Or confinement as the French call it. How are we all? Are we rocking back and forth yet? In a Jack Nicolson, One Flew over the Cuckoo Nest, type of manner? I love referring to this and the photo to depict
my a mental state. That and Betty Blue. The other week I think I came close to acting like a deranged, fatter and older version of Betty Blue. Only one day mind. One day too many some might say. If you haven’t seen Betty Blue you must. It’s about a couple in love and the is a proper head case as opposed to an ordinary head case.
Well how we all doing?!
So yeah, I was like “we’ve got this” at the beginning of the ‘lock down’. Keep calm carry on. I’m British. My grandad was shipped out to Italy in WWII then just to reward him, upon his return, they shipped him out to Palestine for 2 years. He said it was worse in many ways as you didn’t know who your enemy was. In any event, I’m fairly tough mentally. Or am I? Who am I even?! I see it as a chance to get DIY jobs finished, get fit and get fluent. The end.
However, one day I just lost my shit. In fact, I think it was two days – a Thursday and Friday if memory serves me well. And the thing is, in both these cases, I was perfectly sane prior to losing my shit. Like a character out of the ‘The Lego Movie’ where they all sing “everything is awesome”. I don’t recall how or why the switch went from perfectly sane woman to crazy lady – it just did. I think it’s fair to say, having chatted to some of my friends, that people are experiencing similar emotions. A mini roller coaster if you will.
We all know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s no great hardship. We have to stay at home blah blah blah. However, I really don’t think the “get over it” facebook posts help. Prior to this, everyone loved a “be kind” “you don’t know someone till you walk in their shoes” meme. Now it’s like you need to get over yourself. Snap out of it! Would you tell someone that if they suffered with depression (well I might – joke!)? So why say it to someone who is struggling with confinement. The loneliness, the worry, etc etc.
Not only that – and I will do a whole other blog post on this – you’ve got the Covid19 Nazi’s doing the rounds on facebook. The ones sharing people getting punched, hurled abuse at for not adhering to strict confinement regulations. You’ve also got people here grassing up their neighbours so yeah good luck with living in your commune after that! I consider myself to be fairly street wise having lived in South London for 25 years but do I ever want to cross a Normandy farmer or even worse have them bear a grudge against me? Erm nope. No thanks. So suggest you all stop twitching your curtains and grassing people up and just calm down. And if anyone says, “it saves lives!” well tell that to the old people in the Ephads who make up for over 50% of the deaths here in France. Who were only told to be in their individual rooms at the end of March. I digress with a mini rant.
So, without further ado here are my top tips to get you through the next, undefined, period of confinement:-
Ignore All Top Ten Tips
Ha ha – just kidding, however, there is an element of this. Because whilst I’m about to suggest some of those very twee things. It is also okay to say, “Do you know what? Fuck this shit!” I feel guilty enough about not being a ‘key worker’, feeling like a spare prick watching my bank balance diminish every month. It’s okay to not give a flying fuck and spend all day on social media if that is what makes a day more tolerable than the previous one. It’s okay not be okay but preferable for not too long! Otherwise I will say get a bloody grip and man up!
What’s App Voice Recordings
Now, prior to this I was not UK homesick in the slightest. But, what with (we’re coming into our 5th week here in France) talking to various family members and old friends – I am now feeling like I need to pay a visit. Or they can all come here! In fact, today I spent most of the day replying to various messages. I’m spending a lot of time video calling, talking, messaging and it’s nice! Everyday, on our respectful dog walks, my old chatting partner/putting the world to rights partner in crime aka ‘Em’ we voice record messages. Now if you don’t know how to do this – you simply swipe up the microphone icon. You can also do this on FB as well.
The beauty of this is that you can say everything without having to schedule times when it’s good to call for the other person. Plus it’s also a bit of therapy talking out loud and sometimes you think “god yeah! that isn’t right!” or you can kind of work stuff out for yourself. Things become clearer and its good to get things of your chest. Likewise, it’s great to hear the other person’s ramblings and you really get to listen to them and hear about all those day to day minor details that you would have heard if you were living back in the UK.
Get Jiggy With It!
If you can get it and if you can’t improvise! You filthy cow I can hear you all say. Sorry. Not sorry. Too much information. And you thought this was a good old family blog?! Now again, if you are living with someone that is in the depths of despair and the daily death figures are not turning you on then this one might be off the agenda. However, don’t say I didn’t plant the seed. Enough said.
Now this one is right up there. It.Is.Essential. For your own sanity you cannot afford not to exercise. I do not care what you do – walk, jog, dance, run, do the PE work out with Joe Wicks, gardening etc. You have to move your body and get on with it. Keep your hands busy oh er Matron. But this is my absolutely essential. Now is a great time to get fit. Step away from the Cadbury’s, dust off those kettle bells and move your ass!
Okay this is more for us Normandy lifers but if you are one of those that says “my French isn’t up to it” then now is the time to make great strides on improving that. Youtube, facebook groups to find random strangers (some more bona fide than others) to chat in French too, learning apps, films etc. For those that just fancy faffing around with some holiday language – re-open that duolingo app and get going!
Yarp go all war time Go all 1940s housewife with baking bread, scones, hot cross buns, Victoria Sandwich and all manner of childhood classics. Okay, this may get out of hand and you might find yourself rolling out of confinement with a double winter body but these foods make you feel good as does baking. Just make sure you don’t become like the Cookie Monster and you rein in the food sampling bit. But yarp, get baking and kneading that bread and go all domestic goddess with a body to match from all that working out you’ve been doing. Like who are you even when you leave the lock down? A goddess that’s who!
Or the creative DIY. My fav Normandy lifer, the lovely Linda likes to paint any furniture that doesn’t move. So that’s all furniture. I did a fly by the other day on the pretence that I was checking on an elderly neighbour. Sorry. Not Sorry. Kept our distance. And she had paint splashes all up her arms. She shouted from the 1st floor window that she’d finished painting another set of chest of drawers. Go that woman. So, yes it doesn’t have to be “put up those lights” (incidentally which Mr Normandy has not done) but a creative bit of DIY. I don’t normally like painting – but an afternoon getting high on black gloss with more on my body than the staircase was surprisingly pleasing. In fact, I may have to replace that with number 3 on my list!
That Thing That You Never Got Around To Having A Go At
Yes, you know it. I know it. That thing that will sometime never happen. And it still might not happen but you can have a half baked attempt at it and you can finally give it a big tick off the list. The now I can get on with my life tick.
For me, it’s figuring out how to use my sewing machine without intervention. This is never going to happen. The bobbin and me just wind each other up. I will take it up when I’m in my 60s and not before. That book – The History of France. Still on page 5. But the thought is there. Learning to play the keyboard in the summer house. Yarp, had a few goes on it. Tick. Done. Feel better on the ‘learn an instrument’ front so I did. Take up the flute again – yeah ebay could be tricky on that one but again the thought was there. Who’s going to miss me playing “Tears Of A Clown”. Erm, that would be no one. But the thought is there people, the thought is there.
Faffing All Day Long On Tik Tok
Now it would appear you are not doing the lock down correctly unless you are making a video that 1) is not funny 2) does not involve any slow motion or trickery but is simply you dancing like some wannabe “stars in your eyes” talent show and uploaded to facebook. I have yet to work out what Tik Tok is all about and can’t see I will have any regrets should this not happen. But don’t dis it till your try that’s what I say.
Probably my absolute favourite go to. Spotify. I used to have an Ipod which used to stitch me up like a kipper every time I wanted to add a new artist. I hate you Apple and your shit Ipod’s and your phones are far inferior to Samsung so there!
They did this so you would then buy their monthly music package. I still miss the Ipod as you don’t need wifi and you can go off into the wilderness – just you and your music.
Spotify makes everything all okay again. You just add your music to your playlist and that’s it. I signed up to 3 months free premium and after that I think it’s £10 per month but I’ve not been charged so I won’t tell them if you won’t.
Admittedly I had at least 6,000 tracks on my Ipod and I can’t possibly remember all the albums I purchased but I’m having a go at remembering them I can tell you. You can also get podcasts on it – French language learning, motivational talks and anything else which takes your fancy. So crank it up and brighten your day. Not only that my sister bought me (possibly the best present ever) a JBL speaker aka a mini beat box. No self respecting person can get through the lock down without Spotify!
So there you go people, how to stay sane and healthy for this indefinitely time in confinement. Please do feel free to add your own.
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