19 October 2020

Couscous Doux

Tonight, we wanted something a little different, but not spicy - so we decided on Couscous Doux ! It's the same recipe as Couscous à l'Harissa, but I replaced the harissa (of course, because it's quite hot) with "sweeter" or not-hot seasonings - it worked!

Here's my seasoning mix:

1 Tb piment doux (paprika)

1 tsp ginger

2 taps cinnamon

2 taps cloves

Dash of salt

16 October 2020


One thing that always comes up, no matter who we talk to, is the current state of the coronavirus where we live.

Well, France is definitely in a second wave, and new rules seem to be announced every week. Today's number of new cases is the highest yet, at over 30,000. Already, yesterday's graphs here are outdated. The only good news is that *so far* most of the people in France who get covid are younger, and so our death rate is lower now. When you consider that our first-wave death rate was 30%, that's pretty important progress. But, can it last?

Our Corona-Normal? We still stay home except for things like grocery shopping and exercise - no dinner parties, no coffee klatches, and my English workshop is 100% by email. I always wear a mask outside the house and when someone has to come inside (like my chauffagiste and my CPAP technician). I bleach-wipe everything I used when I get into my car after shopping. I use a disposable paper towel to handle doors coming and going. The hardest part is avoiding spending time with people - we greet our neighbors when we see them, but any usual excuse to visit or chat a while is discarded.

Macron (the French president) gave a speech plus Q&A a couple of nights ago. 

Here are some of my notes:

  • 90% of deaths in France are over 65
  • 32k deaths since the beginning, of which the first wave accounted for 30k. The second wave took 2k.
  • Half of those now in ICU are under 65
  • 200 people per day are admitted to ICU
  • Paris and 8 other cities, including Montpellier, will have 6 weeks of curfew 9pm-6am, backed by fines, then be reevaluated
  • He expects these and other efforts to curb the virus will be the norm through all of 2021
  • France is heading towards more use of saliva/nose quick test
  • Bottom line - we need each other.


Although Montpellier, our closest large city, is on the mandatory curfew list, Sète is not (yet). But we do have a set of rules:

  • Masks required throughout the town
  • Events limited to 1,000 people
  • Local and student parties prohibited
  • School trips outside the department prohibited
  • Restaurants and bars close at midnight and night grocery stores at 10pm
  • Sale of alcohol prohibited after 8pm and consumption in public spaces prohibited after 8pm

Rules change quickly here - on August 17, this was the map showing where masks were required. Less than a week later, the map disappeared, and mask-wearing became defined by the city limits. This mandate so far has been extended every 2 weeks.


In Sète, as of October 16, 2020, 11 patients have died in the Sète hospital (Bassin de Thau) from covid-19. The average age of these patients is 88 years.

Since October 9, 2020, 9 more patients have been hospitalized, bringing the total number to 23 today. The situation remains stable in intensive care with still 4 patients.

Since the start of the 2nd wave, 94 Covid patients have been taken care of (+ 20 in 7 days).

Our testing is at 70 per day with a positivity rate of 8% over the last week.




Statistics by region and department




Macron's speech (English translators)


Current Sète hospital situation:


Current Sète rules: