The day starts with a neighbourly exchange of eggs as one of our friends texts to say she’s making the delivery. Many of the local farmers here are unable to sell their wares during the quarantine, but the chickens they keep on laying and the cows’ milk needs a drinking… So they have no option but to post signs offering their produce for free and hope nearby neighbours are willing to risk potential infection to receive them.

DA and I perform the egg-handover like a clumsy blackmail operation on the bridge in full view of amused passersby in cars.

I complete the wood chip path, accepting that there will never be enough wood-chips to mask the plastic sheeting underneath until the chips we’ve procured break down and settle into the space... Bear arrives and together we finish building the paving stone path. All that remains is the concrete which is outside of our purview so we’ve arranged for our DB who has a key to our place to do the honours while we socially distance from our vantage point above and watch him work.

The lockdown is bringing old friends out of the woodwork.

People I’ve grown accustomed to talking with in ‘soundbites’, or rather ‘text bites’, as opposed hearing their voices and seeing their faces. All of a sudden the world feels very small and familiar again as we’re all trapped indoors. We travel by virtue of connecting with others across the globe, looking for any adventures they can give us.

I take the plunge and buy the mosquito netting I’ve been eyeing up on Amazon. I’ve been claiming I’m going to make my own screens, yet for two years have opted for the routine summertime argument between Bear and I as we tear strips of each other for opening and closing our windows. Bear is firmly in the leave window open camp. Then again, he’s not the one that turns into a pseudo pin cushion as a result of the endless pricks from my infernal seasonal foe. Take my blood if you will but don’t inject me with your devilish saliva — this is the year I decree you will not make it across the threshold!

We’re too tired for a real lunch. (I’ve been toiling in the garden and Bear has been on back to back work calls.) We both reach for tins of sardines and have it two ways: Bear with sautéed potatoes and onions, but that feels like even too much work for me. I opt for mine with a can of sweetcorn on the side and a handful of corn cakes.

We vow to barbecue beef for dinner, but instead resort to the Le Creuset pan Bear found at a vide grenier for 3 euros. If ever we’re pulled from this house in the middle of the night as a result of, say a fire, I’m convinced this is what Bear will rescue first. In the darkness, he’ll clear flakes of ash from its surface while whispering words of comfort, before my face or Riley’s come to mind. He loves his pan, and who am I kidding, I love it too… It’s prepared many a good meal.

Beef is served with a dill, tomato and shallot salsa along with some charred broccoli.

This series was first published on Medium