What strange times in which we live. I have been meaning to write another blog for the last few months but the lead up to, and the winter ski season itself, are the busiest times for us. And now, amid unprecedented events we are left with a lot more time on our hands than we could have ever envisaged.

We may live in the Alps, but are not untouched by the health epidemic currently sweeping the globe. The virus is in our area, as it is in most corners of the Western world. The French government have responded with a “confinement” or lockdown and we are now at the end of week 2 with another two week extension announced. This looks like it will be a prolonged period……



Although restrictive it seems clear that these are necessary steps in order to protect people and save lives. It is, nevertheless proving challenging! Here in France, in our situation, we are only allowed to leave the house in order to visit the supermarket (1 family member only!), visit the pharmacy/doctors (thankfully not needed, thus far) or walk the dog/exercise BUT for only 1 hour an no more than 1km from the house. Grrrrr! Otherwise we are all home together, all the time!

Of course, we live in an old converted farmhouse, on the side of a mountain with spectacular views and a small garden, and so are enormously blessed …. however this does not entirely obviate an occasional bout of cabin fever!



My (Kyles’) solution to all of this unexpected home time is trawling You Tube for exercise videos, largely watching them on the sofa (yes, really *hangs head in shame*!) and occasionally “testing” them out in the garden! However it has been an absolute joy to discover Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) and his daily kids PE workout, and to do this with Mollie. Looking back on this period in a few years, this will be a wonderful memory, and hopefully a firm building block for my daughters future.



On one occasion we even persuaded Shep to participate…. fingers crossed he will do so again, as this was a brilliant (and hilarious!) family moment!



On the subject of Shep, I also have one other huge positive with the confinement. I get out every day for a swift hike with Shinga our Ridgeback. However, Shep can be stuck at home for days. He has therefore (in order to leave the house!) nominated himself as “supermarket shopper” and is finally getting to grips with the shelves of the local shop. In fact, during his last foray he only called me once to ask where to find something! Success!!

The schools are closed and so homeschooling Mollie is taking up a big part of each day. This is “an experience” as other parents in a similar position will be able to testify! We have found an amazing tutor and Mollie has an hour of video tutoring each morning which is saving my sanity, as at least her French grammar and orthographe are not left to my dubious abilities!



The lockdown has also been very noticeable to us when we venture outside. Although we live in the gorgeous Alps, our valley is under a flight path and the silence (especially in the late evening) with the total absence of airplanes is striking. Also, the lack of road traffic and its noise that echoes around the valley means that, when I walk Shinga around the block before bed, I now only hear the noise of the river, of the breeze through the trees and of the owls (yes!) in the woods.

Walking Shinga yesterday, Mollie and I also came across a badger in the woods – rare in this region and for the first time in 19 years! – and tracks of all sorts of wildlife that we do not usually see.



Of course, we also have a business to run! Site work has obviously been halted under the lockdown, but we are able to continue with design work from home and fortunately have excellent relationships with our suppliers (and their home phone numbers!) such that we can continue working with them and developing designs during this period. We have also had the time to update the website with latest chalet photos (we are so proud of La Maison), add our new projects in progress, and also create a Flickr account with photos of our recent chalets https://www.flickr.com/photos/187096767@N05/albums Please feel free to take a look!!



So here we are, locked down in the Alps, and staying home, staying safe. Our thoughts are with our friends, clients and suppliers; we wish you resilience, courage and above all good health in the coming weeks.



“This too will pass”. Our thoughts are with you all.