Sunday, 31 May 2020

The Lockdown Blog - Work and Panic

I've been racking my brains about what to write.  I am never usually short on ideas but, right now, I am.  At least when it comes to this blog.

Lots of folks have been writing about their experiences of lockdown, well, I can summarise my experience in two words:  Panic and Work.  With my income wiped and us not qualifying for any government grants we have both worked incredibly hard to reinvent my business skills training online.   

Luckily I already ran around 20% of my courses online but even so, this has been a MASSIVE shift for us and has required us learning seemingly endless pieces of new software.  See - not very interesting is it?  (For the record, yes we could apply for a loan, but really do not want to put pressure on the future business or we could furlough ourselves but would then be unable to work on the business and, consequently, not have a business to come back to.)  You can find all of my courses here - and I promise they're fun and excellent value for money!

Other than work we also managed to create a radio studio in our spare room, allowing me to continue my shows on Lake District Radio.  At one point I was presenting 7 shows a week and it provided a much needed break from the work worries.  I'm still on air Weds/ Thurs/ Fri 5 - 7pm and Saturdays 9am - 12 noon and you can listen in here.

We walked along the prom a LOT - even venturing as far as Kents Bank a couple of times.  Never once have we taken where we live for granted and every single time we go out we are thankful for where we live.

For a bit of variety we also wandered up into the woods, which were really pretty when the bluebells and garlic were out.  Now long gone.  We discovered new paths and got lost a few times too.

It's also been incredibly hard to know what to write about the lockdown.  One small word can be taken and twisted out of context.  Usually I do everything I can to encourage people to come up here and discover this amazing county for themselves, but that is wildly inappropriate just now.  I also didn't want to post too many photos from our walks in case it came over as gloating - "oooohhh look how lovely our views are" if folks were stuck in lockdown somewhere less green and lovely.

Over the last week or so, as things have eased, we ventured a little further afield - all the way to Lindale - where we enjoyed a blissful walk and didn't see a soul all day.

As I write this I still plan on staying home, or close to home, as much as possible.  Visitors have descended and, despite government rulings, there are plenty of people staying overnight in holiday homes, second homes, camper vans, tents etc.  Sadly, many are not observing the 2m distance guide so, to be safe, I'm staying away and only heading out very early, or very late.  The road near our house has been busy all day long, so I'll stay in the garden for now - even though I'm as desperate to get back into the fells as everyone else - I can, and will, wait.

So there you have it.  Not particularly exciting.  To be honest I wrote this as much for me as anyone else to remember what it was like.  Work and Panic still dominate as we try to figure out what happens next.  

One thing lockdown has taught me is how utterly amazing our friends are - they have sent food, gin (yay!), hard cash, art and even stained glass (see @GlassBasics on Twitter - he's ACE!) to cheer us up and help us along.  Some have also offered serious financial support for which I am deeply grateful - I have politely declined, at least for now, because I know that what we really need is a long term plan.  I am also indebted to the folks who signed up for our courses and bought our books.  Every single sale means an extraordinary amount to us at the moment.

See @GlassBasics on Twitter - he is ACE!

It's easy to say "go out and find a job" but, in a region that is dominated by the decimated hospitality sector, jobs are pretty thin on the ground.  Plus we started our business 14 years ago and have battled long and hard to get to where we are now - I am not walking away without and almighty fight!

Maybe normal service will be resumed soon, or perhaps it will be months, or even years before things return to 'normal' - or maybe they never will be quite the way they were before.  Whatever happens the blog stays and so do we - my favourite line is "I'll think of something" and I will.  I know I will.  It may just take me a little longer than usual...

One last cheeky request - we are still selling our books right here and are happy to sign them for you. We have also signed up to Ko-Fi so you can support us by buying us a virtual coffee right here.

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