Light At The End Of The Tunnel (And Getting Naked)
Pre-Post Note/ THANK YOU for all your comments on my last post. I know it was a darker one, and those are always harder to share, but I’m so thankful that I could, and that I was able to resonate with some of you. THANK YOU again!
Week 7 of the virus confinement in France, and there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The country has officially announced that restrictions will start lifting on May 11th, and in celebration of that (or perhaps totally unrelated to it) people are getting naked.
All this has came just in time for me, or at least before my gin supply runs out and madness overtakes. I’ve been struggling a bit (as you all know), so news of the re-opening has come like a cool dip on a hot day….with a sense of total and utter relief. We have a plan and a timeframe now, essentials that my very A-type brain both needs and relishes.
I can handle almost any kind of hard slog as long as I have an idea of how long it will last.
And the naked thing, yeah that’s a whole other topic. It’s the beginning of May, a new month of hope so apparently people are getting naked, both in celebration & protest. I dig it, and feel the freedom in the air. After all, there’s light at the end of the tunnel now, so let’s all celebrate that with a bit of communal bathing in the free wind….
The Slow Transition To A “New Normal”
The confinement thing is obviously our biggest news. After almost 2 months of full lock-down, starting May 11th we’ll finally be able to circulate outside of our teeny little 1km (0.6 mile) radius, without any kind of paperwork to justify it. And THAT is a big a deal!!
Our transition is not going to happen immediately. It’s going to be a phased re-opening, with parts of France opening before others. Each département (the country is divided into 101 total) will be given either a “green”, “orange” or “red” designation, based on how they are coping with the virus. The color will depend on a combo of 3 things; the number of new cases diagnosed, the number & capacity of local intensive care units, and the implementation of local testing & tracking programs.
It will be reviewed daily, and obviously “green” is where you want to be.
On top of the color-coding thing, there will still be limits as to how far/where you can travel (the max will be 100 km/62 miles), how you can socialize (10 people max), as well as how companies, shops & schools will open (transitioned opening, with social distancing). Plus wearing of masks will be required on public transport, and can be required/asked by shops.
Perhaps the biggest impact, at least for traveling folk, is that all bars & restaurants will remain closed, as well as international borders (no cross-border travel except for essential reasons). The latter could well remain restricted for several months more.
This is all Phase 1 of the re-opening….Phase 2 of the plan will be released June 2nd.
So that’s the gist of it. Obviously there are a ton of nitty-gritty details behind all this, plus there is always possibility that things go backwards again (if case numbers spike up, or we see a second wave). And life is not going back to “normal”, at least not anytime soon. We’ll need better treatment options, and much more testing/tracking before that can happen, not to mention a vaccine (which won’t happen before late 2021). So we can’t let down our guard down quite yet.
But the key thing is that a plan is now in place, and we WILL be quite a bit freer for it, even if we’re not socializing or traveling like we were before.
The first color-coded map was released by the government on Thursday, and I’m superbly happy to say that our SW region of France is in the “green” zone. This means we’ll get all the new privileges announced by the opening on May 11th, including that all-important 100 km travel release. Yeahhhhhhh!!!
Obviously we’re not going to rush out and go camping quite yet. We’re going to hang back a bit, just to see how things pan out and then when/if we do go out we’ll only take short trips either by car (for day-trips/hiking) or for a few sweet nights at an Aire or such in LMB. 100 km (~62 miles) may not seem like much, but it encompasses ALOT down here in the SW. And there’s plenty we can do & see in our area without any kind of contact with other folk (which is still going to be important).
I can’t even tell you how excited I am about all this!
So Lots of Folks Got Naked
The other big news this week was that everyone got naked, or rather quite a lot did.
Apparently the first Saturday in May, every single year is official World Naked Gardening Day, a rather key event that I’ve managed to miss up to this point in my worldy life. Now I’m not overly convinced of the merits of weeding in the nude, but my gardening forums (and yes, I’m on gardening forums now), were gushing with anticipation and excitement ahead of the day, and I can’t deny that I was intrigued…
“You’ll never feel freer” exclaimed one keen gardener
“Who doesn’t love a bit of naked gardening?” declared another buff-loving member
“Remember your hat and gloves” added a third, rather wisely I thought
Apparently people not only embrace the idea of a bit of flesh-in-the-free mowing, but they actually truly, really enjoy it. And are quite happy to share that exuberance with others. Who knew?
So yes, May 2nd (yesterday) was the first Saturday in May and in celebration a ton of folks got naked. The pictures that followed on Facebook (those that weren’t blocked anyway) were proof in the pudding as they would say, or in this case proof in the weeds.
It was a blast to see, and has convinced me to give it a try next year in the name of fun & a good laugh. Maybe I’ll even post a pic on the blog, if I feel particularly bold. Why not, eh?
And So Did French Dentists
In another peculiar piece of news, French dentists ( #Dentisteapoil) were getting naked this past week too, but for a rather different reason. They were protesting against being asked to go back to work without proper protective equipment (PPE).
Now obviously this is a very serious thing and no laughing matter, but I have to admit that when I saw the first pictures come out, I didn’t exactly get the connection. I was interested, and certainly very supportive of their message (how could you not be?), but I didn’t exactly get the protest side of it. Of course in a very French way, it all makes perfect sense. We’re defenseless against this virus, so we may as well be working naked. See the link?
And apparently, just like Naked Gardening Day, the protest was superbly successful.
As a result of the picture campaign, the government announced an additional 150,000 FFP2 masks to be released to dentists by May 11th, with more coming thereafter. So thankfully all will be well protected, but alas no-one will need to work in the nude anymore.
All I can say is, I sure hope the firemen protest next…..
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
That’s really it for this week. I can’t deny I’m superbly relieved that we’re re-opening again, not because I’m under any illusion that we’re going to get back to “normal” anytime soon, but just because I’d love to be able to take a drive, or hike somewhere outside our little circle of 1 km. And for the time being, that’s all I need.
Plus I also admit I am very happy that industry will getting back into business again. There’s many that need to work and this will allow them to do that in a controlled manner. Hopefully we can manage the opening, and the virus at the same time without the latter getting out of control. We’re certainly crossing all our fingers and paws for that here.
So my dear blog readers, what I really want to know is did you know about Naked Gardening Day, and did any of you guys participate? DO TELL pleeeease!