SO THEN. Covid Bureaucracy. Older readers might remember that last week, I’d travelled to the Spanish mountains for a writing retreat. This week I made my way back home.

That process became further complicated on my first evening away, when the government announced that everyone entering the UK would have to take a test before travelling. With no local providers available, my only option was to book a test at the airport on the way home.

The only problem with that was British Airways wouldn’t let you check in until you had the result of the test. All of which led to a somewhat stressful wait at the airport, and the sweet release of receiving the ‘negativo’ email.

The delayed check-in involved a raft of documents, including the lengthy Passenger Locator Form – an hour of my life I’m not going to get back. Despite the government demanding to know my movements in triplicate, no one even glanced at it at Heathrow. Go figure.

Next up was my day 2 PCR test. Which tester from the random list on the government site should I go for? As it happened, I’d unknowingly plumped for Randox – the firm who got their £480 million contract with a little help from the disgraced former Conservative MP, Owen Paterson. If Owen is at a loose end, maybe he could help Randox with my test results, which I’m still waiting to receive?

I’m spending my self-isolation trying to sort my booster out. Pre-Omicron, I’d originally booked mine for the end of December. Could I now move it forward? Well good luck with that. I tried the NHS website on Sunday evening. And Monday morning. And Monday lunchtime. And Monday evening. On Tuesday morning I happened to be awake early so tried my luck at 6am. Even then, all I got was another ‘we’re very busy’ screen to add to my ‘technical difficulties’ collection.

Maybe I could go to one of these walk-in centres instead? I searched to see where my nearest one was (I’m using the word ‘nearest’ in its loosest form). First time I looked it was in Hungerford. Then that vanished, leaving Swindon or Bristol as my ‘closest’ options. Call me picky, but for a walk-in centre, don’t you have to be able to, well, walk in, rather than drive for an hour-and-a-half to get there?

It’s one thing for Boris to do a television address ordering people to booster up immediately. But maybe he and Sajid Javid could have discussed how that might happen first? One million jabs a day might make for some good distracting headlines, but out here in the sticks, it’s another example of overpromising and dangerously underdelivering.