Tuesday, 31 March 2020
1. The homelessness crisis in London is fixable.
2. The knife crime epidemic is fixable
3. The climate crisis and greenhouse effect is fixable
4. There is a magic money tree when we need one
5. Countries with a plan do better than ones that don't in times of crisis
6. When you say people are expendable, that person may just be you
7. The NHS is worth its weight in gold
8. Key workers are people who do jobs that matter
9. People die when politicians dither in the face of a crisis
10. We need our friends and family
We don't want to live under lockdown for a moment longer than necessary, but this has shown that we can cope without the daily hustle and bustle. It seems to me likely that the earthquake that will hit the economy when the tab needs to be picked up will change the shape of the next decade in a far more significant way than the credit crunch changed the teenies. Then, the bankers who caused the crisis were bailed out. The rest of us had a decade of stagnant pay and rising prices. This crisis, we've in effect bailed ourselves out. We have mortgaged the present to pay for the future. Boris has learned a harsh truth that having an NHS is the best way to mitigate such a crisis. If we had a private health system in the UK, I doubt we'd have the organisational capacity, the goodwill and the ex-staff prepared to step straight up. People will do it in a socialised system of medicine, but would they do it, if it meant corporations were making a killing? I suspect that the NHS will be the one institution that comes out of this whole sorry mess in better shape.
As for the falling rates of violent crime. Will this persist when we are allowed back on the streets? Or will the robbers, muggers and gangs feel they have lost time to make up? I hope that the break has given a few young people in despair a time for reflection. I hope the Mayor of London is trying t figure out a way to flatten that curve as well.
The big plans for Boris were for better infrastructure. The two big projects were HS2 and Heathrow expansion. I suspect that these two schemes will have vastly different trajectories. I suspect that Boris will see HS2 as a way to provide employment for tradesmen as the country seeks to get back to work. I suspect that many building schemes will simply not happen, as the finance needed won't be there. HS2 will provide something to keep people in work. Heathrow is a very different matter. The airlines have been dealt a massive blow. Without huge a huge financial injection, many will struggle to survive. There will be less ready cash for holidays, so I can foresee a situation where it might take decades to just get back to where we were.
And then there are changes to society. Many people are working from home. Firms will recognise that this is cheaper and more efficient for many. Why pay for expensive offices, when people do more at home? I can see a sea change in the UK's working culture. I can see a situation where many offices are re-purposed as flats for workers. Many firms (mine is just one) will be in survival mode for the next few months or even years. We are running up debts with no income at all. The leisure sector is always the first to be hit in a recession. I have no idea what will happen when we reopen our doors. Will people come flocking back or will they have got used to staying in, eating takeaways and drinking beer? Of course I am hoping that they will be sick to death of confinement and will be keen to get playing music again. But the big tours and the other projects we make the real money on? This will be a different matter. The lesson I need to learn will not be clear until the doors reopen.
There is one other lesson, an eleventh, that for me is perhaps the most upsetting. That is that without football, Saturday is just another day. Of all the things I miss, the fact that the week has ceased to exist is perhaps the most disorientating. My weekend has for many years been dominitated by live music and football. Thursday night - Five a side at Powerleague, Friday live music and/or drinks out, Saturday is football, Sunday is hangover day. That has all gone out of the window. Even the radio presenters have forgotten what day it is.
Monday, 30 March 2020
|Bunns Lane station car park site 1968|
The old Midland Railway Cottages. Hunt’s boilers Merchants, the florist shop and several small shops in station Road were demolished very quickly as well as the railway bridge to make way for a huge hole which was dug in the ground. The best thing about it was that there was no more flooding under the old circular arch Victorian railway bridge and double decker buses could then travel on to Edgware, rather than turning around at Mill Hill.
I played on the motorway site with the other local boys who lived up a few doors from you in Millway. We accessed the site from the end of their garden and watched as the old allotments disappeared. I remember when the lanes were just laid with a gravel surface waiting for the concrete road surface to be poured. There was a huge pile of sand by Lilley Lane Foot Bridge and I was told that some kids jumped off the bridge onto it and sustained injury for their efforts.
My brother and I used to look at the futuristic picture placed under the emerging motorway bridge showing the modernistic bus station and supermarket soon coming to town in what is now the M&S supermarket car park. Your Dad’s MacMetals yard was also affected by the new motorway as it ran alongside and the old coal depot was used to house motorway construction workers in big grey sheds.
My brother took quite a few cine pictures of Bunns Lane and the Broadway and filmed a journey he made with in a truck travelling along the new motor ay, passing behind your house whilst riding on the gravel surface, proceeding to tip hard core for free as all local builders were invited to do that.
I attach a picture taken around 1968 of Fanning builders yard with its Thames Trader lorry parked outside. I hope that the Hendon Times will at some point upload the picture of your family in January 1963 building an igloo in the back garden.
Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye. Chris the Millhillian was born and raised in Mill Hill.
Sunday, 29 March 2020
Day 11:— Samuel Levy (@FinchleyBirder) March 26, 2020
I decided to have a look in the Garden for insects again. With thanks to @ELBF2010 for help with the ID my list grows with two new hoverfly's.
The First being Eupeodes (luniger?), and the other being Epistrophe elegans. Even while at home there is lots to do and learn. pic.twitter.com/62WgNOg4Uy
Apex Corner Roundabout, otherwise officially known as Northway Circus under construction. Datewise I am not sure, but I will take a guess at about 1959/60, and leave it to one of you to tell me otherwise!— NW London TimeMachine (@time_nw) March 29, 2020
Another gem from @memorieshendon pic.twitter.com/7u7kxAjpDv
A38 Mill Hill Blue and Red Watch showing their appreciation for #NHSheroes outside the Ambulance station next door!! @#clapforourcarers pic.twitter.com/oeZI1kkNFO— LFB Barnet (@LFBBarnet) March 27, 2020
The Orange Tree in Totteridge today, closed for business but still looking magical in these strange times #coronavirusuk pic.twitter.com/VebzoL0KFL— Inside Mill Hill (@InsideMillHill) March 27, 2020
Firefighters tackled a fire which started when cooking oil overheated and ignited at a takeaway shop in #Edgware One man was treated on scene for smoke inhalation https://t.co/olCfJH8Cfj pic.twitter.com/AMf2M8qNSX— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) March 28, 2020
Architectural model of a proposal for Hendon underground station, made by John Thorp, circa 1920 #underground #modelmaking pic.twitter.com/ZXmI9Yco6B— david lund (@davidjohnlund) March 25, 2020
Thank you @KermodeMovie 🧡 We'd love to hear from all of you right now, please keep tagging us in your treasured memories at The Phoenix! Keep in touch with us here, and make sure you sign up to our newsletter through our website... https://t.co/QVXJjm7vXz— Phoenix Cinema (@Phoenixcinema) March 23, 2020
Do you need help from the food bank? The Colindale Food Bank will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays (12pm-2.30pm) at Trinity Church, Northwest Centre, Avion Crescent, Grahame Park Way NW9 https://t.co/CrjlAFfMy0 pic.twitter.com/UQhagAmW3I— Barnet Carers (@BarnetCarers) March 27, 2020
Mill Hill Music Complex Playlist #2 - Rockabilly and Rock and Roll— #MillHillMusicComplex (@MillHillMusicCo) March 26, 2020
During lockdown, we are sharing playlists of some of the great artists who have an association with the studio. Any suggestions for atists/tracks we missed or should include.https://t.co/rWIiRZvKRo #NowPlaying
Saturday, 28 March 2020
1. Have a pint at The Mill Hill Services club.
My only concern here is that it may take a while for them to get fresh suppliers of their rather excellent Hophead bitter, which is on tap. Many of the members are elderly, I am hoping and praying that they will all come through it. For many, the club is what keeps them going, snooker, beer and friends. I fear that the isolation aspect will be the real killer for many.
2. A curry at The Mill Hill Tandoori with mates.
My group of mates have a regular monthly (ish) curry. One is a policeman who has gone down with the symptoms of the virus. Another is a nurse and he's going to be away from his family for six weeks as he's volunteered for shifts at the new hospital at The Excel centre. He doesn't want to expose his family to risk. These guys are heroes. They will deserve a curry. I had a takeway last night, please support our local restaurants who are doing takeaways. It was great to see BAW in the Broadway on the news, delivering free dinners to NHS workers.
3. Do my favourite walk from Westminster Cathedral to Borough Market, via Lambeth Bridge and The Southbank.
By definition, if I get through the current situation unscathed, I will go to Westminster Cathedral, light a candle and give thanks. We all have our own beliefs, I've always found that by respecting God and nature and thanking them for any small blessings they bestow upon us, I stay lucky. Call it superstitious if you like, but it works for me. When I've done that, I will go for the long leisurely walk to Borough Market, maybe pick up some food then go for a pint in The Globe. I will schedule this for when the River Thames is at low tide, so I can walk the bank and do some beachcombing. I may even pop in the Tate Modern on the way. I usually do this alone, but I may ask Clare to join me.
4. Have Sunday Lunch at Ronnie Scotts.
In truth, Jazz is not my no 1 genre, but I love Sunday Lunches at Ronnies, if there is a decent band on. I have a few artists that I love watching live in the genre, including Ben Sidran, The Jive Aces, Ian Shaw and Joe Stilgoe to name a few. Ideal Sunday lunch music. We have a ritual, a coffee or beer and a custard tart at Bar Italia, lunch at Ronnies, then a post gig drink Kettners around the corner. It is a great way to spend a day.
5. A Pub crawl and curry in the West End with my mate Keith.
My friend Keith is one of my best friends. He comes from Prestatyn, is a Wrexham fan and loves real ale and curry. We meet monthly and do a real ale trail, then have a curry. We were meant to meet on the Wednesday after lockdown, so it will be long overdue.
6. Watch some Punk Rock at The 100 club.
The 100 club was recently saved by Westminster Council. It will need saving again. I vow to go to the first decent punk gig that they stage, the last one was The Boys in January.
7. Take my missus to the Bleeding Heart restauarant for a belated 25th anniversary meal.
We will have been married for 25 years in April. We will doubtless be staying in, I will make up for it. The Bleeding Heart is the best place in London for a romantic meal. They will get a phonecall on day one of the raising of the curfew.
8. Rehearse with The False Dots.
The False Dots are my band. All rehearsals and gigs have been cancelled indefinitely. That is a very weird situation for me. I love my band, our music and playing live. We will need to get out and play ASAP. As soon as it is safe, we will be organising a benefit gig for Colindale Foodbank.
9. Visit my Aunty Audrey in Whitstable.
Audrey is 90 in June. She was planning a party but it has been cancelled. I will bring her the biggest bunch of flowers I can afford. She is the last of my mums generation. She is a real sweetheart.
10. Get a haircut.
My Barnet is driving me nuts. I hate having long hair. It is starting to go all Worzel Gummage. I am seriously thinking of deploying my old Wahl clippers. Clare is not happy at this idea and say I look like a potato when I have very short hair.
I'll leave you with this. A little snippet of The False Dots rehearsing. Proper music, made by friends for the love of it! I never really intended to publish this far and wide, but hey ho, we have time on our hands
Friday, 27 March 2020
I am due to book a PSA test, having had one in October and with a forthcoming MRI and check up. The only thing is that to have a blood test, I'd have to go to the doctor, get a form, make my way to Finchley Memorial, sit in a busy room awaiting a blood test, then make my way to UCH for a scan and again for a consult. The thing is, as everything has been behaving itself, with the Covid-19 worries, do I really want to go to a busy hospital, which is likely to be a place where I am likely to come into contact with people infected with covid-19? Do I want to get the tube in to Euston? My hope is that UCH will reschedule the MRI and the consult. Like many things, it is a balancing act, but even if the cancer had started to become aggressive again, can treatment wait until after the crisis has passed? I think the likely hood that there is a problem is low and that the contact with covid-19 would be more risky. Does the MRI machine get completely cleaned after every scan, what if the bloke before was infected?
The NHS is under great strain, so I am very much hoping that the whole thing is deemed not important. Of course in six months, this may bite me on the bum, if the cancer has started to misbehave. I trust my consultant Mr Emberton and UCH to make the right call. I will do what they say, but I cannot say I am not very worried about the whole thing. At the bottom of this blog, I have a little video that sort of sums up my dilemma, and I hope you enjoy it.
I will say this. God bless the NHS. As I've stated many times, the cost of my treatment and my insurance status in the USA would have impoverished me and made me fearful of the future. Perhaps the greatest thing the crisis has done is remind us what a magnificent institution the NHS really is and why we should not be running it on a shoestring.
For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, here's what this is all about. I write this blog because knowledge is power and if you know what you are dealing with, you have more weapons in the locker to fight it. It is a personal view, I'm not medically qualified. This is for the sole purpose of information for those who are interested.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 54years old and in October 2011 I had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gave me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I was put on a program of active monitoring. In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9, in 2013 my test was 4.0, Jan 2014 was 3.8, August 2014 was 4.0, February 2015 it was up to 5.5 and my latest in August 2015 was down again at 4.6. In October 2015 I had a transperinial Prostate biopsy, that revealed higher grade cancer and my Gleason score was raised to 3+4 (Small mass + more aggressive cancer). On 22nd Jan 2016 I had HIFU (Hi Intensity Focused Ultrasound) treatment at UCHL). My post procedure PSA in May was 4.0 which was down, followed by 3.7 in August, and 3.5 in October which means that the direction is positive . However in January the follow up MRI revealed "something unusual which requires investigation" After a follow up biopsy, it appeared this was nothing to worry about. My two most recent PSA tests were Ok (3.7 and 4.6) and an MRI scan in March was very positive. My last PSA in October was 4.6, so stable and good news.
I've no symptoms apart from needing to wee quite regularly and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?
Thursday, 26 March 2020
I saw another Facebook post, criticising a local business in Mill Hill for being open. The person posting did not realise that the business has a crucial role in providing hygenic transport for London and has contracts with other firms, where there are contractual stipulations that vehicles are cleaned. The accusations of not being public spirited were actually well wide of the mark, as the business was carrying on, when it may have been more economic to shut.
Some of us have been asked to run errands for elderly neighbours who are avoiding shops etc. We picked up a supply of eggs for a friend who recently had an operation for cancer of the bowel. Eggs are one of a few foods on a restricted list. But those who may have felt I was buying 'too many' would not have known this. I can live with sideways looks whilst running such errands. If anyone asked, I'd be more than happy to put them to rights. But the bottom line is that when you see someone doing something you perceive to be anti social, just think. You do not know.
That person speeding up your street at 80mph may just be a boy racer taking advantage of the quiet roads to drive too fast. But they may, just may, be driving a relative who cannot breath to A&E. You don't know. The person with the overloaded shopping trolley may be a greedy hoarder, but just be doing a weekly shop for themselves, their parents, their aunty and their uncle, and a couple of neighbours who are self isolating. You just don't know.
When you see someone walking past your house three times a day down to the shops, they might be a selfish soul, who cares nothing for anyone. But they may have had a panic call from an elderly neighbour, who has run out of an essential. You just don't know.
So unless you are psychic, unless you know for sure, unless you peek through their windows, to see the dinner party after the guests arrive, take a kindly view. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Facebook is full of judgements right now. Pages are springing up all over the place, shaming 'Dodgy retailers', but do you actually know whether the retailer hasn't driven to Leicester to get extra supplies and is simply recovering their petrol costs. I've shut my business, so I am not saying this for any other reason, than because a trader explained why they had doubled the cost of a product I was buying. They said that their time and the £60 petrol bill meant the items cost more. They couldn't be sourced from local cash and carrys. It is a reasonable response, one I was happy to accept, but then I asked, so I knew the reason. Do you?
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Copyright 2020 Roger Tichborne
It's only a hardship if you are forced to do something you don't want to do. There is a great episode of Porridge, where the young Godber is struggling with confinement. Old lag Fletcher, who has seen it all before, explains that you just have to change the way you think. He goes through all the things they could do, then after going through all manner of glamourous and exciting options, says, he just fancies a quiet night in. All of those things can be done sometime, but just not tonight.
We have been blessed with the weather. Those of us lucky enough to have gardens should enjoy them. As a dog owner, it has been glorious. I took the dogs over Darlands nature reserve and the Totteridge valley. I chose this route as I knew it would be quiet. It was and it was glorious.
The government is allowing us out for one period of exercise, so long as we stay away from other people. Make the most of it.
If you have nothing to do, check out this brilliant episode of Porridge.
Tuesday, 24 March 2020
|The things that will see you through|
The current lockdown period has come at the most inopportune moment possible for me in many ways. Our business had a very good year last year, on the back of eight years solid growth. We started making plans to expand and spent a large sum on putting the final touches to a new studio block building. After several false starts on the financing front, a major investor contacted me in late January. We had preliminary meetings and I felt very positive. Two weeks ago, I was told that due to the current circumstances, all new projects were off. To be honest, I would have probably have pulled the plug myself, if they hadn't. Over the last three weeks we saw a massive tail off in bookings. Customers long term projects and tours have been cancelled, as individuals and countries have locked down. Deposits have been refunded, this week has seen negative cash flow, all our staff laid off and no clue as to when we can re-open. Thanks to the governments scheme for benching staff, we can keep them on the cards, but it will be difficult and the detail of the scheme has not been released. I had two weeks of sleepless nights worrying about them. Several had already taken the decision to self isolate for health reasons(we've had a policy of taking staff with medical issues, so long as they can do the job). I have assurred all of them that we will move heaven and earth to make sure that they have jobs whenever we can reopen. It is not clear to me how the governments scheme will enable this to happen. I envisage a big dip into our reserves. It could be that by the end of the lockdown, we are back where we were eight years ago, mortgaged to the hilt and facing a massive job of re-establishing our business. Even if every music venue on the planet was allowed to open tomorrow, it would take months to get all of the schedules back on track. If I was given to despair, this would be the time.
Then there are my kids. One is about to finish a degree, the Uni has not told her how this can be achieved, she is in limbo having worked her socks off. Another is applying to start a Uni course in September, again all up in the air. The third was planning an around the world trip. That too has gone up in smoke.
In April, I celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. My brothers and sisters and friends are on lockdown, no party, which is a crying shame. I had planned to get my wife a nice bit of jewellery from Rockman Jewellers in the Broadway, but lockdown has scuppered that as well for the time being.
On Sunday night, I was at the Mill Hill Churches night shelter. To see the fear on the eyes of my fellow human beings, as they contemplate the coming weeks was heartbreaking. I have a home, they have nothing, except what they can carry. For them, sleeping by the radiator, on the floor of a drafty church is luxury. Far better than a doorway, where drunken yobs may urinate on you, set you on fire or assualt you. Everything happens for a reason. That was probably the wake up call I need.
So lets work back through the problems. Sure I may not be able to buy a nice bangle. But I have a partner who has been by my side in good times and bad. Through loss of parents, friends, through illness, through arguments. We'll survive.
Then the kids. They've been spoiled rotten for all of their lives. This is new. They are uncertain, but they have a home. The fridge is full, the heating works. They have two large, friendly dogs to play with. Life will return to normal. They may even have a better perspective on life.
And the business? We will survive. I have time to sort many things out that we've not had time for previously. Running a business like ours is very much like playing 'Whack a mole'. We focus on the big issue of the day, with little time for long term strategy. We have made plans, but not in the way we should. Most of our most successful initiatives have been by accident. There are many things we could do better, but have simply not had the incentive to resolve. If we don't come out of this period with a robust plan to drive the business on and make it a better run organisation, serving its staff and customers better, whilst making a larger profit, then we would have failed and we should flog it!
I've always believed a profitable business is one that serves its customers well. The better you do it the more money you make. Historically, we've always had a mission to provide the best facilities for everyone, from the international touring bands, to the kids who can just about manage three chords, have no money and are at the start of their journey. It is pretty clear to me that we could be far, far better at the top end of the market and far, far more helpful for the kids at the bottom. The mission has always been to get the kids who are just starting, to learn that being a performer is fun and that it will enrich their lives. It builds independence and self esteem. We've historically done this by providing cheap studio space. What we find is that bands who could pay far more hog this, block book it, locking out those who are less savvy. That is no criticism of musicians who are smart enough to make our booking policy work for them, but it is a big criticism of how we help new musicians. Over the last few years, we've also developed a strong customer base of older customers (most of who are now in lock down). This has been by accident and it occurs to me that we need to serve their needs better as well. This is an ideal time to sit back and get a proper strategy to address all of these issues.
But none of this is really what I wanted to discuss. It's just that as you, the reader and me, the author have time on our hands, I can discuss these things fully and in context.
So here I am, a fifty seven year old man, with three grown up children, cancer, a wife, two dogs, two sheds and two ponds, living next to the M1 motorway and the Thameslink railway in Mill Hill, being forced to stay in my house for up to three months, with nothing to amuse me but the said items above. I can't even take up trainspotting, as the trees I planted 20 years ago now obscure my view of the line, which is not altogether the worst thing in the world.
I've worked all of my life, for much of the time at two jobs, running the studios and doing jobs such as IT consultancy. For much of my working life, it has been 60-70 hour weeks. I had a period of about 12 years when I supported a major banking IT system, processing debit cards, that meant I was on call 24 x 7 x 365, meaning the mobile phone came on holiday. Meals with friends were disrupted, sleep patterns wrecked, plans laid to waste. Five years ago, the studio reached a point where I could step away from this life, and two and a half years ago I bit the bullet. It was all going so well...... We had plans to go to Vegas in September and for a cruise from LA to San Francisco. That was the ship that Donald Trump wouldn't let dock recently, as Covid-19 had struck it. And there I was, looking forward to some sunbathing, with my dreams in tatters!
The Universe had other plans. Oddly, the sunbathing came early, I caught a few hours today, as a cloudless sky allowed warming rays of sunshine to beam down. There I was in the back garden, listening to the trains and cars. Lying their with my eyes open, I realised that there are two things, above all else I need to do. My mind was drawn back to a short Youtube video posted by our local Rabbi. Now, most of you will know, I am not Jewish, but all of the Rabbi's I've known have been very insightful characters and well worth a listen. I recalled his words.
Don't Pass Over Passover!https://t.co/JPPH0NrYmK— Yitzchak Schochet (@RabbiYYS) March 22, 2020
|We all matter|
|The sun comes out in the harshest times|
Monday, 23 March 2020
Just returned from a night shift at the local homeless night shelter. This is run by @habcentre with churches, mosques,shuls. The closure of cafe's have given many homeless nowhere to keep warm. The situation for many is critical pic.twitter.com/t6ZGhzDc6i— Roger Tichborne/RogT #CTID 🏴☠️🇬🇧 (@Barneteye) March 23, 2020
The closure of cafe's have given the homeless nowhere to warm up during the day. The 15 who stayed with us last night were lucky, as temperatures froze in Mill Hill (Thick frost on the car this morning), those sleeping rough get no respite. One poor soul had an asthma attack, as he'd lost an inhaler. The ambulance took 4 hours to arrive, by which time thankfully the attack had passed and he was soundly asleep. The ambulance crew told us the service had 9,000 calls when they normally have 6,000. The homeless cannot realistically socially isolate, they need the mutual support. Many have health issues. They are being thrown to the wolves. I realised that the homeless are one of the biggest group of losers from this crisis. In any such situations, there are always losers. As I tried to doze off, I started to become quite angry about it all. I am not angry with Boris, or Rishi Sunak for their response. Of course they've made some mistakes, but they are only human, and it is a massive situation to deal with. I genuinely don't believe there is a massive conspiracy. It is ironic that we are now living under the most socialist regime of our lives. Massive emergency investment in the NHS, massive social help for firms to keep people in work. The situation has exposed the myth, dating from the time of Thatcher, that there is no such thing as society. Their clearly is and Boris has made it clear that we need to be responsible members of it. That was why I volunteered for the night shelter. I realised that I probably raised my own risk levels by attending. I was sensible, kept a distance, sanitised and hand washed. I am glad I did. There was a realistic possibility that the poor chap with asthma may not have got through in sub zero temperatures with an asthma attack and no hot food. My personal health is currently good. My immune system is in order. I believe that I am unlikely to have a bad reaction should I get covid19. I am lucky, in that my family are around me and safe, and none are in high risk groups. A night sleeping in a church, brought me closer to God and gave me a pause to consider the situation in its full context.
The truth is that the situation has winners and losers. If you imagine the situation as a pie, some are getting a huge slice and some are getting very little. Some firms will go under, some will post record profits. Supermarkets, small food shops and food delivery services are big winners. Everyone seems to have a full larder. In a situation such as this, some are taking full advantage of the situation, whacking up prices, exploiting us. Sadly, the greedy souls in our society who care not for the rest of us are fuelling this. Shops charge £20 for a tub of hand sanitiser because some people can afford to pay it and don't care. That excludes everyone who that is half of their weekly shopping budget. As regular readers will know, I buy my meat at Gerards Boucherie in Daws Lane. The food is quality and Gerard is always good value for chit chat. On Friday, he told me that he'd been cleaned out of eggs. Someone had posted on social media that he had eggs. Immediately a guy turned up, who he'd never seen before who bought four dozen. Gerard hadn't seen the post, so assumed the guy was having a party. The next customer bought three dozen, when he queried why, he was told that she'd seen a post on Facebook that he had eggs and needed to stock up. Of course she may use them all, be baking cakes for the community, but it would be criminal if any of those eggs sat in the larder and went off. Gerards prices have not gone up. He told me, with disdain, the prices other retailers were charging. He's been part of the Mill Hill community for decades. He knows that when the crisis is over people will remember. The retailers who don't see this are actually being very short sighted.
The winners in the crisis that supermarkets and delivery services are taking on staff, many of which work in sectors such as the music industry and bands. My worry is that when the panic buying subsides and people have full larders, these staff will be laid straight off. Chemists and suppliers of health products are also likely to do well. People working for firms that produce hand sanitisers, soap, PPE equipment are also likely to be safe. I suspect that the emergency services will have a lot of (not necessarily wanted) overtime. Companies that provide on line services and entertainment will do well. I should imagine that software developers who provide on line systems for firms will also be working flat out.
And the losers, well that is just about everyone else. Every firm I know is battening down the hatches, working on resilience and survival. Pubs, cafe's, restaurants, gyms found out on Friday that they will have zero income. Whilst from a national survival perspective, this is not wrong, it will devastate those businesses. For most of these, the problems are financial. Sadly this is likely to have serious mental health issues for some. Firms on the brink simply will not get through. This is likely to have a huge impact on many areas of the economy. I expect a slump in commercial rents. There is likely to be a huge swathe of companies closing, which means empty shops, offices and kiosks. Even with rent free periods, rates holidays, the govt paying 80% of staff costs, if your company was just hanging on, this will be the final straw. The knock on of this will be for their accountants, lawyers, software providers etc.
Then there are the elderly and those with underlying health problems. They are faced with long periods of social isolation. Yesterday I was taking the sun in the garden, when I heard voices over the fence. I have neighbours in their seventies, their daughter was visiting for mothers day. They were meeting in the garden, keeping their distance. I've known the family for years, I didn't really know whether to laugh or cry. They are friends with my auntie who is 90 this year, so we had a little chat and I was able to say that if they needed anything, just ask. I am pleased they are taking it all seriously. I owe them one. In 1981, when I returned from Stockholm, I had no money at all. My parents were away, I happened to run into Joan, who asked me around for dinner. As she only had two daughters, she was amazed how much I ate. She lent me £2, which was saw me through. Now is the time to properly replay the debt (the £2 was paid the week after, when I got a job). This is what local community is. For those who don't know me, I bought my parents house in 1987, after my father died. Please look after elderly friends, neighbours and relatives as best you can.
If I'd written this blog yesterday, I suspect I may have left it there. But after what I saw last night, I realised that the biggest losers of all are the socially excluded. The homeless, the marginalised. With health issues, a reliance on the goodwill of others, a constant battle to stay warm, to get food, to get money. They can't pay £20 for hand sanitisers, or a fiver for an egg. They have no cooking facilities. If you see a homeless person on the street, get them a coffee or some hot food. There is talk that the government and Barnet Council will be putting them up in hotels, I hope this is the case, but if it doesn't happen, please consider volunteering at a scheme if you are young, fit and healthy. Many of the volunteers at our scheme are elderly, we need to cover them. If you don't they will not let the homeless go cold and hungry, but that really isn't how it should work, is it? Lets face it so many of us are happy to stand in crowded supermarkets, queue for tills etc. We will take the risk for a bog roll or an egg, so why not for people who are vulnerable.
Find out about Homeless Action Barnet here - https://www.habcentre.org/
Sunday, 22 March 2020
But we have managed to find a few gems, so here you go!
1. I suspect that the last sane rational tweet that will appear on Twitter before the meteorite strikes and wipes us all out will be from @Time_NW, one of our favourite accounts
2. And a great historical tweet from the Mill HilL Historical society
Oil painting of an aircraft factory floor in The Hyde in Hendon in 1918. Painted by war artist Anna Airy.— Mill Hill Hist Soc (@MHHistSoc) March 21, 2020
It is a "Aircraft Manufacturing Company" erecting shop with DH 9 planes.https://t.co/aJMarxAWkC
Image from @I_W_M : https://t.co/tyqxTUMM6O pic.twitter.com/algoJ726ur
3. Want to see the tube line from Finsbury Park to Edgware reopened? If you do, then sign this petition!
4. This looks like a fun account, good to follow at times like these
5. There are some new train sidings at Cricklewood, opening soon to allow completion of the New Brent Cross station
5 new sidings pic.twitter.com/LGYDkjOpUq— Robin Morel (@13milepost) March 19, 2020
6. If like me, you enjoy a walk across The Totteridge Valley, you'll enjoy Samuel Levy's latest tweet! We did the walk yesterday and have never seen so many people out for a stroll, all impeccably behaved and self isolating sensibly
Day 8 of a photo a day:— Samuel Levy (@FinchleyBirder) March 22, 2020
Today has been all about migrating reports over the Totteridge Valley. With these 4 Red Kites up together over Long Pond. I was also pleased to see the first Lamb of the Spring at Folly Farm. #londonbirds #solaceinnature pic.twitter.com/aQSN4Nc9wh
7. In need of some spiritual uplifting?
8. and some words of sense from our local Rabbi in Mill Hill
Don't Pass Over Passover!https://t.co/JPPH0NrYmK— Yitzchak Schochet (@RabbiYYS) March 22, 2020
9. Peter Walker is a great friend of this blog, our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and his guinea pigs! Get well soon Peter
Tell the guinea pigs that Peter Walker, their slave, has had an operation to widen some arteries and to remove blockages, so he will be home in a few days. He will have an operation on the other side in 4 months. #guineapig #guineapigs #cavy #cavies #swinkamorska #swinkimorski pic.twitter.com/SNvlf505m3— Peter Walker (@writelaws) March 22, 2020
10. Here's a doggy to cheer you up!
Looks like the studio has gone to the dogs! Met this chatty happy whilst opening up pic.twitter.com/Wxo378RNke— #MillHillMusicComplex (@MillHillMusicCo) March 22, 2020
That's all folks
Saturday, 21 March 2020
Back in 2012, I made a list of my top ten - https://barneteye.blogspot.com/2012/06/saturday-list-3-my-top-10-films-of-all.html
But the film that would take pride of place is an independent Australian film, made in 2006, that I only came across a few years ago because one of my musical hero's Ed Kuepper did the soundtrack. It is perhaps the most thought provoking, life affirming film you will ever see. It is a great film for these times. You can find it on YouTube.
One of the things I love about Spotify is that you can make and share your own play lists. Think of a theme. Here's one I prepared earlier, just to kick you off. This one is my Inspiration play list, different songs mean different things to different people, but all of these songs are songs I play when I need inspiration
About five years ago, I started a family photo archive on Facebook, as I found a few old pictures in a biscuit tin. I invited my brothers and sisters to join. There are now 43 members, cousins, aunties etc. It has now downside. This is the last picture I posted, taken in my garden in 1966 with my Dad and sisters.
So long as you avoid people, why not go for a walk. London has many fine walks, if I lived in central London, I would walk to the Thames and go for a long walk along the Southbank. As I live in Mill Hill, today it will be Totteridge Valley. Mark Warren won a prize for this picture of the Valley
We don’t realise how lucky we are in Mill Hill, with views of the Totteridge Valley and beyond, you can go anywhere in the world and not see a view like this, Autumn Colours! #autumnfalls #Autumn #autumnleaves #lovemillhill #totteridge pic.twitter.com/FOQDbDeYzT— Inside Mill Hill (@InsideMillHill) November 17, 2019
If like me, you play a musical instrument, the time is a blessing. If you are out of inspiration, check out some of the amazing tuition videos on Facebook. Here are some the great ones you can get for Guitar.
Reducing stress is vital if you want to keep the body healthy. BBC Radio London's Jo Good did an innovative broadcast yesterday, to get us all relaxing and breathing!
....and breatheeeeeeee 🧘♀️🧘♂️🧘@Miss_CL_CLC has recorded a special breath control exercise for @middleagedminx - which could be just what you need if your self-isolating or working from home 🏠— BBC Radio London (@BBCRadioLondon) March 18, 2020
Take a moment to pause, relax and meditate.
Join in! 👇 pic.twitter.com/1qxQ7e8EVZ
Today the sun is shining, take advantage of it, but when the clouds come out, why not get reading
Back on May 2014, I put together a list of books you should read before you die.
One book I was very much looking forward to reading was Mark Amies book about London's industrial past. The publishers have put back the launch until May.
I have today been told by the publisher that the publication of my book has been moved forward to May. This due to the current Coronavirus situation. My apologies on their behalf. pic.twitter.com/5Gqgy5Gwiz— London's Industrial Past (@PastLondon) March 20, 2020
I'd advise anyone with a patch of garden to plant a few vegetables. Potatoes and tomatoes are easy to grow. Runner beans, peas, strawberries, rhubarb and raspberries are easy to grow. Tomatoes and cress can even be grown in Window boxes, if you get the right varieties. It will save you money and given the shortages, it might really help you out in a few months.
If like me, you follow many people on Twitter and Facebook, some of whom post things that do not make you feel good, or upset you, why not take the opportunity to go through and get rid of the negativity in your life.
You may be OK, but are your neighbours. We wrote a blog detailing ways that this can be done earlier this week. Have a look and see what you can do. I am pleased that in Mill Hill, we are getting organised.
Please can you share in Mill Hill, we need donations urgently to help support the most vulnerable members of our community @BarnetCEP @MillHillMusicCo @MPSMillHill @MHHistSoc @MHLitterPickers @InsideMillHill @MHMTC_ @Saracens pic.twitter.com/WaHnKjTh5z— Mill Hill Library (@MillHillLibrary) March 19, 2020
Friday, 20 March 2020
Lets start with the Mill Hill Music Complex Friday Joke
Our Friday joke pic.twitter.com/iql7uoEyt3— #MillHillMusicComplex (@MillHillMusicCo) March 20, 2020
As for the German Nation. They are stockpiling sausages, preparing for the Wurst!
Why did the Barnet Blogger buy a Hyena? So someone would laugh at their jokes
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, 19 March 2020
1. Grant all personal bank customers an interest free overdraft of £1,000 for every month of the crisis.
2. Suspend all minimum payments and interest on credit cards for personal customers for the duration of the crisis.
3. Give rent guarantees to Landlords for private renters in distress
4. Suspend all domestic community charge payments for the duration of the crisis
5. Cancel all self assessment tax payments for everyone earning under £100,000 per annum
This will give certainty and comfort to everyone who is struggling. It is the absolute minimum we need to get through. We don't want the population to be saddled with debt, homeless or destitue.
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Many people want to do something, but are scratching their heads as to exactly what. I met with friends last night, and we discussed the matter. What we want to do is to take a few small, practical measures, that will hopefully make a big difference. It might even make us have a better community going forward.
Here is a list of practical suggestions.
1) Set up a street level WhatsApp group to stay in touch with neighbours - I live in Millway, so we talked last night about setting up a Millway group. Use this to make sure neighbours are looked after. Some elderly neighbours will not be internet savvy, so I suggest that we drop in a note giving your phone number and ask them to call you if they have any concerns. If each resident did this for one or two elderly/vulnerable neighbours, we could ensure that they are ok. We could also use it to swap cups of sugar, etc if any of us are short.
2) Pledge a small amount of money for a street level hardship fund. In my road, there are 120 homes. If each pledged a donation of £20 towards the fund, that would mean there was £2,400 available if anyone in the road was in urgent need. I hope this should never be needed, but it would give those who are terrified of not being able to feed themselves or afford soap/toilet rolls etc a degree of reassurance.
3) Why not offer to place orders on Deliveroo or other services for elderly neighbours, if they are having trouble cooking or getting supplies and do not know how to use such services.
4) Looking after pets. Many people who live alone have pets. Make sure that these are being looked after. This will most likely be a big worry for those self isolating.
5) Social media. Facebook and Twitter can be a massive help or the devil incarnate when it comes to crisis management. Posting alarmist messages etc does not help, please be mindful of what you post and what effect it had. There is no point posting "Be nice" if the next message you post is a diatribe against a friend or neighbour.
6) Respect rules introduced for greater social good. This morning, I was walking my dog past Iceland, during a period designated for exclusive shopping for elderly and infirm. I am sorry to report that it appeared that this was being completely ignored. Just imagine if it was your mother or grandmother being affected.
We also need to organise a co-ordinated effort to support our local businesses as best we can. For example, if you normally go for a curry at The Mill Hill Tandoori on a Friday night, but wish to avoid restaurants, order a takeaway. Many such restaurants only have licences for alcohol sales on site, but these should be relaxed to allow deliveries, so that they can deliver a bottle of Cobra or wine with the food, without risk of prosecution.
There are other things that need to be done. I have volunteered for the Mill Hill Churches Homeless shelter this Sunday, doing an overnight shift at John Keeble Church, making sure the homeless have a place to sleep. Although there is a slight increase in my personal risk profile, if we do not support such schemes, we are throwing those at the bottom of the pile in our society under a bus. This morning I noted that the coffee bars in the Broadway were doing a brisk trade. If we can get a coffee, we can help the homeless.
I would welcome all other ideas as to our local, personal response. I will try and keep this blog updated as the ideas roll in.