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Coronavirus log: Working in journalism and holding on to life's simple pleasures during a pandemic




I’ve made a discovery in my first ever week of working from home - and it’s a positive one.

You may now be expecting a profound statement of self-analysis reflecting on our planet’s current dire predicament, but this is more simple.

‘What is it then?’ I hear you ask. My discovery is Marmite Peanut Butter.

Marmite Peanut Butter - a simple pleasure!
Marmite Peanut Butter - a simple pleasure!

It’s a wondrous combination of two of my favourite spreads, that hitherto I had never thought to combine.

I’ve had it on my toast every morning after spotting it on the (near empty) supermarket shelves a week ago and it still brings a smile to my face.

And the fact that everyone I’ve told about it immediately scrunched up their face in disgust means it’s unlikely anyone will be panic-buying it in bulk.

That a condiment could bring so much joy is probably a good indication of just how awful everything else is but it made me think that we must still hold on to the small pleasures.

Taking a countryside stroll in the sunshine over the weekend, with virtually no one else around, was very calming. Things almost felt normal again.

The birds were still chirping in the trees, lambs basked in the sun close to their watchful mums, ducks approached in the hope I might have some bread… It was nice to see life carrying on as usual, at least for the non-human inhabitants of the planet.

Lambs in the field are a reminder that life goes on!
Lambs in the field are a reminder that life goes on!

In these times of crisis and panic, it reminded me that it’s important to keep enjoying the simple things, even when daily life now largely involves sitting alone in my bedroom with my laptop writing about the devastating impact of a global pandemic.

Prior to the outbreak, I always thought working from home would be largely incompatible with producing a newspaper and staying on top of the news.

Reporters generally enjoy being in each other’s company, bouncing story ideas and headline suggestions off each other, and fielding telephone calls.

They also love getting out and about, meeting and interviewing people face to face where possible - but all of this has had to change.

My new office
My new office

Daily editorial meetings are now done via Google Hangout and interviews are all carried out over the phone or through social media.

It’s far from ideal but it’s something we will just have to get used to - like many thousands of other workers across a range of industries in the country.

Think about it too much and it’s easy to feel down, which is why we all need to hold on to those simple things, follow the government’s advice to protect the elderly and vulnerable, and keep enjoying those simple things.

For me, I know that however bad things get I’ll still have my Marmite Peanut Butter on toast to look forward to tomorrow morning.

Marmite Peanut Butter on toast - my newfound simple pleasure!
Marmite Peanut Butter on toast - my newfound simple pleasure!

Highlight: My first bite of Marmite Peanut Butter on toast

Lowlight: Backache from hunching over my laptop while sitting on the bed for too long

  • How is coronavirus affecting your life? Send your stories to: smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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