Well, aren’t these just the weirdest and most unsettling of times? Firstly I hope you’re all well and healthy, that goes without saying. Mr Moregeous and I have been virtually housebound since the end of January because of his leg operation so it kinda feels like you lot are now joining us. We didn’t expect, as he starts to reach the recovery stage, that we’d then be isolating for a whole different reason. There have been infections in the wound and he’s still on antibiotics with a lowered immune system & hospital visits twice a week. So….. it’s critical to keep him safe indoors and we’re taking the Coronavirus advice very seriously, whilst still keeping upbeat.
As the header pic may indicate, and as I’m sure you’re all finding, being on Lockdown with your nearest and dearest can sometimes lead you to be looking for the biggest hammer. No, NOT to bash them on the head with, but to do all the necessary household DIY you’ve been putting off forever. I’ve been trying to get lots done whilst Mr M’s been incapacitated, but it takes time and effort to be motivated doesn’t it?
We’d planned at the start of 2020 for 2-3 months of a vastly reduced workload, which was quite stressful but manageable. I’ve been cleaning and running the two Airbnbs studios to keep income coming in, but not my usual TV or project management work as Mr M is on double crutches needing constant help. I’d hoped to get quite a bit of DIY done at home in that time and was started to get going…. but in the space of just a week, just as with all of you, our world has turned upside down.
All current & future Airbnb bookings have (rightly) cancelled with visitors from both abroad and the UK staying home. All hosting work and expert talks are cancelled or postponed, as are our interiors workshops here at home and all supper clubs. TV shows are stood down and client work shelved.
Our main business is running rental property and I’ve was in touch with our tenants last Monday to check in on them that they were well & healthy, and to make very clear that if any were worried about coping or had financial concerns, that we are here to help and make plans. I feel a sense of responsibility to my tenants, I always have. They’re like my extended family, extra people to look after and keep happy. I want them to be OK.
I don’t yet know if we’ll need to access the help the Govt has made sure is there for B2L mortgages payers, but we can’t pay the mortgages if rents aren’t paid as we don’t make income from rents, especially now all the new Govt tax changes have kicked in. It all depends how many tenants in our block of converted Victorian studios need help during this time of crisis. Time will tell on that. We’re determined to look after our little rental family though and to ensure we look out for and after those who need it. Yesterday I was washing clothes for a self-isolating Airbnb guest who leaves next week – weird having someone else’s knickers on my clothes maiden!
Just like so many of my self employed friends I am worried about the future, about paying bills (thanks btw Manchester City Council for the £2500 council tax bill which just landed) and the mortgage. I chose 25yrs ago to be self employed and have enjoyed the ups as well as the downs of that. Never any job security, sick pay, holiday pay or reliance on others when I can’t work. The ups are being totally in control of my own destiny. The down is no safety net when things go wrong, sometime things totally out of my control. This is the risk of choosing self-employment.
A car accident in 2006 was one such event, as was the bank led financial crash in 2008. Both those things took heavy tolls financially and set me about a decade back in my life plan. Heaven only know how this Coronavirus pandemic will affect things going forward. It’s pretty scary isn’t it. It makes my heart heavy to look on social media and see friends who run fantastic food and hospitality businesses literally closing their doors overnight and pals in the media suddenly without any work. My step son was made redundant on Thursday morning by a company with a last in first out mentality, the Stories of firms acting badly to employees make my blood boil.
So. What are we to do? Well for a start we are very lucky. We have a roof over our heads, good friends around us and food in the cupboard. And some bog rolls. Not much alcohol though, this may be a problem. We can wind things right down and keep going to get through this.
And, we have a house full of jobs that need doing + t’internet + time on our hands + the skills to do them. This combination is one I’ve decided to utilise to its (hopefully) best extent by filming how to, advice, cooking, upcycling, building and interiors focused videos every day online. Lockdown Lunchtime Lives have commenced here at Moregeous HQ, every day at 1pm live on Instagram. Every day a different theme and focus. It’s all a bit suck it and see, things will go wrong (it’s live after all), and I’m going to have to work out how to get them on that there You Tube so non-Instagrammers can join in. BUT WE’RE GOING FOR IT!!
It’s my way of keeping busy, active, creative and positive, sharing the knowledge and skills I’ve built up over many years and feeling like I’m still “doing”. Everyone is staying at home and I’m guessing some people might be a bit lost with how to do stuff on their own…. maybe we can help by giving encouragement, advice and a boost of confidence.
Not all of you are on Insta, so I’ll endeavour to share them here too, but maybe set yourself up an IG account! You can just be an Insta-stalker, like Mr M 😉
P.S. Next post will give further details of the different daily Lives and what we’ll be focusing on x