Virus and the Vines

Spring flower bouquet

This Last Week – St Emilion, France

Written 19 March, 2020

Well here I am having spent the last week under the weather, not in a bed ridden fevered state but in a ‘really not feeling well’ (sore throat and cough) must take it easy way. Perhaps it is THE virus, perhaps not. No testing is taking place for cases like me in France with no real risk of aggravation. The Dr says it is certainly a virus and that I am contagious (total of 2 weeks from the onset of the symptoms) so need to confine myself at home (that is not different from everyone in France since midday this Tuesday 17 March). So this next week I hope to collect my two older kids and the family can be reunited. They are currently in Bordeaux where the city has shut down. It is nicer here in the countryside near to St Emilion with vineyards just outside the front door. But the rules of confinement are getting stricter as each day passes.

Its weird to think ten days or so ago I was organising a big tasting and lunch for a group of oenologists. The world has changed since then. Friday 13th was school’s and universities last day of being open in France (Macron spoke the night before soi t was pretty short warning). Saturday evening at 8pm restaurants learnt that they were to close for 2 weeks at least at midnight that night. Quite a shock to such a ‘bon vivant’ nation.

Beautiful weather meant that the French were out and about on the Sunday which did not help and Monday night ‘confinement’ for all – with fines today of 135€ if you do not have the correct document. Only essential trips out are allowed (shopping, medical, exercise in your area). Everyone is at home with their kids, some trying to work, but pretty much the nation has come to a standstill. Unemployment has been offered …no-one is sure how it is going to all work out. Me being in wine tourism (I have a private food and wine guide company) I have had many cancellations – and have to return deposits that have long been spent. It is just the begining of the new season and after the ‘gilet jaunes’ and strikes’ we were relieved that the ‘maigre’ times would potenitally be at an end…

Keeping an eye on the activity in the Entre-Deux Mers Cooperative, St Pey de Castets

So here are my symptoms and how this has come about (this is more for me to note but I thought I would post it in case it helps others) ;

Thomas (my 2 year old) was grouchy for a week or so and then got really bad conjunctivitus with yellow secretions in his eyes for a week which would not clear up with drops and eye wash. Went to the Dr and she gave him eye cream antibiotics and it cleared it up straigtht away but oh was he grouchy the whole week ! One of the other boys at the child minder had had it the week before.

I fell ill one week later (evening Tuesday 10th which started to feel off colour – sore throat started through the night) with a very sore throat, dry cough and achy limbs and tiredness. The childminder too is sick with the same thing. (Franck too my partner though his cleared up after a day or so although he is still not 100% after a week). Very swollen throat, enlarged glands, only a dribbly nose but no cold as such. Cough got worse (very difficult at night to sleep) and sore throat. Would get up at night to take a efferalgan for the sore throat. Very dry but with increased blocked sinuses and mucuous. At one point had a like a bruised shoulder and arm. After one week sore throat better and it went into my ears and head with sinuses very blocked. Very tired and emotional. At his point saw the doctor (Monday 16th March) who confirmed I had a virus but no respiratory problems. Now just tired but symptoms pretty much gone apart from blocked sinuses and odd cough with mucous.

My sense of taste disappeared and is returning slowly – that is another story as a lover of taste – wine and food !

I am very rarely ill and this virus makes you feel very weird and it just does not feel like anything I have had before. I never stayed in bed all day with it (mind you with a 2 year old that is not possible anyway) and kept moving around the house but not achieving much of anything !

Celebrating the returning taste of smell and taste

If it is the virus, me and my family have built up a resistance to it and cannot spread or catch it again ( unless it changes form). Perhaps this might be useful in the next few weeks…. ? We’re currently in the big unknown. I am lucky to live in the countryside and tomorrow it is Spring. The weather has been kind and this situation makes us appreciate the family and what we have.

First leaves Merlot vine 2020, St Emilion

Since 23 March – We are no only allowed out 1km from our home, one hour a day and on our own. Markets have been banned and so this has caused rural outcry. We are hoping that the confinement will start to work in a week or so…tonight we should hear how long it will be extended. Schools, unis know they will not go back before end Easter hols start May.


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