Jonathan & Denise >
… on our own resources, as the coronavirus crisis bears down on us.
With a steady flow of cancellations of our existing bookings, and no new bookings coming in, plus the prospect of almost no visitors to the islands to buy from the Hebridean Woolshed, it’s very unlikely we’ll get enough money coming in to cover costs, let alone leave much profit to live off. In all likelihood, the pandemic will tail off – and restrictions will be lifted – only once our short summer season has already been and gone ; just when the coffers should be full enough to see us through the long winter months (mid October to late March).
The government has guaranteed 80% of the salaries of employees that might otherwise be made redundant – up to £2500 a month, but there’s zero real help for the self-employed, no matter how much more modest our
earnings, other than allowing us to postpone payment of tax bills!
Thank heavens, then, that we own our own house outright, we’re without mortgage or other debt, and have good fertile garden soil and all the other the resources we need to grow much of our own food, and to live healthily and well. There’s scarce a single meal when we don’t acknowledge that with utmost sincerity ; but never in our eighteen years and more here in Uist will we have done so as we do now. And never has artichoke soup – made with the last of this past winter’s crop – been so welcome!
And of course there’s plenty of productive things to do : catching up (perhaps even getting a bit ahead) with maintenance of the holiday cottages (as long as we’re only using materials we already have!). And lots of designing, spinning, weaving, knitting … to increase our stock, in anticipation of, eventually, of business-as-usual.
We acknowledge that there are many individuals and households – that have been termed in recent years ‘the precariat’, the impact of the coronavirus and consequent restrictions is very severe, as many may be confined to their homes which don’t have any access outdoor space that’s not shared or public, let alone a garden or allotment.
Life is intrinsically unfair, isn’t it! Historically, human civilizations have never been inclusive and equitable. (Perhaps there’s an exception we’re unaware of?) We feel that we are bound to live our lives in such a way that, as far as may be possible and practicable, we avoid ambitions and behaviours which can be expected to deprive others of access to the opportunities and resources they need to survive, and if possible to flourish. That’s just the basics, though, isn’t it? We should – all of us – endeavour to give well beyond that, to engage with those we encounter in life, who we can more actively assist – preferably without them or anyone else realizing it.