We are slowly emerging from the Covid-19 lock-down, and Jan and I are hoping that people won’t go overboard and ruin the progress that’s been so painfully made against the pandemic. In any case, restaurants here are re-opening next week, and we’re already planning to lunch on Tuesday with four friends. I can’t imagine wearing a mask while we eat, but who knows!
Speaking of masks, here’s my most recent experience with the lock-down loosen-up: a pedicure in Sarlat (much needed). First, wearing a mask is obligatory. Then, you don’t ring the doorbell and walk in; you wait at the front window until the receptionist sees you and beckons you inside.
Once in the reception area, she spritzes your hands with a sanitizer. Then you head into the back office, where all the equipment for the pedicure is located. As for the young woman who actually performs the pedicure, she is dressed in so much protective gear that she could probably perform brain surgery. Beyond that, there is a large plastic shield between her and the client, from about waist level (while seated) on up.
All in all, it was not a bad experience. And now I’m much more confident that my toe nails could not be mistaken for tiger’s claws.
Now for something that’s un-related (I think) to Covid-19: the return of what we call “crazy bells” at Daglan’s church. Here’s the background:
First of all, our home is located in the heart of Daglan, very near the church, and so Jan and I are intensely aware of the bells in the church tower. A single, loud bell rings each hour (for instance, 10 rings at 10 a.m.), and then rings the hour again only two minutes later, just in case you missed it the first time. On each half hour, a bell rings just once (no matter what the hour).
This goes on all night, and we’re most grateful that the bells use the 12-hour time system, instead of France’s more common 24-hour system — otherwise we would get to hear 23 rings, twice, for 11 p.m.
Now of course the church is, after all, a Catholic church, and its main purpose isn’t actually a time-keeper — it’s a place of prayer, and an important Catholic tradition is praying the Angelus (which is where the crazy bells come in). Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
The Angelus (… Latin for “angel”) is a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation. … The devotion is also observed by some Anglican and Lutheran churches. The Angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell, which is a call to prayer and to spread goodwill to everyone.
Here in the Daglan, the bell tower rings the Angelus just after 7 a.m., noon, and 7 p.m. (after the hours have been struck). The pattern is a total of nine rings, in three sets of three. But ever since we’ve lived in the village, the church bells then go a bit crazy — with multiple bells clanging away for perhaps a full minute. If you’re not prepared for it, you might think it’s a warning about a fire or imminent attack.
Anyway, quite a few weeks ago, we noticed that there were no more crazy bells. We had the three sets of three rings, but no wild clanging. Why the change? I have no idea, but they were absent for what seemed like a very long time. And now, guess what? We’ve just had the return of the crazy bells. Maybe it’s another sign of life returning to normal.