For the first time in probably 10 years my beloved and I are experiencing a quiet summer close to home. We’re enjoying the odd trip out but have maintained many of our lockdown habits, such as shopping just once a week.
A couple of things have made a big difference, aside from being able to ride outside, namely the return of some sport to the big screen (ffotball, MotoGP and cycling) and the opening of the Domaine’s 50 metre Olympic size swimming pool. My beloved might tell you we bought the flat because of its wonderful sea view but he’s not being strictly truthful, it was because of that pool.
While we’ve happily eaten out at our favourite restaurants, we’ve also enjoyed lots of new recipes at home. My beloved has mastered his hair clippers removing the need for a trip to the barbers every three weeks. Meanwhile, I’m looking to challenge Rapunzel.
About a year ago, my beloved was invited to join a local business group that of late had been scheduling Zoom meetings to replace its regular get-togethers. Fortunately, they’re back enjoying discussions over the lunch or dinner table. This combined with his L’Etape – now postponed until 2021 – training and his daily hour or so of swimming gives me a few blissful hours on my own each week to do whatever my heart desires. I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s not very much but it’s so lovely not being at his beck and call every five minutes.
I have been busy ministering to my small terrace garden which has definitely paid dividends. I don’t think I can claim green fingers but maybe I don’t after all have digits of doom. The self-watering pots have been a boon though I have been totally amazed at how much water the plants drink. I’m going to have to train them to take in much less otherwise I’ll never, ever be able to go away again.
Aside from watching sport on the television, we’ve been enjoying a number of documentaries that we missed first time around. But no binging, two episodes an evening is more than enough. We’re continuing with our Friday musical evenings where I’ve encouraged my beloved to download and listen to more of the music I enjoy. We’ve also persisted with our apéros on the terrace at the weekends though my beloved has not invented any more cocktails. Instead, aside from the Aperol Spritzs, we’ve been enjoying our recent purchases from the Var.
I’m sitting here in the office, typing away and listening to the gardeners make one heek of a racket. No noisy work can be carried out on properties in the Domaine during the months of July and August but it’s okay for the gardeners to chop down trees and then reduce said trees to wood pulp in the hopper! It’s like a re-run of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but, I assume, without the blood and gore.
I could, of course, close the windows but opening them all allows the air to flow through the apartment, our only form of air conditionning. The past few days have been really hot and sultry, with cold showers a must to keep cool. I’m actually looking forward to temperatures dipping towards the end of August, returning to the very acceptable mid to low 20s in early September.
Thankfully the Domaine has remained COVID-free despite an influx of holiday makers, many of whom own second homes here. There are some renters but the majority are visiting family. Don’t get me started on how many people the French can cram into a two-bedroomed flat! But, I can tell by the number of cars, we’re nowhere near as busy as is usual in the summer months.
A lot of the habits we’ve all become accustomed to in the last few months are now mandatory. In general, it’s masks indoors in all public spaces. In addition, in some of the busier areas in larger towns, such as Nice, mask wearing outdoors is also mandated though fortunately not on the beach. Wouldn’t that play havoc with your tan?
Also, in certain areas, to maintain social distancing and hygiene rules after hours, there are 22:00 beach curfews. I would say from observation that people are observing the rules and we’re keeping the monster at bay for the time being.
In the past few weeks we’ve enjoyed a a number of day trips out which I’ll cover in forthcoming posts. But aside from those, and a few picnics with friends, we’ve been keeping very much to ourselves. And, you know what, it’s not been too bad at all just so long as I can have those brief moments of respite.