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Say whut?

As I didn't go to Châteaubriant this weekend, I decided to stop by the local supermarket do to my weekly shop.

The part of me that was hoping that the Frenchies would be less deranged than the English died hard. I guess I should take comfort in the fact that nobody has been mugged for their toilet paper......yet.

Here's the UHT milk:

Walking by the sanitation products, I notice that people might have finally realised that plain old soap is better than hand gels...

The ones that you can see on the upper shelf are the "organic" soaps. So clearly people want soap to wash their hands to keep the deadly killer virus at bay, but they aren't willing to pay a little extra for ethically produced soap. It's funny how people rationalise stuff like that. I didn't need soap, I already have one of the organic ones, bought willingly before all this nonsense started.

And, of course, there's no bogroll. Because when this deadly murderous nasty comes knocking at your door, you're gonna s**t yourself, right?

Precious little in the way of pasta.

On the other side, precious little in the way of pasta sauce.

Not much in the way of rice either. Not that any of this compares to my koshihikari. A had some of it on Friday. A nice bowl of rice with a dollop of Yakitori sauce (a sort of gloopy sweet soy sauce) on top. Perfection!

So that's a no to omlettes for dinner?

Luckily I bought a box last week.

Here's a new one - panic buying ham slices. This is actually a good thing, leave the shelves empty so the cleaning crew can do their damned job properly... for a change.

On the other side of this aisle, not a single fresh pizza to be seen. <shrug> I suppose this might be in reaction to eating places being closed. No more Domino's Pizza, for instance.

Hope you don't want yogurt, there's only the fat-free stuff left...

I was going to get some spuds. Peel and chop and put into the rice maker with a bottle of curry sauce and leave it on the "soup" program for about an hour and a half, it's a filling and dead-easy meal. Yeah, about that... might want to rethink the plan...

This used to be bread. Not bread as in a baguette. Not bread as in Hovis. Bread as in a weird sort of long-life concoction that isn't a million miles away from a burger bun. Today? The locusts have been through here.

Give them credit, though, they remembered the butter to put on the bread.

The stuff down the end of the aisle is marg. No self-respecting Frenchie would tartiner their bread with margerine. Actually, I forgot to go look at the Nutella. I bet that's all sold out too.


For god's sake people, it's just a deadly killer lurgy that will strike you dead from fifty paces. That's all. Why is everybody behaving like somebody just declared World War III?
That said, Mr. Macron, in his speech this evening, did say "Nous sommes en guerre" (we are at war) numerous times. Clarifying that it wasn't a people or a state, but an invisible sickness. And then he appealed for calm. Hmmm...


Oh, yeah, and they were panic buying petrol. WHY? You're all supposed to stay at home. And if any of you think you're going to cut and run to the country, I've got news for you - this is the country! I thought the tractors and poop on the fields might have been a clue? Oh, wait, sorry. My mistake. Nobody has a clue any more. It's just GYAAAAAAH!!!!!1!!ONE!!!!!11!!



Breaking news - measures to be applied in France

This is my translation from watching the broadcast. E&OE.

  • Everybody over the age of 70 or with health complications should stay at help and as far as possible limit contact with other people. They can go shopping, but with a lot of care, obviously.
  • Schools, colleges, universities, and creches are closed until further notice.
  • All unessential travel is to cease, for at least the next 15 days. You can go out to go shopping, to the chemist, for treatments, and to go to work if working from home is not a possibility. No friendly get togethers, walks in the park, etc. People who ignore this will be punished.
  • Medical staff are being mobilised to help deal with the people needing hospital treatment. This includes student doctors/nurses and the recently retired.
  • All non-essential hosptial treatments are cancelled.
  • The army is to be mobilised in the areas that are badly hit, such as the Alsace.
  • For people in financial difficulty, as of tomorrow rental, gas, and electricity bills will be suspended.
  • The government is putting in place a huge package to protect workers who must stay at home (remember, already hotels and restaurants have closed) and to protect companies. They will take every necessary measure to make this guarantee to French workers.
  • All companies who with to not pay their taxes for Mars may do so without justification, formalities, or penalty.
  • For companies, repayments (bank loans, I think) that are expected to be made in the following days and weeks are suspended.
  • No French citizen will be left without financial resources. A package of €300,000,000 has been announced.
  • The government plans to take every measure to avoid a financial and economic crisis. This is part of a plan-European plan (along with G7 and G20) to try to work together to stop the risk of a financial crash.
  • The sovereign France will take all necessary measures (yes, he repeats this several times).
  • The border between the EU (Shengen?) countries and all other countries will be closed for a period of 30 days; with the proviso that Europeans who wish to return home will be able to do so.
    I wonder if the UK counts as European or non-European in this?
More information and specifics will be released tomorrow.

You can watch his speech here, and bravo France24 sticking their caption over the subtitles for the first minute and a half.



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David Pilling, 17th March 2020, 13:42
Similar in Blackpool yesterday although not quite as bad. All the pasta type things had gone and there was little flour left. No toilet rolls - but oddly plenty of kitchen towels. Odd atmosphere, people walking around tutting - "tut tut, there's no spinach left" -said a woman in my general direction, as if she was surprised. A bit of blitz spirit, people talking to one another. Not many people, and moving quickly amongst somewhat empty shelves. Swiss and UK count as EU for the purposes of the movement rules. 
People spotting there was a bloke videoing the empty pasta shelves, and just one with a home made mask. 
Slight atmosphere of the TV cooking show where they have to make a meal out of random ingredients - all the obvious stuff is gone, what are you going to do. 
French bread has a famously short shelf life (I've been to the boulanger on the telly), but you can always stick bread in the freezer - which people do at the best of times. 
I dunno, it was an extraordinary sight, but not a situation where one wants to stand and stare. Back to the 2001 fuel crisis, things happen. 
We used to play "Lurgy" at school - as ever the old school yard offers many lessons for life. Can't recall if I thought at the time adult life was going to be like it, or not.
Bernard Boase, 18th March 2020, 20:24
Macron looks his citizens in the eye, is forceful, clear and as convincing as a politician can be. We just don’t see similar engagement from BoJo (imho), yet French panic buying looks more severe than here. 
And for foresight, check out Bill Gates’ TED talk from 2015 at _ready
Rick, 18th March 2020, 21:07
That's because Macron stands by his convictions. 
Johnson? Isn't he supposed to be dead in a ditch somewhere?
Bernard Boase, 19th March 2020, 13:01
One for the classicists... 9xd-_RMNYIflHcaaEFmYMXIse3HkJHBP3BToFYbUMJym0
Mick, 20th March 2020, 12:38
I've never seen anything like this before. Went to several 'local' supermarkets both Wednesday and yesterday and just about everything edible sold out. Managed to get eggs and bread and noodles from a local shop. No toilet roll or thermometers anywhere! If this is how it is before people start getting sick, what happens to the supply chain if / when they do?
VinceH, 20th March 2020, 13:29
I keep a reasonably well stocked larder / freezer anyway - so for stuff that isn't perishable, I'm not too bothered at the moment. I can (mostly) ride out the panic buying problem - when I start needing to fill gaps, I'd guess that problem will be over because all of the panic buyers will be living off all the stuff they've bought excess quantities of. 
"(mostly)" because perishables are another matter.
Dr. Big Cock, 20th March 2020, 16:44
I'm worried about the virus but also kind of fascinated watching the global response to it.
VinceH, 22nd March 2020, 14:38
I admit, I do have a bit of a morbid fascination with how this is playing out. Especially how it compares with the various pandemic books/films I've devoured over the years*. 
I'm slightly annoyed that my two favourites - Outbreak and Contagion - are two that I saw at the cinema, added to my ever growing wish list, but never actually got around to picking up on DVD. 
ISTR I enjoyed Carriers as well, but that's set further ahead in the pandemic timeline, so doesn't count. And I don't have that one either. 
None of them are on Netflix - all three are on Amazon, but not available as part of a Prime sub. 
* I was just finishing "The Culled" by Simon Spurrier when I first started seeing news of this.

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