Life in Lockdown: Week 4

The other day at breakfast, my beloved looked at me across the table and said: “You could probably handle this for however long it lasts; maybe 12-18 months.” And you know what? He’s right. Let me explain why.

Firstly, we’ve worked from home for over 15 years and have things set up rather well – if I say so myself – particularly since we’ve now got WiFi all over, including the terrace. We work for a global client base and don’t really differentiate much between weekdays and weekends, and don’t get me started on Bank holidays. If you call, or contact us by phone, email or social media whenever, chances are we’ll respond fairly promptly, even if we’re on vacation.

Of course, my beloved husband of over 40 years typically travels a fair bit leaving me with some much welcome time alone. This has, of course, gone by the wayside. But, with plenty of personal space and, most importantly, our own bathrooms, we’re holding up well. Of course, I do have to don my PPE to regularly clean his, but that’s nothing new.

We have a routine which serves us well and which, during France’s lockdown, of necessity we’ve adjusted. Okay, so no nipping out for a bike ride. This daily constitutional now takes place on the terrace. We fit our rides in around my beloved’s conference calls, of which there are surprisingly many. We can’t both ride at the same time as someone has to man the phones etc, plus he’s lost – what a surprise – a couple of bits off of his home trainer and therefore borrows those bits from mine.

We work out before breakfast most days. Use or lose it is very apt at our age. He works an 8-10 hour day while I continue to work part-time and juggle abslutely everything else. Remember, there’s a reason he’s called « The Man Who Just Turns Up. »

As we work in the healthcare sector, we’re still very busy. Plus, from my administrative perspective, personal and corporate tax submission deadlines are looming, so there’s plenty to keep me occupied.

As Officer in Charge of Drinks (OCD), my beloved has been putting his undoubted, one might even say legendary, cocktail skills to good use. With the mercury rising, Friday through Sunday, you’ll find us enjoying them on the terrace as the sun slips beneath the horizon. He’s even invented a new one which, not unnaturally, we’ve christened the Corona Cocktail. I have no idea whether or not it would cure the virus but it’s pretty potent!

My beloved is taking his responsibility to keep in touch with everyone he knows pretty seriously. Who hasn’t he contacted would probably be an easier question to answer. What do you mean you haven’t heard from him? Don’t worry, he’ll connect with you at some point – and they say women talk! He’s also set up a couple of online communities to discuss common interests during the crisis.

Since we can’t watch any live sport or eat out at the weekends, we’ve turned our attention to the terrace. My succulents are positively flourishing from all the TLC. Maybe I don’t, after all, have digits of doom. The recent cuttings I’ve taken are starting to root and plants I thought were dead have risen like the Phoenix from the ashes. Of course, I might just smother them with all this attention.

Not being able to eat out means I have redoubled my efforts in the kitchen, trying out plenty of new recipes for his three square meals a day. I’m also only shopping once a week instead of daily, so necessity is frequently the mother of invention. There have been no complaints from him indoors but then he’d be very unwise to complain……….

While we cannot venture out into the wide, wide, world, other than for reasons for which we have to self-certify, for more than an hour at a time, we do have the luxury of the Domaine’s 27 hectacres to explore. It takes us almost 2 hours to walk the entire perimeter and we’re finding places we never knew existed, plus enjoying the flora and fauna. Of course, we’re not the only residents making use of this bounty, but there’s plenty of room for everyone to easily keep their distance.

While it might be a good time to do a few outstanding jobs around the apartment, I thank my lucky stars that the DIY stores are closed. My beloved means well but this is so not one of his competencies, plus he makes such a mess and leaves the job unfinished. It’s cheaper and easier to save them all up until there’s enough work to “get a man round” to do them.

While I recognise how fortunate we are, I’d like to say a heart-felt thanks to those manning the frontlines, whether that be in a hospital or supermarket or wherever, for making the situation so much more bearable for the rest of us. We enjoy joining in every evening at 20:00 to say a huge thank you.

Just in case the first paragraph induced panic, I should say that I don’t think the lockdown will last 12-18 months. I expect it to last 2-3 months, with thereafter a very gradual easing of restrictions during which we’ll all be venturing out locally wearing a mask and gloves and keeping our distance. However, I suspect it may be 12-18 months before we can venture afar.