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Covid Diaries - Part One: And so it begins.....

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It's been a while since I've been able to post anything, due to the fact that I've been pushed to the limit over the last seven months. Since May, and the lifting of the original lockdown conditions, the property industry has boomed in a way I've never seen before - a result of pent-up demand, another tax concession for the middle classes, and a psychological unrest within the minds of the aforementioned caused by the pandemic. The desire to move to the countryside has rocketed, and as a consequence, property transactions in my neck of the woods have gone through the roof. This pattern continued unabated until this morning. My missus, Tina was tested on Sunday afternoon after showing some Covid symptoms, and the result pinged through to her mobile phone at 8am this morning - a big fat, inevitable POSITIVE. I say inevitable because she has been working like a dog at the local secondary school, in the position of providing pastoral care and support to the 14/15 year old a

An Expensive Week

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Business expenditure is very much like the legendary phenomenon of London bus appearances - Nothing for ages, then five come all at once. It happens in cascades generally, and is often the result of having to update one certain element of the technology which has either failed, or become obsolete. Lady Luck also plays an important part. First thing to pack in was my 2 year old iPad Pro. The home button just stopped working, which was a royal pain while out in the field. My job requires speed and accuracy, and all the bits of kit I use are purchased with the sole intention of being part of an effective workflow process. It all just needs to work. After a quick visit to the Apple Genius Bar in Newcastle, it became apparent that a new unit was my only real option. £868 later, I was back in business.  My desktop computer - a mid 2013, 27 inch iMac has been my workhorse computer for seven years - relentlessly churning through intensive photo-editing tasks pretty much without a rest during t

To claim, or not to claim - that is the question.

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As the majority of white, middle class UK office workers sit on their arses all day, watching Sky TV on huge flatscreen TV's, drinking in the afternoon, and constantly pissing about with their expensive mobile phones at the expense of the taxpayer, I'm out there in the trenches trying to eke out some sort of living........ Oh sorry - did I say white, middle class UK office workers? I meant doleys and asylum seekers of course. See how the paradigm has shifted in the world of benefits over the last three months? The furlough scheme is essentially a welfare safety net system for middle class people, and has been absolutely essential for the prevention of a total collapse of the UK economy by taking the pressure of paying wages from the hundreds of thousands of firms unable to trade during the height of the pandemic crisis. Unemployment could possibly have reached tens of millions without the intervention by the next Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (Those old Tories will choke on thei

WFH Becomes the LAW

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  Working from home (referred to as WFH, as every bloody thing seemingly has to have an acronym to make it relevant nowadays), is the latest employment phenomenon brought about by the fear surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. Of course, many people have been WFH'ing for years - online travel agents, many self employed accountants, IT professionals, and those overly made-up women who run MLM pyramid schemes disguised as posh-cosmetic companies. Offices with hundreds or thousands of occupants are quickly becoming irrelevant, as employers and employees realise that a 3 hour return commute, and £15 a day on a 30 minute lunch isn't the be-all and end-all. Almost all the work I've been doing in the last 3 months has been in homes hastily converted into workplaces for the time being - kitchen tables, spare bedrooms, and dedicated study rooms have been utilised, along with workstations, monitors, and cables which tend to look a bit out of place in a domestic setting, and certainly

A bit of a mess.

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Is it just me...or do things look like they're completely falling apart all over the world? The fabric of human society seems to be unravelling everywhere I look - with our own nation at the forefront of the crisis. The house of cards known as vacuous consumerism was always one step from collapse - built upon a fragile system of poor people selling shit/providing services to slightly less poor people so that rich people could hold sway over those less rich than themselves for as long as possible. Six weeks of forced inactivity has resulted in the folk in the middle of the house of cards having their livelihoods replaced by hugely generous state benefits (sorry....financial assistance) in order to prevent the entire destruction of the whole system, and that assistance is soon coming to an end - resulting, inevitably, in huge job-losses across the spectrum of the aforementioned service and shit-selling industries. We, as humans, have a habit of deferring problems until they absolutel

The Triangle of Life

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The school summer holidays are upon us once again, and for the first time in 10 years, this parental unit is unburdened by the annual, desperate scramble for six weeks of childcare - and the accompanying guilt, stress, and upset that the summer recess used to impart on us, and millions of other families nationwide. Having one of us working in a school has provided an escape from the awful task of coercing the kids into spending full days at the grandparents (no internet), Tina's office (no fun whatsoever), or the 2-week activity programme operated by the local sports centre (no respite from charva bullies). It would have been particularly difficult this year anyway, as we're not allowed to visit grandparents, the office would have been out of bounds, and the sports centre is shut. I can't start to think about the grief faced by parents who are now being forced back to work premises, with absolutely zero provision being made for the care of little ones. My schedule at this t

A Reminder of Reality.

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The last two weeks have been utterly relentless on the work front, with 14 hour days being the new normal for the time being. It seems to be more of a 'catch-up" than a resurgence in numerous property transactions, with 3 months of marketing being crammed into a single month. That being said, it's still a relief that some sense of "normality" is returning to my routine, and being able to prepare for any eventualities such as local lockdowns or client collapses is the priority for now. We're not out of the woods yet, which was brought firmly to my attention first thing on Monday morning. My missus has had a bout of "digestive issues" which lasted a bit longer than would normally be expected, and as this was a possible indicator of "The Lurgy", and unsolved by the usual fasting for 24 hours, she decided to take the sensible route of being tested for the virus, and booked herself in at short notice. As part of the household, albeit without sy