Where to start? This blog was supposed to be about our life here in France – particularly all the things we discovered and enjoyed about our life here as a family. Last year, with both little ones becoming more… functional, possibilities were opening up for more interesting journeys: instead of days out revolving around access to cafes and toilets I was planning adventures to cities, to museums, exhibitions, concerts. The smallest was keen to go on a train and I was keen to visit the city, so one of the holiday activities on my to-do list was a day to the city via the train and back.
Then there was the idea that the big one would start skiing lessons – late by French standards but really she just wasn’t interested until last year in anything group-led or organised. Then there was the interest in swimming, the interest in dance, art, music – none of which we’ve been able to pursue and all down to covid.
In case this sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not: I understand the science and the need for lockdowns, for the closure of places where people mingle, for keeping people safely in their “bubbles”. This blog post isn’t intended a whinge, more a statement of fact: 2020 was a terrible year for discovering and enjoying anything, anywhere! Because of this, we haven’t been anywhere, we haven’t done anything. Our life has been entirely local and our world small. We are lucky to live somewhere quiet, wild, and beautiful: there is space here, with woods, rivers, and fields as far as the eye can see. We have paths and tracks to explore, solitude is easily found and for that, in this difficult time, I am grateful.
Well, who doesn’t have a “but…” after the year we’ve all had.
And it continues, sadly. Various vaccines are being rolled out but they are up against mutated versions of the virus, that reduce their efficacy. People are bored and frustrated by lockdown, with their being arguments for confinement pitching their mental health against the risk of contracting the virus, and many people decide the latter is the least-worst option.
Who knows where this will lead, when – or how – it will end.
Until then, this blog will be about things we have done, things we hope to do, and small day-to-day things that we can do within the confines of varying degrees of confinement and our strict adherence to principles of common sense when it comes to mixing.
Soon it will be spring. There will be more opportunities to meet outside, to venture further afield. Hopefully this year we will be able to camp again and to make it to the mountain hut by the lake earmarked for an overnight wild camping adventure with the little ones and friends. We will be able to swim in the lake, to play, to relax a little. The summer – despite covid being in circulation – was quite glorious: we spent most days at the lake, just hanging out until it was time to get out of the sun (if we made it first thing) or return home for food and bed (if we made it later in the afternoon.)
Maybe this year we’ll manage an overnight camp with the bikes – or I will finally venture off on my own to do this. I’m sure I’ll totally freak out, but after an intense 7 years of parenting, I’m really craving time alone; something that is totally incompatible with confinement!
I also want a visit to a city – for some buzz. I want cafes, a choice of meals (a curry!), and a nice apartment with a view, a bath and a big TV.
Then there’s mini disco and family camping in Spain. We had a such a good holiday there but have had to wait to go back.
And visiting family and friends in the UK. I daren’t even hope that will be a possibility this year as we’re unlikely to receive the vaccine any time soon, so it’s unlikely travel is going to feel “safe” for us this year. Maybe next year. Maybe those in my family who have had the vaccine will feel safe to travel here – and stay longer than usual, making it more than a holiday?
So many maybes for the year ahead.