Another four weeks

As I write Emmanuel Macron is speaking to the French nation. Ben is watching while I try and chivvy the children into bed and to hang on to the hope of good news.

I may have to have a glass too.

It is not to come. The lock down, our confinement, is going to continue here for at least another four weeks. We will be here until 11 May at the absolute earliest and, quite possibly until the middle of July, as some restrictions will continue until at least then.

And I realise that I had foolishly allowed myself to hope. That the lifting of restrictions in other European states might follow here and that we might be on the road again, perhaps even at the beginning of May.

But we will not be. And who knows if we will ever be. The countries we want to travel through, and to, also remain closed or locked down. We have no idea when that will change. Even if we can get to them, who knows if transport will run or our visas will be valid.

I am beginning to allow a glimmer of a possibility of a chance that we may not make it to Tokyo at all.

And I realise that this is a very selfish thought. This decision is absolutely the right thing. The stories coming out of the UK, and indeed our home town, where the ice rink is being turned into a temporary morgue, remain terrifying, as does much of the media coverage here. All we are being asked to do is stay put.

M. Macron has asked us to be calm and courageous, and he is right. There is nothing else we can do or be. We remain well. We remain safe. We are very fortunate indeed.

But for the moment I, at least, am, selfishly, bitterly disappointed too.

I suspect I will wake up in the morning having accepted this and, probably, having worked out in my head a multiplicity of ‘ifs’ that may still allow us to make our way East, perhaps even still overland.

For now though, I give thanks for all those who are keeping this and every other country running. We are all in their debt. I am going to try very hard not to forget that.


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  1. You have every right to feel bitterly disappointed after all the thought and planning that have gone into this trip. However, I guess that now you will just have to use all your combined ingenuity to make your enforced house arrest in France a worthwhile and valuable experience in its own right. Our love as always.

  2. Best wishes to you all and thank you for publishing your thoughts on how plans have changed in ways we could not have imagined just a couple of months ago. I hope you are to resume travel but in the meantime, the photos of your temporary home in France are great, what a lovely area.

  3. We have to believe that our leaders (in France and in the UK) are doing the right things to keep us as safe as it is possible to be in these surreal and terrifying times. With this in mind, and with hope that we WILL get through this, just thank God that we are not American and spare a thought for our friends who are who have to listen to Donald Trump and his solipsist, self-centred outbursts.

    • It’s certainly interesting seeing what is happening in the UK (and indeed US) through the filter of French media (and vice versa)… Stay safe.

  4. Being disappointed isn’t an irresponsible or selfish response. You can be both disappointed AND grateful for all you have AND empathetic with those who are disastrously affected. I think you describe and illustrate that well in this post.

    (And I’ve learnt something new. I didn’t know there was a Borders ice rink.)

    • Thank you! That is very kind. And yes, we have an ice rink. In normal circumstances it’s mostly used for curling.

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