|Our 20km permitted radius for cycling and exercise|
Day twenty-seven, Wednesday 25th November 2020
Time for a happy dance
President Macron spoke last night and from Saturday 28th November, we will be entering a three-phase plan of deconfinement. The most exciting thing for us is that from Saturday we will be able to get out on the bikes, for a maximum of three hours (it’s one hour at the moment) and roam within a twenty-kilometre radius from home (currently only a one-kilometre zone). This gives us ample opportunity for some real leg stretching bike rides as far away as Melle, Brioux-sur-Boutonne, Aigre, Ruffec and Sauze-Vaussais. I didn’t set myself a distance challenge on the bike this year, but as I’m only three hundred kilometres short of hitting five thousand, this has given me all the incentive I need to get out there and smash it.
Our attestations will still need to be filled out before leaving home, but this should be lifted in phase two on 15th December, assuming the Covid-19 numbers are still heading in the right direction. France has passed the peak of this second wave and infection numbers are now less than a third of what they were before lockdown began. Many more shops and business will be able to open on Saturday, including hairdressers and treatment rooms, although bars and restaurants are not part of this phase. It looks like being a pretty grim Christmas for them as they won’t be able to open again as normal this year. The bar/restaurant in our village has already closed its doors for good, and I’m sure it won’t be the only one.
An overnight curfew throughout France, from nine o’clock in the evening until seven in the morning, will come into effect on 15th December until 20th January, but with two night’s grace for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The good news for Ed is that from 15th December households can mix, sensibly, once more, so he can spend some time with Pearl again. His Christmas options are also looking more positive as he will be able to join Pearl and her family for a real French Christmas, so much more exciting than spending it here, just the three of us.
The really great news is that Ed won’t be going back to on-site university lectures until the middle of February at the earliest, so I get to keep him in my nest and use him for the weekly shop for a few more months, although I am happy to share him with Pearl.
President Macron has emphasised that we still need to do all we can to ensure we don’t get hit by a third wave and he hopes a vaccination programme will begin by the end of December, starting with those most vulnerable.
One month to Christmas
With Christmas now only a month away, there is no doubt it will be different from normal for many families, especially those who cross borders. We certainly won’t be going mad this Christmas, but then we never do, although we have always tried to get back to the UK for either Christmas or New Year, to ensure Ed gets to be part of an extended family celebration.
In a normal year I would already be feeling a sense of Christmas gloom by now. The days are shorter, the weather is often harsh, and I am usually home alone as it’s one of Adrian’s busiest times for work. It has sadly become quite normal to find myself stressing over everything from weather worries, airport runs, flight cancellations and strikes, plus the potential impact of letting clients down due to travel disruptions. I find myself putting off doing the Christmas cards for so long, that another year passes, and no cards are sent, and then there is the sense of panic about what to buy for gifts and coordinating getting back to the UK around Ed’s school holiday dates, Adrian’s work schedule and the weather. My enthusiasm for entering into the spirit of Christmas and putting up the decorations left a long time ago.
Things are certainly feeling better for me this year. The November weather has been kind, Adrian is working but without the stress of travelling and although we will miss seeing our families, we know there is little choice other than being in France over the Christmas period.
|Christmas Day 2019, on the bikes|
Last year we let Ed go back to the UK without us for Christmas, while we went over for New Year. For our Christmas Day celebrations we chose to go out on the bikes for a seventy-kilometre ride, taking with us a posh picnic and bubbles. It was simple, stress-free and just perfect. Now we have confirmation of the Covid-19 rules around Christmas, we are hoping the weather allows us to do the same this year.