So, after four weeks of it, we’re now halfway through the confinement period. President Macron in his speech last night gave 11 May as the date for when the first tentative steps towards getting back to normal will be taken. Schools will start to reopen, which will allow child-minding parents to return to work, and presumably more businesses and shops, other than those considered essential, will get back to working. Hotels, cafés, restaurants will remain shut, however, and there will be no large mass gatherings until mid-July, for which read the 14th, France’s national holiday.
So far it’s been a strange experience. We’re lucky to have plenty of space around us on our farm, but we’ve still been chafing at the bit at not being allowed to go out for our beloved bike rides, or for walks longer than to the village for bread and back. Precious, the campervan, has been sitting there behind the house forlorn, but not neglected. We pulled out the awning and had our Easter day party tea under its shade.
We’ve been finding plenty to do to keep us busy until we can open our fishing lakes to customers. The garden has only ever received this much attention before when green-fingered Caiti was here. We’ve done some barn clearing, dug over and re-pooped the soil in the polytunnel, cut and split wood, hacked back brambles and done all sorts of useful things, but the enthusiasm is waning a little. When we were optimistically hoping the lockdown would be fairly short, there was some pressure to get jobs out of the way, but as reality dawned and it became obvious we’d be in this situation for some time, manana has settled in. Why do something this week let alone today when there’s next week, and the next week after that, and the next one too…
Chris has been printing visors on his 3D printers as part of the makers contre le covid. We distributed the first batch locally, but since then have been finding it hard to locate people that want them, even though there is allegedly a massive demand. For my part I’ve joined in ‘Opération Surblouse’. This consists of volunteer amateur sewists rustling up what are basically disposable gowns for nurses out of geotextile (winter blanketing for plants). The kits are provided free of charge and contain the material, instructions and 500m of thread each. I’ve now made ten surblouses and have another four to go out of my first two kits. The drop-off and collection point was a vet’s surgery in Boussac, but has now changed to a stall at the Thursday market.
Rors won’t be going back to courses at university this academic year. He’ll continue to have work set long-distance and will have to do some kind of assessment in place of end-of-term exams. He came home on 14th March, when everyone expected the lockdown to be only for a couple of weeks, so brought very little with him. Most of his stuff is still in his room, but we won’t be able to go and collect it until after May 11th since long journeys are not allowed at the moment.
It continues to be an anxious time, what with Caiti laid off and locked down in Ireland, Benj ditto in England and ourselves and our siblings no longer in the spring chicken category. However, we’ll keep our peckers up and enjoy the amazing weather we’ve been having, the beauty of the spring flowers and the trees with their brand new, bright green leaves, the return of the swallows and the continuous jubilant birdsong around us as we look forward to the end of this trying period and the beginning of a new normal that will, hopefully, have learnt lessons from the old.