I HOPE this finds you well. It’s been challenging writing a column which refers to the happenings in my life and those people I know when very little has happened, to be honest.

Like most of you, I’m confined to my house, with the exception of an hour’s daily exercise walking at a distance with either my sister Jean or my friend Jackie.

However, following a night recently of chit chats with my friends, I have realised that as our routine dramatically changes, what were seemingly every-day tedious tasks are now making us feel like we’re living in a whole new dimension.

The other day, I found myself aimlessly meandering into the kitchen yet again.

“For goodness’ sake Janice, it’s only 9:15am,” I scolded myself.

“You can’t possibly need another snack.”

But then my wee face lit up as I realised that my kitchen clock was still an hour behind and it was really 10:15am!

“Yes, it’s time for a morning break.” I couldn’t believe that I was so elated over a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

That evening, I decided to phone around my friends to pass the time and to find out how they were coping – after all, none of them had ever been at home for long periods with their other half.

First, I spoke to Karean, who initially sounded calm, but when the conversation turned to her husband Tom, she became rather irate.

“He’s messy, messy, messy,” she parroted.

“I never noticed before how he can’t even make a cup of coffee without leaving the wet spoon on the countertop and a trail of sugar.”

“Not exactly a hanging offence,” I thought to myself, as Karean barely stopped for breath.

“God help us,” she moaned.

“He’s now turned to DIY,” she added.

“And I know it was his first attempt, but he tried to fix a loose skirting board and has now left it with a huge bent nail sticking out!”

But before I could interject...

“Honestly Janice, some jobs are better not done at all,” she puffed, quickly adding: “Thank goodness he’s busy with work because I can see him scanning the house looking for odd jobs which he never seemed to notice in all the years we’ve been married!”

However, finally it seemed Karean had something positive to say about her hubby.

“At least he’s a great cook.”

Or so I thought...

“But the bloody mess he leaves is horrendous!”

Next, I phoned Julie, who, after the usual small talk, echoed similar issues.

“Janice, every day all I seem to do is clean, clean, clean.

“And I never noticed before, but Dave just leaves clothes, coffee cups, plates and newspapers lying about everywhere.”

“Really?” There seemed to be a pattern here.

“He probably did it before, so why does it annoy me so much now?” Julie seemed frustrated.

“And... he even eats louder than he ever did before too!”

It seemed to me like everyone’s annoying habits were coming to the surface.

But Julie had a cunning plan.

“I’ve started putting coffee and biscuits into Dave’s home office to entice him to work in there instead of at the dining room table.

My pal seemed pleased with herself.

“And ... I suggested it would put him in a better work state of mind if he worked from his office.”

I was impressed with my friend’s guile.

“But really, I just want him out of the way for a few hours!”

Next, I called Amanda, and wondered what grumbles lay ahead – I had barely said hello when a familiar topic arose...

“In 26 years of marriage, Janice, Davie has managed to body-swerve everything I’ve asked him to do, and now all of a sudden he’s a bloody DIY expert.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle because, according to my pal, Davie’s handy-man skills have never been very good at all, and to make matters worse, every single job he attempts, he somehow has to involve a demented Amanda.

“Amanda, can you give me a hand with this?

“Amanda, could you hold this for a second?

“Amanda, could you get me a...

“Amanda, how about another wee cup of tea?

“Amanda, Amanda, Amanda... as soon as his new toolbox comes out, that’s all I blinking hear!”

I could just about feel the air of tension between the pair as she added: “The thing is, Janice...”

Amanda’s voice was sounding a little high-pitched.

“Every single time I ask him to help me with a chore, he says, ‘sorry honey, but I’m awful busy at the moment’.”


Good luck in whatever cunning tactic you deploy to get through these uncharted times, because I reckon people will soon start to self-isolate from their other halves before too long!