Excitement reached Level 10 in the Parkes household last week – we had a takeaway delivered.

Not usually an event to possibly change the tilt of the planet, I grant you, and in years bc (before coronavirus) it would have added up to nothing more than a slight indulgence.

But these, we are repeatedly told, are not usual times. To give us, as a family, something to look forward to, I floated the idea on Tuesday with a view to ordering on Thursday – or was it Friday? Forgive me, the days have begun to merge a little. Anyway, a couple of sleepless nights later, and to give me a feeling of importance, I gave permission for an order to be placed that evening. The table was set with our finest plates and cutlery, a carafe of water was placed next to the lit candles. Not bad for 2.30 in the afternoon I thought. My idea of dressing up for the forthcoming feast was not greeted with enthusiasm, so I let it go – this time.

In all seriousness, restaurants do need our help at the moment, so if a takeaway is offered, it is a good way to keep kitchens busy and offer a lifeline to survival post coronavirus.  The Shah Jahan Indian restaurant, on the approach road to Salisbury train station, has been in business for many years and has a good reputation.

Last century, I lived one street away and it was the default choice for late night dining – although my memory may be a little vague recalling those Friday and Saturday nights.

I do not remember being hungry afterwards.  Fast forward to 2020 and the website offers plenty of choice but requests payment over the telephone. Slightly last century but, OK, let us order and dial up. Confusion ensues when the voice from a noisy kitchen, or perhaps he was on the dance floor, takes the order and says the rider will be despatched shortly. Line goes dead. I flirted with the idea that it is a free meal for a few seconds before the phone rings soon afterwards telling me I have not paid. I am then asked whether I ordered twice as they can see an internet order as well as telephone. I am reeling off card numbers as the doorbell rings and a cheery delivery man is standing in the drive. Glad the children pooh-pooed the dressing up theme as I may have looked a bit silly standing there accepting a bag of curry while wearing my dinner jacket.

Was it good? Which I guess is the main thrust of the above ramble. Yes, it certainly was: all piping hot – apart from the naan bread – and clearly labelled. My daughters both chose a ‘safe’ Chicken Korma which was really sweet and fragrant. My wife selected a Chicken Biryani, which was very tasty, as was my Chicken Tikka Dansak. Throw in the rice and a few poppadums and we were a happy table.

It might have not been the full restaurant experience, but it was really good way to break up another week of isolation. The only drawback I could see was that I still had washing up to do.

Shah Jahan. 111/113 South Western Road. Salisbury. SP2 7RR.

01722 328120