Friday Photo Challenge – COVID discoveries

This weeks challenge, set by Amanda doesn’t reqire too much foraging in my archives, instead I’m just looking at those I’ve taken in the last seven weeks, and it’s a surprisingly large number.

Life in lockdown hasn’t been at all stressful for us because we’re used to working together from home. Yes, we’ve missed going out for rides on our bikes but we’ve compensated with home trainer sessions on the terrace. Wherever possible we’ve looked for something to compensate for our loss of liberty. If nothing else, we’ve discovered we’ll survive retirement together!

1. Our lovely gardens

We live in an apartment which has a great view and sits in 27-hectacres of magnificent grounds. We’ve lived here for 15 years and, while we’ve walked through the gardens, we’d never fully explored and fully appreciated them as we have over the period of lockdown.

2. Cooking up a storm

It’s been a challenge shopping just once a week and relying on my fridge/freezer/store cupboard to provide inspiration rather than daily trips to France’s bountiful markets. But I think I’ve risen to the challenge. What do you think?

3. Corona cocktail

My beloved has made his own modest contribution by creating a new cocktail. He could’ve done more than just his role as OCD (Officer in Charge of Drinks) but he’s (deliberately?) been incredibly busy. Aside from his usual role, he’s been Zooming most days trying to find ways for dentists to deal with the COVID-19 transmission risks to themselves and their patients during treatment.

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One from the vaults: Slogans

Yet another of my many posts about cycling and road hazards! This one’s from May 2014 and riding my bike daily is the one thing I’ve really missed during lockdown. Fingers crossed I’ll shortly be able to venture forth.

I saw a brilliant slogan on the back of a t-shirt in my Twitter timeline recently it said “You own a car, not the road.” So, so true and I just know I’m going to be quoting that in a variety of languages to various vehicle drivers. The other one I like is “A metre matters”. That’s exhorting drivers to leave plenty of room when overtaking cyclists. Particularly pertinent to those towing caravans or boats. They have a similar campaign in Spain which demands a metre and a half overtaking space.

But as anyone who occasionally reads my blog or who rides themselves knows, the best drivers are those that also cycle.  We need to get more people cycling. Such as the gentleman who blithely blocked the cycle path as he was waiting to exit the petrol station. To make my point, I slammed on my (new) brakes and stopped within a hair’s breadth of his car. Did he retreat? No! I was forced to wait until the road was clear to swing out and overtake the bonnet of his car. I gave him The Look and noted his number plate.

Just ten minutes later, as my riding buddy and I were cycling side by side along the deserted two-lane coastal road, we were rudely tooted at by white van man who yelled at us to get out of the road and onto the cycle path! A cycle path intended for kids and those of a nervous disposition with a 10km/h speed limit. Sadly, the sequencing of the traffic lights didn’t allow  me to advise said driver that he owned a van, not the road. But I was oh so tempted to give chase – next time.

However, it was hard to stay annoyed on such a beautiful day. I thank my lucky stars daily that I’m fortunate enough to live here. No amount of rude white van men will ever change that!

Le 1er May

Today is an annual public holiday in France, and many other countries around the world. However, in France, this date is more than just a day out of the office!

Back on 1 May 1560, King Charles IX of France was presented with lily of the valley (muguet) flowers as a lucky charm. The King appreciated the gift so much, he decided to annually gift the flowers to every lady in his court on 1 May. This gesture started to become more commonplace at the beginning of  20th century with men presenting lilies of the valley to women as a token of their affection.

Nowadays, it’s customary to give a sprig of these flowers as a token of appreciation to close friends and family members on 1er mai – though obviously not this year! The day also became a public holiday, formally known as La Fête du Travail (Labour Day), back in 1948.