It's in the late afternoons that the peace descends. A peace that, without realising it, I had somehow lost along the way. In truth, not lost so much as abandoned, that once beautiful sound of reading in silence replaced by the clamour and click of technology. Checking emails. Surfing travel sites for flight prices or villa rentals or hotel bargains.
Checking emails again. Moving like a flibbertigibbet from site to site - dresses, dog toys, theatre tickets.
Then back for another look at that lovely villa in Mallorca or that oh-so-chic hotel in Sarajevo, my current must-get-to destination. Some day. Over the rainbow.
And then three weeks ago everything changed. My laptop gave up the ghost. Silent. Black. Dead.
And when all efforts at resuscitation failed miserably I had to accept the reality, that the laptop - with apologies to Monty Python - was definitely deceased. Not resting. Simply stone dead.
Not exactly a Steve Jobs-type in the technology department, I took advice from someone who is. You need a new one, he told me. So it's ordered and due for delivery in the middle of April.
In the meantime my technology access amounts to my late husband's large Mac for writing on (too outdated to load 90pc of websites), and my iPhone for checking emails, reading newspapers, and for any website googling. Not exactly ideal for whiling away the time.
And so it is that I have rediscovered one of the great joys of my life. Books. Not for a few minutes in bed at night, or by the truckload on holiday, as has been my wont in recent times. Now I am reading for two to three hours a day. Every day. And so, with work completed, I retire in the late afternoon to the chair by the window if it's sunny, or to the shut-out-the-world duvet oblivion of my bed if skies are grey.
Anne Enright's 'Actress', Hilary Fannin's 'The Weight of Love', Fredrik Backman's 'Beartown', Henry James's 'Letters from the Palazzo Barbaro' and Edmund White's 'The Flaneur' have all gloriously lifted me out of our current place of plague.
As also, over the past few weeks, have a couple of crime narratives/police procedurals - one of them by the incomparable Ross Macdonald.
I've always been a sucker for American crime. When I was far too young to be reading Ed McBain, I was sneaking my father's copies of his 87th Precinct novels out of the bookcase on the landing and hiding them under my bed.
That early addiction led to my lifelong love affair with edgy crime fiction.
On my wall of bookshelves in my living room so many book titles jump out at me, not just because of the pleasure they gave me, but also because of the times in my life that they call to mind.
There's Rosamond Lehmann's 'The Weather in the Streets', a book I read when I was 16 while staying with my grandparents, and a novel that simply took my teenage breath away.
And Dashiell Hammett's 'The Big Knockover', the short stories that lay beside my bed in the Rotunda Hospital on the night I gave birth to my son. And there's Dermot Healy's 'A Goat's Song', inscribed by me to Gerry, my late husband, and dated 'August 1995', the summer we fell in love.
And now, with clicking and googling more trouble than it's worth, I have discovered once again the pure joy of burying myself in books. In slowing down as the end glimmers into sight. And in wondering what will be next on the list.
Books - surely the heavens' embroidered cloths of life. Not just in this time of pestilence. But always.