Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Isolation and Socialization

We’re not very good at isolation. 
We had every intent to isolate 10 days. Then a friend said the rules say 7 days, but they’re a suggestion. 
We let our friends know we’d be happy to see them in the garden if they felt safe. 
But the weather was rainy and chilly that first day so Lou and Steve brought us dinner, and Derrick and Kris joined us, all of them with their dogs, so 4 dogs and our surly cat roaming around. We ate and played board games until 9 pm when I put away the wine and kicked everyone out. I figured I’d done well to stay awake that long. 
Quillan is preparing for the Tour de France to visit.
On Monday, our friends Sue and Steve came for drinks. Drinks turned into dinner before they raced home to beat the 9 p.m. curfew. 
I suggested that Jo might want to drop by for a glass of blanquette on Tuesday after I finished teaching, and then invited her husband Matthew to join us for dinner as well, so they both arrived and we grilled chicken on the grill and talked late into the evening, including a bit of poetry recitation (thank you, Matthew.)
On Wednesday, the bars and restaurants opened outside in France for the first time since October. Did I have a choice but to meet Derrick early at a café where we had a café crème on the terrace overlooking the river Aude. 
The flowers grow out from the bridge each spring. 
I'd already asked the belly dancing group, which meets outside on the tennis courts, if they would feel safe having me there since we dance outside. Everyone was fine with it. Meanwhile, the husbands of the belly dancers were gathering for a drink at an outdoor bar and asked Earl to come along. 
When we finished learning some Bollywood moves, my friends urged me to join the husbands for a drink too. So, I did, drinking a monaco, beer, lemonade and grenadine, glowing a beautiful red. 
I returned home to work on taxes where my frustration grew, as you can see from my previous post. 
On Thursday, I met Derrick for a coffee again and then a drink later that day, all outside. We talked about dinner, and agree to combine our meals -- I had pork in the crock pot and he made potato salad. We made an attempt at playing Password, but my brain apparently is not over jet lag. Earl and Kris did quite well, so maybe it isn't jet lag. 
After I finished teaching on Friday, we hosted my friend Linda from Frenchless in France and a friend. It's always fun to catch up with friends from far away. 
Friday was fish and chips night. The van parks in Quillan near a local bar, the PMU. The PMU provides the drinks while the van doles out fish and chips which we must order ahead of time. We hadn't seen our American friends Jim and Theresa yet, so were happy to meet with them and walk over to fish and chips. Some red wine, some greasy chips and breaded fish. Earl and I share one order and that is plenty.  
Saturday, technically seven days after we arrived, is another market day, that meant more coffee alongside the river, plus coffee from the van that kept us in take away coffee throughout the lockdown since last October. And finally, our first real meal out in France since October 30th. We returned to Les Platanes, the restaurant we last ate at. 
The nine of us sat at two tables, a limit of six adults is in place even for outdoor tables. I ordered duck and fries, something I haven't eaten since October. We were all so happy to be out for the evening, although we remained aware of the 9 p.m. curfew. The duck was a bit overdone, but the wine flowed and I enjoyed ordering a café gourmande, a mix of desserts and tiny cup of espresso. 
Earl finished his dessert and looked my way. I loaded up the remaining cake, ice cream and chantilly (whipped cream) and sent it his way. 
It was in the midst of this week that Earl began asking when we would have a day off - and day without anything scheduled. Like a race horse in mid-stride, it took me a minute to remember that maybe he didn't feel the urge to catch up with everyone like I did. 
But we'd already committed to an afternoon at Sue and Steve's on Sunday, an afternoon that ended shortly before curfew with way too much cheese and nibbles. 
And on Monday, we planned an outing. We ended up going to the sea in the morning since the weather forecast warned of higher winds in the afternoon. The water was cold, so I satisfied my sea urge by walking in the sand. Earl and Kris went in and they report the water was breathtaking, not in a good way. 
The sparkly sea. 
After being told all the restaurants along the beach were full, it was a bank holiday, which meant no one was at work and many people were at the beach, we drove into Beziers. We'd enjoyed a stop in Bezier four years earlier when searching for a place to live. 
We found a restaurant with outdoor seating. I tried duck again and was much more pleased by the thick magret de canard cooked rare and juicy. I shared only a bit with Derrick and with his dogs, eating the whole thing. 
Yum. Hand cut fries, duck and salad. 
We finished the meal and went walking along the park that stretches through the center of the city, Plateau des poètes. A lovely walk in the sun admiring all the poets who were born in the area. The fountains are impressive. 
A moody sky over the fountain
And finally, today, Earl got his wish. A day without dinner plans. I met my friend Isa for coffee in the square this morning.
Cappuccino with chantilly

 And I might have gone to meet some other friends for a drink after they signed papers on a new house. But other than that, an evening for two stretches in front of us. 
As my British friends might say, We're rubbish at isolating. Luckily, we were vaccinated and tested so felt safe that we weren't spreading Covid. 

1 comment:

Mary said...

Very glad you had a great time in the US. It's also good to see you out and about at home in France. We are just starting to venture out in Arizona, even going maskless to a restaurant last evening! Thrills!

A Castle on Every Mountain

 Yesterday evening, I was texting with our son Spencer. He was getting a tire fixed on his day off. He asked how my day was.  I hiked with s...