15 June 2020

Lockdown Luck on a Boat in France



(This was written after the FIRST lockdown.)

For 3 months, everything has been closed down with the virus. 
Restaurants. Bars. Cafés. Schools. Businesses. Post Offices. 

France opens its borders today with other European countries. 




We're still on the boat in the south of France. 
Spent the entire lockdown here. 

Drinking the odd glass of wine. 
Enjoying the excellent wildflowers-!




But: We were traveling back from Morocco when we first heard about the virus. 

Through Spain by train. 
A month in Portugal right before the virus hit. 

By chance, we returned to France and the boat a week or two early. 




In retrospect, we were super lucky. 
We got back to France just under the wire. 
Before they closed the borders. 




Lockdown was strict here. 

We weren't allowed to leave home (the boat) for 2 months. 
Only to the supermarket or pharmacy. With a signed form.


Not sure if taking the boat out qualifies as "staying home". 


However, we were allowed to take 1 walk a day. 
No further than 1 km from home.  
No longer than 1 hour.  
In spring.

We made good use of that. 




Also with the proper documentation, of course. 
Fines were hefty and without question. 
Prison after the third offense.




In essence, we had the canal completely to ourselves all spring. 

No boats. No visitors. No fishermen. No hikers. No bicycles.

It really IS a very agricultural village, especially when the visitors aren't here. 
Mostly wine. Olives. A few tractors.




We got to watch the vineyards leaf out.
Identify unusual birds.

Even saw fish in a much clearer canal. 
(Did you hear they now have dangerous alligator turtles along the canal?
I'm still looking for one.)

It's been a pretty slow existence.


Ducks laid a number of eggs on a few of the empty boats. 


Stan played a lot of guitar. 
Finished a new CD. 
Strat sonatas. 

It's on his website.

My art desk stayed busy. 




I also kept a Quarantine Journal - a drawing a day - 
hundreds of little drawings.






Then: coming off the lockdown - felt so strange! 

We're out of practice talking to other people. 
No one knows quite how to act. Where to stand. 
We began with canal side visits. 

Now, restaurants and bars are opening. 
It feels like life is returning to normal. 




We didn't miss being on the grid. 
Not having a freezer or a microwave. 
Or a TV or electricity-

Our small under-the-counter fridge worked fine.

I did miss having a garden!
But it's surprising how little you really need. 





We were very lucky - we had a super place to enjoy a spring quarantine. 

Now - let's hope the world can start returning to normal.