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Tuesday 18th January 2022


Hallelujah! I tested negative. It was the last day of my self-isolation in any case and it made no real difference, but it was a big relief to see a sea of white under that one line on the test. Not even the hint of a ghost of a line.
And everyone else in the family, including fellow detainee Ernest Herring, tested negative too. 
Although I was still technically meant to stay indoors until midnight, I did risk my first exercise in nearly two weeks and took the dog out for her evening walk. I didn’t encounter another human being, so it wouldn’t have mattered if I was still loaded down with plague. Maybe this breaking of the rules will still lead to me having to resign from my position. But I hope the public will forgive me. No one told me that I still had to wait another five hours. 
Also I was able to hug my wife again. Ten days with no adult physical affection has been tough (my wife has seemed OK with it to be fair) and whilst hugs and kisses from my similarly shunned son have been OK, it’s not quite the same. Especially as he’s as liable to blow a raspberry or poke me in the eye or try and strangle me.
It’s good to be free again.

Over 16,000 words into the new book now, with less than two weeks to the supposed deadline. But it’s ticking along nicely. Today I was attempting to cover the appointment where they told me I was going to be losing a ball, which funnily enough I didn’t blog about (well I did, but I chose to concentrate on the parking fees, which are arguably more upsetting). For such a decisive moment in my life, my memory of the conversation is a little hazy, but I am piecing it together. I think it’s shortly afterwards that I started discussing what was going on a bit more freely, so am hopeful that I can get closer to the 80,000 target by the end of the month. It’s good to be looking back at all this with a year’s  perspective. Hard to believe that I am only a little over a month away from my Monoball birthday. But looking back now, my main take home is how much, above all else, I just wanted not to die. Which might seem obvious. But I didn’t care about anything else. I might have had to think twice if they had told me they were lopping off the whole kit and caboodle and turning me into an Action Man (a pose I took for Talking Cock the Second Coming - it’s sort of spooky how much of my work almost seems to be a presage of what was to come), but I don’t think I was ever really concerned about losing the bollock. I just didn’t want to check out.

I am very proud to say that this bold crew of Atlantic rowers decided to use some of their precious cabin space to bring along a copy of Emergency Questions and found out all kinds of secrets about each other by asking questions mid-ocean. I am not saying that without my book they couldn’t possibly have completed it, that is for other people to say, but the fact they took the bronze medal would suggest a RHLSTP influence. They might have finished higher without it. But everyone knows bronze is better than gold.

Snooker triumphantly returned tonight. You can watch it here or check out the audio podcast if you’re a purist.

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