Nigella Lawson is going on a social "diet".
The 60-year-old chef is reluctant to start going out much more now lockdown measures imposed during the coronavirus pandemic are easing, so she has decided to spend two days a week seeing her loved ones and the remainder of time isolating at home.
Writing in her Sunday Times newspaper column, she said: "I realise that rather than finding solitary confinement alienating, it’s what has always passed for real life that seems so unnatural to me now. It seems unfathomable, for example, that we used to go out at night. Why would you do that? How did any of us have the energy?
"…This is not to say I don’t love my friends. Nor do I deny that company can be as uplifting as it can be exhausting. I just don’t want much of it, not yet.
"And so – in words I never thought I’d utter – I’m going on a diet: the 5:2, only with people, rather than food.
"Whatever we’re told we are allowed to do, I am not going to be gadding about, but for two evenings a week – or maybe just lunches at the weekend – I will pretend to be a normal person, letting those strange entities, people, into the garden, and apply myself to learning how to have a conversation again.
"For the other five, I will continue, greedily and gratefully, to feed on solitude and silence."
Nigella admitted she has "gone feral" in recent months and so is happy not to have to make the effort to interact with others.
She said: "I am now, after so many weeks of being alone, entirely unfit for society … I have become utterly content with my desocialisation. I have gone feral.
"In truth, it was never a big step for me. I’ve always been someone who can get dressed properly only if I have to leave the house. And I’ve often found it difficult to leave the house in the first place.
"In the normal run of things, the most frequently I’d wash my hair is once a week, and the idea of wearing make-up if I weren’t having to brave the outside world has always seemed an effort too far."
But the "messy" star admitted her surroundings have turned into "squalor".
She added: "What I have enjoyed rather less is what I can only describe as my descent into squalor. At the best of times I’m a messy person. I can’t enter a room without cluttering it.
"The only time I make my bed properly is when I change the sheets, and that, I’m afraid, has slid from once a week to once a fortnight."