A Burgundy diary – 19 May 2021

A beginning to an end to ‘confinement’

As the rain fell, intermittently, on Épinac this afternoon I sat under an awning and drank my first beer at Épinac’s – or any – local bar. It was a strange event. Will it be part of the tentative beginning of the old pre-covid19 life, at least here in Burgundy?

Three or four weeks ago I was in Paris. It was not itself at all in times of ‘confinement’ (lockdown). I had to go to an appointment on the edge of the city. I walked along the Boulevards des Marechaus (Marshals). It was a fine spring day. It was the type of day in which Paris sings. Trees were on the point of coming into full-leaf. Wisteria and clematis were in flower. And every five minutes or so a tram glided past.

And yet almost all the cafés – such an essential part of Paris life – were closed, their seats stacked abjectly inside. Meals to take away (emporter) were on sale in some restaurants and bars; but that was it.

Since then, and back here in Burgundy, we bravely face rain and wind, and look steadfastly to the south-west and the prevailing Morvan wind. And Paris’s abundant wisteria – the example here is from Ivry-sur-Seine (94200) alongside Paris – are almost impossible to imagine here. Last year’s flowers, at the beginning of May, are – this year – still small stunted growths, like tiny pine cones still waiting for a chance to flower against the cold west wizening wind.