HONESTLY, I cannot believe how a government led by a journalist got its messaging so muddled.

How can parents go back to work when schools and nurseries remain largely closed and some cash-strapped nursery providers in our area fear they may be forced out of business?

The Early Years Alliance has written to Wiltshire Council begging the authority to reconsider the “deeply unfair” way it has chosen to distribute lockdown nursery funding.

It’s complicated, and I haven’t the space to go into detail here, but the Alliance, the largest national body representing the pre-school sector, says it’s been “deluged” with messages highlighting the “severe detrimental financial impact” of decisions taken by Trowbridge. It hasn’t had similar complaints about any other county. On top of that, just imagine the practical difficulties in socially distancing toddlers!

The distancing business is difficult enough for those of … shall we say more mature years?

Out in the park yesterday Poppy and I came across a dog-walking acquaintance. We normally have a lovely chat – two metres apart, of course – but oh dear! What to do? He was with his other half! And we’re not allowed to speak to two people at once, are we?

I should have just waved and marched briskly on, or pretended I hadn’t seen them, but instead, we laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation we found ourselves in, stood and talked in a two-metre triangle while the dogs had a brief run-round, and went our separate ways.

Like grown-ups. Which we are. Not toddlers.

We’re all filled with gratitude to our NHS and nursing home staff, emergency services, binmen, postal workers, shelf-stackers, delivery drivers, and all those doing their best to keep our lives ticking over.

I’ve happily turned out on a Thursday evening to applaud their efforts, along with my neighbours. (Sorry, officer, sometimes I even talk to two of them at once, too!)

We all know this virus is a horrible thing. We’ve seen the terrible suffering of ICU patients on the news. But the spontaneity has gone.

I’m beginning to feel manipulated, like one of those performing seals clapping in an old-time circus, especially now that the telly has started acting like an alarm clock and delaying the start of programmes so I can get out on that doorstep RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Because 8pm is the officially approved time to show our solidarity.

We know there are conflicting influences at work on the government, and it wants to please everyone at once. Unfortunately, leaders can’t always do that.

I’m not so sick of the lockdown that I want to put myself or anyone else at risk. All people really need is a simple, comprehensible list of dos and don’ts while the government gets its act together on testing, tracking and tracing.

Talking about ‘baby steps’ back to freedom is patronising. We’ve willingly let ourselves get bogged down in toe-curling televised drivel about exactly who can do what, when and with whom.

What astonishes me is that otherwise sensible adults are meekly going along with this infantilisation.

Next thing you know they’ll be telling us when it’s bedtime.