Category: Coronavirus

What I Wish I had Stockpiled

Lockdown Pandemic Brexit

Now, in June 2020, we have been locked down with Coronavirus for 3 months already in the UK. Life has changed drastically, in totally unforeseen ways since March 2020. Town and city centres have been totally deserted in the evenings and often during the day, people wearing masks on the street, on public transport, long queues at shops, perspex screens at counters, full face masks for shop assistants and other workers and many shops still shut. There have been few planes in the sky and train timetables have often been drastically cut.



Apart from occasional headlines from various campaigners about chlorinated chicken, hormone stuffed meat and genetically modified crops – also known as “Frankenstein Foods”, that the USA is said to be desperate to send us, very few Brexit News Headlines have been published in the UK, at least by the main stream media. Headlines have all been about Coronavirus and how brilliant the NHS has been.

Yet Brexit is due to happen on 31st December 2020, whether there is any agreement or not. Legislation was passed in January 2020, to ensure that Brexit would take place and that it could not be talked out or delayed if discussions did not take place quickly. In fact, the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020, after the EU Withdrawal Bill was passed on 23 January 2020, although at that point, nothing actually changed, because we then entered a transition period.

At this current moment (June 2020), and right up to 31st December 2020, the UK is in the transition stage between being a full member of the EU and no longer a member at all. The time is meant to allow for negotiating the trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Agreement has not been reached in fact, the talks are considered to be stuck, so a video conference was held between UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnston, and other EU leaders on 15th June 2020, in which they agreed that a new momentum was required and to hold intensified talks over the summer. If no agreement is reached, UK legislation means that the UK would crash out of the EU on 31st December 2020.

Is this a coincidence, that governments knew back in November or December that a pandemic was coming and took action to ensure that nothing could stop Brexit? Of course, depending on your viewpoint, this could be a good or bad thing!

No Agreement

If there is no agreement in place, on 31st December 2020, whether or not talks on a trade agreement with the EU have been completed or even taken place, the UK will leave the EU – the law for that has already been passed and received the Royal Assent. That means that things could end up with no trade agreement with the EU and different trading laws would have to apply. That could mean long lorry queues at the ports and paper documents being reintroduced. That could mean food shortages and shortages of other goods.

Run Out Of

The shops that have been left open – food shops, hardware shops, pharmacies, etc., have been totally brilliant. And many items have been available online, if not in the shops. But not everything. At the start of the lockdown, shops were running out of bread, baby milk and other necessities, including toilet paper. This was said to be due to panic buying, where people bought up more items than they normally used and which the Just In Time (JIT) transport system could not refill fast enough, leaving shortages and empty shelves. Necessities are mostly now available, though many shops have imposed a limit on the amount that can be bought at one time, for instance, 3 cans of beans, or 2 packets of toilet roll at any one shopping trip. But not everything is available. Some items that certain people would consider as necessities are not on the shelves, nor can they be bought online.

Not Available

This list just includes things that have been noticed as not on the shelves or are not obtainable online:

Neutrogena handcream


Bread of certain kinds, eg specialist types




Update June 2023

While most items are now available, there are still certain items that are hard to get, for instance, firm toothbrushes, although there are plenty of medium and soft toothbrushes. Soap also seems to be in short supply and certain handcreams and deodorants. Some of these can be obtained online if not in local shops but not all.



brexit consequences

brexit economic consequences

Coronavirus Survival

While we are still in the process of Brexit – leaving the EU – a pandemic has hit the world. It’s not just the UK needing to prepare for leaving the EU but the whole world preparing to fight a new virus.

PANIC Happening

People have not prepared, so now they are panicking and buying everything in sight. Supermarket shelves are empty of toilet paper and bread. Milk is in short supply and people are fighting over what few supplies are available. This happens not only when a pandemic occurs but also every winter in places where they get a lot of snow and it suddenly, surprisingly, starts snowing because it’s winter.

These Things Are ALWAYS Going To Happen

There is always going to be a tornado, a flood, an illness, a snowstorm, a power cut or SOMETHING that is going to disrupt daily life.

We Have Lost The Ability To Prepare

Some years ago, shops closed all day on Sundays and often at lunchtimes and on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. They closed for a couple of days at Christmas and Easter. We knew how to prepare for that. Even earlier, there WERE no shops. People grew their own vegetables, hunted for autumn fruit and caught their own meat. They had apple barrels and hung meat in the fireplace or kept a stockpot going, where fresh stuff was thrown in. I am not suggesting we go back to those days (though some already have) but that we get back to understanding how to stock and prepare for the lean times.

Just In Time

JIT or “Just In Time” is another problem. Shops used to have stockrooms where they stored the next lot of goods for going on the shelves. They always had anything from 3 days to 3 weeks of supplies available. Now, they have “Just In Time” deliveries. They get a delivery every day and it’s gone by the time the next JIT delivery arrives. At Christmas or Easter, they increase the number of deliveries by about 30% to take account of increased demand. Before the last Brexit deadline, when it was thought the UK might leave the EU with no deal, the government knew that lorry delays and customs would delay deliveries from abroad and asked supermarkets to increase their stocks to carry about 3 months supply of goods. Whether those stocks have now been run down, I do not know. But there will be a need for that kind of storage again at the end of December 2020, when the next Brext deadline takes place. The use of JIT deliveries means that when demand increases unexpectedly, as it does in the time of a pandemic or the threat of floods, for instance, the shops do not have sufficient stock to meet that increased demand, so we see empty shelves.


Of course, the sight of empty shelves produces panic as people worry that others know more than them and they won’t be able to feed their family. Then we see fights breaking out, angry scenes as people are unable to get what they need, poorer people who are unable to buy extra missing out, etc.

PREP Not Panic

If you PREP – that is prepare for shortages or for things not being available in times of environmental crisis, like illness or floods or snowstorms – then you are helping EVERYONE. You won’t need to panic buy because you will have what you need, nor will you need to spend money from a tight budget because you will have built up your stocks gradually, thinking about what you will NEED. That means more left for others, including those who are unable to stock up. It also means less waste, because you won’t be throwing out stuff you can’t use and you won’t be buying loads of stuff you would never use. It also means you don’t have to go out, if you have to self isolate due to illness or possible infection.