Quite the best escapes I have enjoyed from the political mayhem this year have been two brief spells in an NHS hospital.
Exemplary care, not a single TV or radio turned to political news and programmes, the constant bustle of caring nurses and doctors, the banter of the patients and the rattle of the tea trolley. Yes, the best escape from political madness.
Since returning home, I now keep the radio switched off for long periods – starting with Woman’s Hour with its endless discussions on voting intentions of the LGBT folk. In the silence, I hear the breeze through autumn leaves and wood pigeons cooing: peace beyond price.
And I’ve taken up cooking – simple but tasty basic meals and skills most men of my age have let slip by since bachelorhood and which help lighten the load on my wife. Vegetable soups, spaghetti bolognese, Spanish omelettes enlivened with finely chopped onion and mushrooms, and a feisty toasted cheese on home-made bread with an undercoat of French mustard and pepper, a sprinkle of salt and topped off with finely sliced tomatoes.
I serve this typically mid-afternoon. After a morning slog through the supermarket, my better half might prefer a gin and tonic. But there is loose-leaf aromatic Nilgiri leavened with bright Golden Monkey tea in an exuberant oriental glass teapot. The colour changes through infusion from pale amber to light bronze to russet: superbly calming to watch, and a drink that is simultaneously refreshing and relaxing.
I tend to the washing up, and so far, no burnt pans or calls to the emergency services: a creative, diverting, calming and restorative result to help survive the election – and, best of all, with the radio switched off.