Happy New Year....ordinarily it wouldn't be too late to say that on 5th January, but this year it kind of feels that the New Year has rapidly become indistinguishable from the old with lockdown version 3 upon us..
I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking 'Was he only one that didn't know this ?' when Boris made his announcement last night, but at least we know where we stand now.
By the way, for those not involved with school age children, February half term (the key date as being the earliest Boris would commit to possibly starting to maybe considering relaxing the rules) runs 15th - 19th February.
For the wary cynic, Easter school holidays start 26th March.
So, with all this in mind, are there any Positives ?
Yes, of course there are.
1. New Grant Schemes.
These are much more targeted than the ones that were rolled out for the first lockdown. They are, again, being administered by the local authority and tied to business rates. To qualify the business must be legally forced to close and be 'unable to operate effectively remotely'. Which means that retail, hospitality and leisure industries should qualify (which is the target), whereas those operating offices and able to work from home will not benefit. The scale of awards - non repayable grants - is:-
£4,000 for businesses with a premises rateable value of £15,000 or under
£6,000 for businesses with a premises rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
£9,000 for businesses with a premises rateable value of over £51,000
For more information see
There are rumours but no official word yet on furlough being extended beyond the already extended date of April, remember if you are self employed that the latest (third) SEISS grant round needs to be claimed by 29th January.
2. The Brussel Sprouts are Finished
Why is it that just before Christmas it sounds entirely right when at the local farm shop to say 'A stick of sprouts please'. In contrast we don't, for example, ask for a 'plant of tomatoes', or a 'tree of apples'.
Which means, inevitably, that there are far more sprouts in the house than needed.
Yesterday we finished the last off in a sprout and cheddar soup. The related positive was that I was out and 'missed' it
3. Cracker Jokes are over for Another Year
Which means that us Dads can rule again as unrivalled providers of family comedy.
My favourite this year, by the way:-
"How does Good King Wenceslas like his Pizza ?"
"Deep pan, crisp and even"
And on that note I'll get my coat...
Stay safe, stay positive
Good King Wenceslas (see above) was a real person. He reigned between AD 911 and AD 935. He is chronicled by the tabloids of his day as being kind, gentle, wise and faithful.
The reference to 'above', by the way, is to the cracker joke, not the picture.