Juggling income balls in lockdown Britain

Living through difficult economic times

In last month’s post I described myself as a ‘slashie’; someone with several jobs or income streams and discussed the advantages of this lifestyle. The unprecedented situation we are currently facing is destroying many people’s businesses and jobs and when the virus has abated and the lockdown lifted, how many of us will return to the same job I wonder? We are living through extremely uncertain economic times and everybody is anxious. Some people lost their jobs overnight, others are able to work from home and some self-employed people are carrying on despite warnings they must remain at home. Many people are finding themselves in dire situations but thankfully the government have stepped in to help.

Being a slashie means that I juggle many balls at once but it’s great because if one job goes tits up, I can usually rely on one of the others. What happens if all income streams stop? Then I panic. That hasn’t happened yet. It feels as if I’m on a treadmill at the moment, busier than ever, juggling all of my balls at once, trying to stop them all from falling. I had to close my Airbnb, despite being told there is a high demand in my area to host front-line NHS staff working in the local hospital. My concern was to protect my two lodgers and daughter and it would have meant having an extra scrupulous cleansing and disinfecting routine. I couldn’t guarantee anybody’s safety.

As a funeral celebrant it’s quiet at the moment, but I’m mindful that it will get very busy.  There are regulations to keep funerals to a small handful of people. Some families might defer a ceremony and if that’s the case, 2021 will certainly be busy.

My passion is of course writing novels and surprise surprise, I’m writing a romance novel set during the Corona virus. This comes with its challenges and every day I’m keeping a journal so that I don’t forget the train of events as they unfold. How do the characters meet during lockdown? I have some great ideas for clandestine meetings!

As a carer to a disabled person I am busier than ever covering shifts at short notice as members of the team self-isolate. I don’t know from one day to the next if I’ll be working that night but if I don’t cover these shifts and if others don’t either then the disabled person will have to move into a nursing home, until this is all over and not be able to have visitors. The team are trying hard for this not to happen and we desperately need to be tested to see who has already had the virus so that we can plan staffing.

I feel as if I’m running on adrenaline at the moment. Need to relax, I tell myself. Maybe some Netflix until my next shift. Take care and stay safe folk! Here’s hoping this doesn’t last too long.

Lockdown Britain is turning to arts and crafts

Craft cupboard – a crafter’s dream

Greetings card using Cut ‘N’ Boss Machine

Lockdown Britain is a great opportunity for craft lovers to hone their skills and in this post I’d like to share some ideas for craft making. I am a personal assistant to a disabled lady and one of her hobbies is making greetings cards, which is a great hobby to have during self-isolation. Next to writing books, it happens to be my passion too. We both get so engrossed and the hours fly by. She comes up with the ideas and occasionally I make suggestions. She has some fantastic ideas. I follow her instructions – literally every small step of the way so that it feels as if she is doing the task. If I was making a card at home it would be rushed and certainly wouldn’t be the perfect result we achieve doing it together. In effect I do all of the things she isn’t able to do or causes strain. She was  a thalidomide baby born without arms or legs. With no arms and only tiny hands it can be tricky to do craft work but with the aid of implements she does lace making and can paint using her mouth. Thalidomide bodies are wearing out quicker than the average able-bodied person and as a result small tasks can be tiring and even painful, but each thalidomide is different.

The picture in this blog shows a crafter’s dream – a cupboard which looks like a wardrobe on the outside but open, it is a cupboard for crafts and on either side and in the middle section there are shelves for plastic boxes which contain everything a crafter needs, from different types of scissors, paper, greeting card embellishments, glue and so much more. The cupboard has a pull out table and there’s even a built in spot light. You can keep this craft wardrobe anywhere in your house – a bedroom or lounge is ideal and when you aren’t using it, it’s an attractive piece of furniture. When it’s open and being used it’s wonderful and feels as if you are in a craft room because it’s so roomy.

Yesterday we used one of her toys! It’s a  Cut ‘N’ Boss Die Cutting machine and costs around £200. It’s a small, lightweight machine that is so easy to use. It cuts through multiple layers of material – paper, card, fabric, leather and even thin chipboard and embosses the material so that it has a raised appearance. You can buy all sorts of metal cut dies to use with it. They are placed on the material you are using which are then fed through the machine on plates. It’s quick, it’s simple and the effect is amazing and looks so professional. The dies cut circular or square or even flowery shapes in the card and then we mounted each piece onto coloured card and then mount each piece on sticky pads. We laughed because it was so simple and I said to her, “This time next year we’ll be millionaires. We’ll have a shop-full of great cards!”  Here is a link to the machine. It’s well worth buying and you will see the card we made in the picture. https://www.createandcraft.com/gb/pp/craftwell-cut-n-boss-die-cutting-machine-407595?gclid=Cj0KCQiApt_xBRDxARIsAAMUMu977nb0cFCM-ayrEOW51kF88ycyXAlL-w8sOe83FEX9cDfhx82oY1caAm9nEALw_wcB.  

Working with a disabled person is team work in its truest form and I love it! Both of you learn about life together and come up with different ways to tackle tricky tasks.

Inspired by my work with disabled people I wrote ‘Every Mother’s Fear’, which is a family saga based on the 1960s thalidomide scandal. I have just published the sequel, ‘Every Father’s Fear.’ Both novels are available on Amazon. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Mothers-Fear-motherhood-disability-ebook/dp/B078JX8559/

Thank you for reading and happy crafting!