Percy’s Ramblings

I see the man from Dragon’s Den, Touker Suleyman, was delighted to hear that a Cabinet minister is arguing that people who have returned to work should be paid more than those who prefer to work from home. That in itself is a twist, so instead of saying people working from home should be paid less he was proposing the opposite.

The argument that Touker Suleyman was putting is that people should be going to an office. It seemed to me to make more sense, in that part of the economy is based on people spending on travel and commuting and therefore that must come into the equation. The survival of the high street and the city centres is paramount and  that needs people going to their offices to spend on the refreshments they need and the fees they pay, for going back and forth to work.

He also argues that the comradeship and being together creates a positive working situation where thoughts can be discussed – so true. You cannot do that he states over a Zoom conference call.

As a person who has worked from home some of my business life and that is because I was the only staff – boss and worker, there are many downfalls. One is ‘stir crazy’ the feeling of being cooped up. Oh, at first it is fine and one gets down to the task needed but the natural drag of being at home, where one rests it takes a lot of willpower not to get involved in what a person normally does at their place of abode.

There is also the call of the family if they are around you, depending on their ages as a young one’s cry is disturbing  or if there is some form of mishap you are there and expected to deal with it. “Dad your granddaughter is stranded as my car has broken down. Could you please go and collect her from school.” That particular occasion was very disruptive to my day, as  an Architectural Designer it broke my thought pattern as I was drawing plans showing the complexities of  timbers and how they fitted together for an odd-shaped sloping roof.

At first it is a great feeling but after a time when the family leave you in the morning to go about their daily tasks a sensation of envy creeps in. When I found office accommodation and moved into it, it was a wonderful understanding of becoming organised in my own space and opening the door to it every morning.

It does so depend on families and working from home (WFH) with young people it would be difficult and in the long term I do not see how it works efficiently, although it seems to me why should someone be financially better off working from home when others who can’t, nurses, policemen and many more  cannot possible be offered the same situation and they have to be exposed to the cost of commuting.

The Dragon,
The Dragon, Working from home.


Once again, I see rent a mob is at it again attacking authority as the blue line tries to control the hooligans that take part, this time it is against having an identity card showing that you are free of the virus – I suppose they could be illegals and do not want a document to show who they are.

The Swab: I shouldn’t think there is a person in the world who does not know about cotton sticks, those little double headed plastic rods which, have a general warning of not putting them in your ear to clean them as they could damage your hearing, they come in a multi packet of hundred for a few pounds/euros with them neatly arranged inside.

I know of a house in Birmingham which was sent by the local council something very similar to the cotton sticks, although single headed and a little larger, the  box with a large number  was free of charge so that people could test themselves against this terrible virus burning its way around the planet. Yes, that is right they were ‘free’.

We also know of another family of two who will be spending about four hundred pounds to be certain they are free of Covid 19 for a trip in an aeroplane to a far-off destination, okay, Europe. The testing is done to see if they are clear of the disease using a similar swab that was sent to the people in the Midland City free of charge – the difference they will have to pay ninety nine pounds for a single wipe.

There is a report in a paper, not quite a report as it was a letter from a traveller who states while standing in line waiting to be swabbed, in twenty minutes the operator carried out ten applications – doing the sums based on that figure it works out to nine hundred and ninety pounds in twenty minutes – or 2970 GBP an hour which is equal to an eight hour day of  over twenty three thousand pounds or in an excess of one hundred and eighteen for the week. One operator!

Therefore, a swab which cost nothing in Birmingham, a similar item at an airport can earn an operator close on half a million pounds a month. As Sir Geoffrey Howe – Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer in the eighties once said “the ugly face of capitalism”.

Whoever calculated the cost of swabbing certainly did not have the traveller in mind. Take care.

Percy Chattey can be found on Amazon and Kindle  with his thriller books and a host of short stories in the ‘Story Telling®’ series