Isolation Diary: Part 2
Ten weeks into Lockdown, lawyer Jonathan Metliss finds his peace shattered and battle lines drawn
I have now been in Lockdown in deepest Sussex for a further period of five weeks. This is the longest I have ever spent here in my 30 years of owning this property. Spring has gone and Summer has arrived and we have moved on from the Jewish festival of Passover to Shavuot which, inter alia, commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Jewish people on Mount Sinai.
But, I am still surviving on my own Mount Sinai. The birds are still singing away merrily, the leaves are all out on the trees and my beard is that much thicker. I have no need to go out on a regular basis as my eight newspapers are delivered to my door daily (although they all more or less say the same).
Of great significance was the naming of my grand-daughter Alma Hannah which took place on Zoom with all members of my family present (including my son-in-law’s family in Haifa, Israel).
I continue to participate actively in Jewish lessons and classes given by various Rabbis and, indeed, recently sponsored a lesson given by Rabbi Jonathan Hughes of Radlett United Synagogue on the subject of Defeating Coronavirus.
And the time at my disposal has enabled me to deal with personal and family administrative matters that I would not normally be able to do.
So, has anything changed since the early days of Lockdown? Yes, the peace and quiet and serenity has been disturbed by bickering with neighbours. The peace has disappeared and war has broken out. The house opposite has a noisy swimming pool pump and, notwithstanding the complaint made by the residents’ association on my behalf, the noise continues and disturbs my quiet enjoyment.
Not only that, this neighbour came on to my premises, which was a trespass. The police were notified and a complaint made. The police have now visited her to warn her of her behaviour. A solicitor’s letter has also been sent. To add to the fun, the neighbour at the back of my house has been telling me to “be quiet” – notwithstanding that I have not made a noise in his direction for 10 weeks!
There was also an altercation in the village One Stop convenience store when an elderly customer came in coughing and spluttering and stood less than 2 metres from me in the queue to be served. The irony is that, not withstanding my complaint, I was criticised by the store manager and told not to return there. Silly them, they have a lost a good customer who buys his food and supplies either at the M&S franchise at the Rustington BP garage or the Village Stores at East Preston who deliver my newspapers.
Clearly, the impact of Lockdown is causing tempers to fray and is adversely affecting behavioural patterns with tensions and irritability rising. Meanwhile, the birds continue singing unaffected!
I have been focusing on business for Axiom Stone Solicitors with Zoom partners and client meetings and actively involved in promotional and marketing activities. Of note, was the Axiom Stone Real Estate lunch which was attended by over 100 people – a real feat of technology. All I had was my iPhone 8, fearing that it would run out of power at any time. But one hour was filled with excellent chat and client engagement from which business has resulted for the firm. This was even reported in the legal pages of one national newspaper. What a great success and a triumph for determination and willpower.
So, I carry on day-to-day addressing problems as they arise, but do look forward each day to the serenity of a sun–drenched evening, reading a well–thumbed football book and listening to my feathered friends.
This 70–year–old has become used to virtual connection and engagement (including an online auction of football programmes and souvenirs), but longs to return to human contact and face-to- face encounters, avoiding conflict, if ever possible!
Jonathan Metliss is Chairman of Axiom Stone Solicitors and is a supporter of many Jewish organisations and charities.