This Week in France – Horse Cart and a Car Crash

Here are this week’s observations on lockdown in France.

Friday March 27th

Diana Lockdown in France Day 11

We have been trying to stay in touch with friends and family more regularly. So, in addition to our usual routine of news, writing, taking care of business, and exercise, we have spent lots of time on the phone.

You might wonder how we are making and receiving phone calls without breaking the bank. We have been using a combination of WhatsApp with friends and family and Google Voice with anyone else. We have a Google Voice number, which is the number Mike gives out to most people. Using the Google Voice app, we can make calls to any number in the states for free. I must say these tools have made it easy to stay in touch.  The only downside is the time difference with the west coast.

For a little excitement, some locals decided to have a huge car accident right in front of our apartment. Considering the number of police around, it took them more than a few minutes to arrive on the scene but they sure made fast work of getting statements and removing the vehicles.

Saturday March 28th

Diana Lockdown in France Day 12

After a restless night, we both woke up early. So, I decided it would be a good day to color my hair.  The process wasn’t too bad but you will note that there are no pictures. The color I bought was way too red and my highlights really picked up too much color. I have a very peculiar combination of natural color with a quite unnatural color. Needless to say, I’m not too happy with it but it can be fixed. Mike says he doesn’t care and we don’t know anyone in this town. It’s not like we are going to see anybody we know.

My plan is to wash it a few more times and then recolor it much closer to my natural dark brown and hope for a better result. Either that or wait until after April 15th when the lockdown is scheduled to end and I can find a salon.

The temperature here went up to the mid-60’s today so we went out for a walk. We went in the opposite direction than we usually do and found ourselves at the Gare (train station). The buildings in that direction are older and in poorer repair than the ones in Centre Ville. But many of them are still very charming.

Sunday March 29th

Diana Lockdown in France Day 13

Last night was our spring forward time change. We already did it once already this month in Mexico so it wasn’t a big deal. We are definitely adjusted to the time here. It turned out to be another beautiful day here and we decided to make another trip to the grocery store.

It was so warm when we got back that we opened some of the sliding doors to let the beautiful day in. That lead to deciding we should clean the apartment. We have been here a full two weeks and besides the kitchen, which gets cleaned regularly, the rest of the apartment was due. It has been a really long time since I did a major cleaning and I really worked up a sweat. I feel pretty good now that it’s done.

As I’ve mentioned before, we live right in front of some main streets and a large square. This afternoon we looked out and saw a large dray horse grazing on some yummy looking flowers in the middle of the square. The horse was near a guy and something that looked like a cart, so I guess he is a working horse. After a while, three gendarmes on bikes came by. By this time, the guy was hooking the horseback up to the cart but he still had to answer questions from the police. Do you think they asked the horse for his “papier du cheval”? Ha, ha. (Use Google Translate)

This is what happens when you lock people in their houses for two weeks.

Monday March 30th

Mike Lockdown in France Day 14

Slept poorly, so we got up late today. Not much new. I spent a lot of time on Google Voice helping out my folks with different things. Since it is a 408 number, I always have to explain we are in France and request they leave a meaningful message. Really, it shouldn’t matter where I am, but few people leave a decent voicemail so I’m trying to leverage distance to get some better behavior.

Finally started Tiger King because everyone is talking about it. OK so far.

Tuesday March 31st

Mike Lockdown in France Day 15

Our place in Playa was nicknamed the Fish Bowl because most of the light came from floor to ceiling windows facing a passage everyone in the building used to enter/exit multiple times a day. We were always “managing” our shades to get whatever privacy we wanted while still getting in light.

Our place in Perpignan is more of a Fish Eye. Our 3rd floor corner apartment provides quite a bit of privacy and sports a view of nearly 270 degrees.

In addition to the aforementioned car crash, horse cart and police checkpoints, I awoke today to see the town square getting disinfected. While I appreciate the need and effort, I wonder how long the effect lasts. I mean, is it all for naught when the next infected person sits down? I guess its all a numbers game in the end.

We went to a new market today. I got excited over fresh asparagus and Diana finally found a coveted French press. These days little things can mean so much.

Wednesday April 1st

Diana Lockdown in France Day 16

It turned out that after I got the French press home, I realized I didn’t have the right type of coffee. I don’t have a grinder so I can’t use whole beans. The coffee that I had was too fine a grind for the French press. Since we couldn’t get coffee yesterday, we had to go to the market first thing this morning. Fortunately, I found some coffee that would work. I’m still working out the right coffee to water ratio but early indications are that the French press is a great success.

It is cloudy and cooler today, Mike said it was raining when he got up but it had stopped by the time I woke up. I’ve also noticed that there are quite few elderly people in this area, who seem to go out each day for a baguette.

Thursday April 2nd

Diana Lockdown in France Day 17

Today is Mike’s birthday, so in addition to a cute and funny electronic card, we will go out today and buy something special for dessert tonight. I don’t recall seeing any gateaux in the stores but they do have some fine looking Tarte aux Citron.

Today we got a bit more motivated. First, we did our stretching routine, then we went for a walk. We took our shopping “attestation papers” with us but we actually just walked the long way to the bakery to get something special for Mike’s birthday. I also did the entire transaction in French, not just pointing. The other exciting things we have planned for today are to post this article, practice our French, take a shower, and cook dinner.

Mike Lockdown in France Day 17

Another gift I got today was finding an open wine shop!!! The owner recommended a local bottle of red. I can’t wait to open it up.

Next week we will post pictures of the food we are cooking since that is probably the most exciting part of our day on lockdown.

I do feel safe here, how about you?

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  1. Happy (Belated) Birthday, Mike! French press and French wine, that makes the days better!

  2. Been reading your posts in batches, not necessarily in order and enjoying each one. Even with the lockdown it sounds like adventure every day. Take good care and stay safe.

  3. Happy birthday Mike! “We’re on lockdown bitches!” Glad all is going well in France.

  4. So wonderful hearing about your life in France! So you guys have decided to stay there and not come back to the States before they close the border (possibility)? I don’t know if or when they will do that, but it sounds like you’re getting along fine there. You certainly have a wonderful apartment with great views – very entertaining!

  5. Our lodging options in CA are VERY limited, so we plan to wait until the lockdown ends to come back.

  6. Hey Guys!
    So glad you are safely tucked away in France. Which town are you in?
    Diana & Jim

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