We’re going to find out a lot about each other in the weeks and months ahead.  I face that time with some concern because of my age but then who wants to catch the new big C? I certainly don’t and I’m sure you don’t either.

Staying in is the new going out, although I did visit a friend, Bertie, today in town. I admit I was somewhat nervous. But I kept my social distance from people. Town was still partially open, but most shops were closed. Myself and my friend met outside our usual place, the Imperial Hotel, but it was shut as I expected. So were most cafes around, but I remembered the Maldron Hotel just a little way down the South Mall and thankfully it was open. There were some people inside their cafe and I was glad to see the staff wore gloves and tables were cleaned properly when customers left.

I meet Bertie once a month since we took redundancy five years ago. We both knew this would be our last public meeting until this health crisis is over. Instead we’ve decided to use FaceTime to stay connected every second Wednesday at 11am. I’ll be drinking coffee as we talk and he’ll be sipping tea.

For now I’m going to stay at home, apart from the occasional shopping trip. My hands have been scrubbed away at this stage but that’s a small price to pay. I’ll stay in touch with family and friends through FaceTime or WhatsApp. It’s nice to be able to see people when you chat and it helps to diminish social isolation.

I’m setting up a proper schedule for myself each day. I will now write a blog more frequently, work on my family history, read more books, etc. I’m going to limit my time on social media because I need to keep my mental health strong. Of course I’ll check out the news, but I’m not going to be obsessive about it. There will be a lot of bad news ahead and you can be sucked into fearing the worst. We need to stay positive. 

That’s the easy part. 

My children are living abroad, but we stay in touch regularly. They are ok. We managed to fly to London the weekend before last to stay with Sarah Jane and her husband Tadhg, memories that will sustain Trish and I for a while.

Trish is a home help, so she works every day caring for the elderly and the infirm. It’s a job she loves. I’m very proud of what she does, especially now. Even with her being at work we see more of each other now than ever and we’re discovering that our love is more enduring as each day passes. Touch wood!

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Reason enough to celebrate. What makes it a double celebration is that we will be married 35 years. It’s hard to believe so many years have passed since that day. We’ve laughed and cried, suffered a deep tragedy with the death of our son Alan a few years after we married, and had some magical moments too. She’ll have a lot to put up with – me! – in the months ahead, but we’ll cope. When all this is over we’ll be one of the first on a plane to somewhere nice, although I suspect there’ll be some queue ahead of us.

I wish all of you well. Stay safe, keep your social distance and wash your hands. Oh, and stay in touch with me – on social media or email of course!