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Things that I have noticed during lockdown

The Bar Man column, by Jeff Hoyle (West Norfolk CAMRA), Friday, May 22, 2020

There are several families with children living nearby and the parents have been home schooling them. I think that on the whole this is going well, but I did notice a poster in a window not too far away that read ‘This house has been inspected by OFSTED. Requires improvement’.

It is amazing that after forty years living within about five minutes’ walk of my current abode that while taking my daily exercise I can find roads and paths that I have never walked along before.

Things that I have noticed during lock down, by the Bar Man columnist
Things that I have noticed during lock down, by the Bar Man columnist

There must have been about half a dozen short but unfamiliar routes I have trodden. Then again I don’t normally spend much of my time walking around cemeteries and industrial estates.

Things that were once a nuisance have become a resource. Every three months we have a delivery of Norfolk Nips, the CAMRA newsletter to our house from where the Bar Wife coordinates the West Norfolk distribution. If we are not in, we come home to a pallet of 25 or so boxes on the doorstep, hopefully in such a position to allow us access to the front door.

The pallets have been stacked in the back garden with a view to doing something with them. That time has arrived and they have been reduced to firewood in a process which afforded me much exercise for about three weeks. We now have a pile of kindling which is around the same size of our log pile and will probably ‘see us out’.

I have now moved on to gardening, though how long this will be permitted is debateable as yesterday I uprooted some plant that I thought was a weed but had to retrieve it from the bin after being told that the Bar Wife had spent 15 years nurturing it.

It doesn’t matter whether there is any football taking place or not, it is all Raheem Sterling’s fault. Wherever I look there seems to be calls for Premiership footballers to take a wage cut. There does not seem to be a similar clamour for club owners such as the Glazers, Roman Abramovich, Joe Lewis at Spurs, various Arab billionaires and the rest to chip in. Come to that why aren’t singers, actors, accountants, lawyers, and the rest making the headlines?

The average pay for a FTSE Chief Executive is £3.4 million. If the footballers do take a pay cut, will the money saved go to paying the rest of the staff a living wage or be spent on some mega transfer at the end of the season?

There seems to be something about working class lads who make good that creates a degree of envy and resentment largely absent from those who inherit wealth or have more middle or upper class backgrounds.

The government’s response to the crisis has been mixed, with issues such as the late implementation of the lockdown and the availability of PPE raising concerns in some quarters. However the introduction of the furlough scheme seems to have been a great success, bringing an element of financial security to a great number of people who would struggle otherwise.

However some companies perhaps need to examine their morals.

The Sun reported that the Stonegate Pub Company, owner of chains such as Yates and Slug and Lettuce placed 16.500 staff on furlough. The company is based in the Cayman Islands and so pay reduced tax in Britain. It seems wrong to me that the UK is expected to bail them out while they pay their taxes abroad, while no doubt complying with the law in all the countries that they operate.

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