Day One

Wake up feeling happy because I will get to mow the lawn for the first time in six months.

Remember the corona zombie apocalypse might have kicked off during the night, or that my front garden might be full of people comatose from binge drinking, desperate to get as many pints in as they can before the pubs shut for twelve years. Hope they didn’t vomit on the rose bush.

Peek out the curtains. Blue sky. Dry. Not a corona zombie or binge drinker in sight. See the black and white cat – whom we have named Stain of the Devil – on our shed, a huge tomcat that bullies Buddy, our passive aggressive tabby who bites our legs to let us know he’s hungry. Remind myself to order a catapult.

Pee. Feel relieved.

Feel despair. Remember we are now in solitary confinement and wonder when our family will divide in two and start re-enacting the hundred years war between England and France. We all know how that ended.

Wonder if we do really all know how that ended. Make a mental note to Google it later.

Babe, my wife, tells me I need to chance it and go to Argos. Not for pasta or loo roll, but for a portable TV aerial. Say yes but feel a little miffed that my life now only appears to be worth a TV aerial.

Walk in to Argos and see people spread out all over the place, standing ten feet apart, with blank expressions.

Wonder if this standing arrangement could either be because of corona or because there was no queuing system in operation. How will Brits cope without queuing? Man calls my number and throws the aerial on the counter from ten feet away. I grab it and walk off.

Leave wondering if he thinks I have corona, or the aerial. Make a mental note to Google if TV aerials can transmit corona.

Use the portable anal thermometer to check my temperature in the car. All good. No corona today.

Read text from Babe: Go to the garden centre! Get red, blue and yellow flowers and 3 bags of compost xxx. Text back: OK. Feel happier that my life is now worth more than a TV aerial but wonder how wise it is to be spending what might be my last pay cheque on fancy soil and pansies.

Arrive at the garden centre. Load up with compost and flowers. Head to the take-away cafe clutching Babe’s garden centre discount card that entitles us to two free coffees a month. Yay!

Approach the cafe counter at speed. The lady behind it looks at me frantically nodding towards the hygiene sign: “Keep your distance and use contactless”. Panic, realising the weight of the compost has increased my breaking distance.

Two thoughts suddenly spring to mind: is this how Keanu Reeves felt in Speed? And, is this what all the AI experts who are wrestling with making sure driverless cars don’t kill a pregnant woman or granny call the runaway trolley dilemma?

Bump into a GP friend on the way out. She reminds me not to touch my face, after I touched my face. She air-hugs me from ten feet away and runs off.

Arrive home safely, without having to run over any zombies or binge drinkers, but Babe tells me I have to chance it a third time and go to her dad’s. I ask why. She says, “To get his spare TV. Why did you think I asked you to get an aerial?”

Go to Granddad’s. Ring the doorbell and back up ten feet. Reminds me of playing Knock-out Ginger except I don’t hide or knock anyone out who has ginger hair.

Granddad opens the door, we exchange greetings and he puts the TV on the ground. He backs away. I ask him if the telly has corona. “No!” I’m not sure if he’s joking. Make a note to Google if TVs can be a carrier later.

Put the TV in the car. Granddad disappears and reappears holding two bags of twisty pasta and a home-made banana cake. When I say “Put them on the floor and back away!” he doesn’t look amused.

Drive off and decide to sell the pasta on ebay for seven grand per twist. Or swap both bags for a 4-pack of quilted loo roll.

Sit in car and avoid going into the house for 68 minutes. Feel sad when Babe doesn’t call to find out where I am. Does she not love me anymore? Do my children not know their father is hiding / missing in corona? If she has noticed, has she chosen to leave me where I sit, in case I am full of Granddad-corona?

Make a note to amend my will so they know I want a viking burial, lying atop a pile of burning logs, surrounded by my slaves and swords and gold, in a long boat as it disappears over a majestic waterfall.

Mow the lawn wearing my Norwegian steel toe-capped boots. Realise they would make an excellent defence against corona zombies. Decide to keep them on indefinitely.

Go to bed.

Babe asks me to take my boots off. I comply.

Start drifting off, thinking that all the binge drinkers are probably waking up right about now.

Blank out. Time and space lose all meaning.