The problem with face masks is cutting an opening of the right size to accommodate a cigarette, without the hole compromising the safety of the mask itself. A tiresome procedure, especially for someone like me who is not terribly dexterous. I assume that very soon we will all be enjoined to wear face masks everywhere we go. At the outset these contrivances were derided a little for two reasons; first they actually offered no protection to the user, only to people who came into contact with the user, and second they seemed to be not a terribly British way of going about things. Even now I would be embarrassed to wear a face mask — there is something smug and averse about the people who use them when nipping out to the shops. But better smug and averse than dead, I suppose.

I have tried to order some masks online, but such is the demand that you can get only those really flimsy ones which would immediately yield under the bombardment from a prodigious gobbet of phlegm. A friend of mine who works as a nurse at a clinic in Teesside reported treating a patient who had a woman’s sanitary napkin wrapped around her mouth and nose, affixed by string to her ears. That’s a possibility — except that people might assume I was a right-on woke liberal doing his bit to demystify the female menstrual cycle. I think I would rather drown in my own lung juice in a camp bed in one of those empty Nightingale hospitals than have anyone believe that of me.