On Monday afternoon, I gathered the staff (me) together in the board room (lounge) and after the formal announcement, and subsequently brief question and answer session (me, me and me), the message went out that the business was on hold for all non-essential work.
Predictably, the next morning, well before 9am, a phone call came in requesting help with a property which had no tv signal. I was halfway through my apology, when the voice on the other end of the phone politely cut in and explained that the property was empty, as they weren't moving in until Saturday. As the conversation progressed, it became obvious that there was a clear need in this case (for reasons which won't be explained here), and so together, the caller and I hatched a Covid plan which would allow the job to go ahead.
In a nutshell, it entailed us never meeting, a bunch of keys, numerous door handles, lots of hand-sanitising wipes, an emailed invoice and a bank transfer payment. My quote for the job was based on the customer's knowledge of the probable history of the property, but when I arrived on site and garnered a proper understanding of the existing infrastructure, another solution presented itself. As this was also considerably cheaper, a further phone discussion was had and this option agreed. Everyone (well, maybe not my bank manager) was happy and, more importantly, safe.
My journey to and fro produced a Stoat sighting (reported to the Orkney Native Wildlife Project) as a furry blur rocketed across the road in front of me. In flooded fields near the customer's property, there were four Shelduck by a pool, and close by, a small number of Pink-footed Geese tucked in amongst a larger flock of Greylags. The roads were much quieter than normal, many businesses were shut, and consequently there were swathes of empty car parking spaces in town.
So, with a much-reduced means of generating income, I, like many folk, are contemplating how to fill the unforgiving minute. My immediate list looks like this:
1. Design a webpage for the business - this task never made it to the top of a To Do list during the first five year plan, so now seems the perfect opportunity to broaden my skill base (and probably my repertoire of expletives);
2. The lawn mower has never had an oil change in six years. I suspect it is going to be a busy little machine in the coming weeks, so best I give it some TLC;
3. Email storage - I have one unread email which needs replying to, but more significantly, there's 1.5Gb of archived mails which I'm sure could be trimmed massively;
4. Source petrol, see 2. above;
5. As I drove by a farm last week, I was treated to a thrilling murmuration by a small flock of Starlings (hundreds, rather than thousands). To be honest, the van was less impressed than I was, due to the prolonged burst of brown paintballing - wash van thoroughly.
How are you all coping with the changed circumstances?