It's a weird, weird time and, in truth, I have no special insights.
I thought however I'd just record how Coronavirus is affecting me because I suspect pretty much everybody else would have a similar story.
First of all, my work. My firm has effectively stopped receiving new business and much of our existing business has stopped progressing. Understandably, to the clients, even things that might have been a priority: child contact disputes; personal injury claims close to settlement; "closing" commercial property deals don't seem nearly as important. In the latter case, anyway, why would any potential buyer proceed given the current uncertainty?
We've stopped seeing existing clients face to face, instead dealing with them over the phone and sending out documents for signature rather than getting people in for that purpose. That works but only up to a point. Sometimes there is a benefit in seeing the client's general demeanour and reaction to the matter under discussion. You can't do that over the phone.
But soon there will be no business at all for our domestic conveyancing team. Who'd buy or attempt to sell a house in this circumstance? And the courts will, I suspect, shortly be dealing with only absolutely emergency business, so they'll not be much for me to do either. We had an interest in a High Court trial on Monday with a significant consequence for another matter. The trial won't be happening since no new jury trials are to be started.
Now, in the end we are lucky. This business won't fold but we'll undoubtedly need bank support and, one day, that will have to be repaid. God knows how I'd be feeling if I ran a restaurant or a hotel or even a corner shop.
For me personally, I was planning to semi retire at the end of April but I've already cancelled that plan as much of the capital value of a business like this is in the "work in progress" (work done but not yet feed). At the end of April that is likely to be wholly untypical.
Anyway, what would I have been retiring for? My plan was for Andi, my life partner, and I to go to Italy for the whole of June, rent a house with a spare bedroom and invite friends or family to join us for a few days at a time. No chance that's going to happen now, or even this year. Andi had arranged a month's unpaid leave from her work. She's asked if she needs to take it.
And that holiday was amongst other things to celebrate her finishing her OU degree. But for that she needs to sit an exam. What's the chances of that going ahead?
And then finally, she had also just got a new (additional) job as an interpreter. But if there are no courts or routine medical procedures it's unlikely there's going to be any work in that line.
All of this however is as nothing compared to my principal concern. You see, I've still got a wife. After fifteen years of remorseless progression, she is now in the very late stages of Alzheimer's disease and exceptionally frail. She is cared for at home but now does little more than sleep and eat, assisted by a battery of brilliant carers. What however if they get ill? The idea that this is an unskilled job is grossly insulting to those who do it. I certainly couldn't do it adequately.
But worse still, what if Maureen herself gets it? I have, long before the current crisis, decided she is not going back into hospital. She knows enough to know she is not at home and in the company of strangers. The last time she went in, three years past, she became increasingly distressed and I then had to fight a ludicrous battle with the hospital administration to get her out, despite them conceding she did not need treatment. In any event, if any rationing of access to hospital care arises, I am realistic enough to know where she would emerge from any triage.
So all I can do is wait, and hope. With a foreboding expectation.