“I may be a bit dim,” I said.
My wife smiled. “No, darling. No-one could possibly say that. Lots of people climb over gates onto railway lines.”
It’s a good job I’m a patient man…
“…As I understand it, we can go for a walk with them. But we’re not allowed to knock on their front door. And we can’t walk along the garden path with them.”
I’m often confused by instructions. This week’s Covid Tiers have taken my bewilderment to a whole new level.
Beverley had looked up from her phone ten minutes earlier.
“Leeds is going into Tier 3,” she said.
“Does that mean Eleanor can come over?”
“I don’t know. The rules aren’t very clear.”
The Beloved Daughter – now two years into her relationship with Could-Be-Serious and looking at houses – was due to visit. The first weekend in November.
“What do the rules say?”
“They should try to avoid leaving the area.”
“But it’s not illegal?”
“No. But she probably won’t want to risk it.”
“So the answer is simple. We drive over and see her.”
“Sunday. The day before they go into Tier 3. And we can see Dan at the same time.”
“But he’s in his bubble.”
“But surely he can come out of his bubble to see his mum and dad? Can’t we all meet in the pub? What about Sunday lunch?”
“No. Definitely not. You can’t socialise inside.”
“So we can’t go to the pub and – even if she comes here – she can’t come inside?”
“What can we do?”
“Go for a walk.”
At which point I got even more confused. Because – if I’m reading this right – you can go for a walk but you can’t stand in a garden.
“So we can walk on a path with them if it’s by a road? But not if it’s in a garden?”
“Can we go into the park?”
“What about the beach if they come here?”
“It’ll be November. It’ll be too cold to socialise on the beach.”
I went online and read the Government’s explanation. Then I needed a drink.
“Don’t forget we’re going to the theatre next week,” my beloved said. “The e-mail says you have to wear a mask all through the play. But you can take it off if you’re eating and drinking.”
“Because you can’t eat and drink if you’re wearing a mask. I know you’ve tried it once or twice…”
“So the theatre is saying I have to wear a mask to watch the play?”
“But if I buy a beer and drink it very, very slowly… I don’t have to wear a mask to watch the play.”
“Maybe it’s because it’s a comedy,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“If you laugh you’re bound to send germs over a longer distance.”
“So the answer’s simple. The theatres can re-open but they can only do Waiting for Godot. Anyway,” I added, “There’s another thing I don’t understand.”
My wife rolled her eyes. Bake Off was on in five minutes. Was she losing interest?
“I’m allowed to sit inside – in a socially distanced theatre – and watch a play. But I’m not allowed to sit outside – in a socially distanced stadium – and watch a football match.”
And here’s me part of the Government’s testing programme. My wife sticks a swab up my nose every Tuesday afternoon. Boris Johnson sends me a letter with an X in the ‘no Covid symptoms’ box.
“Don’t we get some special status for that?” I said.
“What do you want, dear, the Covid equivalent of diplomatic immunity?”
“A great book – really looking forward to the sequel! A wide variety of likeable and engaging characters in a fantastic setting. Can’t wait to learn more about Brady’s backstory.” Salt in the Wounds is now available on your Kindle and in paperback.