April 24, 2020 § Leave a comment
April 7, 2020 § Leave a comment
In difficult coronavirus times the personal ‘touch’ is more important then ever, although ‘touch’ is almost certainly not the right word. ‘Thought’ is probably better.
Technology is doing a fantastic job of keeping us in contact with family and friends – although not all of us. My elderly uncle is 85 (plonk in the at-risk group) and doesn’t own a computer, smartphone or tablet. He hasn’t a clue what wifi means. My aunt, his late wife, died five years ago and he hasn’t got used to living on his own, let alone given any thought to exploring technological opportunities.
Auntie Elsie was the glue in their marriage and used to invite us all round for the most fantastic roast or high-tea a couple of times a month. Uncle Ben slipped into the shadows after she died and we had to remember to call him – he never thought of phoning us.
The other day my brother and I were talking about buying him a tablet and getting wifi installed so that we could at least FaceTime him. But then we realised he’d need to be shown how it all works – there’s a lot to go through when you’re an absolute beginner – and we can’t visit and explain.
So – we’re continuing with phone calls and he’s happy with that. He likes to hear a friendly voice and, as it happens, we’re making more effort than we used to and are calling more often anyway.
But the whole Uncle Ben issue made me think about how we communicate these days.
Friends can whizz you a message by text, email, Facebook, Instagram and so on…in minutes. They don’t need to send birthday cards, postcards – or even Christmas cards to some extent- because a note on Facebook will do it for them.
I have no choice but to send Uncle Ben a proper birthday card because of the lack of wifi and it’s fun choosing a card that in some way touches on his life or personality.
Then there are letters. It used to be exciting to get a letter – sometimes challenging depending on the handwriting – but exciting all the same. The only letters I receive these days are from companies trying to sell me something and they’re typed, so in every way don’t count. Generally our first thought these days when we want to send a letter is to email it.
For as long as the post manages to keep going in these unsettled, unreal days I’ve decided to revert to letters and phone calls. (Ok – and blog! And Tweet sometimes…and text occasionally – but I am going to build letter-writing back into my life.)
Although I’ve grown up surrounded by electronic communication, I totally believe that the personal thought has to have a positive impact on these negative times.
April 6, 2020 § Leave a comment
We’re in a horribly horrible situation. Coronavirus is hurting each and every one of us. By now we all have stories, either of lost loved ones or of loved ones lost – those living on their own and battling the pandemic alone.
So what to do? The answer has to be: not nothing!
When this chapter in history finally closes, let’s not have people saying ‘If only I’d used the time to…[whatever it is they suddenly realise they have always have wanted – to do]’
Now is the time to start thinking about all the things you’ve always wanted but never had the time to do, as well as the things that you know need to be done.
Suddenly we have too much time and we should make the most of it. You’ll never get that time back. Life hasn’t been given a pause button that you can neatly rewind to catch up on the stuff you haven’t been able to do.
The danger, for many people, is that the less you do the less you’ll want to do – which reminds me of the Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
It’s too easy, when you have no deadlines or structure, to fill up on daytime TV – and that’s if you’re out of bed in time for daytime TV because lie-ins have apparently also become hugely tempting.
Social media has been flooded with cartoons and quotes about people wearing pyjamas all day and possibly, just possibly, if they find the motivation, migrating from daytime to evening pyjamas.
On behalf of freelancers and home-workers everywhere, I’d just like to say: that’s not how we work!
The blog I recently wrote about writing the book you’ve always wanted to write talks about using your day to give it a go. But writing a book may not be your thing.
Perhaps you’ve always fancied learning magic tricks, or baking, or picking up the crochet project you thought you’d never finish or writing music. Writing a screenplay might interest you – or there may be some DIY jobs that you know need doing.
If you’re ever going to do any of these things, now has to be an ideal time to do them. And if not now – when?
Ok, the time’s not right if you want to improve your swimming. Or learn to drive or move house. Shelve those dreams for the time being.
Instead concentrate on what you can do and not what you can’t do.
March 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
To properly limit food sales supermarkets need to get rid of trolleys so that customers can only shop with baskets.
Less food would fly off the shelves and certainly slower than at the current hysterical rate.
Supermarkets could easily have worked this out for themselves – so what am I missing?
The panic buying that’s going on is selfish and horrible. People are finding ways round the ‘limits’ that supermarkets are imposing on customers to make sure that their family is alright. They would prefer to take every member of the family, each of them to fill a trolley to the max, so that they have food, even though they know that it will deny NHS workers and the vulnerable basic and essential goods.
Therefore a ‘limit’ of 2 packs of toilet rolls becomes 8 or 10 packs of rolls per customer in reality when all the family have filled their trolleys.
I’m naive. I didn’t even realise that people were doing this until a sales assistant in Waitrose told me about it as I was looking at empty shelves. So the supermarket is well aware of what’s happening. I don’t want to single out Waitrose because I’m sure the the same is true of Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and the rest.
I picked up another story (online so I know I’m not giving anything away) about people filling their trolley, leaving the supermarket to pack it all into the car and then going back in for more. Sales assistants wouldn’t actually remember the customer’s face – who anyway would probably choose another assistant to serve them or alternatively select self-checkout. And what could happen anyway if the sales assistant DID notice that the customer had returned?
Of course, customers will find a way round an attempt to limit food sales by shopping with baskets. But baskets will be much more inconvenient for them than loading up trolleys full of food and loo rolls.