26 March 2020


It was such a beautiful spring day yesterday that it was hard to believe that anything could possibly be wrong beyond the boundaries of our little bungalow. Yet it was strangely quiet. We sat outside with our tea after lunch and remarked upon how few planes were passing over these days. Then suddenly three came at once. Once they had passed over, nothing for hours.  Only a week or two ago an empty sky never happened.

It's all very surreal. Many people have said they feel it's like a bad dream and that's exactly it. I feel as if one day soon I will wake up and find the world has gone back to normal, that I can pop to the shop for a lettuce because we have run out and I fancy salad for lunch. That I can nip into my favourite charity shop while I'm out to see if any irresistible china has been donated. That we can set off for a drive in the countryside after lunch and maybe stop for a cup of tea and a scone in a teashop somewhere.

As we can't do any of those things (food shopping is allowed but It seems wrong to mix with other people just for a lettuce) I decided to get on with a project. I bought this little telephone table some time ago, in a charity shop here. It's exactly the same as one I bought in a French brocante shop a while ago and painted a cream colour.  This one fits a corner here perfectly and I have been meaning to paint it all winter so I got it out and made a start.

Another odd thing is that I almost quite like living like this.  If it wasn't for the underlying anxiety and feeling that some kind of Armageddon is out there, I quite like making do with what we have in and making our own entertainment.  Not rushing about to the shops or to meet up with people is strangely calming, although I'm grateful for all the ways and means we can keep in touch nowadays.  It reminds me of how things were in my childhood, when making do and staying home was the norm.  We didn't have a car so meeting up with friends and family involved a trip on the bus.  We didn't have a phone either so to ring someone we had a five minute walk to the nearest phone box.

This post is a bit of an experiment as I haven't been able to post using my iPad before. I've changed my settings according to advice from Ken so let's see if this works too.


  1. Well fancy that, it worked!

  2. I've been following 'a very grand pressigny' for some time and your blog is one of those that inspired me to start mine! Like you, we divide our time between the UK and France but we live in SE England and our French home is in SW France, between Toulouse and Carcassonne. We are also massive dog lovers! Good luck with your project and let's hope it won't be too long before we can get back to France, although I fear that it might be, sadly.

  3. Yes, I feel the same as you Jean, I really like doing my own thing each day (we’re retired) - going for a walk, gardening, cooking, with absolutely no feeling of pressure EXCEPT that ominous virus threat always lurking in the back of my mind. Stay safe and let’s hope with all our might there’s an end to it soon.

  4. Glad that worked. Funny — we were certainly not well-to-do, but we always had a car or even two back in the 1950s. And we had a telephone back then. It was a party line that we shared with our next-door neighbors. I like staying in and keeping to a routine, but I also like being able to jump in the car and run to the supermarket a couple of times a week. The last time I did that was two weeks ago today.

    1. Ken, my dad always had a motorcycle with a sidecar. I seem to have spent much of my childhood in that sidecar, mum and dad on the bike.
      I think I was about 11 when we got a telephone, a shared party line. That would be in 1963. Our first car was an Austin A3 I think. I remember going on holiday to Cornwall on holiday in it, with my brother as a toddler, so that would have been in 1964.
      Happy days.