Today I am sitting on a train doing a cross country journey, the day after the government said the police now have the power to fine people for doing exactly this.
This has been the odd end to an equally odd week. This time last week, the Prime Minister announced that bars and restaurants have to close. To be completely honest, this was great news. I hate working evenings and finishing at 5pm sounded perfect, no bingo for a few weeks is brilliant. Nobody needs to hear about little ducks, Heinz varieties or what is top of the shop.
I think I always knew. There was very little point in making a new schedule for the following week; but I did one anyway, trying to plan a series of events that don’t involve groups or anything to touch is not easy. Essentially, I had to find a load of things that were outside (away from confined spaces) and nobody would actually want to do. I put on a six mile hike to a national trust property, that the national trust closed an hour after we went to print. I put on a visit to a farm, which the farmer cancelled the following day and I put on a visit to the lifeboat station and guess what I got an email saying that wasn’t possible either. Oh well, as it happened most of our guests had cancelled anyway.
Though not the Johnsons, the Johnsons have been with us several times and not only didn’t want to go, they actually extended their stay. ‘Now the kids are off school, prices are way cheaper than normal school holidays’. They also come to everything, no matter how rubbish it is. Their kids were in my activities room playing games while the Dad sat on his phone and it was then I noticed a press release on the company’s corporate website telling the guests that we were closing on Friday. This was news to me and also everyone else on duty. We were closing for seven weeks (much longer than we were expecting). It is a lovely way to find out I am unemployed.
The next day, I got an email telling me that not only am I out of work, I need to move out by Friday. Evicting people who have nowhere to go seems to be legally dodgy under the emergency legislation but that is what happened. I was promised that an alternative found be found but no such luck. In the end I had to sort myself out, my colleague is staying in a tent.
The last morning followed a similar pattern, I went to return my keys (as requested) but the door was locked. After 15 mins of waiting outside with my cases and as my taxi arrived, the manager opened an upstairs window and yelled to just leave the keys on the step. This was my last interaction at the resort I have worked for and lived at for the last two years.
So here I am on the train, with all my possessions. There are only four of us onboard, although I have a ticket (for a bargain price of £107.50), there is no sign of a ticket inspector. Each of us is travelling alone with a suitcase. I wonder if they have all been evicted too, or if we are all about to get a fixed penalty notice and if we do, can I count that as a taxable deduction on my self-assessment form?
Other things that occur to me while trying to think of the positives, I won’t have to deliver hot cross buns, find somebody to dress as the Easter bunny or hide chocolate eggs for kids to find often weeks later. So not all bad news.
I heard someone saying would be a brilliant punchline if the Prime Minister stands up next week and shouts ‘April Fools’ to the whole country but that is unlikely now he is isolated with symptoms too. Perhaps he should have taken his own advice about singing happy birthday…