Clapping the NHS

aplauding nhsInteresting times we are living in when many in the neighbourhood go out on their doorsteps at the same time every week to clap people who are not there. I’m not knocking those who do it but for me it is strange. I think the NHS are doing an amazing job and I worry about people I know who are having to be in there dealing with it all; friends, family and acquaintances. A sister-in-law, an NHS worker, has caught Covid-19, though thankfully only mildly and as yet none of her family are exhibiting signs. A friend’s cousin, also an NHS worker, had it mildly but then her husband caught it and is in intensive care. So yes I think they are doing a great job and should be respected and applauded. So I send them messages, tell them I am thinking about them, etc. But I do not go out and do the clapping. But that is because I don’t get it. But then I also do get many of these grand public outpourings.

But what got to me most of all was a local historic castle has very publicly put blue lights on its façade when the clapping was going on, made sure it was on all their social media that they had done things, emailed all their supporters. The emails had a donations button at the end but this was for the monument’s fund raising not the NHS raising. But also this place has made sure all its parklands are locked so no one can walk through them. Thankfully there are lots of other places to walk but I just wondered if a good public gesture would have been to open its parklands to give people more space to walk. Some who might even be those NHS workers who they are illuminating their building to support.

But this got me thinking about how we, and I include myself in this, make big open public gestures but don’t do the little things that will help. So how many people clapping, or even giving to the amazing people like Captain Tom to raise money to support the NHS, will be willing to have their taxes increased to support not just an improvement in the NHS but also to support all those who are on furlough, to improve our schools, our bin services, etc, etc etc. How many people who are in management in these sectors find it easier to clap than to take a pay cut so those below them could have a pay rise? How many are finding time to support local business? Not just now when we’re thinking about it but after this is over?

So I do applaud those who go outside to applaud the NHS, but I also applaud those who are key workers in other areas, but also those who are sticking to the rules and staying at home. But I do wonder what things will change when this is all over or will we just want it all to go back to normal without having to pay for it, make changes, or even look at what is wrong in this world to have brought things to this point. And by this point I don’t just mean this pandemic but a struggling NHS, an overly polluted planet, etc, etc etc.

Are you obeying Lockdown rules???

 

Is it just me or when you go out or look through your window or read Facebook or Instagram does the thought pass through your head of whether those people are obeying lockdown rules?

renly on the beach april 2020Maybe it is just me 🙂 But I know when I’m out walking my dog with my daughter I look at groups of people and ask myself “are you all part of the same family and living in the same house?” When I watch cars driving past I often think “is that journey necessary?” When I see all the cars in Tesco carpark I ask myself “how often have you been there this week?” All the time I’m judging people. And actually not in a good way.

What if those people walking together are from different families is it for me to judge? If people are walking for 2-3 hours rather than the one allotted for exercise, or going out 2-3 times a day instead of one, is that for me to judge?

Is it for me to judge? No it is not. I must follow the rules and guidelines as I have interpreted them but not judge others who see it differently. Yes they might get sick – but I must not say “serves the right”. They might die and that would be sad. They could stretch the NHS and that would not be good. But all in all it is their choice, as it is mine, how to interpret this whole situation that we have never been through before.

But it got me thinking of how much I judge others but the things I see them doing. And this can be good or bad, better or worse than me. Do they go to church more/less than me? So are they are better/worse Christian than me? Do they spend more/less time writing than me? Are they a better/worse writer than me? Etc, etc. Who am I to judge???

If nothing else lockdown has taught me how much I judge others by what I see and what I want to see. So today when I look at photos on Instagram or see people walking together outside or driving their cars I will just let it go and continue doing what I do. And trying not to judge myself!!

Who will say ‘I don’t know!’

Stay-Home-Stay-Safe-Graphics-3723422-1I have been reading through headlines like I have never done in a very long time. Every morning I check what the latest death toll is, what the latest report says, what is going on in the world. What has struck me through all of this is – there are a lot of people there with opinions but no one is willing to say “I don’t know”

Journalists and opposing political parties and people in general are asking questions – why do we have no PPE for our staff? why no testing? how did it get like this? who is to blame?

What I would really love to hear is someone high up in politics answer these questions but saying – I don’t know how it started, why it got this far, why we didn’t see it coming, but you know what? We’re in this together so lets stop blaming and try and work toward a solution.

Yes I know lots of people are volunteering, helping, doing what they are told and staying home. But actually we all want answers and we all want someone to blame. For me I would say a lot of the problem in our country is that we have continually voted for a government that cuts taxes. Unfortunately cutting taxes leads to services not being able to stock pile things ‘just in case’. If last year the government had stockpiled PPE ‘just in case’ the press would have been running them down for wasting money, wasting storage space, causing a panic.

Scientists are working hard to find out how it all started, why it started and what to do about it. Chinese food markets seem to be taking the brunt of it which could be where it all started, but why now? Why this year? What changed?

I think all governments from China on through were slow to react but I do wonder if that was because they didn’t believe it would get that big. We had a couple of health care professionals staying at our house in February/March and until around 5/6th March they were saying not to worry, that it was going to be like SARS, which though bad didn’t effect this many people even without lockdown. If in February our government had ordered a lockdown then people would have been screaming ‘Police state’. Actually our government did try to get people to be adult about it but what did they do? Rushed to local beauty spots to walk, climb, hang out. I wonder if people had stayed home that weekend and behaved like adults whether things would have been different and there would have been things closed by no lockdown.

I think we like to get ‘authority figures’ to give us answers because we are all scared children in a big world we don’t get understand. If someone in charge gives us an answer and it is wrong then we can cry out like the children we are. We do not take any responsibility. The cause of this could be you and me wanting cheap food, to pay less taxes, to be able to travel the world, etc, etc. But we would not accept that answer very well.

For me I would vote for the next person who says “I don’t know but we’re working with what we have and we’re learning all the time” and “Our political party will raise taxes to pay for this, to support WHO and overseas relief, to pay our NHS and teachers.” And I will be willing to pay more for my beer, my wine, my meals out so that those hospitality staff earn a decent wage.

Easter Sunday

DSCN0826 (1)I wonder how the followers of Jesus felt as they woke after Passover. Not the 12 disciples or the women who stayed with him. We know what went on with them. I wonder about those, who are like so many of us, sitting on the edges, are not part of the inner clique. Those who had heard Jesus speak, had felt something stir in their hearts, stayed with him even when they didn’t get picked to be the elite disciples. Those who shouted “Hosanna!” the Sunday previously and who stood at the back of the crowd when others shouted “Crucify him” and felt helpless to do anything about it. How did they feel?

I am thinking they felt a lot of what many of us are feeling now – grief, loss, anxiety, confused, uncertain. Did Jesus come to them? And if he did then when and what was it like?

As we go through these uncertain times, locked in by an unseen enemy, realising what a mess our world is in and how much it relies of economy rather than care, not knowing when this will end or what the future will hold will the Peace of Jesus come to us?

Many this Easter Sunday will be doing virtual church or be involved in things like https://ctbi.org.uk/sing-resurrection/ organised by a friend of mine. But also there will be people, I think, like those who were not connected with the inner circle of disciples and followers, who will just be getting on with their own thing. The thing they did to survive and live after Passover, after the world had changed.

My hope is that Jesus came to those people too. It isn’t recorded in the Bible if he did but my hope is that the Jesus I try to follow came to those who didn’t, or couldn’t, do anything special to wait for him; couldn’t or wouldn’t stop their daily lives. I hope he came for them. So this morning my hope is that whatever anyone is doing, whatever they believe, fear, hope, feel, that they’ll get a glimpse of Jesus and he’ll bring a bit of his healing balm to these uncertain, anxious times.

In defence of Airbnb

sunset
Sunset from one of my Airbnb rooms

As all who read this regularly know I am an Airbnb host. I have two rooms at the top of my lovely 3 storey house that I rent out. Because of Covid-19 that has all stopped. The cancellations started around my son’s birthday on 16th March and by the time the lockdown started on Monday 23rd everyone had cancelled. I have lost a lot of bookings and no one is booking yet for the summer because we are all waiting.

I read all the articles I see about Airbnb and they make me cross. Let me say clearly – Airbnb is a platform for those of us who wish to put our rooms, properties, caravans, etc on to so that people worldwide can see they are available. I get bookings from as far away as Burma, Australia, Brazil, Congo. I would not get these without Airbnb. I am not forced to put my rooms on to Airbnb. I know that they take a percentage from me for each booking I receive. I also know they take money from guests who book. This is all clearly stated. For this percentage, as well as getting the Airbnb website platform, I also have access to over insurance cover should things go wrong. I have never tried to claim so not sure how well it works but it is there. I also know that it is my choice how I advertise my rooms, what I say about them, about the area, about what people will receive when they arrive. It is also my choice how I behave to my guests. It is then also my guests choice how they review my property and me afterwards.

When I read stories that include how a man had a portfolio of properties on the Airbnb site and doesn’t know who he’ll cope financially now they have locked down the site. I want to say to that man that yes I am sorry that he will be losing his livelihood but that is not Airbnb’s fault. No one said he had to put all his properties exclusively on to Airbnb. They are more than happy for people to advertise on different sites and even have a function on how to sync calendars from those different platforms. Also, very big one –  at the moment no one should be travelling so you should not have people wanting to book your properties. Actually Airbnb have sent an email to all their hosts to say that if you are willing to have key workers stay they will make your properties available. Because my husband is asthmatic and we have my daughter staying, who has taken over the top floor, I’ve not tried this.

I have also read stories that talk about how Airbnb have let people advertise that their properties are a good place to stay during this crisis. No Airbnb did not do that. The idiot who’s property it is put that on his site and has somehow overroad the lockdown Airbnb have imposed.

I notice too that there are never headlines about how Sykes Cottages, Lakeland Cottages, etc behave or how bad they are. Let’s be fair

So please note – Airbnb is a platform  we host use not a boss we work for. We, as adults with rooms, houses, etc choose to put our lettings on there. Airbnb does enable us to do this. And Covid-19 is NOT Airbnb’s fault.