NOW the nights are starting to cut in, I hope we will soon be able to see the end of the beginning of the coronavirus chaos which is blighting all our lives.

Won’t it to be wonderful to be able to go on a bus without looking like an extra from Emergency Ward 10, or to go in a shop and purchase a bottle of Worcester Sauce, which appears to have vanished from every shelf - A far more serious situation at Hextol Towers than the great toilet roll grab of mid March.

Won’t it be great to eventually be able to go into a shop and browse for an hour or so, and then go for a steak pudding and chips and a pint?

We have been clicking and collecting throughout the crisis, which has generally worked out OK, but Mrs Hextol is very much a hands on shopper, who likes to palpate her parsnips and sniff the onions before entrusting them to her trolley.

The absence of sport from my life has been a big tester for me, with fortnightly visits to Corbridge to see Tynedale Rugby Club in action always a delight, win lose or draw, and Match of the Day with no actual matches has been dismal.

No football, no rugby, no cricket, no Grand National, no US Masters, no Wimbledon and not much of anything else has given carte blanche to Mrs Hextol to take over the telly for interminable programmes about people being shown around houses which they seldom seem to actually buy.

Another major drawback for me has been the demise of our monthly parish council meetings.

After decades of attending parish council meetings all over Tynedale in a professional capacity, I started going to our village meetings for fun when I retired - and was eventually invited to join the council as a co-opted member.

I was delighted to sit on the other side of the press bench, but all that has changed since the advent of the lockdown.

The last few meetings have taken place via videolink, a technological miracle which I am finding very difficult to cope with.

Fellow councillors seem to find it a breeze, and are well equipped with what seem like full television studios, and headphones, while my contributions come from the back bedroom at Hextol Towers, where I have my PC, but as that elderly machine does not have the benefit of a webcam, I can only join in via my mobile phone which has a habit of falling off the desk at key points in debates.

While most members of the council seem quite relaxed about it, I find it upsetting to see myself on screen as others see me.

Surely that portly old bloke with the cock a doodle doo hair squinting into the camera is not the debonair pillar of society I imagine myself to be!

Despite being issued with detailed instructions by the clerk, the meeting has usually been in session for five minutes before I find where the sound button is so I can hear what’s going on.

My impaired hearing doesn’t help the situation, especially at the latest meeting, where at least one fellow councillor appeared to be taking part from the cockpit of a Mitsubishi Zero on the last leg of a kamikaze mission.

While I can see and hear most other councillors, I am not always 100 per cent convinced that they can either see or hear me.

We have one more video meeting before the summer break, after which hopefully we will be allowed to return to the hot spot of local debate, the fire station, where meetings have taken place since the 1970s.

It’s not only council meetings which have gone high tech, for I have also been competing in a number of video pub quizzes, in Hexham and even as far as Barrasford, which is great for the grey matter.

I am fairly sound on general knowledge but irredeemably hopeless at pop music after 1965, or any pictures at all, even if those photographed are members of my family.

I used to be a regular player on pub quiz machines, until an unfortunate incident in a Hexham hostelry.

I was doing rather well, until I became aware of a hulking presence peering over my shoulder.

It took some time for me to recognise him as a regular attendee at Hexham Magistrates' Court on assault charges, so when he started “suggesting” answers I meekly accepted them - and lost all my money.