So here we are on the eve of our first day of being secluded, and honestly I have to say that it feels surprisingly peaceful.
I don’t mean I love it, why would I? This is a dreadful situation for the world to find itself in. We are all worried or scared about the implications of the virus for our health and the health of those we love, and we are all aware of and worried about a potential economic crisis. But when it comes down to each of us, as individuals, the most we can do is to slow down, follow the New Rules, and try to be mindful of those around us.
So I thought you may like to know how this is playing out here.
As you know, if you read me, I live in the countryside with my husband and two extremely scruffy dogs. Being secluded in the country is a very different game to being in the city, it is quiet on a busy day but today it has been Qu-i-et.
We’re empty nesters and our children each live in big cities, but we keep in close daily contact.
The President Macron addressed France yesterday evening, and let us know that we had until midday today to work out where we want to be confined. As from midday today and for the next two weeks at least, we are requested to only go to work if we can’t work remotely; go to buy food or go to a health appointment. If we need to leave home and drive around, we have to go alone and fill in an official paper stating why we are travelling and where.
The only stores to remain open are food outlets and pharmacies, and we are meant to keep one meter away from anyone else, which means no standing in a tight queue for a baguette.
Ideally, besides our family members we are advised not to meet more than five people in a day. Today I met my postman, at a distance. This all sounds draconian, and feels rather weird, but everyone seems to accept that it is the price to pay to avoid the worst, and to protect the more fragile ones around us.
It so happens that along with the other members of the MFCH team we all work remotely anyway. This means that it is work as normal for us all.
We are still producing the magazine, and still curating the collection for the next box. All of our boxes will be delivered normally, via DHL Express whose services continue to function. With the launch of our new on-line MFCH Boutique, there are shipments to be packed, and of course any packing areas are fully sanitised. The magazine will still be printed and posted to our subscribers, and also for sale in outlets like Barnes& Noble and Books A Million.
(Incidentally if you are a client to the box or the magazine, and you have temporarily changed address because of the virus, then please drop us an email and we’ll be sure to update our records.)
And when we come to the end of the working day, we will find different ways to keep ourselves busy. I’m planning to do a lot of work in the garden, in preparation for the spring and summer ahead. I’ve planted waaaay too many seeds, and had waaaay too much mulch delivered, so I really have my work cut out there.
Around me I have heard people say they are going to spring clean their home from top to bottom; or catch up on old films; or learn how to bake spectacular cakes. And I see that on Instagram there is a hashtag called #isolationcreation, where people are sharing their creativity while staying home.
For the dogs it is business as usual. I tried to teach Gibson and Ghetto some new ‘seclusion-day’ tricks this afternoon but they were not at all interested in the concept. Such weird pups.
I hope that wherever you are today, you are not feeling too worried. Let’s be confident together that this is an uncomfortable moment to get through, and that there are silver linings to be enjoyed. Taking more time to appreciate each other’s company; to observe everyday beauty around us and to be more creative. Or simply taking a rest. I’d love to hear what you are up to, if you’re spending time secluded at home.
And a special thought for people in the medical world, who are taking care of the sick. They also have families to care for, and I’m sure that it’s not easy to head out to work each day.
Keep an eye on your older neighbours; slow down and let’s not give in to fear or panic. We can all emerge from this stronger and wiser. Take care my friends.