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  • Writer's picturemebesidethesea

Life on Hold in Limousin

So after an eventful few weeks, escaping from Italy, hightailing it back to The UK and packing up the rest of our worldly belongings ready to follow us by lorry in a few weeks, we set off in Ada to complete on our new French home!

We had gained a passenger in the form of Daddy Cool. My dad is a legend and despite having reached the grand age of 84 is full of life, has a great sense of humour and a love of travel! He also has a positive outlook on life and although we had all discussed the emerging Corona virus outbreak, when the latest confirmed case turned out to be just three miles from his apartment in Torbay, there really was no question of what would be safer so we all set off for France, with plenty of antibac soap and spray, some face masks and a box of disposable gloves. I refused to partake in the panic buying that gripped the nation but I did throw one extra pack of loo rolls in the garage just in case!

Leaving the UK full of excitement ...

Our plan was to spend a couple of days visiting the Normandy Beaches before making our way across France to Limousin to collect the keys to the new house. We did indeed do that and our time there will be documented in a later blog but it feels much more apt and important to address the situation, we all now find ourselves in.

Within days of leaving the UK, it became apparent Covid 19 was going to surge through Europe and the numbers of cases and more worryingly, deaths in Italy were rising rapidly. Fear was beginning to cause widespread panic buying in the UK but travelling through France, there was little evidence of that, the supermarkets were fully stocked and morale was good.

No shortages then or now in most French Supermarkets!

We arrived in Gourdon Murat, the small commune in Correze, Limousin where our new house is situated, just over a week ago. We planned to spend a few weeks cleaning and awaiting the arrival of our furniture and belongings before putting Daddy Cool on a plane home and continuing our travels.

How much has changed in a week! We are now facing a global pandemic, the likes of which most of us have never before experienced in our lifetime. Borders are closed, free movement restricted, businesses forced to shut their doors, some of us are confined to home and social isolation is widespread. Governments are scrambling to control the escalation so that they can better prepare hospitals with staff, training and equipment.

For us, once we decided to stay in France, we put ourselves in the hands of Macron and The French Government. We are already in Lockdown, allowed out only for essential supplies, to the supermarket or pharmacy and for light exercise. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but we feel safer here. Gourdon Murat is very rural and the whole area is sparsely populated. The restrictions are being respected without drama or panic. Our local supermarket serving about a 20 square mile radius remains fully stocked with regular deliveries. I am anxious about being separated from Harry and Millie but relieved that Daddy Cool is here with us rather than being on his own in Paignton. I definitely didn’t want him to travel by air or train and be exposed to more risk, so for now, we’re staying in France.

Our first night in Gourdon Murat (after a lot of cleaning!)

Celebrating in style ... French Champagne naturally!

The house is beginning to shape up, we’re so lucky to have inherited some fabulous furniture as we’re not sure at all when or if our belongings will arrive from the UK

Each day and each news report bring further developments and it is hard to keep up and process the rapidity of the disease and the responses to it. Sitting here in a remote French commune, it can feel surreal but we’re constantly thinking of our friends and family at home. I’m horrified by the sight of supermarkets stripped bare and the selfishness and greed of some people. At the same time, I’ve never been prouder of how communities are pulling together and helping those who are self isolating and the lonely and vulnerable. A time like this really defines us as human beings and the truly good among us will reach out and help each other!

This crisis isn’t going to end as quickly as it started, we have to be prepared for the long haul and to comply with restrictions which will make life very difficult but only by pulling together and acting for all rather than just ourselves will be overcome it.

I certainly never expected to write a blog like this, these are unprecedented times. We may not be travelling far but I’ll keep you all updated with videos on Facebook and my Instagram about life on lockdown in Limousin. We definitely feel blessed to be here!

We are the lucky ones, locked down in this beautiful countryside but isolation is isolation, it’s stressful, lonely and painful to be separated from loved ones! We are thinking of all our friends, family and neighbours back in Brixham and across the world!


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