Yesterday our flight was due to leave South Africa and today is the day we were to have landed in Paris en route to Auxonne and Elle for another season’s cruising, however…
We had booked our appointment to submit our long-stay visa applications for the 18th of March (after having had the first application rejected because our Isle of Man bank statements had not been stamped (new) and we did not have a letter from me to Lynn inviting her to accompany me on the boat (new)!) but on the 16th, Capago, the agents for France-Visas, called to say that the Consulate was no longer issuing visas “for the foreseeable future”.
Then Emirates canceled our tickets.
So where do we stand? Worst case scenario is that before mid-July, Emirates starts flying again, the French Consulate issues us with long-stay visas on condition that we can prove that (a) we have had CV-19, or (b) that we have been vaccinated against the virus. Well, so far, we have not contracted the virus (in any event, there are not enough test kits to go around to test for anti-bodies) and, with the possibility that a vaccine will only pass clinical trials in the next 9 to 18 months, it may well be that we will not get to Elle until 2022.
Best case is that, by the end of May, we can book another flight, are issued with long-stay visas until mid-November, and are allowed to enter France without a two week quarantine period. So here’s hoping!
In the interim however, West Coast pal, Dave-the-Cheesemaker, decided that some of his male buddies needed to demonstrate their cooking skills during lockdown and so, amidst signs of panic at having to give up her She-Cave, Lynn allowed me to move into 'her' kitchen to begin the challenge.
Each week, Dave nominates a culinary ‘hero’ – Week 1 was tomato, Week 2 was mushroom, and this week was cheese. These were my dishes:
Week 1 - A take on Tomate aux crevettes. Prawns and tomato and herb-infused rice substituted for the usual North Sea shrimp filling.
|Not too shabby but the competition were awesome!|
Week 2 – Mushroom pate with pickled mushroom garnish served with olive oil toasted homemade bread. Mains was a mushroom risotto.
|Much better - 2nd out of six.|
Week 3 – Cheese soufflé followed by a three-cheese cream soup garnished with green peas, gruyère profiteroles, and sprinkled with finely chopped garlic chives and dusted with finely grated parmesan. The accompaniment was a crunchy, tangy cheese biscuit.
Officially, lockdown ends tomorrow when we go onto level 4 but rumours are flying that Durban will be maintained at Level 5 until further notice, so no change except that the wine cellar will have been emptied by the end of the weekend with no possibility in sight of replenishment.
Au revoir to all and bonne chance until we are booked and ready to go cruising again!
|Strelitzia Natalia (Natal Crane flowers) from the garden.|