One of my income streams has just gone belly up. It wasn’t a big one and I had an inkling it was coming so it’s no big deal, just a minor irritation. What made me go into ‘WTF!’ mode was the way in which it was done. “Hey, we want to talk about your contract…” then to be told there was no new contract. Oh well, what the hell, those people were insufferable anyway and deserve the fate that is coming their way next year when their funding is cut completely. At the end of the bad news delivery I was asked to “Have a nice day.” The irony was not lost on me, but I didn’t much feel like laughing.
From my perspective, that income stream had become uneconomical, often taking up way more time than I was being paid for without a bye, leave or thank you. You know the saying, “If you want something doing, give it to a busy man”? Well I was the busy man who kept finding more and more of his day being eaten up without being paid any extra money for more work. So, no great loss. I need the time for another major project anyway. More news about that later in August.
In the interim I’m looking at my share portfolio and am seriously thinking about cashing up. This prolonged lockdown has hit market confidence badly, leaving me thinking that any market bounceback that could have occurred won’t happen. This isn’t to say that some of our investments haven’t made money, just that others have made larger losses. So financially speaking we’re back to square one. As I’ve said before, this whole lockdown business has been badly mismanaged and the economic fallout looming just over the horizon ain’t gonna be fun for a lot of people. The ‘cure’ is going to be much worse than the disease.
The major problem with pandemics is infectivity. A pathogen (Virus, bacterium etc) can only thrive in conditions where it is freely transmissible and a lot of potential hosts are tightly grouped together in unsanitary conditions. Say a block of flats or apartments in the low rent sector, or where the standard of cleanliness is less than reasonable. Or like in facilities where the inmates don’t or can’t observe such rigorous hygiene standards, such as in cheaper care homes or prisons. On the other hand, in single family homes and out in the ‘burbs, the rate of spread slows to a complete halt.
This is why China has had multiple reinfections, housing is mostly cramped and unsanitary compared to Western standards and keeping housing clean enough to eliminate any pools of infections becomes nigh on impossible. Masks won’t help at this stage either, because as has been noted, the closer you are to high concentrations of infectious material, the greater the likelihood of rapid spread. Masks can only reduce the radius of infection. Oh, and stay out of air conditioned buildings if you can. I worked for an air conditioning company for a couple of years and learned about what happens if the maintenance schedules are not rigorously applied or the cooling coil drains get blocked or iced up.
Remember the fuss over Legionnaires Disease? Trust me. The great outdoors is far safer. Bugs like droplets to ride on.
Which makes me wonder at the advice to shut down outdoor facilities like the garden of a pub. We were at a Tim Hortons the other day and they’d shut down the outdoor seating so everyone had to either sit in their cars and drink their coffee, or do so in the epidemiologically speaking far more dangerous environment of the coffee bar.
There’s so much counter intuitive information going around that it’s a wonder people are still venturing outdoors. Although some aren’t. Poor darlings have been terrorised by all the scaremongering being trotted out in the mainstream and all the sensational clickbait headlines. What no-one seems to be saying is that the worst is past.
Likewise, the time for masks has passed, and the only halfway safe ones were the disposable surgical type, as those might not have stopped every bug, but reduced the radius of infection, and being disposable after each use, don’t act as a reservoir of infection like the worthless but rather stylish non-disposables I see so many sporting. First these home made things need boil washing or thoroughly nuking in a microwave after every single use. Second, cloth masks are way more porous than a surgical or N95 mask and thus stop less infectious material. An N95, as Ripper will no doubt remind me, is better at stopping infected droplets than a surgical mask, but still has to be disposed of after each use. These cloth things are better than nothing, but often more use in an armed robbery than against the spread of a virus.
However, from our perspective, no matter what happens the Sticker household is going to be okay. Not rich, but well off enough to put our money into building a decent house and keeping the bills paid with a little aside for travel.
The plan is this; Mrs S watches the finances and I go do. We consult, pay for land, planning and architects. Then when we’ve got all our ducks in a row, I go do some of the low level work, building, logistics, labouring, ring mains, lighting, a little plumbing and non-specialist decorating. Oh yes, and the day to day project management of telling suppliers that if they don’t deliver on time they won’t get paid on time either. Her job is to watch the budgets while I get to do the old walk and talk, set up accounts, negotiate discounts and delivery schedules etc. Which is part of what I did for the people who just dispensed with my services.
Round and round we go, but the pace rarely lets up.
Update: This article in the Times makes for interesting reading and confirms much of what I understood to be true about the origins of the embuggerance known as SARS-Covid19. Yes, it is very likely that the original virus came from bats, but the Covid-19 variant is highly probably derivative from the original found in bat faeces at a copper mining site. It’s a lab grown variant which was accidentally released into the wild. The seven year timeline sounds about right, too. A good piece of work.