Saying goodbye to UK online shopping. (For now)

I’ve been doing my last bit of online shopping with UK retailers. I’m sorry to see this end. Every UK retailer I’ve dealt with has provided good service. That said, the new Brexit related customs charges and taxes will mean that buying from inside the EU is going to be more cost effective and EU consumer protection rules will still apply. 

The UK has run a trade surplus with Ireland since 1999. Ireland buying far more from UK businesses than it sells to UK consumers. 2019 was a high point, with £13.9B left in the UK till as a trade surplus. That’s uncommon for the UK, considering it runs trade deficits with many other nations. Nice growth too considering it started in 1999 as a £2.9B surplus in favour of the UK.

At every economic diverge between Ireland and the UK, Ireland has expanded its purchasing power and bought more stuff from the British. Be it breaking the link between the Irish Punt and Sterling in 1979, or trading in the Punt for the Deutsche Mark (The Euro) in 2002, it has led to Ireland spending more money with British businesses of all sizes.

We’re at another economic divergence now as the clock runs down on the Brexit transition. Deal or no deal, trade between both countries is going to be hard for years to come. Money, like water finds its level and things will adjust. In the future if those incredibly sharp trading edges can be sanded down I’d be happy to go back to buying from the small UK businesses that served me so well as a customer. Hoping to shop with you again soon, so long for now.

Tim-mossholder-C8jNJslQM3A-unsplash1Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I claim Wednesday

I’ve been taking every Wednesday in November off work. I wanted to mix up the working week and this is doing it.

I now finish the week twice. There’s the last push on a Tuesday because I drop off the face of the working planet on Wednesday. Then there’s the last, last push on Friday before going into the weekend.

Is it as relaxing as a three day weekend? No. It’s more like hitting the pause button on the week and wandering off to do anything else. According to my day planner, Wednesday’s excitement will be exercise; checking out the low pressure alert on one of my car tires; doing some writing; and reading a book.

No calls, video or otherwise. No Slack messages. No blizzard of email.

I claim Wednesday.

Fabiola-penalba--kl_XvEOqMU-unsplash1Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

Life during lockdown

The thing about lockdown is that I think it ages you. Not physically (I could do with more exercise though) but socially and mentally. With everything shut down I suspect this is what it's like to be an old age pensioner.

The opportunities the world provides are closed off to me. The way they are for most of us. Where previously you might have been “too busy” to do something now you don’t have the opportunity. It could be a hell of a lot worse. I’m reading The Great Influenza, review when I finish, and that pandemic was horrific.

Show symptoms at 10:00AM, dead by 10:00PM. Entire households wiped out. Thankfully we’re not living through that. Life at the moment has levels of difficulty depending on your situation. It’s an annoyance for some and a nightmare for others. At any other time in human history we’d also be subject to tyranny or more virulent pestilence. Life might not be great but if you have tomorrow you have another shot at it.

The TV content drought hasn’t hit me yet. That’s probably because I’m now subscribed to more streaming services than ever before. Previously I’d have argued that consolidation was going to occur in that sector soon. Too many services hoping for customers to double and triple dip on their entertainment budget. I’ve come to see that the services serving genre fans will do just fine.

The giants will scoop the broad viewing market but they're not interested in going deep. The market size for genre content is limited but if you control your costs and have people curate the content it can be a lucrative ongoing stream of revenue from a customer base that isn’t served well by the major streamers.

It’s a Bank Holiday here and I’m looking forward to getting out for a walk between rain showers. Take the walks when the opportunity presents. They’re good for you.

Unrelated: New RPG book to read, the Spanish behemoth Aquelarre. A Medievil demonic roleplaying game with some gruesome, dark ages style, artwork. Chances of me getting to play it are slim but I’ve enjoyed reading it and it looks great on a bookshelf. With such a good looking product I would have liked if it came with ribbon bookmarks. The more biblical looking the better.