So the gentle hum of the lockdown continues. One of our local shops sends out a sponsored cake to NHS workers every morning, we get up to the fields when we can and to the supermarket for essential supplies every second day or so, phone calls and messages are sent out to check how other people are doing, and we occasionally drop packages off at the doorsteps of those who cannot emerge into Coronaworld.

Meanwhile chez ukcomposer the writing goes on, the films are getting watched and the board games are being played, while in the evening the dulcet tones of Ed Reardon’s Week or of the wonderful and much-missed Stuart McLean’s Vinyl CafĂ© waft through the house, bringing joy and pleasure. I have listened to these stories countless times, and was delighted to find out that McLean had set up the Arthur Awards to honour acts of kindness and community engagement.

McLean’s output is now on Spotify, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have mentioned the one about toilet training the cat before, but the one where Dave cooks the Christmas turkey is a (Christmas) cracker, to say nothing of the story in which Dave thinks that adding an extra plug socket to the kitchen is a good idea – anybody who knows what terrible DIY is should listen to this last one. Reardon’s life and attitude are, I think, quintessentially English, but McLean’s humour, as well as the more serious stuff, is universal, and sheer joy in these sombre times.

I must admit that I am struggling a little with my latest piece and am concerned that it may not meet its deadline, but I think that I would be happy with that. It is, after all, presenting me with all sorts of problems to be solved, all sorts of challenges to tackle, and even if the piece turns out to be terrible at least I will have learned and improved.

I now know two people who have or have had the virus, one of whom is recovering but the other is still in the midst of it and it sounds very nasty indeed. There will doubtless be more before this is all over, so take the bright stuff where you can and stay as safe as possible.