Crooked House

A country life in France


Here we are, on the cusp of the year. It’s been a funny one, all told, but one in which I have been grateful that we chose to live here, of all the places that we might have settled.

Throughout the pandemic, our Region and our Department have featured at the lesser end of the virus scale. At present our Department, Vienne, is one of only 8 “green” departments remaining (and one of those is in Corsica!) Our current rate of infection is showing as 48 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. As we live in a very rural location and the town that we shop in is a relatively small one, this all means that our chances of coming into contact with the infection remain very low. It would be extremely bad luck if we were to catch Covid now, with the vaccination programme on the near horizon.

We managed to travel as much as possible whilst not actually locked down, and we even managed a few nights out of the country. We visited Germany, Luxembourg and Spain this year and saw a great deal of France, including some areas that we hadn’t visited previously. When lockdown was looming, our home location at the centre of France meant that we could always get back from wherever we happened to be. That was a comforting thought for me at times of stress.

We continue to be grateful for excellent neighbours. It’s also useful to have British neighbours when all of my very little French deserts me in times of crisis. And we did indeed have a crisis this week. Our drains backed up in heavy rain and water was coming in the house. The Crooked Man is not good at asking for help but he did eventually allow me to go off and seek some drain rods. One neighbour provided rods and another neighbour came out on the dark, cold, and wet to help us sort the problem. I really do not know how we would have managed without them.

I’m kind of grateful too that we were not in Portugal but at home when the waters rose!

Wintering at home has its issues. The present issue is the rapidly dwindling pile of firewood, which in a normal year would have been more than sufficient for our needs. We shall need to order more firewood soon.

My tan is fading! It was however such a good tan that I still see strap marks, even now. My hope is that we had plenty of Vitamin D just in case we do get the bug. I try to get out whenever the sun is shining, just to keep levels up as much as possible. Not much sun about at present however.

Tomorrow sees a new calendar year. So many people are pinning their hopes on 2021. I feel a little reserved on the subject and do not feel that we may exhale for a while yet. I fully expect a third lockdown early next year.

Overall, I will not be surprised if we do not get Covid under control for some time to come. I’m not actively expecting a worst case scenario but I know that there is potential and I don’t want to be one of the people who are devastated because they thought it was all over (football reference fully intended there.) So not being pessimistic exactly but simply retaining an awareness of how many slips there might yet be ‘twixt cup and lip. Call me cautious but I do not believe that we have approached the cusp of the pandemic just yet,

Before all of that though, we have cause for celebration. Today is our wedding anniversary and tonight we dine. The Crooked Man has gone to Montmorillon to pick up a gourmet takeaway. We are adding a couple of courses to that menu. I have been making Gin Sorbet for a palate cleanser and also some Truffled Olive Oil Crackers to have with a cheese course. It makes me feel better that I am actively contributing to our meal. We have Champagne, of course, picked up on our visit to the Champagne region earlier this year. The woodburner is lit, there will be music, and I am going to wear one of my new silk sari skirts. Absolutely no fireworks! that’s one thing that I shall not be missing about Portugal.

As is our habit, we will be in bed before midnight. We aren’t ones for celebrating the New Year itself. Never really seen the point in that tradition.

See you next year, and I hope that we are all here to tell the tale come next December 31st. Take care. And don’t party tonight. Certainly do not be kissing anybody that you are not already partnered with! I know, I am a real wet blanket.

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