|Covid-19 confinement one year on|
Wednesday 17th March 2021, one year since confinement began.
Today at midday marked exactly one year since confinement in France began, initially for two weeks, extended to a total of fifty-five days for phase one, then another forty-six days later in the year, followed by ninety-four days (so far) of overnight curfew. Not that I’m counting.
There should be so much to say about the anniversary of so many extraordinary events, and yet the words aren’t forthcoming. We have gone from a normal where we were free to travel, to cross borders, to mix and to socialise, to coping with the strict restrictions of confinement and curfews, and where wearing masks out in public and maintaining a distance from others, have now become the norm.
It has been one year since Adrian last ran an on-site training job. A year since his wings were clipped, throwing him into full-time village life for the first time, and a subdued, muted village life at that. No soirees at the bar or salle des fetes, no socialising and no meetings. Everything we had come to regard as normal for village life, put on hold. His job gave him stimulating face to face interaction with a different set of delegates each week, and I know from the way he casually slips processes, results, outcomes and accountability into day to day conversations, that he misses it.
One year since he was last with his Mum, and fourteen months since I last saw my parents.
One year since his last pub meal in the UK.
One year since the last airport run, not that I’m missing those at all.
One year since the three of us sat in silence as President Macron addressed the nation with talk of being at war with the virus.
One year, and the first ever entire year, that Adrian and I have spent together, with no nights apart, since we moved into our first house in 1997. Miraculously neither of us have yet found the need to feign illness and retreat to the spare bedroom for a few days.
Despite France being free of lockdown (except for a few hot spots currently in weekend lockdown) since mid-December, I don’t feel free and Covid-19 is still very much all around us. Hospitals in some areas are struggling and our local ones are expecting high dependency transfers from Paris and Lyon to help ease the situations there.
A year ago, I had the safety net of confinement to protect me. I felt grounded and strangely in control, journaling my thoughts in daily blog posts. Now the risks and concerns are still present, but with a greater freedom of movement and I feel far less in control. Subdued and uncertain are probably what I feel the most this week.
Some days, I can feel the fatigue of the situation, a physical ache weighing me down. I’m curfew weary too; the longer, lighter evenings feel wasted when we have to be home by six o’clock. On days when the weather is kind, we have promised ourselves we’ll do an hour in the garden post-curfew, meaning we won’t feel as guilty being out on bikes in the afternoon, when we should be working in the garden.
I should be sowing seeds for the potager, something Ed and I tackled at the beginning of confinement a year ago but I can find little enthusiasm for it this year. I think the soil in the potager would benefit from a rest, as would we from the constant demands of watering and weeding. I know I’ll miss the produce if I don’t sow the seeds, but thankfully there are plans in the pipeline and new adventures to look forward to this year.