• Rob Butterfield


Living in the shadows of Covid 19…

What times we live in. Who would have thought as we sent out our new year messages, in which ‘2020 was going to be my year!’ for so many, that in just a few months we’d be in the grip of the worst world pandemic for a generation with many countries in lockdown and the world on the brink of economic meltdown? - I’ve just read that last sentence back; blimey, it all seems pretty daunting doesn’t it? I’m almost pining for a Brexit headline – those ‘exciting’ days seem so distant now.

The recent turn of events has affected us all in some way or other and I’m sure there will be more challenges to come. But do we need to panic or should we simply apply our seeming British love of a crisis and decree that ‘we’ll get through this’? In the Butterfield household we’re definitely plumping for the latter.

As a musician I’m effectively unemployed for the moment as all planned gigs have been cancelled/re-scheduled until at least the middle of August. My wife is in the wedding and events industry and is seeing her work dry up faster than a puddle in a desert. We’re keeping in good spirits though because quite frankly there is nothing we can do about it. We’re being selective about the news we watch and the information we consume and making plans to weather the inevitable shit storm this will bring to our everyday lives. What more can you do? I know, write a blog! People may actually have some time on their hands to read this one… I've certainly got time to write one just now!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether or not I should use my ‘Upstarts’ channel to talk about the situation. It’s certainly not a subject to make light of and I’m no expert on the matter either so I really can’t offer any qualified advice. But I can observe what’s going on, give you my thoughts on current events and hopefully you’ll find the read interesting – and some parts a little entertaining… so here we go!

I’ve spent many hours over the last couple of days doing what I’m sure many will find themselves doing and that is contacting my mortgage provider, local authorities, energy provider, credit cards etc in light of limited cashflow being available in the coming months. Those that I have spoken to have been incredibly understanding and helpful. It’s early days and some parties really don’t know how they can best help yet as they (and we) await government directives on what help will be provided. I even found myself consoling some poor lady who took my call at our energy provider. She herself was extremely worried by the situation and it was all I could do to assure her that everything would be ok! But I kinda liked that. It reassured me that I was speaking to a human being who had feelings and compassion for the situation which was really quite refreshing – other companies could learn a lot from this young lass! I'm sharing this with you not for sympathy but to emphasise that this really hasn't been a major problem and I’d urge anyone with similar concerns to pick up the phone and speak to the parties concerned – it seems they really want to help.

Social media can be a double-edged sword in times like these providing both up-to-the-minute information and breaking news alongside the expected shower of fake news and conspiracy theories. It’s also providing some great humour with observations and memes on some of the crazy stuff that is going on. Not least the British obsession with bulk buying loo roll – what is that all about?

In a bid to keep this post at least a little light-hearted I’ve shared some of my favourite posts below. Enjoy!

Among the humour there are some wonderful examples of human kindness and empathy being shown too - people really showing that they care about others - and the scenes from Italy of people collectively singing from their balconies was heart warming - it's great to see people pulling together in times of need. We’ve seen some environmental breakthroughs as well – less smog in China as a result of lockdowns, even clear waters and fish swimming in the canals of Venice – maybe some good will come from this.

Of most importance though, we must be mindful of those most at risk and do all we can to protect and assist them during these challenging times. Please heed the advice from government sources in relation to isolation and social distancing – this is no time to be bullish or heroic.

Spare a thought also for all those providing essential services during these challenging times; especially our NHS staff and emergency services who we will need to rely on very heavily in the coming weeks/months.

Most of all, stay safe everyone and try not to panic. This will pass and one day we’ll be able to tell tales to future generations about how we got through the Corona Pandemic of 2020. #StaySafe #DontPanic

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