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Bill Linnane: ‘Everyone is terrified, of losing their job, losing their life, losing their loved ones, losing freedom, or even just losing their mind’

Bill Linnane on stepping up during lockdown

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Pic posed by models

Pic posed by models

Getty Images/iStockphoto

No option on falling back on gift cards this year.  Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

No option on falling back on gift cards this year. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bill Linanne

Bill Linanne

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Pic posed by models

If there is one upside from this whole apocalypse situation, it is that I put some effort into my wife's birthday celebration. This year I was not able to fall back on lazy-yet-ultimately-perfect gifts like gift vouchers, or their more pure form - cash, so I had to put some actual thought into it.

Obviously the bulk of the heavy lifting would be done by some fully sanctioned online shopping (as opposed to clandestine online shopping, uncovered when opening the boot of her car and being crushed under an avalanche of parcels) - but I still needed to step up and make sure that despite the whole plague situation, we would have a special day.

It feels surreal to be standing at the entrance to a pharmacy, talking to a mask-wearing staff member over a desk blocking the door, about your wife and her likes and dislikes when it comes to skincare, as though somehow there isn't a virus threatening civilisation. But at least there is one constant - my refusal to spend more than €30 on a gift for the love of my life, and my insistence on getting a gift receipt even if it is carrying a killer virus. It's a pandemic, but there's no need to be wasteful. After that it was off to obtain some decorations, and I was pleased to note that my local discount store is counted as an essential service, because who knows when we might need an iPhone charger that lasts one use, a selection of malformed chocolates, or a curiously small bottle of Dr Pepper? Thankfully they also have a range of incredibly tasteful princess-themed party goods. They also stock a 'happy birthday to poo' range which is based around cheerful poo emojis and I really wanted to buy, but didn't (I bought that for my son's birthday instead).