This week marked my first trip, on a train, into central London in what will be nearly 20 months. Old habits are clearly hard to break, and of course, I ended up in Pret-A-Manger munching on a toasted sandwich with a coffee, watching the world go by… it was good to be back… like old times…
Or was it? In some other ways, the experience was unsettling.
- The first train was quiet – I got a seat!
- The tube seemed busy – although I was able to get on the first train, so in fact by comparison to ‘normal’ – in fact very quiet!
- And, at 8am there was hardly any traffic on the street – surreal, just like a movie set.
Less people, less hassle, less stress – it all seemed more civilized – but it also did just not feel right, something felt off.
In going back and starting a routine, one I was so familiar with before the lockdown, I think it was because I kept stumbling on small, subtle differences, that said… “everything may appear normal, just as before… but something has happened, underneath things have changed”.
Now before I could go full sci-fi, I was told that Monday and Fridays, have become ‘working at home’ days now, so these can be quiet – it was enough to reassure me that I was not in fact returning from a 2 year ‘blip’, everything was normal, and I could leave the action man (eagle eyes) costume at home for now – phew… (let’s face it, it would not fit anyway after lockdown anyway).
But it did really reinforce just how big an event the pandemic has been for society and one we are only still right at the start of working through any recovery.
After the Black Swan
It is said that history doesn’t move slowly and smoothly, but jumps with a few vibrations in between [Black Swan]. This certainly felt to be the case recently and dystopically… two related stories also seemed to dominate my discussions, this week too.
- The economy and inflation. Concerns over inflation have been brushed off as transitory over much of the summer. Nothing to worry about, will all be back to normal parameters soon many said. However the mood over the last couple of weeks seems to be changing, with supply chain issues, staffing shortages, prices are going up and it is not back on the agenda. Macro economics need to be watched very carefully at the moment it seems.
- The energy market. With another 3 suppliers ceasing trading last week alone, the outlook is not looking good. Over the week Russia has also decided to not increase supply and there is stress in the gas hedging market too. Even large suppliers are now under pressure from the price cap, and the prediction is for another 20 suppliers to cease trading next month. This story has more to run and one to follow.
With all this cheery outlook, I am going back under the duvet, avoiding the news (and sci-fi films) this weekend. It will seem better next week and the coffee with pain-au-raisin will help too.
Have a good weekend everyone.