We are certainly not out of the woods, but here in rural France there are at least a few glimmers of light — some basic returns to normalcy — during the Covid 19 lock-down. A few of them follow.
An end to all the paper. One of the features of France’s lock-down was the requirement that, if you left your house for even a very short trip, you had to complete an official form and carry it with you. Among the requirements: your name, date of birth, place of birth, current residence, reason for your trip, the date, the time you left your house, and your signature. Now those forms are no longer required. Instead, you’re expected to carry proof of your residence (like a bill from the electricity company, with your address printed on it). Completing the form wasn’t really onerous — but a bit fiddly, and a definite pain.
Getting the chop. It had been nearly three months since my last haircut, and I was starting to look like the woolly mammoth. Then the government announced that hair salons could re-open, and I booked my place. What’s changed? Well, the stylists must wear face masks, and so must the clients. As I entered the salon, in Cénac, a young woman squirted liquid sanitizer into my palms. Then, I had to have my hair shampooed. (In the past, I would have my hair cut dry, because I shampoo my hair each day with my morning shower.) Finally, the cloak or wrap that usually protects your clothes from falling hair has been replaced by a one-use-only wrap; once your cut is done, the wrap goes into the garbage. All in all, pretty easy to take — and I do appreciate feeling tidier. And next week, I have an appointment for my regular pedicure, in Sarlat. Huzzah!
Sunshine does help. This isn’t something that the French government changed, but fortunately we have been enjoying much warmer, sunnier weather — almost like summer. (Actually, it was 30 degrees Celsius in the car this afternoon, as I drove to St. Cybranet; that’s 86 American.) So now if you’re out for a stroll or a bike ride or a trip in your car, the world seems like a better place. Here’s a taste — a view of the church tower as seen from our front steps, with a clear blue sky above:
Some more outdoor activities. This past Sunday, Daglan again had its weekly market, although with some changes. Now there are directions taped onto the square, and customers are required to keep a good distance from each other, and to follow the order of the arrows. As well, the outdoor exercise equipment and tennis court may be used again.
Obviously, all of us (around the world) are hoping for a Covid 19 vaccine and effective treatment. In the meantime, I think it makes sense to loosen up the restrictions of the lock-down only very slowly. We don’t want to slide backwards.