Day Twenty-one

No reply from Boris yet. 

Wonder if I should tweet him to check if my letter has arrived. I should have sent it signed-for. Maybe he’s just got a lot on his plate right now. I’m sure he got it and will get back to me as soon as he can. I hope so. I really don’t want to have to tweet him.

I think what Great Nanny Doreen would say in situations like this, “He’s either got it, or he hasn’t.”

She’s right of course but nonagenarian philosophy doesn’t help me know if he actually has it or not. In the same way knowing air travel is (was) the safest form of transport not helping me know whether the specific plane I am on is going to be the one in a million that explodes into an Icharus-like fireball of flaming death. You can’t know. That’s Schrödinger’s logic for you. So what’s the point in thinking about it?

I draft a tweet to Boris, with no exclamation marks, just to be on the safe side. I figure appealing to his Churchillian complex is the best way to get his attention on Twitter. 

“My darling Boris, I shall write to you on the beaches, I shall write on the landing grounds, I shall write in the fields and in the streets, I shall write in the hills; I shall never surrender. And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, my reply to your letter about staying inside and levelling with me, or a large part of it, were subjugated and starving…”

Realise I will need to do a series of tweets to get it all in.


“I would, with all my power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of your good self from the pomp and triviality of mismanaging the country and fathering myriad children that you would be afforded sufficient time, plume and patience to consider my reply and répondez s’il vous plaît. 


P. S. Contrary to the request in my letter, Grandma now needs one large parsnip, a bottle of Scotland’s finest malt whiskey and 80 Rothman’s in her next food parcel. The strain of shielding is, I fear, taking its toll. The whiskey will restore her vitality but I am not sure what the parsnip is for. She doesn’t believe in foreign food.

10:12 a.m. Retreat to the bedroom to start work. Begin typing an email.

Babe walks in.

“You know those green mossy patches on the patio?”

“Yes,” I say without looking up, hoping she will interpret this as, “Can’t you see I’m trying to work?”

“Do you think if we went over them with the pressure washer again they would come off?”

I stop typing and give her a look that says, “When you say ‘we’, what you really mean is ‘me’ isn’t it?”

She ignores this look and takes the opportunity to carry on her urgent interruption.

“It’s just Mum was saying if you hold the nozzle really close to the ground it blasts them away.”

I give some serious thought to the question of whether it would also blast her away. Instead I opt for resentful diplomacy.

“It might, but I tried that when I cleaned the patio yesterday.”

“And it didn’t work?”

I’m not sure if she’s testing if I’m lying, or not getting the logic of having tried something and it not working, and therefore not needing to try again, or simply filtering out everything I just said and waiting to repeat herself.

I gaze out the bedroom window in silence. She hates it when I don’t answer immediately.

“So it won’t work then?”

“No. I tried it yesterday.”


She doesn’t look at me. If she did, she would see me wearing my “Yes, it is a shame you won’t leave me alone to work in peace and quiet” eyes. I change tactic.

“Well, it might. Why don’t you give it a go?”

“No, that’s alright, if it didn’t work yesterday there’s no point.”

I bite my tongue.

Babe goes back downstairs.

I start typing again.

Rhubarb comes in.

I stop typing.

“Where’s mummy’s purse?”

“Probably in her handbag.”

“Her handbag?”


“Where’s her handbag?”

“Probably downstairs on the back of the chair where it always is.”

“Yes,” she grins and disappears. 

“I love you too Rhubarb.” 

I start typing.

Special comes in carrying two glasses.

I stop typing.

“Hello Dadda. We made something for you.”

“What’s that then poppet?”

“Chocolate milk.”

“My favourite! I love you poppet.”

“I love you too Dadda.”

She hands me a glass and says goodbye.

I start typing.

“Hi David, Yes, I’m free at one. Call me.

Kind regards,


Hit Send. 

It is 10:24.

Reflect on the joy and efficiency of working from home. 

I do the math: twelve words divided by twelve minutes equals one word per minute. I estimate I could get that down to, oh I don’t know, let’s say twelve seconds if I blast my family and cat into submission with a pressure washer.

No. If a pressure washer won’t blast ingrained moss off the patio, what chance does it stand against an adult female human and two small children and a passive aggressive tabby? 

Google “water cannon deals” instead.

Argos has one for £99.99 including roof-rack mount. 

Consider if a quiet life is worth £99.99. 

Click “Add to basket”.