coronavirus

What is Coronavirus doing to us?

What is coronavirus doing to us and I don’t mean the physical effects of the disease? I mean the mental and social side effects of the disease and the hysteria that’s been thrown up around it!

This document is a work in progress as the
coronabollocks debarkle continues…

What is Coronavirus?

If you don’t know what Coronavirus is then, have you been living in a cave or living under a rock? Or maybe you don’t do mainstream media.

You can not go anywhere at the moment without being bombarded with information about Coronavirus or Covid-19. In brief, it’s a virus, like Flu but Coronavirus is a variant of the Sars Virus named Covid-19. I won’t go into the full explanation as this link on John Hopkins Medicine explains it much better.

Social Effects

First, let’s start off with the social effects as I see them. If you like from the point of view of a tradesperson and a few thoughts from my personal perception as a tradesman.

The Tradesperson

In days gone by when I visited a customer, they were happy to see you and would usually engage in conversation as you arrived, either as a pleasantry or to discuss the job or at the very least to ask you if you’d like a cup of tea/coffee.

Now when you turn up at a client’s home or office, they’re virtually pushing you back out the door before you’ve even started doing the job! Mostly, because of what they have seen or heard in the media. They actually don’t want you there because they think you might be carrying the plague that is coronavirus!!!

Let me give you a few examples.

Today I’ve been to see an elderly couple. A couple whom I’ve been to see many times in the past. Both of them are usually quite chatty as they’re both long past retirement age and don’t see many people even before we had Coronavirus. I spent many a day at their house chatting to the pair of them as I’ve worked away.

Today, however, was a very different experience.

Because of what they have seen or hear on the news they are both paranoid beyond belief about catching coronavirus and before I was even allowed through the front gates at the property I was instructed to wear my face mask and gloves at all times even though I was working outdoors. They also said that on this occasion they would remain indoors. I know they are being doubly safe and I appreciate this.

At no point through the day did I see either of them or their numerous dogs, nor was I offered a drink, something which I am usually offered several times during my work there.

Once I completed the work I knocked on the front door and was promptly called back on my mobile phone.

I then had a conversation with the homeowner through the window via telephone. Okay, it’s their choice, I respect that, but I’ll also say it’s fucking weird!


My second example is an office that had called for me to fix one of their PC’s.

On the initial call I arrived I was asked to bring my own keyboard and mouse so as not to expose myself or their staff to any potential risk.

On arrival, I was ushered into an upstairs office where the pc had been moved to and told to call down to reception when finished. Reception looks like they’re preparing for full on war behind their impregnable covid plastic screens with huge holes in and around!

However, in other places I go, I’m asked to do nothing more than sign in to their Covid log or take my temperature and email this to their Covid log email address or Microsoft Teams group.


The weirdest one is a business in Manchester. A day before I was due there I was sent a 14-page document, via email, which I had to read and sign and send back.

Terms and conditions of entry to their premises for coronavirus, Covid-19.

All I was doing at their offices was dropping keys off for a building I’d been working in.

Nothing weird about this you might say but I was dropping keys off at an empty building!

Yes, their building was completely empty!!!! No staff, no concierge. No one.


Neighborhood

Even when you go out it’s the same story.

I see my friends and neighbors and they approach until they reach 2 meters away and then some impregnable barrier stops them in their tracks. Like everyone is suspicious of everyone!

So is this affecting everyone mentally? Is everyone suspicious of everyone else or are we all becoming paranoid?

Which brings me into something else, paranoia.


Paranoia and Fear

Since covid a number of my close friends have shut themselves away from all, “it’s to keep myself safe”, “I’m shielding because I have a high-risk disease” or “I’m too scared to go outside”, even “the news said…”

The fear element is one I fully understand as certain sections of our communities dont have access to information like others. The elderley are less likely to use the internet or search for things like news so rely on the absolute rubbish pumped into their homes on the TV and Radio who because they are trying to convey a message quickly do not go into the facts or detail as perhaps a website article might do.

I’ve sat with a few elderley friends and relatives recently and listened to them and the fear they have because they dont have all the information is quite scary. One friend of mine actually thought he’d get arrested if he went shopping, because he’d misinterpreted what he’d hear on the radio. So I took him shopping and we didnt get arrested.

A few of my friends have now been alone since March in their houses/apartments and communication with everyone is virtual. Even shopping deliveries aren’t face to face.


Loneliness

It’s May 2020 and you’ve been shielding as you’ve been told you are in a high-risk group. You haven’t seen anyone for nearly 8 weeks, well apart from the delivery driver or maybe a neighbor who called last week to see if you were okay.

No one has been in your house and you haven’t been outside, not even into the garden.

You are very lonely and crave the contact of others but…


Suspicion

You don’t want to be with anyone else. Everyone is potentially a threat and anyone could be carrying Coronavirus which could kill you.

The number of people I’ve heard say this chill’s me to the bone. My own mother amongst them!


Shopping Deliveries

An old couple I know are super concerned with deliveries to the house and only let the delivery driver through the gates once a conversation has been had and they have checked their visitor on their CCTV.

Let’s take the weekly shopping delivery. They let the delivery driver in and ask him/her to leave all the food/products in the relevant boxes outside their garage door.

Once the driver has left they leave the goods outside for a few hours and then go spray the packaging with anti-bacterial spray and then leave it for a further few hours. Only then do they both come out wearing masks and large rubber gloves before food and products are taken inside!

I just hope that when this is all over those people can trust other people again. This level of paranoia to me seems like madness especially as neither have underlying medical conditions but “the news” said they were in a “high risk” group because they are over 70.


Mental issues

I know my friend wouldn’t mind using her in this example but alas I can’t ask her as she’s dead now and I firmly place the blame on this Cornavirus hysteria. However, her mother has said what I have written is fine. I’ve left her name out for obvious reasons but RIP my lovely friend, I will miss you lots.

During the first lockdown, my friend really suffered with her mental health. She lived in Manchester City centre and first Covid lockdown hit the centre hard and Manchester became a real ghost town.

On many occasions, I visited her and found myself stood alone in what is normally a bustling vibrant place.

Now imagine you’ve lived in Manchester City centre for nearly 20-years and then all of a sudden, all the noise, all the people and all the daily commotion disappears. One day it’s there and poof, the next day it’s completely gone.

Now imagine that you’ve got used to that noise, the people and the commotion but now suddenly it’s not there and you instantly notice this. Would it begin to affect how you see the city if this was you?

Some people might say “well I’d cherish it”. But because of the sudden lack of noise, noise to which you’ve become accustomed to means this the silence is deafening.

This is what has happened to my friend and because of this, she has been struggling to function, struggling to sleep, and struggling with the lack of human contact.

On the number of occasions that I visited her apartment during lockdown, she was very reticent to let me into her apartment and because of this, we’d end up going for a walk around the city. This though, because of how quiet it was, would actually bring her to tears!

“I can’t deal with this Mikki” was something she said on numerous occasions.

Also on a number of occasions, she actually broke down and cried because she hadn’t slept for many days, mainly because the city was too noisy because there was no noise!

About halfway through lockdown in stayed with her for several days because she was in such a state.

On the last few occasions I went to see her, towards the end of May she looked very ill, extremely gaunt, and admitted to me that she’d spoken to her doctors at length because she was struggling to sleep, cope with daily life and the total lack of human contact. Human contact I’ll add she resisted because she didn’t want to catch anything off her family or friends!

Her doctors prescribed sleeping tablets but she was already on anti-depressants which I am told can stop you sleeping properly anyway. Apparently, they interfere with your REM sleep and lots of people taking these suffer with sleep!

Anyway, at the start of June none of us had seen her for weeks as she wouldn’t let us go round and wouldn’t even come out of her apartment. We even struggled to get her on the phone, Whatsapp, or Messenger!

Then on the 6th June neighbours started to smell something bad coming from her apartment and called the council and police who went around and broke in.

They found her dead in her bed and she’d been there for several days. ???

We’ll never know if her death was accidental or if she actually took an overdose.


I’ve had another friend who’s also committed suicide recently and we know she was really depressed with life as she left a suicide note. She said she couldn’t deal with the isolation and lack of human contact and saw no end to the current situation.


Physically

I know lockdown and working from home has been great for some of us. Personally, I’ve lost 3 stones during the lockdown and a few of my friends are fitter because of it.

However, there is another group of friends, neighbours, and customers who have taken the time to chill out and in some cases a little too much. Some because they’ve sat and tried to “Complete” Netflix. Others have got depressed and either ate or drank all of lockdown.

Others haven’t left the house and even though they’ve worked from home the daily routine of commuting has piled the pounds on.

I know a few people who have sustained injuries while in from DIY (from falls, power tools, and even woodworking tools) or from Sports injuries (bicycle, jogging, or even canoeing).


Financial

I class myself in this bracket as it’s affecting me both as a business owner and also as an individual.

I’ll go into my personal circumstances in a moment but as the owner of a small business, I can categorically say the government has offered no help to small businesses who’s director’s pay themselves dividends and don’t use the PAYE scheme and as such, I have had to carry on working.

This has probably been good for me mentally at first as I had quite a lot of work in the first month of lockdown. However, as lockdown went on work dried up, and because lots of my clients are also small to medium-sized businesses they were either in lockdown or struggling for work themselves.

This has meant a massive shortfall in my business turnover over the months of April, May, and June. In relation to last year’s turnover, they are down 60%!

Now for the first time in my business history, which is 20 years this year, I’ve taken out a business loan to keep the business going. In hindsight, I wish I’d have closed it in May as the only folk I owed money to was HMRC!

Things have picked up a bit but with Lockdown 2.0 being imposed, yes I did say imposed, on us, this looks set to take a nose dive again as lots of my clients are based in the hospitality sector.

Personal finances

Because of the initial lockdown and business finances being bad I struggled to pay myself in May, June, and July.

Coupled with the fact that I haven’t been able to claim a single penny, yes folks not one penny has passed from the treasury to me during this because I am the owner of a Limited business who pays myself dividends instead of PAYE.

I’ve even tried to claim Universal Credit but because I live in a house with someone who gets an income I haven’t been able to get anything from this either. My first month’s claim after filling in a shed load of forms was calculated at £0.00.

On speaking to the lovely people (sarcasm mode off), that I’ve set up my company in a way that the furlough/support system isn’t willing to support.

So, I’ve had to work but I haven’t been earning no were near as much as I did prior to Coronabollocks and because I was driving up and down the M6 for the first 4 weeks of lockdown I got pulled by the Police quite a bit as well and was told many times I must return to my home and isolate to stop the spread. Ironically, by an unmasked man leaning into my car!

Anyway because of Coronavirus and the actions of the government I now am in debt both as a business and personally.

Furlough Scheme

A number of my friends have done very well out of Furlough and I know people who have been furloughed by the company they work for but have then gone working for someone else! Double wage.

There does seem to have been a lot of renovations have gone on around here during furlough, which begs the question of where were people getting materials from as I’ve struggled to get sand, cement, plaster, and plasterboard.

There also seems to be a lot of furloughed folk who’ve got new cars as well.

Wish I could have furloughed myself.

Hospitality Industry

I hear a lot of people saying,  “I can’t wait to go to the pub”, “I wish I could have a night out” but I also hear people saying “This second lockdown is the pub’s fault”.

From what I’ve seen, and I’ve been out to Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Blackpool, and many more places is that the hospitality industry has done everything the government asked of them and more.

Don’t forget “Eat out, to help out”. The government paying 50% of the cost of your meal to help out the hospitality industry. Blaming them for the increase in R-value.

Remember the pubs re-opened on the 4th of July 2020 and the R-value only started to climb sharply in September. So, it’s definitely not the fault of an industry that spent millions of pounds making things “Safe” for its patrons.

I’ve seen what’s happened to the hospitality industry and if we still have one left after all this coronavirus bollocks then be thankful as its hit them hard. Hotels, cafes, Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Clubs (which incidentally haven’t opened since March) and all the industries which rely on the businesses above.

Have you been out and supported your local pub?

When the time comes don’t be surprised if your local pub isn’t there anymore.

And, yes, yes I have. Lots!

R-Value

This is the reproduction number (R) and growth rate (Value) of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK. Hence R-Value.

I’ve never understood this as the government holds this up as its “Magic wand” to justify what’s going on but the numbers havent been consistant with lockdown. North West England R-value is lower than all the other regions in England and the North West is locked down first? Explain this to me please? Don’t get it!

Figures from Gov.uk for 30/10/2020


Lockdown 2.0

And so on the 5th November we are forced to go into lockdown yet again.

Businesses are forced to shut their doors.

Staff are once again working from home or furloughed.

We’re all hiding from a virus and waiting for a vaccine (sorry I think if you are your deluded, its a virus, like flu or the common cold).

The average age of those dying with Covid is 79 for men and 84 for women. Here’s a link to the BBC so it must be true!

The average age of people dying with Covid-19.

So as we proceed into a month of lockdown before Christmas 2020 I hope that you stay safe and in these times of lockdown you stay safe and stay sane.

Coronavirus self isolation – Day 6

Woke up this morning at 8 am which was actually 7am and my body was immediately confused. as it always is when the clocks go backwards or forwards. One day we’ll stop doing this I am sure?

Breakfast today as for the last 4 days I’ve just had one meal a day as either been mad busy or doing work on the house. I’ve also crashed later in the day.

Today tried to apply for universal credit but it seems the government have made this hard to claim for. First, register to apply for universal credit you. Then have to register on the gov.uk website and login there as well.

God knows how long it’s going to be to apply for a Business Grant!

Walked over to Castle stores stores to get some milk and the shop owner tells me the normal cartoons the suppliers can’t get. So now all the milk cartons have been replaced with milk bottles. Yeah, interesting.

Walked round the village and stared off into the distance at regular intervals as the sky this morning was clear enough to be able to see Liverpool.

Filled in the gov.uk websites authorised “details checker” website to be able to apply for universal credit. The second soul sucking website on the route to a hand out of fuck all. Seriously, will be out working if it’s safe and the opportunity arises this week.

Took me an hour to find and fill in all my shit of the digidentity website and I’m still no further forward as you go so far into the application and I can’t get any further!

Bollocks, let’s go point some more wall.

4 hours later, more wall pointed.

Chris ordered tea, takeaway. Delicious. Thanks Chris.

I got the old playstation one out today. Haven’t touched it for a long time as never felt right playing it on it alone.

Ended up sat watching Helen play Bust a Move all night! Go figure.

It’s been trying on and off to snow all day as well, not what we need now is it.

Dog fed, dog walked, dog asleep. Me to.

Night all.

Coronavirus self isolation – Day 5

Today I was up earlier than normal but still last to wake up. Feeling quite numb today on day 5 of my Coronavirus self isolation.

Took Chante for a walk round the village and for the third day, saw no one. Quite depressing really.

Today, however I’ve tried not to think about the coronavirus situation, the finances or how much work still needs to be done at the house.

So I’ve raked out and repointed the huge stone wall at the front of the house. I’ve had to pull part of it apart as it was in a bad way. Removing two of the top stones required both me and Chris’s as their huge pieces of stone. The wall looks ace now.

As does the pointing on the side of the house. Chris was hard at it from 8am this morning. Looks absolutely amazing compared to how it was before and hopefully will keep this old house water tight for another 150 years.

Had a great beef stew for tea courtesy of H then took Chante out for a walk and ended up over at the old man of Mow and stated out across Crewe, Congleton, Macclesfield and beyond.

Watched Thunderball for about the 100th time.

Not got much else to say as feeling a bit “meh!” today.

Bed.

Coronavirus self isolation – Day 3

Funny old day today, on day 3 of our coronavirus self isolation. And today we’ve talked lots about the things we are seeing in the news and what folk can and can’t do? We also talked lots about the self employed rescue package, Which, let’s be honest, is pityful!

This mornings walk was a bit wierd and living in a small village there isn’t a massive distance you can walk unless you take one of the paths out of the village, but Mow Cop Castle is now shut. Closed, no entry. If you do go up there people may point and shoot or post your picture on Facebook in minutes.

I understand the need for social isolation but if out to walk the dog alone, then is it an issue? The groups of folk, I’m with the naysayers and it’s pitch forks at sunset.

At the house, Chris has raked out loads of the gable end out in readiness to be repointed. The weather is good so let’s crack on. I’m sure his feet must be aching though! He took some stunning photos while he was out walking his dog today. The Sunset one is stunning.

Helen has been tidying and still found time to rustle up home made chilli con carne and rice. Fantastic with a bit of cheese on top.

So what was I doing?

We have a dead space in the kitchen and using a few offcuts I managed to screw a piece of wood to the wall and hang a shelf off it and then tidied the kitchen.

It’s a galley kitchen and it gets a lot of traffic for such a little room so making space has been hard but now things arent as dusty we’ve been cleaning all the cupboards and arranging thinks into some semblance of life and an additional worktop was just what we needed.

I’ve also sat today and looked what we’ve done (well mainly Chris and Helen) over the past two months and think “Wow”. A lot has been accomplished in such a short time.

Ate Helen’s Chilli con carne and then stood on the doorstep listening to my mum talk about her day as I watched the sunset from the front garden.

We all sat down about 8 to watch a film.

What we watching?
Contagion.
Really?
Yeah
Ok

We managed till 10pm then that was it! Couldn’t watch any more.

Plus it’s another school day tommorow so, off to bed.

Coronavirus self isolation – Day 2

So, what’s been happening at Mow Cop towers on the second day of our coronavirus self isolation.

After last night sitting up late, sitting up chatting, drinking and smoking, this morning’s supposed early morning walk turned into Chris going out on his own.

From 8am my phone litterly exploded. I had a dozen phone calls before 9 a.m. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. Most were support calls or calls from people asking to buy equipment, presumably because they can’t buy laptops from the normal stores as even ebuyer seem to be short on laptops at the moment.

All my support calls this morning were to do with VPN and Office 365 and I spend till dinner time getting people logged on to their offices from their home PCs and also fixing SharePoint issues in Office 365 so staff have access to work files.

It seems quite a few of my customers are now beginning to use the services we set up a long time ago for occasional use to allow all their workers to work from home. Hayes and Partners and Kime O’Brien both now have the majority of staff working from home in self isolation.

I wish them and all my other customers to be safe over the next few weeks. I hope that they can keep their business going despite what’s going on. Theres a lot of really good people out there who are self-employed but employ other people as well and I’d hate to see them lose their livelihoods or have to let staff go. I thought about this alot and I dont want anyone of my friends and family to die from this.

At the house I left Chris pointing the side of the house. This is another task that I really appreciate him doing, pointing off a ladder is not easy. We’ll see if we can con Helen later in to giving you a foot massage.

It must be killing Chris’s feet standing on that ladder all day.

I’m breaking my own self isolation today by driving to two places of work.

The first place I’m going to is a warehouse in Middlewich and then off to Macclesfield to one of my clients offices. Thankfully both places I have the keys for as there is nobody there. All their staff got sent home last Monday and have been self isolating for a week already.

I’m going to install a new VPN as the old one isn’t quite capable of handling the amount of stuff connected to it. The VPN there both using was setup to allow small members of staff but now it’s overwhelmed and new hardware is needed to support nearly 50 staff at one place and 20 at the other.

I have to say as I drive around just how beautiful it is today. The sky is blue the trees are beginning to burst back into life and the roads are as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.

I spent all afternoon installing the VPN and setting up Windows laptops, installing Office 365, adding bits of software to various PC’s before sanitising them all. Various members of staff will be collecting them in the next 24-hours so they can work from home.

Total journey time today was 1 hr 21 minutes. Mow cop to Middlewich to Macclesfield to Mow Cop. Normally this takes well over 2 hours.

Speaking of home! On arriving home Chris and Helen have got the BBQ lit, so we had burgers and sausages for tea while we watched the sun go down over the Cheshire plain. Amazing sunset, great BBQ food.

Another long day, another day safe, another day of fun and laughter and another day of coronavirus self isolation.

Coronavirus Self Isolation – Day #1

On the 23rd of March 2020,Boris  Johnson, the prime minister imposed additional rules and regulations in the coronavirus self isolation debacle and although I’m not going to get a bean from the government being self-employed we’ve taken the decision to self isolate and stop working.

This is even though I’ve been working in an empty warehouse for the past week, alone. But its more to do with the travel restrictions and not me actually wanting to stop working.

So I take 2 maybe 4 weeks unpaid holiday and see what happens in the next couple of weeks. I’m of the opinion that my health and well-being and that of my customers, friends and family is more important than anything else and if I have to go bankrupt in the future so be it. I’ve resigned myself to this should it happen.

My mate Helen is also self-employed and is in the same scenario.

We have both seen our customers disappear over the past couple of days with cancelled appointments and lots of work cancelled overnight. I have work for later in the week but I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, even though I’m going to empty offices.

We sat down as a little committee this morning Helen,Chris and I and decided  we were going to self isolate together as we’ve barely seen anybody for the past few days apart from each other.

So, chez Mow Cop is now on lock down. We have food, we have beer and we have a few other earthly delights to bide us over.

Loved ones have been informed and requested they do the same!


chris up a ladderSo all that discussed and agreed we spent all day watching Chris hang off the chimney pots as he was the only one of us brave enough to climb up to the apex of the roof to re-point the top of the chimney and put some Cowlings on top of the chimney to stop water from running down the chimney and into the back bedroom.

Chris spent all-day re-pointing the chimney and telling both me and Helen, “i’m ok you can go and do something else”, but we were both so worried about him, we ended up both watching him!

Thankfully, Chris was able to carry his huge balls up and down the ladder several times and hopefully tomorrow we won’t need much extra work once the mortar has dried. You wouldn’t catch me up there, 36ft high!

I spent a really relaxing afternoon painting the stairs and the landing away from the stresses of work but this forced lock down does have was all worried about our finances over the next couple of months.

We also got Helen’s huge motor home on the drive today so hello officially has somewhere to sleep at the house so we celebrate her moving in 2 months after we got the house. For the past few weeks I think Helen has been stressing about having to reverse her van into the back garden but she nailed it.

Day one rounded up with a beautiful home made corned beef hash pie and a few beers.

Scroll to top