Almost 2 years ago we crashed into a national lockdown. Months of being at home. Restricted to the house, the garden, to the adventures around the surrounding fields. The car was hardly used. It became such a luxury item, it gathered dust.
Yesterday I filled the car up with Diesel. I drove past two service stations which had NO FUEL signs showing that they were closed. The third station was open but with long queues. Wow it was expensive. The price has almost doubled in just under two weeks. Hardly any people wearing masks. The shop radio playing as I waited to pay had a Government expert saying that they didn’t know why Covid cases were rising so fast again, but don’t worry as we are now living with Covid. I reached the checkout, wow that’s almost three figure money to feed the car.
As I drove back it started to feel like 2020 and 2021 again. Time to park up the car. Let it gather dust again. Treat the car as a luxury item. Restrict long trips out. A period where adventures are just local ones. Ones we walk from the house.
One mile walk from our house, Captain Chaos almost trod all over these beautiful flowers. We are back in those fields again.
My Dad always wanted to be stamp collector but in his words – if we get stamps we can’t not afford to use them. Sadly the only stamps he ever had went on letters and parcels.
So he would have loved this parcel that was delivered to us. That’s a stamp collection started right there.
It’s a work of art.
Fast forward several decades since Dad left us and I’m not sure we are still spending any money on a stamp collection. Since Brexit prices here have been rising, especially fuel costs. We have a home oil heating system. Just a few years ago it cost about £250 to fill the tank. Since brexit that rose to over £500. Today it cost over £800. That’s serious money. We can still budget to cover this, sadly many families.
I was looking at the bills, shaking me head and then the awful news played out on the radio again. Living in this safe, warm house, we are truly fortunate. My heart bleeds for so many in this crazy world.
Autumn is nearly over for another year. Sadly the same can’t be said about other things in life.
There’s been a few messages being pushed here in the UK since July.
Covid is now just like flu….
We are now learning to beat Covid….
Get a vaccine and you don’t need to worry about things like masks…..
We have a Prime Minister who makes a show of walking round a Hospital with no mask….Even after being told THREE times to put one on by staff. Finally he did after the cameras were turned off.
All these messages mean that social distancing is often not happening here anymore. Masks are becoming a bit of a rarity in places like shops and public gatherings like football matches. But now the managed message has become way more disturbing. Here’s a phrase being used by the UK Government and freely repeated in news outlets.
Only 6 healthy children with no underlying health conditions have died due to Covid in the last 12 months here….
As if the other 112 children who died with conditions such as asthma don’t count as much. That attitude is such a dangerous road to go down for a country.
As if 6 plus 112 children dying is an acceptable number. Something which we are prepared to accept as normal. Sadly now this is the becoming the case, the norm. What are we becoming when our PM can say
‘I’ve given you the most important metric. Never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes, just look at wage growth’.
He’s not my leader. He will never me my leader. We deserve better than him. Our children, all our children deserve much better than someone like him.
Oh if they only sold chips in that size packets in the shops. That would be an opportunity I could not turn down…..
Everyone likes an investment opportunity with a great rate of return. I came across one yesterday, thanks to the helpful news reports. The news agencies are reporting that Lord Brownlow offered to pay £58k to cover the costs of the Prime Ministers controversial flat makeover. The thoughtful Lord can afford it as he has a net worth of over £250 million. In addition to his generous makeover offer he has also donated £3 million to the Governing Party and some of its MPs.
Now here’s the investment opportunity. Since 2017 the Government has awarded Lord Brownlow £120 Million in public contracts. So invest just over £3million and then receive £120 million. That’s a tidy investment return…
So maybe we can club together. Look for coins behind the sofa. Check those pockets. Raise a few million then give it to the UK Government or maybe donate it to the Prime Minister so he can buy a few more £850 per roll wallpaper. Then we start to rake in the money from the government contracts that come our way. We might even get to call ourself a Lord or Baroness……
We needed something for the house. Where we would normally buy it from is out of stock and is unlikely to be getting any new ones in any time soon. It was a similar story in the other online UK stores. Amazon was a similar story. Finally I found an option from a German Store. But here is the new post Brexit reality.
The store were most helpful. If I had ordered the item before we left the EU delivery the store would have added £20 delivery to the £300 item. Now the store had to warn me that another UK customer had just been charged an additional £140 in Customs Duties and Tax. The store had also had to increase the delivery charge to £40 to cover the additional bureaucracy they had to deal with.
Well I’m not paying that….
So we will just have to do without it until some UK stores manage to source some stock – eventually.
Please tell me just one benefit we are getting from Brexit. So far the best one I’ve seen is from the pompous moron who is the Leader of the House of Commons. He said that apparently “The key is that we have our fish back. They are now British fish and they’re better and happier fish for it…..”.
This is the politician who claimed he had more common sense than the victims of the Grenfell Tower Disaster. Our PM kept him in the Government……
What a monumental prat and what a monumental mess….
It’s grisly. Cold, incessant rain and gales. Apparently it’s Storm Christoph. That temporary lake is getting bigger. Might need to name it at this rate.
2020 was supposed to be a really busy work year for the little organisation I work for. Our busiest ever. Then it all went pear shape. The biggest ever pear shape. From March absolutely nothing. Our work is centred round public events, things like cycle races, marches, outdoor concerts and festivals. Not ideally suited to a pandemic. So it was batten down the hatches until 2021.
So we find ourselves in the third week of 2021 and already it feels like batten down the hatches until 2022. Absolutely everything has been cancelled. You never know a few things might be able to pop-up towards the back end of the year but it’s not looking promising.
That’s the reality for many. Many business are struggling. Unable to trade. Just a quick drive will show closed pubs being sold as housing, cafes up for sale, ‘currently closed’ signs everywhere.
In the big scheme of things our little household are amongst the fortunate ones. We have some savings to fall back on. A few benefits still coming in. A small bit of furlough pay. We can survive. Many won’t be so fortunate.
So it looks like hardly any work this year. But that allows more time to focus on the new school at home gig. Maybe the permanent homeschooling gig. Part of me is starting to think in terms of weathering the lack of work storm for the next few years and just focusing on homeschooling. After that hopefully the working world will be much improved…
This is a photo from 3 years ago. I stumbled across it while looking for some old climbing ones. Another typical Yorkshire August day – all four seasons in one day. It got me thinking – what’s the same and what’s changed in those 1000 odd days. See that’s what aprofessional accountancy qualification can do for you – I’m good at those complicated adding up calculations.
THINGS WHICH ARE THE SAME
Getting no dyslexia support from school,
Getting no Aspergers support or accommodations from school,
Still a single parent,
Still a metal head at heart,
Hawklad is still a lovely character,
No holidays, no Switzerland,
Pets causing chaos,
My football team is still useless,
Still see myself as European,
Brexit is still a shambles and a monumental exercise of self destruction,
Still 5ft 10 and a half (don’t forget the half – it takes me beyond average height),
Still not climbing,
Still can’t work out the TV remote control,
The garden is still a mess,
Still don’t like U2,
Still haven’t seen Avatar without falling asleep,
Haven’t seen my brother even though we live only 50 miles apart,
The garden gate still needs fixing,
The washing machine is still possessed,
Still having bought myself that ginormous telescope,
The blog is still going,
Still writing about the same stuff,
Still waiting for official recognition of my stellar poetry skills,
Still haven’t won the lottery,
Still losing my car keys.
THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE WORSE
As Hawklad has reached the teenage stage many of the health support packages have been removed,
The waiting list to see The Paediatrician is now approaching 2 years,
A pesky pandemic,
Hawklads anxiety levels,
Hawklads isolation from the world and other kids his age,
Due to circumstances had to stop running,
Might be a metal head but the days of skin tight jeans have gone,
Lost a couple of much loved pets,
Don’t really see my sisters anymore,
School’s view of Hawklad – definitely revising his perceived ability levels downwards,
The number of times I have to shout or pull my hair out at school is rising,
I’mphysically meeting less people,
The list of things on the ‘need sorting out when funds are available‘ is growing.
THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER
Hawklad understands himself and his Aspergers much better now,
Hawklad is overcoming his dyslexia,
I understand now that it’s just as ok to Laugh as it is to Cry, YES it’s ok to live,
One step closer to home schooling (hopefully),
My dress sense – I finally chucked out some of my pink climbing shirts.
You might be thinking that looking at the relative number of entries on these lists that the last 1000 odd days have been generally bad. But look at some of those things on the last list. It’s not about quantity it’s about quality. Yep looking at that last list, over the last 1000 odd days we have challenges but some really good stuff has still happened. That’s why there is always hope.
MONEY. Not listened to that Pink Floyd song in ages.
Get a good job with good pay and you’reokay….
That’s how the song goes. It’s funny that I love Floyd but this is the only song of theirs that I don’t like. The sound of the cash till just annoys me. It’s kinda nice that when I finally got to see them live, I can remember the concert so well yet I can’t remember them playing this song. It’s so good when the mind works like that.
MONEY. Before the world changed in 2016 we were doing alright. Finding a way to maintain two quite well paid jobs while making sure one of us was always there for Hawklad. It wasn’t easy and took a shed load of planning, but we found a way. We had a nice house, two cars (our jobs headed in different directions) and we could afford a trip to Switzerland every year. We tried to save for the future so we didn’t buy much. But it was a comfortable life and we could certainly pay the bills.
Then the world suddenly changed. I’ve just realised how lame that phrase sounds. Took me long enough. Seismic Rupture might be better. Need to think about that…
MONEY. The last thing you should be thinking about after a bereavement is money. But far too often MONEY quickly looms over you when you are at your lowest ebb. Bills still have to be paid. Food has to be bought. The government wants its pound of flesh, death brings the delights of Inheritance Tax. Two incomes suddenly became one. Even that one….. Single parenting, Single Aspergers parenting, Single parenting to a 9 year old who has just lost his mum. My job became impossible to maintain. Suddenly I was scrambling for a part time job which worked round Hawklad. MONEY became a very scarce commodity. Trying to get my head properly round these scary things is the last thing I needed when my world had just been shaken to the ground. Trying to look at a shrinking bank statement is bloody hard when it’s done through crying eyes.
That’s how it’s been with MONEY ever since 2016. I was so lucky to find a job which was flexible enough to fit round the single parenting gig. But I was still trying to pay the bills. Working out which repair jobs would have to be kicked into the future – which is most of them. Only trying to spend on the absolutely essential stuff. Funny thing is how often schooling costssuck up any spare cash. Holidays are just not happening – the last one was back in 2015. When we do have to buy items the first point of call is always the previously enjoyed or damaged sections. Our one extravagance, concerts, are always in the much cheaper – restricted view areas. We never turn down hand me downs. I’m currently looking at an exercise bike which was surplus to someone’s requirements and is held together with copious amounts of electricians tape.
MONEY. How needs it. With hindsight it’s clear that we are so lucky. So many are in a much worse position than we are. I’ve found a job that kinda fits our lifestyle. We have a nice house and garden. Live in a lovely area. Friends are wonderful. Financially it’s challenging but we are just about stable. Money helps but it doesn’t buy you happiness. Thinking of Hawklad, memories and friends – money doesn’t buy you those things.
Another post and another rose. At least I can grow a few roses. That’s a start isn’t it. A start is usually a good thing…. In this post today means yesterday thanks to WordPress refusing to post last night.
This morning I started looking at employment options. It looks like my job will get mothballed for many months. It’s so dependent on public and sporting events. Realistically these will not properly restart any time soon. So it looks like the sensible decision is to close the company down and then relook to launch again in 2021. Which leaves a decision to be made. As it’s a great fit with my single parent circumstances, do I try to survive on savings until it’s back again? Or do I find something different to either fill in the gap or completely change career path again. So today I today I started looking at available options. I have to say trying to find a job I can make fit round our Son is not easy. I really fell on my feet with this current role. Yes the money is not great but the flexibility is such a bonus. Today’s search just confirmed that. Couldn’t find one option which would work for us. Especially when you factor in the potential commitment to full time homeschooling. But I will keep looking.
“Dad not sure a Train Driver is a great idea. Even on tracks you would just end up getting lost.”
True…. what about a Zookeeper
“Dad your scared on spiders, snakes, wasps and parrots.”
Ok what about a librarian
“Your far too noisy and you can’t even put your own books away.”
Pants that’s true. What about a parking attendant. I would get a free hat.
“You are too nice, you would never hand out any tickets.”
What about a chef.
How about a window cleaner.
“Have you seen how dirty our windows are”
So after drawing a complete blank we headed outside to contemplate life, the universe and the state of our windows. There we heard a sound which we haven’t listened to since March. Horse Racing… Our nearest neighbour is a lovely elderly lady. I’ve known her for 18 years now. Over those years she has become increasingly frail and hard of hearing. Each year her TV volume needs to be turned up one extra setting. Definitely now turned to 11 on the 10 scale. Which is great as I can turn my music up just a little louder without fear of upsetting the neighbours. Not sure the quaint old village is quite ready for loud Mongolian Throat metal quite yet… Its certainly not something you hear from my neighbours TV.
She only watches one thing really. Horse Racing. Today Horse Racing restarted without crowds, in the UK and it’s most definitely on next door. That means my neighbour is happy. And that’s a good thing.
Last night was one of those yucky sleepless nights. So very tired yet all I could muster was probably 40 minutes sleep. Annoyingly those 40 minutes came right at the end of the night and was brought to an all to abrupt ending with the morning homeschooling alarm.
During those zombie like hours I started writing a list of things to do this week. After getting stuck on item 1 for far too long, the list morphed into a more fruitful
What have I learned about myself during the last few weeks of this rather odd period in our history.
So here goes with my early morning facts
I’m crap at writing To Do lists,
Late at night I have a habit or writing LIST so that it looks like LUST,
I can’t sleep properly,
My old mobile phone has never worked better since it got machine washed with my clothes,
My phone has a surprisingly good camera however it has the most annoying panorama function. The photo above took hours to do,
I am so lucky to have that view from the garden. But what would Igive for either a mountain or the sea in the distance,
I quite enjoy most of this home schooling lark,
Homeschooling and work are never going to be a good fit for me,
Homeschooling and long distance running are never going to be a good fit for me,
Homeschooling and my bank balance are never going to be a good fit for me,
Homeschooling, my bank balance and holidays are never going to be a good for me,
High petrol prices are not an issue when you don’t drive your car for 6 weeks,
I can now make my own pizza bases as long as they are square shaped. Round is beyond me,
I can fill a freezer up real quick when I start saving leftover food,
A dairy and gluten free diet is a pain in the arse when the shops sell out of specialist diet ranges,
I miss football on the telly,
I miss alpine sports on the telly,
I hate the news now. I miss the days of moaning about Brexit,
I’m a barnpot yet I would do a better job of running our country than the clowns currently in charge. Apparently it’s ok for a Prime Minister to miss FIVE emergency meetings and have weekends off during a national emergency,
My Son knows more than I do,
Receiving a parcel from Amazon now feels as dangerous as trying to change a fuel rod in a nuclear reactor,
Not being able to get Sons favourite Soup, Beans, Skinless Sausages and Pasta is one of the most stressful things in the world,
I must be really vexing to live with,
Cheap tea bags taste the same regardless of how many times I reuse them,
Using Yorkshire Slang Words gets me put on the Spam Naughty List,
At some stage I might have to physically talk to someone else than our son. I’m dreading that thought,
You can still get colds if you are isolating from the outside world,
When I’m carefully stood in my designated 2m queuing area why can’t I stop thinking about how long virus particles stay airborne for,
I get so excited when I see an aeroplane now that I must rush to check where it’s flying to,
I haven’t combed my hair in 6 weeks,
Where does all the so called spare time disappear when I’m on lockdown,
The more I learn German the less I can remember of French. It’s as if for every new German word entering my brain, a French one has to pop out to make space,
I will even talk to slugs these days,
Don’t set up a darts challenge with your son then at the last minute realise you don’t have a dartboard or darts,
The Government and Chief Executives of major companies only email me when there is a pandemic going on,
I still hate U2,
I want to live in Switzerland
I’m still a widow. Or as my Predictive Text tries to type – I am still a window,
These days it really doesn’t matter if I put my pants on back to front.