The Revolution Starts Here

The majority of intelligent people in the country know by now that Boris Johnson is an inept buffoon, and that the Tories dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic is bordering in genocide; but the idiot now wants to lock down Manchester; and indeed after negotiating with their mayor, Andy Burnham, has hit a brick wall.

That brick wall all boils down to money, or the lack of it. The North is the poor cousin to the south, regardless of denial, Boris Johnson’s own constituency of Uxbridge & South Ruislip has received more money recently than the paltry 20 Million offered to the entirety of Manchester, even when increased to 100 million it’s still a tiny amount of the money spent on some London boroughs.

Obviously, Manchester’s Labour leaders have rejected the offer; and thus the Prime Minister is attempting to force a lockdown.

Now this is dangerous. The North doesn’t respect the Tories; and the police are dangerously underfunded and under staffed and attempting to enforce a lockdown against the people’s will would only inflame an already tense situation.

I suspect the glorious revolution may begin in Manchester and Liverpool; two cities who historically have always fought amongst themselves, but in these strange times may unite and form a solid wall. I suspect South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire may well join them to take the wall all the way to the Humber.

We shall see, eh, but these are definitely strange times to be living in.

We’re gonna lockdown again, aren’t we?

Led by a clueless Government who seem to be using a scattergun approach to COVID-19, and alongside some pretty horrible people who consider that wearing a mask doesn’t apply to them; I am seeing an impending lockdown again.

Manchester locked down again last week. Thursday to be precise. I was supposed to be spending the night working on a music project with one of my band mates, but that didn’t happen. The lockdown prevented me travelling to Manchester, and prohibited me from entering his house. Staying overnight was totally out of the question.

So why do I think we’re going to lockdown?

Well the British “way of life” seems to be an alcohol fuelled tirade of “ladding around”. Normal behaviour for too many people is “going out and getting absolutely mortal”. Not me.

With beer comes removal of inhibitions and a loss of lawfulness. This in turn leads to the lapse of Social Distancing, and the wearing of masks, well that’s just not cricket!

On my way home from work on Friday I drove past 3 pubs; 1 a large chain one, one a micro pub, the other a Free House. All three had packed beer gardens (it was, after all, rather nice on Friday), and all three beer gardens were absolutely rammed with people. None of whom were practicing any form of social distancing.

This happened in Manchester and there was a spike in new infections. Based on the COVID infection timeline I suspect by Friday we will be locked down also.

So, what to do?

Well nothing really. Perhaps enjoy the quieter roads again – after all they have been absolutely ridiculous for the last few weeks.

But as a key worker and an essential worker I can just carry on as normal. Nay, I have to carry on. My job is to ensure fire detection systems work correctly and fire shuttering and smoke ventilation systems also work as they should.

So that’s my rant done. Wait a few days and see if I’m right.

Just wear a mask, you idiot.

I’m feeling really annoyed at the moment. I don’t particularly like stupid people and as someone who was considered an essential worker by the government and thus obliged to work through lockdown I am now feeling as if we weren’t actually appreciated at all.

All the clapping in the world for the NHS is just a token gesture when idiots think the rules regarding the wearing of face masks doesn’t apply to them. The “Keep Britain Free” movement are quite frankly, nutcases. The same type of people who think a no-deal Brexit is the way to go. Looking at them sharing their rants on Twitter I can only feel sad that such brainless idiots are allowed to share our oxygen.

Just last week on the first day of the new mask rule I had to tell someone to get a mask on. Her response? “I didn’t know”. She then proceeded to think it was funny and started giggling like a child scolded by the teacher at school. Where has she been for the last 90 days?

Even consider that special guy thinks it’s great walking into different shops without a mask on and flouting a law put in place for all our protection. Bragging on Twitter about his own lack of intelligence whilst openly revealing himself to be an absolute knobhead. I presume he also thinks we should have drink driving days? Perhaps we could introduce a special “eat the mould” day for him?

If there is a God, I think now is time for a flood. We could share a conspiracy that high ground is getting hit by 5G beams from space. Yeah. That’d work.

No excuses. Wear a mask.

If I didn’t wear the correct PPE I would not be allowed on site. My own risk assessment and the HSE guidance say that I must wear appropriate PPE for the task in hand, in this case height work with overhead hazards.

The mask?

Well there’s a fucking pandemic destroying the lungs and other organs of a very sizeable portion of those who catch it. Two masks; one on you, one on the other person you’re with; is the safest option.

No excuses. Just wear one.

Lockdown. Things I’ve noticed & learned to appreciate.

So after a few months of lockdown, we are beginning to see things starting to happen again. Shops are slowly opening. I can now get my Costa Coffee again (albeit as a drive through) and I’m seeing busier roads.

Apart from my current annoyance, which is people who are clearly out for recreational journeys driving everywhere incredibly slowly (usually 15mph below the speed limit) I am still enjoying the quieter roads; but they aren’t as quiet as they were when it first started.

My job is considered key – unappreciated, sure, but the government along with my industry representative body agreed that fire alarm maintenance and service is a priority job and must continue, and thus it was deemed correct for me to work through.

I socially distanced, and still do. I now have masks and hand sanitiser (although at first the selfish bastards hoarded it thus meaning I had to use other means to keep clean) and I have the sore face and ridiculously dry cracked hands to prove it.

My skin is pasty and white because I’ve been working through whilst my friends are all beautifully tanned; but I’ve not put weight on – which is a bonus!

The things I’ve learned to appreciate though:

Food. Basics such as flour, which we have always used as a family – we are very whole living, making many things from scratch and not buying pre-packaged. We use herbs, spices, flour, eggs, milk. These became in short supply. From what a friend tells me, not because of people copying our lifestyle, but because people who have never cooked before thought that if you added water to flour you got bread. Seriously! People would buy “herbs” and add them to tomatoes to make “pasta sauce”. That’s not quite how it works… perhaps I need to explain to them what a roux is.

Toilet paper. The legendary toilet paper shortage was beyond a joke. To be perfectly honest I actually blame the supermarkets a lot for this. We saw it coming. The rumours started spreading. Supermarkets could have immediately implimented a one-per-customer policy and stopped the grabbers. What they haven’t realised, of course, is now the hoarders have hoarded; their sales in the long run will fall. This will be better for us who didn’t hoard as it will drive the offers to clear the overstock. Fucking fools.

Cleaning Products. I was shocked by this one. I often wonder how filthy some people live. Rushing out and buying hand soap. Don’t they have a spare bottle ready to go? I buy it for the business, so I tend to buy by the 5 litre container anyway. Same for shower gel. I have to clean myself after a mucky day and I can really hammer the stuff. Buying it at supermarket prices wouldn’t save me any money, but by buying in bulk I cut down on single use plastics. We’re currently on a nice Scottish sea kelp shower gel. I had it in a hotel last year and rather liked it.

As we come out of lockdown though, I see the queues at the shops. I wonder just how desperate some people are to buy products. I’m not sure I want to return to the previous normal. It’s too fast moving for me now I’ve experienced a slower pace.

Lockdown Blood Donors

Amazingly, and perhaps somewhat terrifyingly, the lockdown is releasing a little. I’m starting to see more shops opening, especially trade businesses. I’ve been quite lucky that with electrical engineering being considered an essential service I have been able to acquire supplies.

The next challenge however, was blood donors. How do you carry out a blood donation when you are in the midst of a pandemic?

Well my donation, not at my usual venue I might add, went very well. Here’s a basic running order.

On arriving at the venue there are marked waiting spots on the floor. There were 4 people in front of me so we had actually run out of marked spots, but we formed a queue – keeping 2 metres apart.

At this point I must point out, let’s call him “Mr Smiley”. The man who arrived a few minutes after me, tried to walk straight past me waiting in the doorway, and then snarled when he was told to socially distance. Mr Smiley should have donated 8 pints.

On getting to the front of the queue we were interrogated by one of the donor carers about contact with COVID-19.

Upon passing triage we were then made to use hand sanitizer and then take a seat in one of the three seats in reception (2 metres apart).

The next step was being called through into a queue of seats – four in total. As the person in front moved, you moved into their seat. This in my opinion was the weak point in the chain. COVID-19 survives on surfaces and having every single donor sit in the chain of seats didn’t seem too smart. I used my own hand sanitizer in-between seats and kept my hands well away from my face.

After passing this stage of the queue we then reached the point at which we would normally join blood donors. Checking in, getting our drink and information leaflet, taking a seat until we were called – but unlike normal blood donors where there are pretty much limitless seats; here there were 9 – all equally spaced.

Once my name was called I was taken into one of the booths and from that point it was just like a normal blood donor session – except that the staff all had masks on and the general level of cleaning was much elevated (cleaning all the chairs between patients in particular).

I was again reminded how important my blood is. As an O- donor it’s pretty special. A 7% group of people whose blood can be given to anybody without blood typing – often used in A&E and rapid response where blood typing the patient isn’t feasible.

What makes me extra special from the blood donors point of view is I’m also Cytomegalovirus negative, which means my blood is also suitable to be given to neo-natals. The donor carer explained how the box system works.

They have an allocation of whole blood donors a day. Those go into red boxes. Once that target is met your blood will go into a blue box where it will be used to manufacture platelets and other blood products. When you’re “neo” though you never get a blue box – the blood gets tagged with NEO and it goes in a separate box which rushes through the supply chain. This is why I usually receive a text within a week saying my blood has been used. It’s very much in demand for the various maternity hospitals and for young recipients.

So I’m special. It’s my duty to donate. But everyone’s blood is needed so if you can please donate!

“Keep Alert”

I really don’t understand how stupid this government is. They’re beginning to ease the lockdown event though we are still seeing fresh cases of the virus. The only justification they are using for this is because the R base count (infection rates) is lower than 1 which means each person with the infection is infecting fewer than 1 other person.

I’m now concerned that this is putting me at risk of infection as I have previously had pretty much totally unencumbered work with nobody nearby – I can actually do my work totally unaccompanied if required (and often do – I hold keys for a number of buildings). Boris is releasing this immediately after a Government sponsored mass gathering (VE Day) which could have increased the infection rate – especially after people were seen doing conga lines, but we don’t have 2 weeks for it to show.

Another three weeks

We’ve now been told we are looking at another three weeks of social isolation and distancing. At least.

That takes it right up to my Birthday! I suspect I can rule that one out this year.

Today I continued to service and test fire alarms. Still we continue to be an essential service and still we continue to do it, even if I’m now having to take extra precautions.

My hands are now so dry with all the washing and hand sanitizer. It’ll be lovely to get back to normal.

Desolation

Rotherham

I had to go to the bank yesterday. It’s on one of the main streets in the town centre.

This is what COVID-19 has done to us. The town is empty. Most of the shops are shuttered up. I had a choice of hundreds of parking spaces.

The roads are incredibly quiet at the moment although there seem to be a few people on them who have been, how shall I say it, scooped out. Totally empty upstairs.

I truly hope we start to come out of this soon, because I don’t think a lot of businesses will be there in 4 weeks time.

I’ve already suspended all accounts for new customers and I’ve shortened all long term accounts to 7 days. Cashflow is not happening. I’ve got plenty owed in, but it’s not coming in.

It’s a bit scary out.

Having spent time now doing my work (as a key worker, I have to keep fire alarm maintenance up to date) I have noticed that the few drivers on the roads tend to be a bit nuttier than usual (including myself, it seem to be having an effect on me too).

Small incidents which would normally result in a quick pap on the horn are now turning into major road rage events and the speed limits on many roads seem to have become somewhat flexible. I’ve just driven up Penistone Road and I was the only one keeping to the 30 limit – most people flew past me at over 40mph!

I’m also curious as to whether all those poor doggies are appreciating the extra walks they’re now getting? I’ve never seen so many dog walkers around and about the area!

The idiots, however, are the groups of youths congregating on corners. They are far more common than I would appreciate and it’s scary that they could be a hotbed of infection; then going home to infect their parents and grandparents.

Well we head into the School Holidays this coming week. I presume very little will change, although I’m as busy as ever. I’ve picked up new work where the existing service company have decided to take the long holiday.