THERE seems to be a lot of Government money sloshing about at the moment for those who have been adversely affected by the global pandemic.

I am therefore debating writing to dear old Boris to see whether he would consider a small grant for the replacement of two garden chairs which have been wrecked as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

There may also be a small bonus for the pain and suffering I have endured, as I was sitting in them both at the time of their demise.

Some unkind people have suggested that the collapse of the two items of furniture may not have been unconnected to the fact there there is considerably more of me now than there was before lockdown, brought on by the lack of strenuous daily exercise now that my horse mucking out activities have been brought to a halt, and the number of pies and biscuits I have been obliged to eat while confined to barracks by the Government.

However, although I have put on a pound or two – well over a stone actually – I am still several stones lighter than I was before I retired, and I didn’t break any pieces of furniture at all during those mega portly days.

It remains a mystery to me as to why two apparently robust seats should collapse so spectacularly because I had the temerity to put them to the purpose for which they were constructed by sitting on them.

The first occurrence came last month, when I was sitting in the Jack and Jill seat purchased from a well known Hexham store only a year or so earlier.

It came in the form of a self assembly pack, but I am confident I had put it together properly, as Mrs Hextol and I had sat on it many times before to admire the butterflies and bees frisking about in the lupins and honeysuckle.

On this occasion, Mrs Hextol was not present as I was soaking up the sun while listening to a gripping test match between England and the West Indies on my mobile phone.

I may have been wriggling about a bit as the advantage swung one way and then the other, as I sucked on my strawberry Calippo, but suddenly, without warning, my world collapsed as spectacularly as the England middle order.

One second I was listening to the play, and the next I was sprawled on my back in the middle of many pieces of assorted timber of differing sizes.

I was also developing an egg-sized lump on the back of my head where it had cannoned off the garden wall, and my back was aching as abominably as if it had been struck by a particularly vicious Jofra Archer bouncer.

It took me a while to realise that my half of the Jack and Jill seat had simply disintegrated, while Mrs Hextol’s seat and the remains of the table were leaning drunkenly into the pyracantha.

I sat in the wreckage for quite some while before managing to stagger to my feet, shaking off splinters and dislodged dowels, and it was soon clear that this Jack and Jill could not be mended with any amount of vinegar and brown paper.

I went indoors seeking sympathy from Mrs Hextol, but she merely asked anxiously: “Did anyone see you?”

Received wisdom is that lightning tends not to strike twice, but last week, Mrs Hextol and I went to visit number two son and his family further down the North Tyne, and as the weather was pleasant, we opted to sit in the garden to enjoy some sunshine.

I was invited to take my seat on what seemed a solid bench, but as soon as buttocks touched wood, there was a rending of timber and screech of tortured nails, and I was left with feet in the air and bum almost touching the ground, surrounded by shattered planks.

There was a stunned silence, before my son blurted out: “You’ve broke me chair, you fat sod!”

It should be pointed this was a line from “The Bradshaws of Barnoldswick”, a Manchester-based radio show set in the 1950s to which we were ridiculously addicted in the 1980s, but the sentiments were indubitably true.

It turned out the bench was a fairly elderly one but it had been in regular use till I wrecked it.

In the absence of gainful employment at the moment, I am considering offering my services to IKEA as a professional furniture tester.