What counts as necessary travel?

True, but needs must when the devil rides…
and if you have an old inkjet, the can be quite inefficient in ink management over new models.

I ventured out shopping this morning for the first time since lock-down (I needed dog food amongst other things- as it’s been 12 days at home for me already.)
Really surprised to see no gendarmes on my travels.
Only a couple of empty shelves in Super U, all essentials in stock with a few people milling about many (like myself) with gloves on. Very few with masks but some had wrapped scarves over their mouths.
All calm, polite and respecting social distancing, almost like a normal midday in the past when shoppers are scarce.
I took the opportunity whilst out, to empty the recycling that had built up and that’s me done for another couple of weeks if necessary.


I am so sorry to hear about your mother and the situation you find yourself in. Wishing you lots of strength at this difficult time.

Kind wishes


Thanks Marijke,

I’d been meaning to send you a PDF of the catalogue for Sonja’s latest exhibition, it’s all new paintings from the last nine months. Unfortunately the gallery was closed down two days after the vernissage…

And our dog’s on its last legs

But things could be much worse -

There’s a superbly written, but harrowing account in this morning’s NY Times of the reality and minutae of self-isolation in a New York apartment.

A scam for artists to be aware of:-
Yesterday Sonja got a scam email, ostensibly from a woman in California, who wanted to buy a painting on her website. We were slightly suspicious and suggested she instead buy it through Saatchi as they’ll handle shipping, customs, etc. However, her reply contained improbable reasons why she couldn’t do that. I can only assume it was an attempt to obtain personal bank account details.

Hope your work’s going well and I’ll send you a copy of the catalogue. We’re assuming the show will reopen and the gallery will just reschedule its programme. It’s an interesting high quality space with very good residential facilities for artists.

Thanks again,



Thanks Jane,

As you rightly note I’m just one of a rapidly growing new form of community.

OTH so much discussion of the internet is about its negative aspects and this shouldn’t overshadow the very positive contribution of online communities such as our own

Hello Mark,

Thank you for your reply. I am really sorry to hear about Sonja’s show. Here’s hoping it has a good run when the galleries all reopen! I would love to receive a copy of the catalogue. Good she got to have a vernissage though and I hope it was a nice evening.

Similar situation here with Ross’s show which was due to open in a couple of weeks being postponed until an indeterminate date in the future.

It is sad too to hear about your dog. I hope they are not in pain.

Take care and I look forward to seeing Sonja’s work!

Best wishes


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We are still in the 50-50 France/Scotland position and after being away for 3 months came back in February.
When the lockdown came in we decided it would be safer to stay. Rural area, better weather and health service etc. My wife normally works in England every second week but reckoned she could still run the business remotely
But, and there’s always a but, my car mot is due early June.
Contacted the embassy in Paris and asked if there would be waivers as they did last year in NI when the mot station ramps failed.
Contact our Bordeaux office and repeat your question to them was the only response. Two weeks later there’s been no response from Bordeaux
In the UK the AA raised this issue three weeks ago - they got an answer today.
I also contacted the DVSA who basically said when you get through the tunnel you must head straight to a Folkestone mot station
If driving the car in France I’d have to negotiate with the French authorities and my insurers

Realistically? None of that was going to happen so we headed back on Sunday with a car full of all the food with use by summer dates - and loo rolls and food supplies my daughter couldn’t get in Edinburgh thanks to the selfish burghers panic buying. Nonn I’mproblems in our local intermarche or LeClerc
She’s on the risk register so working from home - and delivery schedules for online shopping there is 6 wks ahead!

Today Boris announced a 6 months waiver for mots - too late I’m now back in Scotland
Unfortunately it only comes into force on March 30 and mots due beforehand still have to go to their garage.
Unfortunately garages are closing all over the shop because they have staffing issues.
She’s just had her mot appointment cancelled for this reason.
So her car becomes illegal - and mine developed a fault on the way back so needs to go into the dealer - who closed today.
Not sure what happens when the food runs out - a run out in an illegal car??


Though, trying to live 50:50 always was a recipe for extra problems. Basically it means you have two sets of laws to fall foul of, rather than just one.

Unfortunately my wife’s specific work plus the implications of a family trust which the French won’t recognise (and is taking ages to wind up) means we have no option at the moment.
We are, however, hoping I can become French resident before the end of the year and Boris’s new regs screw things up.

But my wife’s position is still up in the air - a lot depends on legal and financial advice

George Topp.

Google is your friend…there must be more MOT stations in accessible distance. Or do you have ZIP cars or another car club near you? (Although maybe they will struggle because of cleaning between people?)

Yes thanks Anna.

I was expecting it to be cancelled but the ferry sailed on time at 21:30 on Tuesday. About 25 cars on board and the rest truckers. On our way to our cabin we saw mask-less, gloveless people circulating. Not many but IMO still too many. The poor crew seemed completely unprotected.

The bar and restaurants were open for dinner and then breakfast and lunch the following day. Despite our “complimentary” breakfast vouchers we hibernated in our cabin with our Marks and Spencer’s picnic (fruit and salads - very tasty) for the full nineteen hours.

The queue to get off was well managed with disciplined social distancing but we had gloves and masks on anyway.

Border police asked where we lived and where the car was registered (France) - I had a bunch of supporting documentation proving we were domiciled in France just in case, but we didn’t need it.

We hit the road around around 17:00 and only stopped for fuel and forty winks (literally forty minutes). Arrived home at 07:30ish this morning. Drove within speed limits all the way but might have slipped up near Claremont when something flashed - I might have a 120 in a 110 or a 90 zone fine to pay. Which begs another question… what does one do about registered letters? Sign or don’t sign?

As an aside, one of the service areas we pulled into was chock a block with UK cars towing caravans and UK camping cars. Making a run for it?

Not wishing to appear gloomy George, not having an MOT will IMO be the last of our worries soon enough.

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Our postie stands well back and says “I’m signing for you” and then places letter/package on ground and leaves… mind you, we may not have a postie soon. Luckily still came to day as had a registered letter to send which she took from our letter box - and got the proof of posting by email about 45 mins later. Good service!

Thanks for explaining the “protocol” Jane. When I got home I also found a couple of lettre recommandée slips in the postbox. from March 3rd and 4th, a couple of days after I’d departed for Ireland. So they’re well gone from my local post office now. Is there anyway to trace who there were from using the reference number?

Now back in the UK with my car developing an ecu fault in the last leg so it’s parked up until Skoda re-open which looks like May at the earliest
My wife’s Volvo is due an mot tomorrow but the garage has also closed and her appointment cancelled

HM government has said they’ll issue waivers but only for cars due an mot from next week and those due beforehand must get them done or risk prosecution

Garages are open they say. Unfortunately in my area they’ve all closed to protect staff.

Understandable- but why not issue the waiver from the day it is announced.

Legislation covering this was passed last year so there is no reason to delay.

OK there are very pressing issues globally
but in this small corner we need a car to access the shops, pharmacy etc

George Topp.

Highly unlikely, see here

But people usually resend if important. For future maybe you should organise a procuration for a neighbour or local friend. We did it years ago and seems to work well.

George, it’s not only the manufacturer that can read an ECU fault. Any decent garage will have the kit and and it may just need a reset.

In fact in happier times I would have advised you to buy one of these and have a look yourself before paying dealer labour rates. You can get them for 60 quid.

Thanks Jane.

Well if he is and he is using his own money, then it is his affair and no-one elses.

True - and his liver too :thinking: