Posts by marshlander

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    I received an interesting video link from a distant cousin in Australia. I wasn't sure about how helpful it would be so I've checked it out with a GP friend, who fully supports the idea of everyone wearing some sort of mask to help protect others and plans to share this video herself.

    I've been looking online to see about making a mask, but the ones that I've found seem to assume I have a sewing machine and know how to use it, neither of which is the case. I shall see if I can gather some appropriate materials and have a go at making one by hand. If there are reports of a masked man performing music suspiciously in the Fens it will probably mean I've been successful.

    I think I mentioned that someone I know raised a couple of thousand quid this week in less than 24 hours to buy 3,600 surgical masks which are being donated to the NHS. People around the world are apparently making masks for medical staff. Although it would obviously be better if a health service was funded sufficiently in the first place this real effort to help is a very positive move and gives me some hope that there may be more good people out there than the ones who have stripped the supermarkets bare.

    (Oh wow! A kingfisher just landed and sat less than six feet for a while away as I was writing this.)

    Thankfully a series of inconveniences does not amount to a crisis. Thanks for the kind thoughts ... and jokes are very much okay!

    well done Derek. You did the isolation phase twice. Your the only person I know to have deliberately done that and you didn’t moan once. Respect.

    Kind of you to say so, Steve, but for me far worse than contracting the virus would be finding out I passed it on to someone else. At least I can be pretty sure that I won't be doing that any time soon. :arr:

    I've had people I didn't realise I was on such good terms with phoning to check I'm okay during my second 14-day round of isolation. On top of that the farmer's partner made a delicious lentil stew and some vegan ciabatti to cheer me up at the weekend which she left at the top of the bank near the boat. The farmer himself was worried that I may not have enough to read, but what was even more thoughtful was that he sent some books he thought would specially interest me. Anyone know these?
    "Rebels! Why Rebel And Risk All" by a local (Ely) sociologist, psychologist, criminologist and "psychonaut" Rod Read and

    Tom Waits on Tom Waits.

    I've just been out on my first day of what passes for freedom these days and replaced my very depleted food stocks. My daughter is coping well on her own and is feeling very happy with her achievements. She's able to work from home and she has just signed up for the Masters degree she's wanted to tackle for years. I've just had a run through some songs, one of which I may play at a virtual folk club this evening. I wrote out a tune that came into my head while I was putting the shopping away.

    I'll admit I'm feeling fortunate.

    ... how do you clean all clothes then not put germs on what your cleaning again, boil all your clothes i can hang things out but if i have to tumble dry would that spread a virus through the house ...

    I'm not medically trained, but from my research the outside of the virus is broken down when you use ordinary soap. The virus itself cannot then find its way into your respiratory system. It is also not able to tolerate temperatures at a normal washing machine temperature of 40º. If you're specially concerned do it all on 60º. By the time your clothes get hung up there won't be any active virus left.

    I've just received this message from a GP friend:

    "Please please observe government advice to the letter. Keep your distance from everyone not just those with a cough or fever. Stay home if you can. Wash hands regularly and thoroughly. Get changed as soon as you get home and put your clothes in the wash, preferably at 60 degrees.

    And definitely stay away from elderly people."

    It was rather good. About ten of us in the meeting that would normally happen at a local studio. Most of us were regulars, but someone brought in John Coghlan. Never met him before so that was interesting. One friend I hadn't seen for about three years too. The quality was pretty good with nothing cutting out although I guess you wouldn't expect the sound to be amazing. It was, though better than I expected. I like the way the programme put a box around the picture of anyone speaking so you could look at them more or less straight away. Some weird background options too so people don't have to look at your messy surroundings.

    What a lovely bunch you are, show concern for those among us who seem troubled. :hippylove:

    Self-employment reminds me of the diesel trap, you know when we were advised to buy diesel vehicles because it was better and ultimately cheaper? Self-employment has been seen as a way of government agencies avoiding taking any responsibility for us because we are not in their system ... until it comes to demanding tax. If we don't earn enough it is our own fault for not working hard enough ... allegedly.

    Before I go on I don't class myself as one of the "troubled" ...

    I've only been self-employed for about twenty-one years, but there seems to be a lot to which the self-employed find themselves not entitled when compared with the formally employed. The chancellor's package of support last week simply amplified this. It may be that there are systems in place to assist us, but I find the jumping-through-hoops game just too stressful, so I've never bothered and I've deliberately removed myself from the game. Of course there are advantages to being self-employed, but the headaches can be legion. I have managed to reduce my outgoings over the past couple of decades and I try to keep a little in savings from my redundancy twenty-one years ago and my father's bequest eight years ago. Unfortunately, through austerity measures in recent times, I have seen pretty much all my paid work in education disappear and the virus has now seen to the two remaining school bookings I had in the diary for this year. Over the past couple of years I have been able to afford to live mainly off gig money, but now that has dried up too. At the other end of the scale a friend of mine has just had a twelve-date fully sold-out German tour cancelled while Amanda Palmer is holed up in New Zealand with Neil Gaiman and their son. Things could always be worse :shitfan:

    Most of the people I know are not wealthy and live hand to mouth. Many of my friends are, like me, giving performances online and begging for tips and for people to buy their recorded work and merchandise, assuming we have any. I've been buying albums made by my musician friends, but as far as I can see, we are just recycling money between ourselves under an illusion that we're supporting each other as our own funds disappear. Even fellow musicians are only rarely able to offer financial support so, unless one has a substantial fan base, living off online performance isn't remotely viable. Of course all this extra online activity means that one risks using up one's whole data allowance before the month's out. I could end up in total isolation because of that.

    To be honest I'm not sure where I'm going with this ramble. Yes there should be equity of the support to which we are entitled if we've been honest in our dealings with HMRC, but this opens up several other cans of worms. As it happens every penny I have ever earned has gone through my books. Once again, this is partly down to not wanting the stress of having to account for any discrepancy were it ever to be questioned, but mostly because I try hard to treat others with the honesty and fairness with which I expect to be treated. However, for most weeks of the past five years I doubt I have earned anywhere near £94, so to have the assurance of that coming in would be handy, although at the moment I don't feel inclined to apply for it. I guess it would cover most of my monthly outgoings, but ... the hassle, man. I just want to do the gig and get paid. I am just so relieved that I don't have the expenses associated with living in a bricks and mortar situation. If you are self-employed and paying rent, council tax, utility bills, vehicle costs on top of that and trying to stay alive you have my utmost sympathies.

    This morning I've received a number of e-mails from organisations/support groups to which I have contributed in the past reporting that their income has also dried up. It breaks my heart to turn my back on them, but I can't help any more or for the foreseeable future. The young gay man in a refugee camp in Kenya did get to me though. He is sitting there waiting for the virus to arrive, which it undoubtedly will, and just rip through the whole community. There are 220,000 people living in a space erected for 70,000. Fresh water, food, sanitation and personal safety issues for lgbt+ people - many of whom already have compromised immune systems - are problematic enough. I have it easy.

    ... This of course isnt enforced so everyone sat together....

    Then i go home and cant walk my dog 3 times a day on my own.....

    Fucking joke!

    I guess it's an admission that when it comes down to it, no one has a Scooby about what really matters. As with the rest of life, we are bumbling along, working it out as we go. Any member of the government is never going to know the truth of my reality. They can't begin to envision it. I don't think I'd be much good being the one being reminded I have to make decisions for everyone else. I imagine Johnson, Gove et al never foresaw life would get this tough this quickly. Apparently a virus does not respond to platitudes. Who knew?

    My late father was an accomplished hoarder and collector. I was very grateful for this tendency for the three years it took me to get through his supply of toilet paper. I wish I had had a use for his collection of replacement razor blades, but they were never going to be of much use to me, although I held back a few spare packs. However, even had I been clean-shaven a single lifetime wouldn't have been long enough to get through them all.

    When I had my landing stage rebuilt last year I discovered a rusting, taped-up biscuit tin I'd put in his rag box in the shed that had to come down too. I'd forgotten what was in it. It was packed to the brim with boxes of matches, carefully wrapped in plastic. Coming to the end of one of the boxes I've just gone back to the tin to get another one. The one I picked out was a six-pack of The Ship matches priced at 12p. I've just looked at the box I've nearly finished to see it cost 1½p when new.

    Nine years after he died and I still miss him every day. I am glad though that he is not here to see the state we've managed to get ourselves into.

    I hear and see that people using public transport are unable to maintain social distancing..... At the same time the frequency of buses and trains is being reduced thereby presumably pushing people even further into each others space:


    What a joke!

    I had one last opportunity to make a break for it back home to the UK after being isolated for sixteen days in France. This was on the day lockdown was due to begin at mid-day. My journey home to the Fens was going to take five trains. Four out of five trains on the arrivals board had been cancelled. As it turned out I was fortunate that none of my booked trains was among them. My second train (from Geneva to Paris) filled to the brim at Bellegarde, the first stop - so two and a half hours crammed into a space with about seventy other people. The other four trains were unusually empty. It was weird.

    I'm back in isolation and many thanks to the kind neighbour who has just returned with some fresh fruit for me and whose partner left some logs on my landing stage the night before last. Apparently queuing has begun again in the supermarkets after last night's prime minister's broadcast. I saw it on YouTube. Was it just me or is he completely incapable of getting the tone right? I'm quite willing to acknowledge that it is simply the sight of his face that irks me ...

    Okay to vent?

    We have another anti-incinerator campaign happening in Wisbech. This time it's not an American company as it was when we fought off the last one in King's Lynn, but a German one - MVV.

    I don't engage with stupidity if I can force myself to sit on my hands for long enough, but a propos of nothing one of our charming locals posted the phrase "Never trust a German" as his sole contribution to a request from the campaign organisers as to which streets had been leafletted with MVV propaganda. I despair. I felt myself compelled to point out that we are all capable of perfidy.

    Under different circumstance it might almost be amusing since I also signed a petition today demanding that the UK government carry out the recommendations given in the report on the Windrush scandal. Never trust a German? The English have proven SOOO trustworthy! Aaagh

    No, not too anxious at all. You can't possibly maintain the 2 metre distance on a train or bus.

    In a message from SNCF today they are waiving cancellation and rebooking charges and telling people to sit on their own if double seats are available. Normally they are pretty hot on passengers sitting in their allocated seats.

    Thanks very much Rogue Trader!

    Just had another message. It's NOT Covid-19, but is a rather nasty pneumonia! She is continuing to make steady progress.

    Just checked the rail company websites and my trains are still running. Some have been cancelled. Definitely going back into isolation when I return.

    Did anyone mention that medical staff aren't being routinely and regularly tested?

    I had a text message from a friend near Peterborough at around 2am this morning. His wife was rushed into hospital by ambulance on Thursday, diagnosed with pneumonia, kept in intensive care and they still nearly lost her on Friday. He hadn't had the results back at the time from the covid-19 test, but was told it was almost certainly that. She worked until a couple of years ago as a GP surgery receptionist. I would guess she knew how to take care of herself, but this time it wasn't enough. Latest news is she's out of ITU. Interesting how news is so much more effective when it is close to home ...

    Derek get yourself home to the UK soon as. The way this is shaping up, you might end up refused entry or facing the gauntlet of high risk public transport. I’m sure we can rally round should you need anything when your back on your boat in the UK. Even if we leave your shopping on the dry land bit.

    Thanks. Steve. for your understanding and for your compassionate response. I have been a little taken aback at the apparent callousness of one or two of my best and usually very well-informed friends. They and I are going to have to have a heart to heart ... if they ever let me near their self-built cob house and thriving perma-cultured garden again.


    Surely a minimum income would make sure people could order their food boxes and pay their frozen rents? Our paired down system is not prepared to handle a large scale free distribution of the means to sustain life. I can't help thinking that some of the solutions that are being bandied about are too simplistic and don't take account of inevitably unusual circumstances. I suspect most people are living pretty much hand-to-mouth. Any disruption and bad things are going to happen.

    I have chosen to isolate myself after my return from Italy. Today is my fourteenth day of that, but I haven't got any further than France. I was torn between staying in France for the quarantine period or going back to the UK as I had planned. I may have made the wrong call on that. On the basis that trains in the UK are unlikely to be safer than trains in France I'm going to attempt to come home on Tuesday and then go back into quarantine for a further fourteen days. That is the plan at the moment. I could change my mind or it could be changed for me by imposed external events. The French government announced yesterday that all schools will be closed. French Whale Fan's school will close on Monday. Why not today ...? The school administration is suggesting the school could be closed for two to four weeks. Who knows? I doubt they do. This could last months. The staff are meeting at lunchtime to discuss how to improve their existing online learning support.

    I suspect there will be some mischief afoot. When one of my kids was excluded from school it was next to impossible keeping him at home. The school couldn't even keep one of the others on their premises when I'd hand him over to the teacher on gate duty in the morning - and just in case anyone is worried about my kids, they are now both fully functioning members of society :angel: !

    There are so many advantages of this situation for a government that is leaning towards "taking back control" to its inexorable destination. I guess that means the coming XR actions will be cancelled too :/

    The reality of isolation:

    Serious breakfast discussion - quarantine day ten:

    Him: Why, when I type a 'c' on my phone, does it come out as a 'v'?

    Me: FFS.

    Him: Excuse me?

    Me: FFS - Fat Finger Syndrome. They are adjacent letters.


    Me: Can you sing 'FFS' over and over to the tune of the 'Mexican Hat Dance'?

    Four days to go ...

    (Neither of us have so far shown any symptoms after escaping Venice a week before it was closed.)

    I do wonder about all these stats being bandied about. The grimmest of them include China in the figures where by far the largest number of cases have been reported. Taking China's 1.4b population out of the counting one might see that some figures show the infection rate is 0.000073% of the world's population.

    As of yesterday, there were 51 confirmed cases in the UK out of the 13,911 people tested.