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Posts Tagged ‘America’

the lockdown log 13


It has been an odd week; torrential rain followed by temperatures in the thirties midweek, but today, Saturday, is grey and wet again. That’s how it goes these days, but the extremes and unpredictability seem at odds to what I remember from even ten years ago let alone thirty or forty. All signs of climate change I suppose.

Despite the relaxation of lockdown we ware still at the Full Monty here. I go to work five days out of seven and do odd shopping on my way home with a big shop on my day off while the Berkshire Belle stays stoically indoors. It suits us.

The behaviour of some of our fellow UK citizens is beyond belief though and we are appalled by their senseless acts. If this is what this country has come to then I am glad that I do not have too many more years to endure it.

Some of my projects have ground to a halt whilst I wait for certain trades to get back into action and that is a frustration as is the weather in the way that it has impacted on outdoor works. Taking stock of what I have managed to do though gives some encouragement and we have been enjoying the first fruits, literally, of some of my gardening.

Our shopping habits have changed in that we buy some food and all non food on-line now. We have found a fishmonger and a suit & veg box greengrocer Along with the butcher that we used to drive to once a month who now does on-line orders and those three provide our core needs. We have also benefitted from one of our favourite restaurants now providing mail order dishes and the first of those has been a great success. With me being able to bring home the odds and ends of basic supermarket shopping we are doing well enough.

The joy of shopping for us was always being able to wander around and look at stuff, often coming home with things that we had no intention of buying when we set out, but that is not going to be something we can return to for a while yet. We need a new TV as the current one is showing distinct signs of problems. Yes we can buy one n-line and may well have to do that, but we would prefer to be able to go and look at what is on offer. It is not that simple as yet. Our lives have changed and we do not yet know by how much.

We are not complaining about these changes; we accept that we are very lucky and regard this year’s radical change more as something that we have to live with. We would not have chosen it, but tough; life is like that. We will almost certainly not get our US holiday this year and are philosophical about whether or not we will ever go back there because the America that we love does not currently exist. Things there are turning into a disaster in terms of Covid-19 and what will emerge from the aftermath there we have no idea about at present.

There are a lot of folks much worse off than us so we will stick to our lockdown and enjoy what we have.

Stay safe one and all.

Home thoughts from abroad; a postcard from America


Oh to be in England, now September’s here? Not really, no.

I’m taking a few minutes of quiet time in between business and the essential hospitality that goes with it, at least it does more so here in the USA that maybe back home. Shortly I will be back on show when my host’s guests start to arrive and we get down to some serious socializing and, it has to be said, networking.

So, home thoughts from abroad? For me this is more home than home in the sense of where I live. Yes I know that I am British, and I am proud of that, but I am more at home here in the US than I am back in Wiltshire and, if I had the chance, I’d set up home here for good.

For me there is a lot about America that we have seen wiped out in the UK. People do care about each other here and there is a much greater sense of community spirit. In many ways it is like the England that I grew up in in the 1950s and 1960s. Nostalgia may not be what it used to be, but I am nostalgic for a time when people were far less self centred; my Monday Musing last week talked of the Musketeer’s motto of “One for all and all for one”. So much of what I see back home is more like one for all and every one for themselves.

Here there is a much simpler attitude in most people, and it shows up in the way that I am being looked after. The whole concept of me being over here and staying alone in a hotel is an anathema to the people that I’m meeting, so a range of hospitality gets lined up for me to meet families and friends.  This isn’t expense account stuff either; it is a genuine desire to welcome a stranger and look after them.

Back home people often mock the “have a nice day” culture, but here it is, in most cases, genuine. This morning I went for a walk down a couple of blocks to buy a newspaper. I’d not got far before I fell into step with someone heading the same way. By the time we got to the news stand I knew his name, what he did, the names of his wife and his children and how they were doing at school and he’d had broadly equivalent information from me. When I used to commute into London by train there would be the same herd of us heading off to the station each morning for the run into Liverpool Street, but in three years of doing that I got to talk to two other people. Everyone else just kept their heads down and ignored those around them.

The Americans bring this warmth into much of business, whether that be BtoB or BtoC. In most cases there is a real need to give the customer service that goes a bit further and that’s great. It makes doing business a pleasure. Sure they are hard negotiators, and yes there are sharks, but doing a deal here is a very different experience to doing one back home.

Maybe some of this is just because it is a change for me. It’s nearly a year since I was last over and it could just be the grass being greener on this side of the hill. Maybe I would find it less attractive if I was here full time. Maybe not, and I have to come home soon anyway.

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