TO relieve the constant horror of the escalating daily death toll, all newspapers and social media sites have bright, breezy features on being constructive in isolation.

Learn a new language; colour code your bookcases; run a marathon on your 4ft balcony; take an interactive tour of the world’s art galleries and museums; empty and sort all those ‘safe place’ and ‘just in case’ drawers.

The ones that intrigue me most – bizarrely – are all the cooking advice and tips. I genuinely had no idea of all the meals to be created from a can of sardines. Looking at some of the recipes I genuinely am thankful I had no idea.

And all begin with the instruction ‘no need for special ingredients – all found in your store cupboard.’

Store cupboard. I roll the words around as if in the Cyrillic alphabet; rather delighted at the novelty of saying them and then I go in search of this holy grail. Why has Emilie never informed me of this?

I have one cupboard that I suppose could be called a store cupboard. Inventory reveals two tins of Heinz Baked Beans, a mini Christmas pudding date stamped 2008, a can of corn, one of lentils, a tin of tuna, four bottles of honey, dark soya sauce, hot pepper sauce, a pepper mill, a chilli mix circa the same 2008, two jars of coffee and…that’s it.

But where is the flour, the yeast, the bicarb of soda, the packets of almonds, the oatmeal, the sponge fingers – all the basic store cupboard provisions from which a Michelin starred menu pours forth?

I bought flour once, used a tablespoonful, and Emilie removed the rest when it started dancing a jig on its own.

Having no desire to bake bread, after those painful domestic science lessons suffered until they agreed I could do extra art instead, why would I use yeast or bicarb of soda?

I admit I did look at the world’s simplest soda bread. Hardly. You still needed flour and buttermilk. Buttermilk – ha. Anyway Harry’s White Loaf lasts for ever.

A fridge and a freezer are the closest I’ll get to a store cupboard. I bung stuff in both and voila – throw them out again a couple of weeks and months later.

In the fridge I have milk, jam, eggs, a pack of cheddar and some Camembert, some beetroot grown, cooked and sealed by Miriam, two slices of ham with fridge burn, two avocados gone to mush, mustard, mayonnaise and two bottles of good, very good, Champagne.

In the freezer – Glory be to God – I have three packs of oven chips, minced meat, pre-frozen buttered cabbage, pre-frozen confit de canard, pitta bread, two slices of chicken ballotine from Miriam, chopped onions, peas, berries and a pack of cauliflower and broccoli.

Elsewhere I have potatoes and tomatoes and a packet of crisps. A positive abundance.

I sometimes wish eating held more of an allure for me but cooking, never.

So, I turn to physical self-improvement sites and watch jolly men bounce up and down exhorting others to do similar. Sod that. Too reminiscent of physio and pain, real pain.

Having no Emilie, I turn to housework. Failed at the first pass. I have a Miele which disgorges its cable from its interior and then, when finished, rewinds itself.

Mine will not disgorge, giving me only a measly foot of lead – useless. According to YouTube videos it could be caught. I watch a step by step guide to sorting it but as it uses screwdrivers and other implements I decide not to bother.

Emilie suggests she’ll demonstrate from outside if I leave it for her in quarantine. She seems to find the whole thing somewhat amusing. Horses for courses, Emilie, horses for courses. Fortunately, I do have a brush and a dustpan. Fancy that.

I haven’t ironed for years and years and I have no intention of starting now.

Nor have I changed a bed. I cannot bear unironed sheets so I’m grateful I have three spare ironed sets. Stripping the bed and re-doing will be an utter nightmare. I’m putting it off in hope of a magic vaccine and Emilie’s return.

Actually, I only read such things out of interest to see what people – unused to being housebound – are urged to do.

For I have no need of activities. I have row after row of forgotten books to be re-read as if for the first time, films on stream when the news becomes too much, and a most wonderful ability to do absolutely nothing and feel no guilt.

I’ve never understood why people feel guilt at simply being or roaming the world of imagination. Never understood why people feel guilty if they go back to bed in the afternoon to read and snooze.

Never understood people who have, just have, to be doing something.

It all matters not as we’ve been reminded. We who have nothing to contribute in this fight should just lie back and be filled with gratitude for those out there exhausting themselves to keep us safe.

And know that we would if we could. Willingly.