Lockdown 2: (Day 14), Norwich

Sunshine through a clear blue sky after a warm night, (too warm for a winter duvet). Domestic chores. Morrison’s. Food in the slow cooker. Decided against a bike ride.

News that the son of a jeweller based in Miami has received £21 millions of UK tax payers’ money for acting as a middle-man between the Tory government and a supplier of PPE somewhere way out out west. This puts the statutory sick pay for those who have to self-isolate when Covid-19 positive into perspective. Statutory sick pay is currently £95.85 ($127.30 USD) per week. Many people cannot afford to self-isolate on this level of funding. Advice to overseas single students coming to a university in England is to budget for £240.89 per week to cover living expenses, about $320.00 USD a week.

Out on foot for a tea in Chapelfield Gardens at the café as night falls to catch up with a mate.

As we go our separate ways we are approached by a tall guy who is asking for cash, first £15, then £20 so that he can rent a bed in a hostel for the night. I have no change, but offer to buy him some food and drink from café. He wants a Fanta, but not food. I buy him two cans. He walks alongside us trying to persuade me to go to a cashpoint with him to withdraw him some money. I say no.

What do I make of this? Uncertain. I did not know what the process is for supporting the street homeless during this second lockdown, so I have just looked it up.

When the second lockdown started in early November, Norwich City Council was awarded £1.5 million from national government to house street homeless people, with another £25,000 made available as back-up due to the incoming cold weather. There are resources and facilities available, as I found when speaking to the lad selling The Big Issue a couple of weeks ago. Cash is usually needed for drugs, not for beds I have been advised. Now I am aware of this I need to know how to direct the next person who approaches me on a pretext of needing money for a bed to the city’s support agency.

It is reported that many of the 120 street homeless identified by the local council during the first lockdown have been found permanent accommodation over the summer months. A genuine effort is being made to end street homelessness here and in other towns and cities around the country.

While waiting to be served at the café hatch the man was standing close enough for me to be able to smell his breath. The smell of recycling tobacco smoke was pulsing from him with every exhalation.

I notice walking through the city centre on my way home, that I could smell a cloud of perfume accompanying a small group of passing women. How far away from someone does one have to be to be safe? Which way is the wind blowing? Is dry air unhealthy? Is rain needed to wash microscopic particles, minuscule vapour droplets carrying the virus away?

Yes, I am a little nervous. Cases of Covid-19 are still climbing even here.


CLP 18/11/2020