on pointless statistics

The current reporting of Covid-19 cases started me off on this topic, but it is a classic case of reporting pointless numbers in a way that I have covered here before a few times. As managers we have to report numbers, but what do they mean: Lies, amend lies and statistics is so true.

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the lockdown log 9

Another week and, despite some relaxing of restrictions, not much changes for us here. Some jobs have been finished, others not yet started as I focus my time on the little homestead.

The one change to lockdown for me has been a trip to my nearest garden centre. I set off just after lunch because that suited me and was surprised to see that there was no queue in the elaborate zig-zag set up by the entrance. Half an hour later, with a couple of the things on my list, several that weren’t and some knowledge of what paving was available I left to find 40-50 people queuing, the zig-zag area overflowing into the car park. My timing had been impeccable, even if the centre had little of what I had wanted to buy.

Going to look at stuff before buying is important to me. Possibly it because I have grown up through a time when that was the norm, but I do not like the concept of buying relatively blind (yes you can look at photos when buying on line, but it isn’t the same) and sending it back if you don’t like it. To a degree I have had to do that over the last couple of months and have been fairly successful in that only one item has been sent back.

This was not a bad week until late Wednesday and then an incident brought the black dog bonding to my side and yesterday I was in a very dark place. Mental health gets a lot of publicity these days and it is good if people who would benefit from help, but would not have sought it otherwise, are persuaded to do so, I am very much in the self help camp though and deal with such things in my own way. I am not out ion the cloud yet although I am on the road out. I know that I may yet be turned back, but I will get out eventually and move on (again).

It is not lockdown that is at the root of my problem, rather it is fear. The worst case scenario for me is that I could bring this little bug home and pass it on with fatal results for the Berkshire Belle. I do recognise that there are indirect aspects of lockdown that affect me such as the impact it is having on the BB who has not been out for 9 or 10 weeks now. She wants to go out and could, but will not. She feels safer staying in and that is her decision even if confinement is getting to her, and thence to me.

One of the things that keeps my glass half full is that we do not have it as bad as others do, or have had in the past. Our biggest problem is merely inconvenience and a twenty minute queue to get into a supermarket where I can buy almost anything that I want is nothing compared to having to queue for hours in the hope of getting a little of what I need. A gentle stroll will get me to my local supermarket in around 15 minutes and I have enough money to spend on the essentials when I get there. There are a lot of people around the world for whom such an easy life is beyond their grasp.

I have the love of a good woman and children that I can be proud of. Possibly most of all at the moment I have my garden. It may be small, but I can enjoy pottering in it and getting lost tinkering with my plants and watching the wildlife. I have said that I am a lucky man in terms of the work that I have done, the places that I have been and the people that I have met. All of that got me here where I am today. Yes the black dog still has its teeth sunk into me, but what have I really got to be depressed about?

on times when thinking is a bad idea

Sounds daft to propose that there are times when thinking is not too clever, but I firmly believe it to be true. I would not advocate it as a blanket strategy, but there are times when being able to block certain thoughts will pay dividends. Read more…

the lockdown log 8

Another week has passed and our routine here stays the same. On five days out of seven I potter off to work and then come home to work in the garden, house or garage and often all three, albeit I have not developed the superpower of doing all three at once.

Today is main shop day and Sainsbury’s is my target. It is somewhere that we rarely go now and this will be my first foray there since before the lockdown so I have no idea what sort of queue I will face when I turn up in about 90 minutes from now. The Berkshire Belle has provided me with a list and I will do my best to get everything on it..

Most people seem to have got into the 1 Person – 1 Trolley way of shopping, but there are a few exceptions. The idea is that more households are allowed to shop; if the store has a limit of 80 customers at a time then 80 homes can shop at once if there is one person to a trolley (cart for my US readers), but if two people come in to shop together it spoils that. If ten people are shopping as pairs then it makes a big difference.

I accept that sometimes it is necessary; vulnerable people, those with kids etc, but when I see the wife pushing the trolley and doing the shop while hubby trails along behind the selfishness disappoints me. The Berkshire Belle flatly refuses to shop. I have offered to drive her and wait in the car, but she prefers not to go so I do all of the shopping for now.

At home the projects are being knocked off without resort to going the DIY stores that have now opened. I have most of what I need lying around and the internet fills in the odd gap. As always with plans the original tactical plan has gone out of the window and I just hop about between jobs doing anything that moves me towards the overall aim. The only spoilers have been the things that suddenly need fixing; the light in the oven stops working, that handle has come loose etc. ‘Twas ever thus.

I hope that you and yours are coping. Stay well, stay safe.

on opportunities to learn

Last week I was chatting on line with a former colleague who I first met when he was in one of the Belfast offices of the firm we both worked for. Amongst our reminiscences the Scottish office also came up and our conversation has sparked many memories of working with the top men in both locations. Read more…

the lockdown log 7

So far the day goes well. Thursdays I have off from my part time job and so I, being an early riser, get on with more personal projects. This morning I have written a new page for the companion blog to this one and saved the draft for reviewing later and been out for my essential chores trip. Read more…

on what comes next

At some point the Covid-19 crisis will begin to ease and the restrictions currently in force will be relaxed or removed, but the world has changed. Some businesses will not survive and others will have to change. Jobs will have been lost and commerce and travel will not return to where they were six months ago. Read more…