SO how is the self isolating going with you? We have been confined to Hextol Towers since returning from an ill-advised trip to the Canary Islands towards the middle of last month.

The all-inclusive break seemed the perfect antidote to the wettest February on record and the incessant bleatings from the Daily Express about two feet of snow being just around the corner, but it turned out to be far from idyllic.

After just three days we were escorted off the beach by masked men, and warned we faced a 1,000 Euro fine if we had the temerity to set foot on the sand again.

We then spent two days sharing the air round the small pool with the coughers and hackers of a dozen nations before the pool was taped off, the sunbeds removed, and the bars closed.

By order of the Spanish government, we were confined to our room apart from meals for the remainder of the holiday, despite the fact there was only one case of Covid-19 on the island, and we were 1,300 miles away from Madrid.

The holiday was truncated by several days, and in the panic to get everyone home, we were flown back to Birmingham – even though our car was in Manchester!

The plane was full of sniffers and sneezers, and the bus which took us from Birmingham to Manchester airport was equally awash with airborne microbes.

We got back to Manchester at 3am to find the hotel where we had left the car appeared to have been abandoned due to the national lockdown. Luckily we had retained the key, and were able to set off north.

We should have been heading north, but the Sat Nav Lady joined in the general mayhem by taking us a merry jaunt through the leafy lanes of Cheshire before we accidentally came across the M6, and finally started going in the right direction.

It was around 7.30am when we finally got home, and were quite surprised to find no-one had painted a cross on the door to indicate we were back from foreign parts.

Perhaps surprisingly we had been given no instructions by the holiday company or anyone else about what to do when we got back from a supposed Covid-19 blackspot, but we took it upon ourselves to keep in complete isolation for two weeks in case either of us broke out in buboes.

It would be torture not seeing the family – especially the grandchildren – but it was a sacrifice we agreed we would have to endure for everyone’s sake.

We have been keeping in touch via Skype and Facetime, but why is it that the calls only come through when I am sitting on the netty?

It was only when we got the dog back from kennels after a bizarre non-contact reunion which involved the kennel operator throwing open the doors and letting her run free before leaping into the car that I realised we had nothing suitable in for Sunday dinner that was not frozen solid in the freezer.

We had planned to go out, but in our absence, the order had been given to close all hotels and restaurants.

So we rang the Cheviot Hotel in the village, and to our delight, were told yes, they were doing a Sunday dinner takeaway, providing we supplied our own plates.

I explained that we were unable to leave the house during our exile, and resigned myself to beans on toast.

But bless the Cheviot, they volunteered to send our dinners round and leave them on the step - on the strict understanding we return the dustbin lid sized plates when it was practical to do so.

It was a lovely meal and a classic example of how the businesses in Bellingham have all gone many extra miles to look after their residents in these very tough times.

Family too have rallied round, dropping off groceries and other essentials on a regular basis, and I even received a grocery parcel from the parish council, paid for via a card reader on the end of a very long stick!

Horse racing restrictions mean my equine activities have been terminated for the time being, which gave me the chance to muck out the elderly jalopy which I use to travel to the stables.

It was a far smellier and more unpleasant task than mucking out the filthiest of stables, producing enough wisps of straw to give Worzel Gummidge a couple of spare heads.