France Lockdown 2020

How did we find ourselves locked down in mid-March in a tiny village in the Poitou-Charente department of France? It wasn’t the plan, not in the grand scheme of things for Spring 2020. If you’d asked me what my dearest wish was, I probably wouldn’t have chosen 2 months in St Romain. Where? Exactly!

My husband, Mike, is a guest lecturer at one of the French universities on the outskirts of Paris. He was due to give lectures to staff and students for 2 weeks on the baffling subject of Brexit. He relishes seeing the incredulous looks pass between them at the folly of the British shooting themselves in the collective foot. I, being self-employed, (or more recently, self-unemployed), enjoy tagging along with no responsibilities, enjoying good food and visiting favourite parts of Paris while he’s working.

The plan was to then go for 3 weeks to a house we’ve just bought in St Romain near Aubeterre-sur-Dronne which is in the Poitou Charente.

Last year we sold a 1 bed apartment we had for 18 years in Provence very close to the sea. We loved the apartment and the area, but it was too small for family to stay, or for us to spend more time in retirement. We needed more space and certainly couldn’t afford anything bigger in Provence. The house we’ve bought is a four bed detatched arranged in 2 apartments so we’re jumping straight out of the frying pan into the fire.

There’s work to be done in it, painting, cleaning, sorting out the overgrown garden- we went for a week in January to assess what we would have to do to get it ready to let part of it in the summer, and the priority is to replace the kitchen upstairs, so we ordered the flatpacks, hired the man to do the work, and intended to leave Paris on or before 25th March. The intention was to drive back to pick up our motorhome from its garage in St Malo. It’s full of our possessions from the apartment, and one of us will be driving it down to its new home at the back of our new home, while the other continues in the car.

‘People don’t take trips, trips take people’ – John Steinbeck.