One of the books I remember being made to read at secondary school is Lord of the Flies. They arranged a special screening of the Peter Brookes 1963 film and at that tender age the image of Piggy’s violent death remains with me to this day. Salisbury has a special connection the much-decorated author of the book who spent 17 years teaching English at Bishop Wordsworth’s school.

Much of the complexity of the book was lost to me, despite the best efforts of my teacher; but one of its underlying messages, that human impulse towards social organisation for the common good becomes subverted when catastrophe strikes holds an enduring fascination for novelists and filmmakers alike.

Whatever dystopian film you watch, Blade Runner, Mad Max, Logan’s Run, The Hunger Games, Planet of the Apes (the list is endless) nearly all assume that, once the civilised veneer is scratched, human beings reveal themselves to be self-centred savages; society degenerated as each looks after their own.

Five weeks of lockdown show that in Britain today, the opposite is the case. 750,00 volunteered to help the NHS. Thousands of people have put themselves forward to participate in vaccination trials. Neighbourhood website groups like Nextdoor are flourishing, as neighbours exchange ideas and offer help and advice. WhatsApp groups bloom throughout the land; neighbours pick up groceries, source flour and yeast; set up Zoom pub quizzes. Elsewhere they deliver groceries, check on the housebound, collect prescriptions. I have a deal going with the mother of one of my son’s schoolfriends: we’re both self-isolating so don’t go shopping; I share the contents of my weekly veg box; she drops off eggs that she picks up safely from her village.

‘Captain Tom’ celebrates his 100th birthday today; his phenomenal fundraising effort shows the admiration in which he is held, the affection we all have for the NHS (gratitude for all who work in our care services), and continued respect for those who were prepared to risk their lives in our armed forces.

Barney even managed to find some community spirit. He took part in the 2.6 challenge, joining people throughout the county who are raising money for local causes such as the Stars Appeal, the Salisbury Hospice and Alabaré. Promoted by the organisers of the abandoned London Marathon, it is raising money for frontline charities whose income has been hit by Coronavirus, but whose services are now in even greater demand. He raised £366 for Homeless Veterans and earned himself 7 Bonios for his efforts! A drop in the £6 million ocean made up of other drops of community good will that in the shadow of coronavirus is sweeping the country.

Occasionally I find myself proud to be British.