Life in the Loire on lock-down. Monday 23rd March. Day nine.

Trauma this morning.

Pesto (our cat) was successful hunting this morning and caught a chaffinch. She’s a useless hunter normally so that little bird must have been really caught off guard.

Feathers everywhere in the garden and the next door neighbour’s cat (only about 6 months old) sitting on the garden wall watching her as she tosses it up in the air and then pats it around with her paws. Isn’t nature cruel?

She gets restless around 6 in the morning so we’ve been letting her out earlier than normal. That dim early morning light has worked to her advantage.

And now she’s lying on the bed like lamb on lettuce as Nigel decorates around her. It doesn’t seem possible she could be so savage.

I ventured out to the supermarket this morning to pick up a few bits and to do some shopping for a local girlfriend that is asthmatic and has been isolating for a while. Quite a change from my last visit.

Still calm. Not too crowded. No panic. Just a change in the way people are shopping. Many people wearing masks and disposable gloves. Everyone respecting the imposed distance at the check-out. Still no sign of pasta, tinned goods, sanitiser or disinfectant.

And still no printer paper! That’s the second shop I’ve tried.

I came back home, repacked the bag for my friend and drove over to drop her things off. We arranged that I’d beep the horn and she’d pop out with the cash while I deposited the bag.

I drove through Amboise. A ghost town. No cars parked along the riverside. And then. I saw them. The Gendarmes were stopping every single car driving through. Did I have my assestation? Yes. Did I have a good reason to be out in the car? Yes. Did I feel like I was guilty of doing something I shouldn’t be? Yes.

I lowered my car window and bid good morning to the Officer.” Did I have my attestation he asked?”

“Yes I replied” fumbling around in my handbag.

“Why was I out this morning?”

“To deliver a few things to someone that is fragile health-wise”.

“It is family or a friend?”

” A friend I replied”. Trying to explain, I lost my entire French vocabulary and sounded like a complete idiot. I couldn’t remember the French word for asthmatic (it’s the same word you stupid person!). Come on Cathy, you speak good French for goodness sake get a grip.

He waved me on and I drove very slowly along the road to my destination. I beeped the horn, she came out, We exchanged the goods and did air kisses. It seems strange not being able to linger for a chat.

Tonight we plan to have a night off the wine. I’m writing it down so I have to follow through this plan of action. It hasn’t been easy this past week but we are aware it would be very easy to sink into drinking way too much. So – you saw it here. We’re committed now. No wine tonight.

Dinner was meatballs again. Always good the second day, I served them with mixed grains (rice, wheat, barley). We tend to eat early if passing on the wine as otherwise we crack! Our dinner conversation was punctuated by the French virus update and then by Boris, announcing that the UK will go on lock-down tomorrow.

Welcome to the lock-down club.