Day 9 of lockdown here in France. I am trying not to think of the word lockdown with its negative connotations and instead I am trying to focus on more positive phrases like; opportunities to get things done, taking some time out, file everything that’s been cluttering up the study floor, sort my sh*t out, learn how to weave baskets, knit some yoghurt.
As I write this the UK has just gone into lockdown. Obviously, the French are doing lockdown better than the UK, because they are French and after 9 days we feel as if we are becoming seasoned professionals at this isolation malarkey.
Lockdown – Myth v Reality
Here are some things that we have learned and, in the spirit of European solidarity (oops sorry), we thought we ought to share them with you:
When you first hear of lockdown you will embrace it. You will be full of positivity. You will relish this opportunity to get things done, do all those jobs you have been meaning to do but have never had the time for. On Day 1 (or 2 and 3) you will get up early, put on some cashmere loungewear and make a list of all the productive things that you are going to accomplish. You will eat a healthy breakfast and think of all the lovely things that you can do together as a family.
By Day 9 you will be in a tracksuit, eating coco pops out of the packet at 11am. You will still make a list but with little hope of anything being ticked off. You will look at the yawning chasm of time in front of you and become the master/mistress of procrastination. You may want to staple small children to a wall.
On Day 1 you will have dreams of your house becoming some sort of Marie-Kondoesque picture of perfection. Your clutter will be banished, everything will spark love and your sets of underwear will be tucked together in your knicker drawer in special little drawer tidy-things.
Day 9 and you have black bin bags full of stuff that you can’t take anywhere because everywhere is shut, so you might as well get it all out again. Ikea is closed so you can’t buy any more drawer tidy-things. The sparking of love is very low on your agenda by Day 9.
War and Peace
Day 1 will be the day for learning new skills, for improving yourself. That MSc in nuclear physics is yours for the taking. You will read all those books that have been sitting on your bookshelf, showing off that you are actually *very clever*. You will vow to put aside some time each day to learn a craft, become the creative goddess that you always knew you were. Your house will be filled with pretty, little hand sewn things that your friends will look at in awe and ill-disguised envy. You consider opening a shop on Etsy.
Day 9 and you will have come to the swift realisation that you are neither creative nor crafty. You don’t have the patience and War and Peace has a lot of pages and you keep falling asleep. Nuclear physics is not all it’s cracked up to be and is a bit hard. You will be reading, again, the copy of Hello that you nicked from the hairdressers and mindlessly scrolling through cat videos on Facebook.
Day 1 and you are thrilled about the prospect of spending so much time with your beloved family. Now is the time when you will bond as a family. You will play board games together and appreciate each other, eating meals at the table and laughing at silly, family jokes like the lovely, happy families that you see on TV. You won’t touch the wine/gin/Campari until at least 6pm and then you will only have a couple of civilised drinks.
Day 9 – the last people you ever want to see ever again are your family. You always thought that they could be annoying but at least you could escape to work, to the pub, to the gym. You don’t even make the pretence any longer of spending time together and sit in separate rooms messaging your friends who all equally want to bury their nearest and dearest. It’s like an extended, nightmarish Christmas. The 6pm drinking curfew has bitten the dust and the only way to get through this is to dull the pain.
And it is a big but, I have to also say that we are very lucky. We have space and fresh air and, most importantly, our health. We all just have to do this thing and get through it. We really are for possibly, the first time ever, all in this together. When you don’t want to strangle them hug your nearest and dearest, keep in touch with your friends, wherever they may be. That’s what’s important right now.
When it’s all over go outside, go to the pub, to an art gallery, for a walk, have people for dinner, for drinks and appreciate it.
And, come and visit us here at Fontalbe. We have masses of space, you won’t have to see the kids for days and we have locks on all the doors.
Take care. Please.