Last Friday evening, after a nerve wracking wait for our spanking new government to finish negotiations, we were informed of Belgium's new restrictions, which would come into force as from Monday. We are now allowed close contact with only one person from outside our households, while you can invite four people, which must be the same for a period of two weeks, to your home if you respect social distancing rules. In public spaces too, groups are limited to four people. All cafés and restaurants have to close for at least a month, takeaway is only possible until 10 pm, and there's a curfew between midnight and 5 am. There's more, but that's it in a nutshell. All this in a bid to prevent new cases rising even more dramatically than they are already doing. Admittedly, the situation is particularly bad in Brussels and Wallonia, Belgium's French speaking part, but that doesn't mean that we are off the hook at the other side of the country.
As for the restrictions, we have no problem with them. It's not a complete lockdown after all. Nevertheless, there's simply no denying that things are a bit bleak as we head into the year's darkest months.
And while I know it's no use to bury one's head in the sand, I would very much like to do so right now. Hibernation has never sounded so appealing.
As the days are getting darker and colder, we are once again making regular use of our rented garage's photo studio, a communal parking space next to our garage box, its ancient bricks having received a fresh coat of paint during lockdown. I just wish it was nearer to Dove Cottage, so that we could use it more frequently, and not just when we need to use the car.
Since we were going out that morning, I wore a cord jacket in a delicious berry colour and added a zig-zag patterned scarf featuring purple, olive, blue and white. Both were charity shop finds and, by pure coincidence, originally from H&M as well.
We were off to the local C&A branch at the edge of our little town, as Jos was in dire need of some new zip-front cardigans, which are a wardrobe staple for him. Having searched high and low in the charity shops without any luck, there was nothing for it but to go retail.
Mission accomplished, Jos waited in the car while I went into the shoe shop next door on my eternal quest for burgundy ankle boots to replace my tatty ones. And no, I didn't find what I was looking for, but I still didn't leave the shop empty-handed, having been seduced by a pair or caramel coloured tall boots and a pair of sage green ankle boots.
The weather continued to be reasonably kind that week, mostly dry and cloudy but with regular sunny spells, and temperatures around 15° C.
On Thursday, we were rudely woken up by workmen who started felling trees and demolishing a house on the opposite side of the crossroads near our house. Soon, they'll start building yet another block of flats in what was one of the last green spaces in our neighbourhood.
This called for the wearing of more green, so out came this green with a touch of turquoise floral vintage skirt and a charity shopped pussy-bow blouse in shades of green and pink. The pussy-bow was kept in check with an emerald green brooch, which was joined by a second brooch, a green-backed cameo, pinned to the blouse's bodice.