At the advent of this prose, an azure sky envelopes my West Yorkshire domain. Birdsong the only aural interjection of utter silence….. Oh, hold on, one of the neighbours has just started using his rotary saw. It’s an idiosyncratic way of cutting the lawn, but the appliance cost him a fortune so he aims to get his moneys worth…… I’m just hoping, in lockdown, he doesn’t try to cut his hair with it!!

At my left hand a white mug perches on the dining table. This vessel filled with a dark Americano coffee, made with a Tassimo coffee machine I’ve been kindly bequeathed as an early birthday present. This thoughtful gift purchased by a friend as I can no longer write in the Costa coffee house which was my retraite d’écriture prior to COVID-19 lockdown.

I’ve just concluded a telephone conversation with my younger brother Ian who lives in Gateshead; a metropolis 100 miles north of my abode. We spoke for twenty minutes about this and that (mostly that), including melancholy resultant from the recent passing of a childhood footballing hero from coronavirus. An incident of which I refer to in my monologue A New Norm Without Norm!

We both spent our childhood in Gateshead. However Ian, unlike his itchy footed elder sibling, remaining at this River Tyne adjacent locale in adulthood. Our kid not bearing my need to reconcile an identity crisis borne from a pull of returning to the domain of our familial roots. This beckoning, though, and my subsequent move back to the area which for two centuries my forefathers chose to call home, probably splintering that crisis even wider.

Ne’er mind, though, I’m a stronger person for these experiences. A stoicism borne from learning many harsh lessons, including the outside world isn’t full of ‘nice’ people, which our childhood had subliminally indoctrinated. My parents noble outlook of judging existential suitors from a baseline of trust and positivity, although heroic, ultimately misguided in many cases.

It was great to hear from our kid; my lifelong best buddy and person I’d trust most when confiding my inner most secrets. Classified titbits which include revealing my wearing of lederhosen every Thursday evening, along with disclosure I use a hedgehog as a pillow!…… Furtive revelations which I’d never inform anyone else…… Oh, s**t!!

Ian was due to visit my mum and me this month, however in situation lockdown that plan was scuppered. Although he misses us as much as we do him and sister Helen, deep down I suspect our kid will be relieved of the trip’s enforced postponement, which means he won’t have to help me with the long ‘To Do’ list of chores for mater!…… Only kidding E!

Footnote – To clarify, sister Helen is Ian and my youngest sibling. It isn’t a nun who feels moved to come visit when our kid’s in town.

GJ Strachan feels particularly tired today. I might have to revisit my choice of using a hedgehog as a bed pillow. Someone suggested improving comfort levels, bringing subsequent sleep benefits, by wrapping the Erinaceidae in a cushion cover. Not wanting to suffocate Harry (which I’ve affectionately named him), though, I’m reticent to follow this advocacy.

Anyhow, I need to bring this prose to a conclusion. I need to nip to the food store for some essentials, then trek to the pharmacy to see if they’ve any cream for hedgehog spike wounds!