain practical parts of his course that can’t be done online, but he is back home with us now, waiting to discover what will happen for the final few months. Pearl is here for a few days too, and while I’d normally be happy my nest is full, the uncertainty of so many things at the moment are definitely putting a damper on my mood. The fact that it is January and the last few days have been cold and damp, probably hasn’t helped, but we are keeping up our daily bike ride, even if it’s just for a half an hour, ten-kilometre ride, close to home. 

French Village Diaries Hope and Peace for 2021
Raindrops keep falling on my head

It can be a struggle some days to get off the sofa and out the door, and it’s not easy to see where I’m going through my raindrop coated glasses, but it’s worth it and we’ve already clocked up over two hundred kilometres this year. I just can’t help feeling that we should have learned so much from the last year and yet we don’t seem to be any more prepared now than in early 2020 when Covid-19 was something from China, occasionally making the news. 

Hope and peace 2021, you know you can do it. 

Stay safe. 

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