I’ve been meaning to start a journal of my experiences during the so-called lockdown imposed by the government in the name of our safety.

Being stuck at home with just our near family, and possibly pets, is going to affect us all in different ways. I thought I’d describe how it affects me; what I do, what I’m thinking, and how I react to national developments.

(I do have a bit of an advantage in that, as I’m reporting on the political side of things over on Vox Political.)

I have to report that matters have been relatively harmonious so far. I live with Mrs Mike and her daughter (henceforth to be known as Stepdaughter), and with our cat Crunchie, who’s not the best-behaved of animals and takes a lot of flak from Mrs Mike because of it.

Mrs Mike spends a lot of time doing Art and stepdaughter is Working From Home. I’ve been writing Vox P, but have had plenty of time to think about other things too.

Usually I go to the gym three times a week, but that is closed for the duration. I have weights at home and on Wednesday I started working out which exercises I could perform here, working them into a pattern alongside housework.

I’ve become very sensitive about doing any kind of exercise at home, after having comments from Mrs Mike when I was doing sit-ups in the bedroom. Now I try to take great care not to let anybody hear me go creak.

But I don’t think it’s working.

The bedroom is sprucing up a treat, though.

Yesterday (March 26) I picked up the car from the garage – nearly two months exactly since I put it in for MOT and it failed on emissions.

It turned out that the part that cleans the exhaust before expelling it into the atmosphere had practically eroded away – it was only held together by the oily gunk that had built up around it over the years – and had to be replaced. Now it is wonderfully clean.

I went round to the garage and was asked – quite rightly – to put on a rubber glove before touching anything.

I took that glove home with me and put it to good use, scaring the daylights out of Mrs Mike:

So now I have a car again.

And, thanks to lockdown, nowhere to go.

Almost nowhere to go. Today I took it up to town, as I had letters to weigh at the post office and cheques to cash at the bank.

Except the bank was closed. There was a handwritten sign saying it wouldn’t be open until Monday.

Coronavirus.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. March 26 was a Thursday, meaning normally I would have been out with my buddies.

Thirsty Thursday was a tradition started by two friends, Richard and Rod, both of whom have faded out of the scene somewhat – Rich to St Lucia (lucky b…) and Rod to a neighbouring town’s male voice choir, it seems.

But other friends started coming out after they quit, so there’s now quite a large gathering most weeks.

Except this week we all had to stay in, under lockdown.

So we had a virtual gathering instead – online.

One of the new traditions of Thirsty Thursday involves my friend Jack, who started taking surreptitious photos of me and then adding the kinds of caption that would be unsuitable for public consumption.

Last night was no different, except this time he asked me to provide him with an image.

I obliged – albeit with the express intention of providing a spectacle so abominable that he wouldn’t need to write anything:

200326 Mike

I’m no oil painting.

Jack added a caption anyway. It would be shockingly libellous if anybody took it seriously and – as there are people in this world who would deliberately do so when that isn’t the intention – I won’t be publishing it here. You’ve had a lucky escape.

I’ll try to go into the origins of the pandemic next time.