Thursday, January 28, 2021

I'd rather lockdown than limbo

French Village Diaries rather lockdown than limbo
Sunrise over the garden at the beginning of the week

I’d rather lockdown than limbo

I could hear the wind and rain this morning before I’d opened my eyes, and just like that, the spectacular sunrises we’d woken to a few days ago were gone and all was dark, damp and gloomy. The grey skies mirror my mood as we find ourselves in a whirl of media speculation, stuck in limbo, awaiting news of lockdown. 


Last Sunday, the French media suggested President Macron would be speaking this week, with a high possibility of confinement mark three being imminent. By Tuesday we were told there would be no announcement just yet, he was doing all he could to avoid another lockdown and would wait until the impact of the nationwide 18h curfew had been analysed. 


Tuesday’s local news taught me a new French word with the headline “Hécatombe” which means to massacre a large number of people (or animals) and was used to report the sixty-four Covid-19 deaths in the Deux-Sèvres last week. It may not seem that high a number, but it brings the total deaths in our rural department to three hundred and is up from thirty-three in the previous week. I found this increase in numbers shocking and even allowing for the fact that two care homes in the department have been devastated by the virus, if a similar picture is mirrored across France, I can’t help feeling Macron is just delaying the inevitable and in doing so, extending the limbo. 


This week in the UK, the news is no less grim as it has now recorded over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths and is the first country in Europe to reach this level. I’m not even reassured by the vaccine programme any more as the current shortage in supplies seems to be creating the perfect storm (in the media at least) for a vaccine war between the UK and the EU. I’m struggling to understand the hostility at a time when working together should be the priority.


In other news reports there were riots in Holland as people protested about the measures put into place to protect them and in Nice a restaurant opened its doors and served around fifty people. I appreciate restaurants, cafés and bars have been hit hard, having been closed since the end of October, but I still can’t understand this behaviour. 


I think I’ve reached that point when I need to stop reading the news, but as I write this the French health minister is holding a press conference. It is apparent that the curfew hasn’t achieved what they wanted and stricter measures will be necessary. Will there be a full lockdown, like we had last March, or a softer one, like in November? Will the schools all close for an extended winter holiday in February? All these have been suggested in the media, but still we are in limbo as we await the official announcement.


It is difficult to stay positive with the uncertainty of this and other things going on at the moment, but thankfully I’ve got yoga and cycling, plus the last of the Christmas brownies that I found in the freezer. A combination of all three, taken daily, seems to be helping. We have now managed to get out on the bikes every day since 29th December, for at least ten kilometres per day, even on wet days like today. That is almost five hundred kilometres of fresh air, exercise and therapy, and that is priceless.  


  1. That is such a shocking rise in Covid for your department. I know everyone is uptight about being confined but can't they see that unless it is consistent, it is pointless? We're very bad at consistency over here in the states. I was relieved to get my first dose of vaccine but overall it will be a long time before all are vaccinated.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I agree, cycling and yoga are the best way to cope. It's what we did during lockdown last year. In Australia, Victoria has gone into a 5 day lockdown because of less than 20 cases in a week. I hope things improve, but fear widespread vaccination will be the only answer, and may still be some time away. Keep cycling! All the best


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