Here follows an account of this columnist’s outward appearance, more than two weeks into the lockdown. Starting at the top, wilderness has overrun the once-august hair, just as Rome turns to bush in Thomas Cole’s quintet of paintings The Course of Empire. Acquaintances profess not to register the difference.

Panning down, we observe a blooming of stubble, from the Bachelor Minimum to what must seem from afar a conscientious if incomplete face mask. The haziness of eye and speech owes less to Washington’s lax cannabis laws than a sleep rhythm that now syncs with that of — dark irony — the common bat. The loss of hard-won muscle tone around the obliques is mourned with infinite bitterness. As small consolation, the scales record no weight gain.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now