Lock-down take 2. The day before. 29th October 2020.

As it happens, I’d sent a message to my friend Allegra (who also happens to be my hairdresser) a couple of weeks ago asking if she could fit me in for a cut.

“No rush” I said. “Whenever you can find the time in the next couple of weeks”. Both she and I have been back ‘home’ over the past couple of weeks. Me to the UK and she to the US. Our timing was perfect. Things might not have been quite so easy if our trips had been planned later.

Ping! A text message from Allegra. “You better come tomorrow or you might not get a haircut for another month or so”.

“Any chance you can give Nigel a quick cut too?” I replied.

“No problem. See you at 10h00, masks on!”.

And so this morning we drove into Amboise and came out an hour and a half later feeling rather smug that we tucked that in just before the midnight deadline tonight.

At least we’ll look nice for one another during lockdown this time!

On the way back to the car we popped into the boulangerie for bread and walked past a florist. Bursting with colour, the scent of roses and geraniums invaded our senses as we stopped briefly to admire them.

It’s Toussaint this weekend and traditionally families place flowers on their loved one’s graves. A hugely important weekend for flower shops all over France, it made us sad to think that this florist (that only opened recently) may be forced to close its doors. After all, flowers aren’t essential to life are they?

And yet the supermarkets will continue to sell them as normal. It does seem particularly hard on small independent shops. I have yet to see the official list of establishments that will be permitted to continue trading.

I spent the afternoon scanning bank statements and sending them over to our accountant for the year end. What sorry reading they make. Our business literally died from one day to the next mid March and we’ve had a total of 12 clients this year (we’d normally have around 400).

We’re definitely going to have to have a rethink.

And on a positive note, late afternoon I began work on a small translation for one of the local Vouvray producers, Domaine d’Orfeuilles, a small organic/biodynamic producer. Their wines are great and they, like us and indeed all local growers, are thinking of ways to improve communication to reach their wine drinking public more directly.

I used one of the domaine’s wines during a recent Zoom tasting comparing cool and hot climate wines and it was well received.

The independent wine salons as (they call them here in France), have all been cancelled. These salons enable the general public to go and buy wine direct from the growers for their Christmas festivities. Another blow as we approach the end of 2020.

A simple dinner tonight of a homemade burger with a big pile of buttery haricot verts. I sweated a finely chopped onion with a couple of cloves of garlic and added that to 500g of beef mince along with some cumin, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, a couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs, some finely grated Parmesan and one egg.

Some quick pickled red onions on the top perked it up and our wine of choice was Gerald Vallées Les Perruches St Nicolas de Bourgueil. A good match for the burger. With very ripe fruit and a slightly gamey note, it hit the spot.

Nigel did the stocktake in the cellar this afternoon. I was rather holding my breath when he came back with the figures. Luckily it’s not quite as bad as we expected.

We haven’t drunk the entire contents quite yet. This new lock-down will prove to be the perfect opportunity to change that!