Coronavirus is, of course, a real threat. The problem is that no-one knows how much of a real threat. We have all read in the papers about washing our hands regularly, using alcohol rub or soap and water, trying not to touch our faces and so forth. We know who the section of the community most likely to suffer worse from the virus, and it rather uncomfortably matches our own demographic. There is no reason to despair, however – we must be sensible, and try to balance how we live with taking extra care.

Firstly, the most obvious thing is that there is plenty of soap available and paper towels.

As players, we must be sensitive to others. Some people, purely through force of habit and with no malice aforethought put their thumb in their mouth whilst trancing (or “planning the shot” as those of us prone to mind-blankness put it. That’s a no-no at the moment. If you see anyone doing anything likely to pass germs from mouth to bowls, it’s best to gently remind them that it’s best not to. But please, don’t do it in a manner calculated to wind people up, or cause more panic than is strictly necessary (in my opinion no panic is ever necessary, but perhaps I’ve led a charmed life)

Conversely, if you are of a blasé disposition, don’t mock people who seem to you to be going over the top with their hand lotions, sprays and other unctions – we all deal with things in different ways.

Don’t forget, if the hand lotion brigade feel foolish or shamed they’re going to stop coming and there’s no game.

On the subject of other people, if you’re aware of a friend or acquaintance at the club who has self-isolated why not give them a call? Contact with people is a big reason for playing bowls – I’m sure a call would be welcome. And you never know, someone might be running low on food or household needs and might appreciate your doing a bit of shopping for them and leaving it on the doorstep.

So there we are:

Be careful

Be tolerant

Be kind.

At our end, we’ll provide what support we can. You will be kept informed.

Look after yourselves, look after each other.