France lockdown travelogue: Australian view of a room

More than two centuries ago, Xavier de Maistre was placed under house arrest for 42 days - and wrote Voyage autour de ma chambre, a six-week 'voyage of discovery' around his room. Some 230 years later, we challenged our coronavirus confined readers to write their own Voyage round my Room. Here is one of the three winners...

I don’t need a madeleine or a pain au raisin. In this year of living fearfully, memories come unbidden. Covid-19 has enlarged, sharpened and coloured my memory better than any app.

At a distance in time and space I remember my little house in France.

I sit, isolated in my garden in Australia, and remember my medieval home in the Bastide of Monpazier.

I see our narrow, cobbled street leading to the Place des Cornieres with its ancient buildings and memories of medieval markets, knights, and public executions. Plague memories, too. How many villagers over the centuries have cowered in these homes, my home, in medieval gloom, waiting for plague death?

I see my house, one of a row built soon after the village was established in 1284 by the English in their determination to maintain a presence in ...

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