Having an Excluded Christmas and a Shielding New Year

Today marks the 11 month anniversary since I last had a full days work.  It’s hard to believe that almost a year has gone by and as almost everyone has

Well I’ve had a worse Christmas than this year but not by much.  I’m used to having them on my own and not seeing anyone and if anything, knowing most others were suffering to some degree did bring about a bit of Schadenfreude even though it’s not a very nice thing to a admit; I suppose it is quite a human feeling.

I’m sure not many were suffering in quite the same way, in the cold and reliant on food donations and cast-offs.  On Boxing Day, Storm Bella tore through my makeshift roof repairs and flooded the bathroom and so having had no income for a year, that is another big chunk of cash to find and rather urgently too.

As with every other year, my birthday fell on the 28th December and like the rest of the week, it was the first birthday and first Christmas that I haven’t been working since 2013.  It could have been humongously miserable but in the end I received over 500 birthday messages from my fellow ExcludedUK people which was very nice and even a few drive-by hello’s by strangers.

One of the things that I’ve been annoyed at for some time and I’ve noticed other Excluded people feel the same way are those annoying Meme’s you see with some cosy graphic and wording along the lines of “If you have a loving family, a roof over your head, a warm home, food on your table, then you’re not doing so bad”.   Of course they are meant in a positive way as a pick-me up for most people but if you don’t have those things then it just re-enforces what a miserable plight one is in.

I saw lots of people commenting about how 2021 will be such a better year but to me I don’t see it.  I think that’s the talk of people who are being furloughed with government support.  From what I can tell to the people I’ve messaged, it just means going from week 47 with no income to week 57 or 67…97?  Who knows.

Over the weekend I was messaging a lady in dire straights who has been reduced to eating dog food and sharing out portions with her dogs as that is the only thing she has to eat. This is the sort of existence we are enduring as others gripe about not being able to eat out or have big family gatherings.   The bad thing for me is that I’ve had days where I’d be jealous of people eating dog food.

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The photo above was taken yesterday.  Me sat in my car that can’t go anywhere having a hot cup of tea watching the show fall waiting 20 minutes for the car to warm up just so I can have a few minutes or relative warmth.   My house is only 11-16 degrees, that’s 51F.  I go for a walk in weather around freezing for 2-3 hours in the morning and when I get back home it at least feels boiling until mid afternoon.

I try to think who else in the developed world might suffer in this way?  In my country not serial killers, terrorists, illegal immigrants, child molesters.  They’d all have heated and dry accommodation, fresh food, the ability to converse with people. Some would still be given money too.

I’m sure everything will turn out well generally for the country, the Vaccine roll-out an early little Brexit dividend.  Rarely a week goes by when a senior politician doesn’t announce further unprecedented support but it is always for people and businesses who have already enjoyed unprecedented support.  For the 3 million #ExcludedUK there is always nothing.  I’m not sure why we are persecuted and discriminated against in this way.  I am because I voluntarily overpaid my taxes to do more for the NHS than just clap for it.  You’d think in any other situation that would make me a shining example of being a good citizen but instead it makes me a likely criminal, tax cheat or other miscreant and if I’m not its just too complicated to help me or understand my taxes even though for 7 years the tax people have very happily taken my self-employed taxes and they’ve always been 100% correct, more than correct of course as I overpaid mine on purpose. Let alone the decades of paying tax in other ways.

So I’m not feeling very enthused about very much whatsoever.  I’m not even sure I will be able to carry on my blog in the same way for much longer. There comes a time when you’ve been #ExcludedUK for so long that you’re actually excluded in every way.  Monetarily, culturally, societally, emotionally.  What matters to other people is way, way above what your concerns are and my day to day existence bears no reality whatsoever to everyone else’s.

I have been thinking maybe to write a book about my rather unique virus experience but then again I’m not sure I can be bothered any more.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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5 Responses to Having an Excluded Christmas and a Shielding New Year

  1. xemmax says:

    I’m with you on Birthdays and 2021 being just as terrible as 2020!

    Hope you’re okay!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jillarchie23 says:

    Hello Stephen, I’m so sorry to read about how much you and others are struggling. The lady eating dog food needs to contact her local food bank or homeless charity. Although she may not be homeless she and many others are vulnerable in the current climate. I volunteer for a soup kitchen in my local area and many of the guests who are being fed and clothed are people in circumstances such as yours. Being cold is debilitating. Hang in there, please seek help. There are some wonderful people out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Francis says:

    I just hope things get better for you this new year Stephen. I just feel sorry that you believe in a brexit dividend when the UK government has spent millions more on this futile exercise than it ever have to the EU.

    Like

  4. Hi Stephen
    I too am one of those who has no support thanks to being 2k above the 50k threshold in the appropriate tax year.

    I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for you.

    I have a newborn baby right now so have little time or energy left to comment, but when I do I will be back to your page.

    Like

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