Be Kind In Troubling Times: An Empty Fridge

Not a problem I am currently suffering from – an empty fridge but there are many suffering at the moment. There are not food shortages simply people being greedy and not letting the supermarkets refill their shelves in time, the lack of thought and respect for others is sad and spreading like wildfire. Life is the same for all of us, with the exception that some remain privileged enough to remain working and paid, those who work in a supermarket risk themselves as much as front line staff, no PPE at all, the difference being they rely on the public to be honest and stay away if they have symptoms, signs at every entrance remind you if you have symptoms please do not enter.

The NHS front line is the first port of call for those with symptoms and we rely on them to support us through this troubling time, medical staff have now started dying like in Italy leaving bereaved family, friends and colleagues. Yet people still think its ok to go out and do as they please, the government has now written to every household strongly advising us to stay home, this is a sign of enforcement, much like in a job with a three strike policy you have received multiple verbal warnings, we how have a written one, please do not continue to push your luck you will be punished and you will tar everyone with your filthy brush! Why should we have to be punished because others feel they are above the law, as the government raise the stakes, in the USA you will be arrested and charged with terrorism and biological warfare.

UK terrorism offences have no limit on how long they can detain you for and is it really worth the quarantine and prison charge whether you think it doesnt apply to you or not they will find a way of enforcing it, I draw your attention to the Coronavirus Act as passed by the UK Government, they have powers to charge a fixed penalty for breaching the rules. At the moment it hasnt reached the stage where we are charged with terrorism but dont think that it wont have crossed the Governments minds if we continue to flaunt their what are frankly reasonable requests. Yes it sucks the weather is beautiful and we can’t go outside but given the fact we dont know exactly how it spreads do you not think its better to try and make the best of a shitty situation and stay at home? or would you prefer to be like France and only be allowed out once a day and have to show papers getting fined 150 euros if you breach the rules? I know which id rather.

Its a shame to keep having to rant about this every other day but it seems that we are stuck in a school yard situation where the only thing that might work is peer pressure. To the people sunbathing in the park – expect to have your white privilege taken from you and the wrath of people who have been doing as their told. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below join the conversation at Facebook.com or twitter.com/

Compound The Issue Why Don’t You?

A compound is a combination of elements mixed together much like life and the way in which this current ‘crisis’ is unfolding. As we watch it all unfold around us, trying to wade through the barrage of information we find ourselves confused. Trying to listen to the most knowledgeable to get the ‘right’ answer may not always be the simplist way of understanding how our future will be affected, but is its the easiest way in a complicated world.

Defining what constitutes a right answer in these turbulent times should relate to tangible facts but at the moment we are armed with a bunch of statistics and a model for how we would like it to be. Scientists are working hard with the information they have but what if the code they were given was simply a ruse to buy more time? Months spent working on something that may never come to fruition, we can but only hope that we will make some breakthroughs soon to boost our moral if nothing else.

As tensions run high people are showing their true colours in a crisis and its starting to get ugly. Who knows what will happen with the government now with Boris Johnson in hospital having contracted the very virus that he has placed us in lock down for, i’m sure the irony is not lost on some. It seems that a lesson is on its way for all of us and whether we like it or not we will be learning it, time will tell how long we will continue to be in this situation because people are still going out and flaunting themselves with no care for themselves or others, there are others taken by greed in a world that should be sharing when they can, we live in times not of shortages but of misplaced greed and laziness.

Most people filled their cupboards and bought all the loo roll because they knew they wouldn’t have to go out again for a while, fair enough its responsible to stay at home however, they could have just gone out less often a bit of mid term rather than short term planning is required, because at the moment we are only going for 3 weeks at a time and we are hurtling through at a rate of knots.

Its hard to think at all with all this noise going on around us but take a moment to consider what you would do if you have to be in this for longer than you had originally thought.

The Magic of People

Magic has picked up a number of different definitions over the years, relating to extraordinary circumstances right through to the occult. On this particular occasion I am referring to the former, the magic of extraordinary people. We live in a world where we take for granted a number of things we consider essential services like hot and cold running water, electricity, internet services. There are many parts of the world where these are considered luxury services because its not affordable or the infrastructure simply isn’t there.

There are plenty of charities willing to take our hard earned money and enable these third world countries to have access to these essential services, they’ve built community wells, schools and assisted with providing as much as they can but what they can’t change is political situations. With instability rife it has caused any number of problems, poverty stricken desperate people wanting the best for their family and being met with a Government too corrupt to care.

Despite all of these issues the charities keep going back and trying, Doctors Without Borders tireless work all over the world treating people in danger zones without a care for their own safety, to me that is magic. In times of extreme stress and difficult situations we are forced to see everyone’s true colours, its not something we ever want to show people, so if you don’t like that you see, you need to be the change you want to see.

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Perplexed – PPF3 Mask Shortage

According to the BMJ – “medical masks serve as a physical barrier to prevent the spraying and inhalation of infective respiratory droplets. It acts as a deterrent, a reminder not to touch our faces. While masks may not offer absolute protection against coronavirus, it is better than no respiratory protection at all. Undeniably, masks do not replace frequent hand hygiene. It cannot, also substitute for higher levels of PPE. In the hospital environment, every attendee should be considered a potential carrier. That is where the role of medical masks lie. Similarly, condoms do not guarantee prevention of unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases but using them correctly will greatly minimise the risk.”

In troubling times such as these confusion is rife and ignorance is contagious, the media are taking every opportunity to maximise their profit margins by playing on those who don’t understand but don’t wish to be enlightened either. Governments around the world are reaching out to try to ‘flatten the curve’ but there are some who just don’t seem to see past the end of their nose. Supermarket shopping this morning was an interesting exercise, we were kept at a 2 metre distance before we entered the supermarket then people went into their usual fugues with literally no concern for others, I was mowed down twice by people simply looking at their lists, so really its fair to say that although social distancing by staying home is working but the problem is when they are allowed out. I saw people with bandannas around their face, construction dust masks, what they don’t realise is that its a pointless effort, those who have bought PPF3 all you have done is take them from medical staff who need them far more than you do.

So the laboured point I am trying to make (and I cannot believe I am having to repeat myself) is do as your told, stay at home, wash your hands and be mindful of others when you are out and about. Its not hard, yes its boring being stuck at home but when 80% of the world has the internet there are a plethora of things you can do to entertain yourself or even more shocking improve yourself. We are all in this together, we can contain it if we actually apply ourselves.

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The Sound of Silence

Silence can be many things it can blissful in a calm moment, deafening in a tense situation. If there is a sound of silence its an absence of noise which in itself feels almost dead, it is rare to have complete silence (i.e. no noise at all) because there is so much going on in the world.

As I listen out of my window to the silence of the street it is broken by birds singing and the odd child bouncing on a trampoline. Silence can be sinister and comforting in equal measures its dependant on both mindset and situation, if you are worried then your mind may play tricks on you, if you are calm then it will wash over you like a wave of reassurance.

However you feel about silence its important not to be intimidated by it, embrace it, let it empower you, awkward silences in conversation do not have to be filled, more often than not its better just to enjoy it rather than try to fill it, no one will thank you for it. I am guilty of trying to fill silences unnecessarily but I am also working hard to change that, my nervousness has a tendency to go one of two ways – panicked verbal diarrhoea or completely mute. One of these days I will manage to strike a balance and im sure you will too.

What do you think silence sounds like? Leave a comment below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou

Its Not A Purse – Its A Handbag!

So I don’t often wade in on fashion faux-pas and the like, mainly because I am a fine one to speak at times. As they say those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones but when its a matter of language its something quite different. I appreciate that English now takes many forms we have 100s of colloquial dialects in the UK some of which are like nails on a blackboard, America has its own dictionary which is fair considering, but please don’t go on thinking that a purse is a handbag its simply not a purse is what you put money in, your handbag is the equivalent of your life you need right now not just some place to stash your money.

The potential to get prissy about all these colloquialisms is endless, some of them acceptable others like a scratchy pen on cheap paper. I’m sure there are reciprocal feelings from the other side, some of the things we say don’t make sense to anyone else and it can be a minefield when you are learning English, even if you are English! It reminds me of when I was learning French as a child endless tenses, verbs, adverbs so many to remember, lord knows how I could tell the difference and it dawned on me, English has all of these things I just don’t think about it because that’s not how we are taught, we are taught about the three main tenses past, present and future at school yet we can use future pluperfect without thinking? e.g. ‘How long will it have been since we were together?’ Unless you are an English Masters or PHD it is most likely you will learn your more advanced English through conversation and practice, there is no amount of writing lines that will teach you how to use a sentence in a conversation.

Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou

Fakers Beware: You Might Not Make It

Watching Dr Phil is a luxury I afford myself every so often and the last one I watched was focusing on 20 something year old wannabe influencers. They rely on their parents solely to support them and seem to think that its their god given right to be supported by their family rather than supporting themselves. Dr Phil as you can imagine took their attitude with a pinch of salt, the first girl had “one million dollar trust fund” which apparently paid out $200,000 and yet after having it for over 2 years it was apparently still going? Dr Phil rightly pointed out that it would have run out after 5 months, the look that flashed across her face proved that she was either horrific at maths or she was “faking it until she made it” apparently it just keeps getting reloaded, she was rude, spoilt and expected the world to come to her, her mantra was make money not friends and it was obvious by the way she treated her friend that also attended the show.

She was apparently constantly busy ‘working on her business’ something that there was literally no evidence to prove that at all, she seemed to wear the same 3 Gucci items, had minimal Instagram followers, her excuse for not having many pictures was that she was self-conscious and yet she called herself the Princess of Rodeo Drive, ‘I’m always there” she chimed “you are privileged to be interviewing me!” to which Dr Phil responded “well ive never seen you there!” The excuses flowed and I lost interest, but needless to say Dr Phil recommended that her trust fund immediately cancelled by her parents (whether this happened or not remains to be confirmed). Today her following has grown but the paltry 6.5k followers seem to be largely haters than followers,

Its a real shame that Generation Z has such a warped view of money and fame, social media has created a platform which encourages narcissism and genuinely makes people believe they can be rich and famous at the click of a button, it then encourages a multitude of attention both negative and positive, the trolls have free reign to abuse just as much as the fans get to praise. As far as I knew its far more pleasurable to bring a child up with manners and empathy than a bad attitude towards others but maybe its because I’m a different generation having said that there are plenty of people from my generation who are equally offensive and vacuous so maybe it was just the way I was raised.

Current perceptions of worth are entirely money related, self worth for these influencers is dictated by their following, popularity and the amount of money they have coming in, they are judged by their bank balance and how many designer clothes they possess, the pressure that once emanated from newpapers and magazines is now applied by the generation we fought so hard to protect them from. Its a sorry state for society to be in and unfortunately I suspect it will only get worse rather than better. People need to wake up and understand they are just as judgemental as the magazines they proclaim to hate.

Just mm Away – Space Matters

The six-foot rule has been a personal favourite of mine for a long time, most people dont understand that standing 3 inches away from others is likely to make them uncomfortable. If I am queuing I always make sure I am the appropriate distance away and that was before Covid-19 came along, people have no concept of how intimidating it can be having someone stood close enough you can smell the alcohol on their breath or worse risk being coughed on by someone virus or not. The British are professional queuers always have been always will be but its sad to see that our manners and patience have basically been thrown out the window and we now think its ok to abuse people verbally and physically to get to the front because we believe we matter more than anyone else. This is the reason why most supermarkets are letting one in at a time to reduce the risk for their workers, this is completely understandable and yet the public show complete lack of care to the situation – if you are going to get it now it will probably be from the supermarket so stop and think before you shove someone out the way for your own gain.

Panic buying is greed in its purest form and despite not being a Christian even I know that greed is an original sin and that you should love thy neighbour, think of the Good Samaritan helping the traveller Samaritans hated Jews and yet he still stopped to help rather than passing him by like the Priest and the Levite. We have a situation whether we have this elevated idea that we are more important than everyone else and thusly entitled to the last three packets of toilet roll we took leaving everyone else with none, think of the pensioner who has had his routine disrupted because the small number of things he requires to live on are not available – how would you feel if the shop didn’t have the things you are used to? Try understanding that familiarity brings comfort in these difficult times if you see someone in need help them dont just think of yourself, paying it forward leads to good karma, and I foresee a lot of people getting stung by the universe through their own greed, ignorance and self-entitlement.

Stay safe, stay happy and join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou

Count Me In

Tessa looked into her teacup, she always read her leaves it often gave her comfort in times of uncertainty, she swirled them around and a few patterns formed she recognised most of it but she had never seen the last formation before. She took a picture and sent it to a friend of hers who had much more experience in these things and hoped she would be enlightened soon.

The message came back 10 minutes later ‘it means taking part, being in a team or uprising, where did you see it?’ Tessa was perplexed ‘what kind of uprising? Its from my cup just now’, there was radio silence for one of the longest half hours of her life, for some reason she had to know what it meant, she tried to think of a situation where this might come about in the near future and pretty much drew a blank but she had a feeling things were about to change. Finally the reply came back ‘right well think of it as an opportunity and don’t read too much into it life will guide you through’.

That didn’t help Tessa but she tried to put to the back of her mind as her friend told her to, opportunities are created more than them just happening to you, she had seen it in some of her friends. She carried on with the rest of her day keeping in mind that creating opportunities should be an enjoyable process.

The next day she was with some friends, they were talking about an event they had planned on going to, normally Tessa avoided events normally she wasn’t good with crowds but it sounded intriguing. They even invited her along, she hesitated and then suddenly found herself agreeing, on the way home she thought about her change in attitude, she realised that was her opportunity, and she had finally taken it, life had been trying hard to give her what she wanted she just hadn’t wanted it enough yet.

Day 1: 5 Lone Working Tips I Learned the Hard Way

So official lockdown started in the UK today, not quite to the same extend as other countries but still enough to disrupt the general order of things. Life will be spent hopefully working from home for the next three weeks and I will be using the time to work on myself and my writing, I will still be posting everyday possibly more than once a day if I feel moved to do so, but most importantly I will be finishing off my novel.

I rarely work from home normally as our MD does not like it, but when I have done I have learnt some very important lessons. Here are a few tips to get you started if this is your first foray into lone working.

  • Find a quiet place – I appreciate this will be hard for some of you with family life happening around you, especially now the kids are home, but there needs to be a mutual understanding, you need time to work then they can see you later, if your kids have online lessons all the better, they can be doing it whilst you get on with your work.
  • Get dressed – yes it sounds great staying in your pyjamas all day but trust me after a week of it you will understand that it does your mental health absolutely no good. You dont need a suit but at least put some clothes on and show the world you mean it.
  • Lunch breaks/Coffee breaks – take as you would normally in the office, do not tether yourself to the screen for hours on end, no matter how engrossed you get your work, if you have to set a timer go for it.
  • Sit at a table – the sofa is not your friend in this case, you need to try and sit up and maintain your posture, otherwise you will be hunched and in pain by the time all this is over.
  • Eat and Drink healthily – snacking on the chocolate cupboard all day is another no no, if its really a problem Graze.com has you covered with a bunch of healthy snacks and a permanent 10% discount, if you would like your first box free message me via facebook or twitter and I will give you my sharing code (UK only)

Stay safe and sane in these crazy times and remember to the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou im always happy to talk.