Friday, April 24, 2020

Diary of Covid-19 confinement, day thirty-nine

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day thirty-nine dog walks
View from the dog walk

Day thirty-nine, 24th April 2020

Views from the dog walk

There are times when it feels like we have been in lockdown for so long I can’t remember what we did before, or even in those first few weeks. Then there are other times when it seems to whiz by really quickly. We took the dog out for a gentle walk after lunch today and realised that almost two weeks had passed since our last walk, yet it seems no more than a few days. Before you worry that we are neglecting Mini, at twelve years old, two walks a day, every day, would be too much for her and she and Ed have been enjoying their daily exercise together since he came home six weeks ago.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day thirty-nine poppies

The first thing I noticed was that a lot has changed in the countryside around the village. The wheat crop has ears, the poppies have started flowering, I saw my first Bee orchids and Pyramid orchids in flower too, and the butterflies were enjoying them all. 

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day thirty-nine acacia
Acacia blooms

The Acacia tree by the village lavoir (wash house) is just coming into bloom and will smell divine in a few days. There was also something very relaxing in that the only noise we heard was the sound of birds and bees, like a gentle ringing in our ears.

The garden is a busy place at the moment as well. The great tits who nest in the back courtyard every year are frantically feeding a noisy brood of babies, safely concealed in our old (and very much unused) patio heater. The swallows are back, dipping in and out of the barn, chattering to each other as they repair their nests and stake their claim on the best beams to build on. But the winners of the noisiest birds have to go to the house sparrows whose constant cheeping outside the bedroom window is the first thing I hear in the morning, along with the noise of their tiny feet, loud and amplified as they scrabble in the galvanized gutter. Their numbers are most certainly not in decline chez nous.

Stay indoors, stay safe.

French Village Diaries covid-19 confinement day thirty-nine col d’Ispeguy Pyrenees Pays Basque
24th April 2017, Col d’Ispeguy Pyrenees

April holiday memory 

24th April 2017 was a big day for me; my first ever attempt at cycling up a mountain pass. We were in the Pays Basque and Adrian had carefully selected the Col d’Ispeguy as it is a gradual six kilometre climb, at an average of 6%, with stunning views and most importantly a bar at the top that serves gateau Basque. It is also a border crossing, so there is a real sense of adventure and achievement in cycling up a mountain and crossing from France to Spain. It has now become our favourite col and the first one we return to every time we are back in the Basque, which will hopefully be soon.

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