Monday, 30 November 2020


Next year unemployment is predicted to be massive because of lockdown this year. The original period was covered in part by help from the treasury and with extensive alterations even in the smallest of businesses like hair dressers, it was possible to be legal and serve loyal customers. However, the second lockdown has wiped out much of that good grace and it now seems possible that the after effect next year will be huge.

While many parts of the country went into lockdown to combat the spread of the virus, unemployment numbers have been rising sharply. How high could the unemployment rate go?

Unemployment was less than a million only 12 months ago, it is now likely to reach two & half million by the summer of 2021. This is echoed by the Bank of England, which forecasts that unemployment will most likely peak at about 7.7% in April to June of next year.

The government has been trying to protect jobs through a number of measures. The largest is the furlough scheme, where it pays most of the wages for workers when their employers cannot. That has prevented many of those people becoming unemployed. However, the furlough scheme was being wound down in September and October, ahead of its planned closure on 31 October. Many companies cut jobs in preparation for the end of the scheme, and July to September saw a record rise in the number of redundancies.

The Tier System that will be introduced on Wednesday 2nd December could be more devastating to unemployment than has been predicted because of the uncertainty of which tier each business is in. With a general lockdown, everyone knows the score.

Another problem will be the offical Christmas break of five days, if it is to be compared to the American Thanksgiving break, we can see a huge rise in cases because of the contact people have made over the period. Therefore it follows that the early part of January 2021 will be heavy with cases & deaths, possibly causing more restrictions and increased issues for businesses.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Black Friday

This year, with COVID-19 and social distancing efforts lending a wild boost to an already flourishing online shopping arena, Black Friday will be less about crowded store aisles and more of a steroid-pumped version of Cyber Monday. The upcoming American thanksgiving holiday is regarded as one of the most important retail and spending seasons of the year on both sides of the Atlantic, and Black Friday sales constitute a significant part of annual sales for many retailers.

The high street was dying a slow death even before COVID-19, and shopping centres have been relative ghost towns. That is usually remedied at least on Black Friday, but this year things might be different.

Last year, a few months ahead of the pandemic, Black Friday broke every record for online shopping, beating out high street efforts hands down. Online Black Friday shopping hit a record of £7.4 billion, based on data from Adobe Analytics, compared to £1.2 billion in online sales for Black Friday in 2018. Cyber Monday hit £9.4 billion in sales, an 18.9% increase over the prior year. As retailers encourage customers to shift to online shopping in order to avoid crowds during the pandemic, online sales are set to break another record this holiday shopping season.

This year is unlike any in the past, and for the first time we are no longer referring to peak holiday sales as Cyber Week, it is now Cyber Month.

The ‘indirect’ savior of the high street stores might be pharmaceuticals like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The companies said earlier this week that their vaccines was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those in the trial without evidence of prior infection. With a vaccine on the way, shoppers might get more relaxed with in-person shopping and upcoming holiday celebrations. But with online Christmas shopping already getting a headstart, a vaccine is not likely to make its way to the masses in time for a full return to in-person retail.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Acute Loneliness

Lockdown2 although probably shorter that the original Lockdown which started on the 23rd March 2020, could cause more mental than physical problems for the future.

Loneliness occurs when feelings of loneliness and uncomfortable social isolation go on for a long period of time. It is characterised by constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level. It can also be accompanied by deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, and self-loathing.

The inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level. Maybe you have friends and family in your life, but engagement with them is at a very surface level. Your interaction doesn’t feel connected in a way that is fulfilling and this disconnection seems never ending.

Overwhelming feeling of isolation regardless of where you are and who is around. You can be at a party surrounded by dozens of people and, yet, you feel isolated, separate, and disengaged. At work, you may feel alienated and alone. Same on a bus, train, or walking down a busy street. It is as if you are in your own unbreakable bubble.

Loneliness can afflict all types of people. It is easy to assume that someone who is naturally shy and introverted might be most at risk, but outgoing personalities can also suffer from chronic loneliness, even though they may appear to be the life of the party. This type of loneliness is not exclusive to any one personality type.

People started writing about loneliness and mental health issues during and after the original Lockdown and I read about it hoping that the government would have a solution for others as it had not really affected me. That has now changed with Lockdown2. I am feeling quite alone.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Autumn Fades

Staring out of the morning room window, I see autumn coming to an end and I begin to think of all the things I have missed.

Flocks of starlings swooping down over the lawn and moving from one end to the other feeding, while at the same time irrigating the lawn better than I ever could. Sparrows, Tits, Finches flitting from one side to the other between the shrubs clearing out the small flies.

All the leaves have nearly fallen now, carpeting the garden with more colours than you can imagine, the lawn has stopped growing, the sun when it is out moves across less and less each day and now that darkness is descending before 5.00 pm it feels dismal.

There used to be hedgehogs, squirrels, cats that used to roam the garden but are rarely seen nowadays. A Jay has just arrived and deposited an acorn in the border, that makes a pleasant change.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind do not matter and those who matter do not mind.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

US Elections

A result has finally been released, Joe Biden is President.

About four days ago, we in the UK had already worked out that would be the result, but for some reason the US could not realise it.

The election was officially last Tuesday and in the UK we usually get a result on Wednesday morning when we get up over breakfast, it is a tradition. We have counters that work through the night.

The US election has a popular vote [the number of people who make their mark] and electorial seats [a specified quantity per state]. The magic figure is 270 to get into the whitehouse and on Wednesday morning it was 220 for Biden and 213 for Trump. By the end of the day it was 253 - 214. It then remained like that until late on Saturday.

The states that were still counting had hundreds of thousands of votes, but some of them were only counting 10,000 a day! Unbelievable!

I would suggest that one reform could be, postal ballots are acknowledged and filed the day they arrive, so that Americans can have the result over their breakfast on a Wednesday morning.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Coronavirus versus Influenza

According to ONS [Office of National Statistics] which everyone and his mother are quoting at the moment, 45,000 Britons died during the 2014/2015 winter season from viruses, 59,000 during the 2017/2018 winter season. I do not remember a huge amount of media fenzy at those times.

Influenza [the flu] and COVID, the illness caused by the pandemic coronavirus, are both contagious respiratory illnesses, meaning they affect your lungs and breathing, and can be spread to others. Although the symptoms of COVID and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.


Both illnesses can cause fever, cough, body aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea [especially in children].

Both can result in pneumonia.

Both flu and COVID can be mild or severe, or even fatal in rare cases.


How It Spreads

Both the flu and COVID spread in similar ways. Droplets or smaller virus particles from a sick person can transmit the virus to other people nearby. The smallest particles may linger in the air, and another person can inhale them and become infected.

People can touch a surface with viruses on it, and then transfer the germs to themselves by touching their face.

People infected with the coronavirus or the flu may not realize they are sick for several days, and during that time can unknowingly spread the disease to others before they even feel sick.

Seasonal flu, which causes outbreaks every year, should not be confused with pandemic flu, or a global outbreak of a new flu virus that is very different from the strains that typically circulate. This happened in 2009 with the swine flu pandemic, which is estimated to have infected up to 1.4 billion people and killed between 151,000 and 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC. There is no flu pandemic happening currently.

In the winter of 2017/2018, there were 50,100 flu deaths. No one locked down the country.