We here in France have been under total Coronavirus lock-down since mid-day last Monday for a minimum of 15 days, meaning that all schools, universities, restaurants, bars, clubs and non-essential commercial activities have been closed and have ceased to trade. Only essential services have continued – pharmacies and health establishments, food shops, tobacconists, petrol stations, the post office – all other customer-facing commercial activities have been made to close except businesses with web sites are still taking orders and making deliveries.
Deliveries ‘direct to home’ continue but those services that used local ‘points de relais’, typically small shops where your packages are dropped off and you go to pick them up, have ceased to operate because the businesses operating as the ‘relais’ are shut.
The general public everywhere has been required to stay at home with the exceptions of those working in essential services or working in ‘closed’ businesses as above, who require an ‘attestation’ signed by their employer to allow them to travel there and back. Everyone else is only allowed to leave their homes to buy food and other essential items, seek medical care, take exercise in the area close to their homes, care for members of their family or look after farm animals and when they do, they must take an ‘attestation’ signed by themselves with them to show why they are away from home.
It is not quite as onerous for us here in the countryside compared to those in the towns and cities. For a start, we are in the open air in wide-open spaces and we do not live in close proximity to each other in any case. So although the restrictions have not been widely disregarded, a few people have been taking the opportunity to sneek out from time to time and deal with personal matters.
I myself did so yesterday in order to mow the runway at Malbec while the grass is dry before rain, which is forecast as from Sunday afternoon, returns and makes it impossible. Our hope is that when the restrictions are raised, we won’t be left with a runway that’s unusable because the grass will be too long and thick with weeds.
The weather was lovely while I was working and it was very disappointing not to be able to take a flight in either the Weedhopper or the Savannah. I got the Savannah’s vertical trim working again several days ago after an electrical connection had pulled off and it would have been nice to feel again how it flies now it’s been fixed. I’ve also had a new oil temperature gauge ready to be installed in its panel for some time and may well sneek out again to fit it if the restrictions are extended beyond the 15 days, which are planned to end on April 1.
Annoyingly, the potential buyer of my Weedhopper who has been waiting since the end of last year to come and see it is also as desperate to do so as I am to sell it in view of the fact that I’d like to have the space in the barn vacated by the time I eventually get to bring my ex-pat X-air over from the UK. But he’s unable to travel, of course. As for the latter, who knows when that will now be.
Flying is restricted in France and all local airfields have been closed under the government’s emergency powers affecting movement of people so it would be impossible now to make the flight south even if the weather was suitable. Usually the sky over my house is full of aircraft vapour trails in the airways that criss-cross France but with the skies as clear and blue as they currently are, I’ve noticed that there are now practically none and flightradar24.com confirms this.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I began buying in provisions ready for possible self-isolation some time ago and without ‘hoarding’, I am prepared and will be pretty comfortable for the proposed duration of the emergency measures here in France. I’ve also got a few projects to occupy myself with but what is frustrating for me and for everyone else I think, as that we’re all marking time and it’s all such a terrible waste of our lives. However, those of us who see it through to the other side will be the lucky ones because inevitably there will be many less fortunate who will not do so.
In the meantime in our area we can enjoy the silence of the countryside, broken only by the occasional tractor as a farmer goes about caring for his animals, the sound of the birdsong and the clean, fresh air. Idyllic under normal circumstances, but these, of course, are not normal circumstances and we all look forward to the time when we can live our lives again in total freedom unencumbered by the restrictions that have been forced upon us. And that day cannot come soon enough.