Some words just look great, don't they? Not only do they sound and feel decadent when you roll them around in your mouth, they also somehow look cute even as they sit quietly on the page.
In our pursuit of distraction from world events, the next word beginning with 'pan' (that isn't you know what) is one of my favourites so far. Also, it's a word that may have quite a lot of relevance for a good proportion of readers. Almost half of you, in fact.
'Pantoffle' stems from an old French word for slipper, which is apt right now considering how many of us have been working at home during lockdown. For some of the remote workforce, a return to the office may be imminent; for others, their cat might be the only water cooler gossip buddy on offer for the foreseeable future.
If working from home looks set to conclude at some point, will you miss it? Have the last three months consisted of rolling out of bed at 8.55am and adopting a new work uniform of PJs and slippers? Or have you been more disciplined, with daily 5am runs and an ironed shirt for every Zoom meeting?
Perhaps – more likely, even? – it's a mixed bag that has been neither relaxing nor invigorating, particularly if you've been juggling work with childcare or other family responsibilities, home schooling, doing battle at the supermarket and general existential angst about the future of the universe.
Whether you've found lockdown to be a refreshing reset of working practices and priorities, or you're champing at the bit to get back into the social environment of the workplace, there can be little doubt that the coronavirus pandemic will change the way many of us earn our crusts in the future. Perhaps we'll see more freelancers and entrepreneurs, looking to ditch the boss as the post-Covid world opens up.
Either way, we shouldn't forget the stalwart friends who have stood by us during lockdown.
Slippers, we salute you.