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Newsletter from lock-down France

Woman looking out of a window of an ancient building surrounded by wisteria in bloom

Well mes amies and amis, we’re heading for week 4 of lock-down here in France and in my tiny village I’ve hardly seen another human being – if you don’t count my husband Mark! I take the dogs for a walk each morning in our silent but sunny (this week) village and on Tuesday I saw Jean-Francois, the village handy man cutting hedges up the top of a hill, I was ridiculously pleased to see him and waved from a socially acceptable distance!

Life meanwhile has changed beyond anything I ever thought possible. Instead of starting to travel for months on end as I normally do at this time of the year, I’ve been to the shops twice in three weeks for essential supplies. The garden is tidier than it’s ever been and my naughty nomad chickens have a new coop and run (story below in Coop d’Etat).

Despite feeling rather cooped up myself, and worried for everyone, especially my kids who are in key worker jobs in London, I’m focusing on the positive and feeling grateful. The Bread Man still comes each week but instead of bibbing his hooter to let me know he’s there (I hope that means the same in American as British English!) and stop for a chat, I now hang a bag out on the garden gate and he pops the bread in it for me so we don’t have to get close to each other.

When the lock-down first started, the next day he didn’t arrive as we expected, we were sure that was it. No more Bread Man until it was over. However he arrived the next day and said he’d had to source essential paper bags for the bread – normally it goes straight from the oven to a basket in his van and into my waiting hands. I can’t tell you how happy I was to know he would continue to deliver, in our far flung rural communities with shops many miles away, the Bread Man is a real lifeline and gives us a sense of normality.

The mayor emails everyone in the village each week to check we are ok. The post is being delivered just 3 days a week (bills keep arriving, no change there). The dustmen (garbage collectors if you’re American) are still managing a weekly service but there is only one driver and one man emptying bins, I’m trying hard not to fill up the bin so as not to overload the poor man.

A huge thank you so much to everyone who sent me a message from last week’s newsletter – it’s lovely to chat to you from my pig sty! As someone quoted (John Lennon) in their email “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. For almost all of us, our plans are dashed right now. We just have to believe that things will eventually return to normal, we have to hang in, support each other and stay safe. So please keep the communication going – I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every day and you’ll find a warm welcome there …

Wishing you and yours well.
Bisous from me, 4 cats, 3 feral cats (who have heard I run a cat B&B), 3 dogs, 7 frisky male ducks, 38 naughty chickens, 4 cackling geese and a flock of wild doves in the middle of nowhere, France…
Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print and audio, free on Kindle Unlimited (UK) and on Kindle Unlimited Australia and soon to be published My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life (April 2020)

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