AND so it goes on and we head towards the third month of lockdown.

How have you found it, I wonder?

There is no doubt, lockdown has its downsides. This certainly isn’t life as we know it.

Those parents who are having to home school young children have my absolute sympathy.

And it can’t be much fun for people who are stuck at home on their own.

While it’s not always been easy, I’ve been trying to make the best of the unprecedented situation and have actually found a few things that have helped along the way.

Top of my list is not having to commute.

I actually have to travel into Manchester three or four times a week and, putting it simply, it’s not much fun catching a short-formed Northern Rail train from Central Station at just after 7.30am.

So I consider myself fortunate that I can work from home and my ‘commute’ is now a 10 second walk down my stairs.

I also consider myself fortunate that my job can be done just as effectively from my dining room table as from my desk on the eighth floor of a Manchester office block.

I do actually wonder, once the lockdown restrictions have been lifted, if working from home will become much more the norm. I, for one, would jump at the chance and the prospect of never having to get on a crowded Northern Rail train fills me with absolute joy.

Another happy side effect of working from home is that it gives structure to my week.

But the fact remains, lockdown has forced us to look at life differently and maybe do some things that we wouldn’t have considered before.

I never imagined that watching an online virtual pub quiz would be one of the highlights of my week, but it is. I can highly recommend Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz on YouTube. Thursday night is the big night but there’s also a Saturday version as well. The quiz has proved so successful it has set a Guinness World Record for the number of participants.

But there have been other benefits as well. I’ve been able to catch up with all the jobs around the house without racing to get them completed in a weekend and I’ve rediscovered my love of reading.

But maybe one of the absolute best things to have happened is that I have had a little more time to contemplate, to think about things other than the day-to-day issues that most of us have to contend with.

I now have some clarity about what I want to do with my life once we get back to something that’s approaching ‘normal’.

On a different, but I suppose related lockdown topic, I was interested to read a letter on the Warrington Guardian’s website calling for the town’s waste collection service to be privatised.

It seems this radical solution came about because the binmen declined to take extra cardboard that the author couldn’t fit in his bin.

Frankly, I couldn’t disagree more. Our binmen, in my opinion, are heroes working on the frontline. They work to tight schedules and simply don’t have the time to be doing multiple empties of individual bins. Just imagine the chaos if everyone wanted that to happen.

And I don’t blame them for one minute for not wanting to handle other people’s rubbish in a time where a deadly illness can be transmitted by touching something.

And I back them all the way for not allowing the author to put his own rubbish in the bin wagon.

Don’t think for one minute that privatising the service would magically make it better.

Did privatising rail services make it better? Absolutely not. And ask some of the former council employees at Catalyst Choices, the privatised, outsourced company that provides social care services on behalf of the council, if privatisation has make their working lives better as pay and conditions are threatened.

And they are not alone. I can think of at least one other outsourced council service where staff, many of whom were formally council employees transferred to the new company, now have worse pay and conditions.

So my message is: Leave the binmen alone. They know what they are doing and deserve a round of applause, not criticism.