Living through a pandemic
in the south of France
547 days in Carcassonne since
1st lockdown in March 2020
DAILY STATISTICS HERE
▫️ HOME NEWS DESK
After an excellent week away, I am back on line for a few days before I have to return to hospital to try and get rid of these nasty kidney stones.
✏️ Daily update
Thanks to the figures published by Santé publique France, L’Indépendant reports on the health situation in France and in the departments of Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales on Friday 17 September.
In Aude, 76 people with Covid were hospitalised on Friday (-1), a figure that is back to its mid-August level. Among these patients, 16 are being treated in critical care units (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), 3 more than on Thursday. This indicator has fluctuated between 12 and 16 since the end of August.
The number of deaths has not changed since Wednesday 15 September, at 401. As for the incidence rate, it is continuing the fall that began on 9 August. It stands at 82.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in the sliding week from 8 to 14 September, a figure published this Friday.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, 1,462 people have been discharged from hospital, including 6 in 24 hours.
Less than 100 patients hospitalised in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In the Pyrenees-Orientales, 99 Covid patients are in hospital (-7), the lowest number since August 1st with 20 fewer patients since September 9th. Of these, 17 are in critical care (resuscitation, intensive care or continuous monitoring), one less. This figure is down by almost 23% since 8 September. The department deplores an additional death due to Covid in 24 hours, bringing the total to 401.
The incidence rate is still falling since its peak on 25 July at 637 and fell below 65 on Sunday. It is 64.5 per 100,000 population in the rolling week of 8-14 September, a figure published on 17 September.
Since March 2020, 1,717 people have returned home, including five in 24 hours.
Less than 1,900 patients in critical care in France
Nationally, there were 66 Covid deaths in hospital on Friday 17 September, bringing the total number of hospital deaths to 89,164. Adding the 26,779 deaths in nursing homes, since March 2020, 115,943 people have died from Covid, according to Santé publique France.
There were 9,070 people hospitalised (227 fewer than the previous day), including 1,891 in critical care, 61 fewer in 24 hours. The number of patients in critical care has not reached this level since 15 August.
France recorded 7,373 new cases in 24 hours, compared to 9,601 last Friday. With an average of 8,357 cases per day between 8 and 14 September, new infections are down by 28.3% over 7 days.
The incidence rate is also still falling in France. At 87.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, in the rolling week from 8 to 14 September, it is back to its mid-July level.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, 417,059 people have been able to return home, cured, including 505 within 24 hours.
In addition, Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday that the 50 million mark for first-time vaccinations, i.e. people who have received at least one injection, had been passed in France on Friday.
▫️ FAUX PAS (fo-pa): noun. A social blunder, indiscretion, or tactless act that violates social norms, customs, or etiquette. Literally means “false step” in French.
Something I came across on line and that I can confirm
Just reading the definition is enough to make you feel embarrassed to the core, am I right? How much more if you’re the one stuck in an actual socially awkward scenario?
Committing a social faux pas especially if you’re traveling in France can become some sort of a little disaster. To avoid committing these types of mistakes, better arm yourself with a list of knowledge concerning French taboos.
For starters, let’s look at what’s acceptable or not when it comes to speech.
☀︎ Taboos in Small Talk and Conversations
1. If you can, it is so much more preferable to talk to a French person using their language. It doesn’t matter if you speak French badly or your pronunciation is way off. The point is to do your best. You’ll come across as respectful if you do so, instead of prattling off in your English.
(Author’s note: Personally, I don’t really mind this. There could be other reasons why French people would rather talk in French than English, such as difficulty in pronouncing English words which could lead to feeling annoyed about having to speak in English. It’s not really all because we super love our language. Yes we do, but not to the point that we demand everyone to talk to us using French.)
2. In relation to number 1, you can use “bonjour!” to say hello. If you are truly at a loss on what to say in French, simply say “Je ne parle pas francais. En anglais, s’il vous plait.” This means, “I do not speak French. In English, please.” But the best thing is still to learn basic French phrases when traveling in France.
3. Mind your tu and vous! In English, it doesn’t matter whom you’re speaking to, there is only one kind of ‘you’ word to use. In French, however, you may end up insulting someone if you don’t choose the right you. Tu denotes a familiarity or level of closeness with the person you’re talking to. Vous, on the other hand, shows formality and respectful distance. Make sure to choose the proper you for each situation.
4. Conversation starters that may be popular in other cultures don’t sit well with the French. These include questions involving money or personal inquiries such as “what do you do for a living?”, “are you married?”, “do you have kids?” Stick to safer routes such as French culture, art, food, music, philosophy, architecture, and popular events. Just make sure you know what you are talking about.
5. Never ever flaunt your wealth during conversations. This is considered shameless and seen as bad taste. Your words will not be considered as a sign of good social status as well.
6. Use the words Madame (for females), Mademoiselle (for young females), and Monsieur (for males) to address a person. The French are generally formal which is often the reason why they’re being regarded as aloof or cold. You can still be friendly and warm without going overboard.
7. If you’re in France for business, avoid droning on and on about business talks during lunch. The French believe that there is more to life than working nonstop. Sit back, enjoy your meal, and talk about something else aside from business. There’s plenty of time for that when not in a table filled with good food.
8. Break the ice with a quick “bonjour” followed by madame, mademoiselle, or monsieur. Always say “merci” (thank you) and s’il vous plait (please). Good manners are awesome wherever you are.
9. It is considered bad manners to ask questions about political preferences. Wait for the person to open up that sort of conversation; don’t jump into it.
10. Praises and compliments about everything French (not criticisms) are rather favorable.
11. Don’t launch into lengthy talks about your opinion on French leaders and history.
☀︎ Actions and Gestures
Just like individuals have their own sets of quirks or little personal issues that they take offense about, so do nations and different parts of the world. A harmless gesture to you might come across as incredibly rude to others. The key is to take note of these little cultural differences.
When you’re talking to a French person and especially if you’re in France, always be mindful of the following reminders.
- Making a fist with one hand and slapping the top of it with your other hand is considered rude.
- The American OK sign which is made by forming a circle using the thumb and index finger while the rest of the fingers are straight, can mean “zero” or “worthless”. Avoid it to avoid getting misinterpreted. The French OK sign is the thumbs up sign.
3. Shaking hands is for formal transactions and acquaintances. If you’re greeting someone familiar to you, you’re better off greeting the person with a “la bise” or kiss on the cheek.
4. Do not give a present of red carnations. This flower represents bad will in France.
5. Chrysanthemums are not great as gifts either. Mums are usually reserved for mourning.
6. Holding an umbrella open indoors may be considered as bad luck.
7. In other cultures, it is perfectly okay to bring wine to someone’s house when you’re invited for dinner. But in old France custom, some people might consider this as an insult that the host could not provide the guests with good wine. Unless you’re quite familiar with the hosts and you’re bringing a good wine that you would like them to try.
(Author’s note: I personally like to bring wine or champagne when invited to friend’s houses. Why? So that there would be more booze, of course! So maybe this custom is no longer very appropriate in modern cases.)
8. Presenting red roses to your hostess can be thought of as inappropriate behavior. Red roses mean an expression of love. Avoid giving it to casual or professional acquaintances as well. Unless, you do mean to woo the person.
9. Bring a present when visiting your friends’ or relatives’ homes. Flowers are good (except for those mentioned above), and are usually given in odd numbers except thirteen which means bad luck.
10. Always dress well when stepping out in public. It would help if you don’t dress up like a fashion terrorist.
11. It is considered respectful for a man to stand up or show the inclination to do so when a superior enters the room or joins the group.
12. Snapping your fingers is considered offensive.
13. Chewing gum in public is a no-no and could come across as vulgar.
14. When pointing to a certain direction, use your whole hand to do so. Do not use your index finger to point.
15. Do not sit with your legs spread apart. The French consider this impolite.
Of course, this is one topic that calls for a long list. Dining is an important part of French culture. Avoid social gaffes and take not of these tips.
- When in cafés, never ever complain about how long your order is taking. Part of the whole experience is enjoying yourselves and relaxing. This is not the place to rush.
- Do not order one dish only when you’re dining in a restaurant.
- Soft drinks are not to be drunk with a good meal.
- Don’t ask for a doggy bag.
☀︎ Cute, but nope.
5. Parisian cafés do not add ice on their drinks. Do not expect or demand for any.
6. Wait for the host or hostess to say “bon appetit!” before you start to dig in on your food.
7. Place your table napkin on your lap immediately when you are seated.
8. Eat slowly. Do not inhale all your food in one go.
9. Make eye contact as you say “santé” to the other people in the table. It literally means that you are wishing them good health and is deemed polite.
10. Avoid leaving food on your plate. This means you did not enjoy the quality of the food, or it suggests that the host does not know how to serve proper potions.
11. Don’t serve yourself wine first. As a proper courtesy to everyone else in the table, ask them if they want wine before you pour some for yourself.
12. If the wine has just been opened, pour a little bit into your own glass first so that the little pieces of cork don’t end up in someone else’s glass.
13. Avoid putting a piece of bread in your plate. Instead, place it on the table right beside your plate.
14. Only bite directly into a piece of bread if there is something spread on top of it. Otherwise, break it into a small piece before you eat it.
15. Unless a certain type of food needs to be dealt by hand, touching food with your fingers is strictly limited at the dinner table.
16. Don’t place your elbows on top of the table.
17. Keep your hands on the table not under it.
18. Refrain from crossing your knife and fork on top of your plate. This signifies that you haven’t eaten enough.
19. Don’t place the loaf of bread upside down. This is considered bad luck.
20. After a course, wipe your plate with a piece of bread for the next dish ( use a piece of bread on your fork)
So there you go. Don’t you feel more polite already? Re-read this list time and again to remind you how not to act in France. © Frederic Bibard / Talkin french
▫️ BITS & PIECES
✏️ Facebook – I am hoping to hear from them this weekend that my account has been completely deleted. When reading this article, I am pleased I took the decision to close all accounts related to Facebook.
▫️ TRAVEL NEWS
Up to date
17/09: The US may not reopen its borders to travellers from Europe until 2022.
17/09: India plans to issue tourist visas to vaccinated people, but no date has yet been announced.
15/09: Chile will reopen its land and air borders on 1 October and reduce the quarantine period to 5 days.
15/09: Indonesia aims to reopen its borders in November.
15/09 : Cambodia plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated people in November.
15/09 : From 15 October, covid tests for foreign travel will no longer be covered by health insurance.
13/09 : Germany has removed Corsica, Reunion and Occitanie from the list of “high risk areas”. Unvaccinated people coming from these regions should therefore no longer be quarantined.
13/09: Unvaccinated persons must now present a PCR test less than 72 hours old to enter Albania.
13/09: Senegal is reportedly reopening its borders to European tourists, but the information remains to be verified.
13/09 : Vietnam confirms the reopening of Phu Quoc Island in October.
13/09 : Thailand confirms the reopening of several destinations in October including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and Pattaya.
10/09: US and Israel move from green to orange in France’s rating.
09/09: Malawi has reopened its borders.
▫️ THE FABULOUS FRIDAY (FUNNIES) GROANS from Paul
Another week goes by….
✒︎ Masks don’t work! A young woman was heard commenting:
“My boyfriend and I wear a mask all the time, but I still got pregnant!”
✒︎ Some short humour
⚬ I bought the missus one of them posh candles; I asked the lady how long
does it last. She said 1 wick.
⚬ It was the inventor of the dishwasher’s funeral today. The coffin was
lowered into the ground only to be taken out by his wife and put back
⚬ Client: “How much to answer 3 questions?”
Client: “That’s expensive, isn’t it?”
Lawyer: “Yes, now what’s your 3rd question??”
⚬ I’ve just been speaking to the tailor who has just moved in next door. He seams nice.
⚬ If you suck at playing the trumpet that’s probably why.
✒︎ An elderly man was quite unhappy because he had lost his favourite hat. Rather than purchasing a new one, he decided he would go to church and steal one out of the vestibule.
When he got there, an usher intercepted him at the door and took him to a pew where he had to sit and listen to an entire sermon on the Ten Commandments.
After church, the man met the preacher in the vestibule doorway, shook his hand vigorously and said,
“I want to thank you for saving my soul today, preacher. I came to church to steal
a hat, but after hearing your sermon on the Ten Commandments, I decided against it.”
“You mean the Commandment, Thou shall not steal, changed your mind?” the preacher asked.
“No, the one about adultery did,” the old man said. “As soon as you said that, I remembered where I left my old hat.”
✒︎ 10 reasons why English is weird…
1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse refuse.
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
5. He could lead if he could get the lead out.
6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10. I did not object to the object.
✒︎ Some really corny riddles, part one…
What do you call a Spaniard who has lost his car? Carlos.
What do you call a Norwegian in a tree? Leif.
One for the older ones amongst us: What do you call a guy sitting in your letterbox? Bill.
What do you call a guy walking through autumn leaves? Russell.
What do you call a guy hanging on the wall? Art.
What do you call a guy standing at the seashore holding back the waves? Cliff.
What do you call a woman with one leg shorter than the other? Eileen.
What do you call a guy sitting outside your door? Mat.
✒︎ Two storks are sitting in their nest:
A father stork and a young stork. The young stork is crying and Father
stork is trying to calm him:
“Don’t worry, son, your mother will come back. She’s only bringing
people babies and making them happy.”
The next evening it’s Father’s turn to do the job. Mother and son are
sitting in the nest.
The young stork is crying and his mother is saying.
“Son, your father will be back as soon as possible, but now he’s
bringing joy to new mummies and daddies.”
A few days later, the stork’s parents are worried for their son has been
absent from the nest all night!
Shortly before dawn, he returns and his Parents ask where he’s been all
The young stork says.
“Nowhere in particular. Just mostly scaring teenagers!”
✒︎ Me: “So, a pedant is someone who takes everything literally?”
Pedant: “No, that’s a kleptomaniac”
✒︎ Two groaners…
⚬ “Don’t worry, I can stay out as late as I want to tonight,” Joe told his friend Bob. “My wife’s
gone for a two-week vacation in the Caribbean.”
“Jamaica?” Bob asked.
“No, it was her idea.”
⚬ A man walks into a doctor’s office and says, “Doc, you have to help. I think I’m a dog.”
The doctor says, “How long have you had this feeling?”
The man responds, “Ever since I was a puppy.”
✒︎A very lazy employee asked for a reference when she was fired. The boss thought for a bit, then wrote:
If you get Mary Jones to work for you, you’ll be very lucky.
✒︎”I get those maternal feelings sometimes, like when I’m lying on the couch and can’t reach the remote, I think, ‘Boy, a kid would be nice right now.'” –Kathleen Madigan
✒︎My broker called me this morning and said, “Remember that stock we bought and I said you’d be able to retire at age 65?”
“Yes, I remember,” I said.
“Well,” my broker continued, “your retirement age is now 98.”
✒︎ Having just moved into his new office, a pompous, new colonel was
sitting at his desk when an airman knocked on the door.
Conscious of his new position, the colonel quickly picked up the phone,
told the airman to enter, then said into the phone, “Yes, General, I’ll
be seeing him this afternoon and I’ll pass along your message. In the
meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir.”
Feeling as though he had sufficiently impressed the young enlisted man, he asked, “What do you want?
“Nothing important, sir,” the airman replied, “I’m just here to hook up your telephone.”
✒︎ Q: What does a cannibal call a skateboarder?
A: Meals on wheels!
✒︎ Q: What airline do ghosts fly with?
A: British Scareways!
✒︎ Q: What do you get when you cross a stream and a brook?
A: Wet feet.
✒︎ Q: Why doesn’t Dracula have any friends?
A: Because he’s a pain in the neck!
✒︎ Q:What do you call a haunted wigwam?
A: A creepy tee-pee.
✒︎ Q: How do you stop an elephant from charging?
A: Unplug it!
✒︎ Q: What do you call a big Irish spider?
A: Paddy long legs!
✒︎ Q: What do sprinters eat before a race?
A: Nothing. They fast.
See you in the soup.
▫️ NEWS FROM ACROSS THE POND 🇺🇸
Some more gems from crazy USA
▫️ ADDITIONAL READS FOR TODAY