Salisbury Saintes Twinning Association
Saintes Salisbury Twinning

News from France April 2019

Sandra and David Snape were SSTA members before they moved to Brizambourg, 10 miles north east of Saintes.  Sandra kindly agreed to give us a few insights into life in France under Covid-19 lockdown.  Thank you Sandra.

We were highly amused in a bar/restaurant in La Rochelle, a couple of days before the official lockdown. It was dejeuner and the local male workers had invented a 'safe' alternative to their usual Bisous. Elbow, Elbow, Bum cheek! 

Some Supermarket shelves seem sparse but not empty. Our co-op quickly limited the number of customers in store to 5 max, with a lady guarding the entrance.  The twice weekly market is also still on in our village, with people very sensibly queuing 1.5 metres apart, snaking into the car park - a challenge to work out which queue is which! I queued at the Co-op on a Saturday morning and nearly came 'to blows' with an elderly lady who thought I was queue jumping. She was standing away from the queue with her dog and I (wrongly) assumed she'd sent her husband into the store!

Our Tabac has marked out his small floor with parcel tape, to ensure at least a metre distance is observed. Even funnier, the owner is sporting his machinery protection visor (grey tint) and a single rubber glove to serve customers. He sells lovely fresh bread though, so it's worth a visit. Bread is definitely not going to run out...the Boulangeries are now allowed to open 7 days a week, instead of the normal 6. We won't need to eat cake yet! Although having said that, there was no plain flour when I shopped this morning, everyone must be baking!

Every time we leave the house, we have our government document 'Attestation de deplacement derogatoire', and a pen in pocket, just in case. Although the likelihood of seeing anyone who might want to see it is pretty minimal around here.  We say 'Bonjour' to more farmers than anyone else. Life just seems to be carrying on as normal for them. The vines are beginning to bud, the rape crop is in full flower, the soil is well rotivated and planted with corn. David reckons places like this just carry on regardless and probably were the same during the war!

We've been on several good cycle rides around the vineyards and have walked daily. A good time for getting out in isolation is 'Dejeuner', 12-2pm. Traditions continue!  We've had some lovely late lunches in the sunshine after our exercise. On Sunday we walked for 2 hours and saw only one tractor, nobody else for miles around. So peaceful too. The sky is so much clearer with very few aeroplane trails!

The garden is benefiting greatly from this lockdown...and the weather. You can tell everyone is busy 'a chez nous'.  The sound of lawnmowers, strimmers, chainsaws etc. fills the air.

I think I might actually finish reading 'Les Miserables', all 1304 pages, one day soon.  I need to sit in a good chair/deckchair to read it, as its too heavy for bedtime!  I had Rick Stein's "Secret France" cookbook for Xmas. I thoroughly recommend it; fabulous pictures, tips on places to visit and some lovely recipes too! I'm enjoying doing more cooking since our regular lunch outings are on hold. I'm assured the wine cellar will stay stocked, thankfully!

Sandra saw this sign in a shop window.  A sign of the times!





Shop window near Saintes