How coronavirus isolation is the ultimate test of marriage, says CAROLE MALONE

But it doesn't stop me from trying - and failing every year. Last summer's courgettes looked more like rotting fingers and went straight on the compost heap. My kale, on the other hand, was so delicious the caterpillars ate all of it before I had a chance.

While I ascribe to the mantra "Grow food, not lawns" if this year's crop doesn't work out I might have to just grow to love the taste of grass.

I'm not the only isolator rolling up their sleeves and getting gung-ho about home and garden improvements, despite a distinct lack of know-how.

Express reader Elaine Nicols tells me: "My project is decorating. Probably not the best thought-out thing.The pale straw colour I'd envisaged is mustard! But I can't go back now so I thought 'Sod it.' It's bright and different.

Divorce lawyers in New York say they've seen a 50 per cent surge in inquiries from stressed-out couples who are self-isolating and now can't stand the sight of each other. 

In normal times I'd have no truck with these people who I'd tell to stop being so self-obsessed and stupid and just concentrate on staying safe.

However, after two weeks in isolation with The Husband, I completely get where they're coming from.That said, he and I are not talking about the D-word. I admit to thinking a lot about the S-word ("I'm going to strangle you if you don't stop nit-picking" ) but definitely not the D-word - yet.

But we can't be the only couple on the planet who have spent more time together these last two weeks than in our entire marriage.

Think about it - most of us are out working all day. When we come home, we've got stuff to do so we don't spend much time together then.At weekends, we all have God knows how many jobs and chores to do at home.The rest of the time we're seeing friends - separately or together.

So I've worked out that in 27 years I've probably only spent what amounts to about six months withThe Husband.

And it explains why every time we go on holiday - and spend all day, every day, together - the first three days are spent arguing.After that we remember why we got married but it takes a bit of argy-bargy before we get there.

So yesterday I showed him "Be a social butterfly", an article in a newspaper about Houseparty.com, a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.

He looked at me like I'd completely lost my mind. "I'm not a social butterfly in real life.Why would I suddenly want to be one in lockdown?" 

I told him it would be just like having a dinner party. "What, so I have to get showered, shaved, dressed up in my own home and pretend?" I told him he could just dress up the top half and keep his tatty old shorts and his Converse on the bottom half.

But there was no persuading him so I told him I'd do it solo. He might have felt vaguely guilty at his grumpiness because a few minutes later he came back into the room and said he was going to make me my favourite risotto.

Nino has many faults (of course, I have none) but he IS a world-class cook.

After the risotto (which was fab) I was talking to a friend on the phone and asked him if he was finding isolation with his partner difficult. 

He told me: "You do realise Carole, don't you, that Nino is probably the only man on the planet who could live with you?" I was affronted: "What do you mean?" I said. "I'm very easy going."

It took him a whole minute to stop laughing: "Carole I love you dearly but you ARE the most difficult woman on the planet." I have paraphrased that because he threw in quite a lot of swear words.

And while I don't think what he said is entirely true, maybe a little introspection and a bit more tolerance on my part is in order.

That said, Nino's just left the cornflake box in the middle of my study table. Grrrrr! Patience, Carole, patience...

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