Friday, October 30, 2020

The Last Day

As we walked home Thursday night, the clock ticking toward 11, Earl said, “I’m really glad the day is over.”
“I guess I pushed it too much,” I replied as we removed our masks, leaving centre ville behind. 
We laughed but on Thursday, the last day before a month-long quarantine, we tried to squeeze every bit of life out of it. 
The day was glorious with sunshine and tinkling yellow leaves in the breeze. 
A small vineyard shows off its fall colors
With the announcement Wednesday night that everything would shut down on Friday at 12:01 a.m., we made a plan to get some necessities on Thursday. We knew the grocery stores would remain open, but we had slacked off and let staples get depleted, and the shelves of the stores often go bare the first few days. 
So Earl dropped me at the grocery store at 10 til 9. It opened at 9 and there was already a line. The line behind me was even longer than this. 

A grocery cart is called a chariot in French. The couple in front of me must have been
taking advantage of shopping together, which we aren't allowed to do
during confinement. Only one person per household. 

Earl went on to fill the car up with gas. I had driven to the Mediterranean the day before and the gas light came on as I returned to town. Gas prices will probably go down, but I didn't like to have an empty car in case of an emergency. 
He also went to the hardware store Mister Bricolage to get some supplies we need for patching and painting the walls of the office, along with continuing to sand and repair the shutters. During the last shut down, the hardware stores weren't open at the beginning, then they opened to builders, and finally they opened to everyday people stuck at home and wanting to make improvements. 
By 9:30 or so, we were through the long lines and returning home with the bottle of Beefeater gin since the Bombay shelf was empty. We have definite necessities. And a few other bags filled with yogurt, broccoli, potatoes, cat food. You know. 
We walked to the small market in town for decaf coffee and a few other things that I had forgotten -- oatmeal and cocoa. Then had coffee in our favorite café, Le Colibri, which means hummingbird. We talked with the owner about what she would do during the lockdown and she showed up pictures of their horses and farmlands where they would work while they couldn't run their café/bar. 
Earl had scheduled a last minute quarantine haircut, and lucky for us, Melissa came to our house to do it. I taught Chinese students while Earl went to meet Jack for lunch. Jack's wife Jules is still in the States, so he will start the quarantine alone. 
After I finished teaching, we climbed on our bikes for a ride. During quarantine, we are allowed to exercise for one hour a day within one kilometer of our homes. This was our last chance for a long ride. 

Every bike ride requires a stop at a cafe
We biked about 13 kilometers to the town of Couiza and met some friends there for drinks. They were supposed to be coming to our house for dinner on Saturday, but now that is cancelled. No friends. No interaction in person through December 1, at least. 

Enjoying the sun
We pedaled home before the sun set, a little earlier here in Quillan because of the mountains. 
Then we walked back to the Colibri for drinks with friends. It was to be our "French-speaking" group which has been meeting on Fridays, a combination of women who do both belly dance and tango. Isabelle, our tango teacher, came for drinks but couldn't stay for dinner. So from 6-8 we drank and laughed, enjoying that we could be together. 
I had suggested dinner, reminding people that this was our last chance not to cook for a month. Restaurants plan to offer take out starting next week, so that may not be strictly true, but it seemed like a good excuse.
So at 8, we walked over to Pizzeria les Platanes. We had reservations for 8, but we had to separate into two tables of four because only groups of 6 can gather. Inevitably, the women sat together and the men sat together. 


Men's selfie
Photo interrupted by Olivier, the always charming waiter. 
We ate and drank and ordered dessert and some ordered coffee, reluctant to leave knowing that we wouldn't be together again for a month. We watched the waiters turn over the tables and seat more people. That doesn't usually happen in France. People eat and linger, but everyone was desperate for one last dinner out. Some people came in as late as 10:30 and we wondered if they would be finished eating by the time the lockdown began at midnight. 
At our table, we talked about meeting furtively on walks or zoom meetings and then we said goodbye.

The month will fly past and before Christmas, hopefully, we'll be huddled under outdoor heaters sipping hot chocolate and amaretto.


Brona said...

Thank you for sharing such a lovely day with us. I'm sorry you're facing another lockdown month though. Sadly, at this point, it does seem to be the only way to bring the numbers back down to a manageable level for hospitals, doctors and nurses though.
I hope you stocked up on some books and puzzles too :-)

Paulita said...

Brona, Yes, I agree. Our area doesn't have a high number of cases and was the only one not under curfew before the lockdown. I have endless books on my Kindle and I'm hoping to get some writing done this month too. Hope you are well.

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