Is everybody happy?

Are we all thoroughly enjoying Lockdown Life?

In a number of ways I don’t actually want it to go back to the old normal.

I’m enjoying WFHing, although I’m massively busier than when I was WFOing.

There are a few aspects to WFHing that are enjoyable:

  • The relaxed dress code (he said, in his shorts, and tie/dye t-shirt)
  • Seeing the puppers whenever I look down
  • Being able to roam around the garden with the dogs whenever I get a rare break
  • Being able to turn away from the laptop and the near back-to-back calls to play guitar for just five minutes (I’ve just added a new chord to my repertoire and as a result I’m now practising Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty)
  • The fairly regular deliveries of drinks and food to my side (at work I’d have to go and make my own drinks! I know! How will I ever get used to that?)
  • The sound of childish laughter from downstairs (oddly, there was never much childish laughter in either my building specifically, or from across the campus generally).

I realise that WFHing isn’t an option for a great many people. I also realise that there are a number of people for whom WFH isn’t their cup of tea.

But for me? I think it’s very good. And I’d like this to be the new normal.

Or, at the very least, my new normal.

Lockdown observations

  • The driver of a convertible, on a sunny day, with his roof down, but wearing a mask
  • Our neighbours opposite moving house yesterday, also
  • No removal men had PPE (except for safety boots)
  • A staggering amount of people not understanding that it’s 2m *in every direction*
  • An awesome amount of kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity, both in the village, and on social media
  • How you will never see President Donald Trump and Mrs Brown in the room at the same time
  • The number of people *who have no control over their dogs*
  • The amount of dogshite that I’m picking up on a daily basis, that doesn’t belong to our dogs
  • I needed a haircut and beard trim before lockdown, so now I’m getting used to looking like this:

The WFH routine

This is an interesting study in the evolution of the working day.

When I WFHed before, I’d catch up on overnight work stuff from the comfort of bed. I’d get up, shower, dress (I’d already walked the dogs at 5.30am) and would then assume my position at the laptop downstairs by 8.30am.

There would follow a normal working day which I’d wind up around 5.30pm.

That’s how the lockdown WFHing started out too, but things have gradually morphed.

Nowadays I still walk the dogs at 5.30am, I still go back to bed about 6.30am with tea and breakfast, and do the News and Twitter. And then I still catch up on overnight work stuff from the comfort of bed.

But in a change to published programmes, I go downstairs around 8.30am, boot up the laptop, take it back to bed and get stuck in to the usual routine of back-to-back conference calls meetings, project plans, finances and normal BAU.

Around 12.30/1pm I go downstairs, plug the power pack in and carry on working. The dogs are pleased to see me and so are the humans (usually), but I don’t get much time to socialise with any of them.

Round about 5.30pm I take a break, go up for a shower, change, come downstairs and eat tea with the family. Then I might pick up the baton again and work until 7pm-ish (unless I have network changes, in which case I could finish anywhere between 10pm and 2am).

The afternoon dog-exercising is done by the family; I’m usually on a daily critical call at walkies time.

The change in my routine, from getting showered and dressed in the morning to getting showered and dressed late in the afternoon has been gradual, but not exclusive.

Ian Dunt remarked the other day on his gradual slide to a less fastidious lifestyle.

So what changes have you been seeing in your world?

What would they think?

I have been thinking about my Nana and Bampa a lot, lately.

We used to visit them on a Sunday, about once every 2-3 weeks.

Nana would always lay out a proper tea and there would be sandwiches and little cakes and lemonade, and ice cream so cold that it steamed.

And there would be the smell of Bampa’s pipe that I can’t quite recall the scent of, but it would be there in the house.

We would have to wear Sunday Best to visit.

I remember I disliked dressing up, but I was made to do it.

Sometimes we would walk to the shop on the corner.

Sometimes we would be allowed to play in the parc on the swings and slide and roundabouts.

Bargoed, their little town, in that valley, surrounded by its coal heaps and mines and slag heaps and mineral railway and coal-buckets.

Coal buckets that crossed the valley

It’s another world.

Even though the images are clear in my head, the pictures are of a time long gone.

In the last 30 years alone the world has changed almost beyond recognition.

How would our rapidly evolving world look to them? How comfortable would they be in it?

We used to visit my Dad’s sister, Auntie Mair as well.

She lived some way distant. To get to her house we would have to go past the railway viaduct in Ystrad Mynach.

Her little terraced house backed on to the railway at the end of the garden.

She had cable television (!) from Redifusion, and an outside toilet.

Nowadays I wonder about these two things co-existing, but back then I didn’t give it another thought.

I was far from being a perfect child. I like to think I have fewer imperfections these days.

I look at how we live now, at the country we live in and at how we conduct ourselves.

And I look at the world, and the damage and destruction and devastation we have inflicted, and are continuing to inflict on it – and on us.

I look at our leaders and see how they wear their faults and failings as if they were badges of honour.


And I wonder, I truly do wonder how Nana and Bampa and Aunty Mair and all of their generation would regard this world now.

How would they look upon us.

I can’t answer my own question with any great detail.

But I feel I can say, with some certainty, that they would be unimpressed.

As am I.

An open letter to…


Dear humanity, you have such potential for awesomeness which you ruin with a failure of thinking.

Here’s what I mean.

Territorial ownership is bogus.

Set against the context of the age of our planet…

  • Just a few seconds ago all of southern Spain belonged to Africa
  • A couple of weeks ago the whole of North America belonged to the Indians
  • And a bunch of decades ago, the entire planet belonged to dinosaurs

Do you, humanity, do you honestly believe that in a couple of years time it’s going to matter to whoever walks the surface of this planet what flag you hang on a pole outside your house today?


Nuclear weapons are unusable.

The minute you use one, you have lost the battle, and the war, because, with Mutually Assured Destruction, you will be dead in just a minute or two.

And let’s be clear about a point of inescapable logic.

  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop Irish terrorists blowing up military targets in the UK and abroad
  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop religious nutcases murder people on and below the streets of London
  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop Argentina from invading the Falklands
  • And in case you didn’t notice, having the world’s biggest nuclear weapons arsenal has not prevent tens of thousands of Americans being killed in attacks on civilian and military targets at home in the US and abroad

So stop thinking small, humanity.

Stop thinking like children.

Grow up.

It’s time to take the long view and sweat the big stuff.

And stop putting politicians who have never seen military action in charge of anything at all.

Where’s their point of reference?

Where’s their learned experience?

Where’s their added value?

Get the big issues sorted, humanity.

Feed the hungry.

Clothe the poor.

Care for the aged.

Treat the sick.

Educate everyone.

Teach tolerance and respect.

Because, when you shoot people and blow people up because you don’t like the deity they choose to believe in?

Or when you slaughter people because they hang what you perceive to be the wrong flag outside their house.

That’s when you’re not thinking properly.

That’s when you’re being a bunch of morons.

OMG, horror in Asia

I was going to write a ferreting-about examination of active/passive voice; try to work out something that’s been in my head for most of the day.

But the sheer horror of what’s been happening in India, Bangladesh and Nepal makes anything else seem selfish beyond description.

Twenty million people displaced by floods, with (at the current time) over 200 deaths.

20,000,000 people.

It puts our recent water problems in perspective.

If I were religious I suppose I’d pray.

My thoughts are turned towards Asia this afternoon.