WELL, I finally swallowed my misgivings and joined the queue at Waitrose.

Not because I couldn’t get most of what we need to survive at the local M&S garage or convenience store – in fact, they are very well stocked and I even found flour for the breadmaker at Nisa - but the need for antibac spray was a good excuse to pick up a few treats to break the monotony.

(In these depressing times I find myself guiltily recalling my Mum’s invariable response to our grumbles during the long school holidays: “If you’re bored, you’re boring!” So, must try harder to be positive.)

Anyway, it was the weirdest experience.

Standing queueing for an antiseptically-wiped trolley, each in our own little bubble, two car parking spaces apart, taking a few robotic steps forward (mustn’t get too close to the chap in front!) every couple of minutes as customers up ahead were allowed in one at a time, it felt like we were humanoid figures on a conveyor belt in one of those unfathomable art installations you might find in the Tate Modern.

No one was speaking to anyone else, no one nearby returned a smile. Smiles aren’t contagious viruses, you know! But they are infectious, and an outbreak of jollity is just what we need at present.

Even the cars were parked two spaces apart.

No, this was not just the good old British stiff upper lip, it struck me that everybody was locked down within themselves. Plus the wind was cold, which can’t have helped.

Inside the store, a respectful hush reminiscent of holiday visits to some ancient European church, no meeting of eyes in the hallowed aisles. Going solemnly about our individual business, it wasn’t always possible to steer two metres clear of each other, but oh-so-politely and nervously we backed away from any potential narrowing of the gap.

No returned smile, either, from the assistant on the checkout, who would clearly, and understandably, rather have been anywhere else.

Much as I like Waitrose, I have managed without supermarkets once before, for the best part of a year, just as an experiment.

And this latest experience, whilst not the store’s fault, did make me once again question my usual reliance on a single source of supply (apart from our lovely veg box delivery, that is).

I hope some good will come out of all this in the long run for our smaller retailers, as we realise just how useful they are, and how unwise it is to place all our eggs, as it were, in one basket.

Anyone need a hand?

I wouldn’t want readers to think I’ve been entirely consumed by selfish concerns.

I’ve answered the ‘Goodsam’ call for volunteers, though I haven’t had to do anything yet.

I’ve offered to help feed homeless people, too. No need at present, I was told.

That’s because the government ordered councils to get them off the streets, and coughed up (sorry!) short-term funding.

But what happens when the crisis is over? Will they turf them out again?

I’ve promised future assistance, if needed.