Don't panic, don't panic!

24 Mar 2020

This blog was written on 13th March, Caroline scheduled for Tuesday 24th. Half of it became bunkum. So I shall look at my life here and my family in UK, is one country better than the other? I won't quote statistics, anybody can 'Google' them, out of date within hours anyway.

I wrote a blog, 'Thinking outside the box'. Useless! Most of my ideas have been scuppered by the Corona shut-down. My losses are minor, just my need, after a long, grey, winter, to get out among people has come to a halt. Then I had a really bad day yesterday, self-doubt and guilt. I took my son to the station for a very complicated journey with four changes. I did not use my Tom-tom, knew the road. But it was only just getting light, and although I have good sight and was wearing driving glasses I missed the turning. Had to drive 12 kms away from the station before I could turn round, then risk speeding fines. He got the train – only hiccup signal problems in Geneva so he had to complete the journey back to the French Alps partly by bus. He is now 'imprisoned' (in a lovely place) but he should be in Australia. Why this travel saga? Because it dented my self-confidence.

My family are all quite happy for me to fetch and carry them to airports or stations. If they doubted my driving or my reliability they would organise alternative transport, even if impractical, expensive, or lengthen the journey. Grand-children are phoning, to check up on me, and, in particular, that I am not likely to run short of food. I loathe shopping, so first day of son's visit we loaded two trolleys at the still well-stocked supermarket and filled cupboards and freezer.

So, not quite like Corporal Jones, I did look around my habitat, and thought what measures I ought to take should I become ill. Being old and living alone puts me in a 'risk' category although I do not have underlying health issues. But we have a very high percentage of old people living alone. My young neighbour opposite, stuck with three children for months (French schools shut 2 weeks before UK) said she'll get anything I want. Retired shop-keeper in main road, known for 35 years, is phoning round checking on elderly widows.

Panic buying, making headlines in the UK, does not seem such an issue here. A British bloke, here 14 years, never learned French, thought situation same here. Rushed out and bought toilet rolls, rice and pasta which he never eats!

Unfortunately I cannot help my 95 year old neighbour. (Since writing this, she has been made to accept help as France is in lock-down and we can only go out with a piece of paper justifying our leaving home). She has just phoned to apologise for not coming! No idea she needs authorisation and cannot go visiting. It would be ironic if the police arrested her – which they are now doing. I am beginning to wish I had not written that blog 'che sera sera'. Still holds true?

The Gardener

A Moodscope member.

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