IT’S with hindsight, the one sight I do have, I’ve realised how wonderful my life was just five weeks ago. Sitting here typing, confined to barracks as the Government figures out how best to eke out the spread of coronavirus so as to avoid overwhelming the NHS with new and too often fatal cases, I can’t help reminiscing over the six solid weeks of rain we had in Glasgow prior to the lockdown!

When you’re blind and trying to be as independent as possible, the weather takes a backseat to your daily routine. My wife is working down south this year, which is not a euphemism for prison! So it’s now my responsibility to look after Hector ... who’s not our son, but our three-year-old Springer Lab cross who is often mistaken for – but who is definitely not – a guide dog.

He pays no heed to bad weather. Every morning I’d don wellies, waterproofs, hat, gloves and scarf, and we’d trudge over to the local park. Here, huddled, freezing, sheltering under a chestnut tree, I’d shoot the breeze with six or seven fellow dog walkers while Hector waded in mud. General nattering about how crap the weather was, how we probably won’t get a summer again this year because we had that good one three years ago and whether a dog can get so filthy it can bring down property prices.

When the rain started attacking us from the sides and the howl of the wind made conversation impossible, we’d disperse. Hector and I would make for our local Sainsbury’s. I’d tie the filthy beast to the fence and squelch inside, where an always helpful member of staff would go grab what I needed. I’d pay, untie Hector and we’d go home for our breakfasts. Doesn’t sound like a wonderful life but this was my independence, hard-learned routes I could navigate solo. The rest of the days were spent writing or pretending to write and in the evenings Hector and I would head off to my stand-up gigs.

Well, these mad, hedonistic days are now over. At time of writing we’re four weeks into the lockdown. The fantastic news is that my wife has returned from the south – something about good behaviour. She’s a key worker in the NHS and has been redeployed not only to help the general public but her now-stuck husband, who is definitely not a key worker! Nobody is clapping for me on a Thursday night at the moment. Work has dried up for all in the entertainment industry. Like my haircut, I’m slowly going mental.

To help stop the spread of this vicious virus, the Government has brought in some necessary but draconian social measures. Like many, I didn’t follow them immediately. I was mid-table with my response. Slower than the self-righteous germaphobes who’ve been waiting all their lives to wear face masks and rubber gloves outdoors, but faster than my parents, who I feel would have taken it serious quicker if they’d named the virus after a stronger lager. They’d have socially isolated pronto if they thought by not doing so they’d catch Tennent’s Super Spreader or Carlsberg Special Flu.

Everyone has had their lives turned upside down as they attempt to adopt the new social distancing measures. Being blind has made this disproportionately and annoyingly difficult. I abandoned trying to learn the new elbow handshake after nearly knocking out my dad. Social distancing has made my solo trips to Sainsbury’s impossible. I don’t have a clue when I’m two metres away from someone. At the start of the crisis I tried, like everyone else, to panic buy toilet roll and dried pasta, believing I could survive purely on spag bog roll – but I was chased away by a twitchy germaphobe I got too close to. Thank God social distancing has made lynching impossible.

So I now can’t leave the house without my wife as I don’t want to alarm folk. I’ve become over-reliant on her, which is not great. It’s emasculating – plus, I know she’s not above ramming me at a stranger just for a laugh.

With fear and anxiousness rising exponentially in the country, concessions that were once given to disabled folk – “give him a break he’s blind” – have been partially suspended until further notice, along with mine and many other disabled folks’ independence. If giving up my daily routine for a while is my only sacrifice during this crisis I’m lucky. I just wish instead of hindsight I had foresight to see when this nightmare will be over for everyone, our new normality can begin and I can again huddle under a tree with relative strangers and moan about our wonderfully awful weather.