Coronavirus Log: Graham Turner finds Bury St Edmunds author Matt Gaw's latest book an illuminating read for lockdown
Reporters and colleagues from our sister titles are writing a daily log, reflecting on life under lockdown.
This weekend you will, hopefully, have been reading the third edition of our newspapers produced at home: on dining room tables, in spare bedrooms, in actual bedrooms, at desks in studies, at desks shared with classroom-less children, or possibly, Roald Dahl-like, in a shed at the bottom of the garden. But unlike in Dahl’s books, our Fleshlumpeater, our Mr & Mrs Twit, our Grand High Witch is not an imaginary enemy, it is very real, with real victims and consequences that will stay with us all for a long time.
I'd like to be able to suggest that our readers will not have noticed any difference when picking up these home-produced editions, or even those who have logged on to our websites or newly-launched app, but that would be nonsense – 'who's he trying to fool?' I imagine them saying.
No. We've gone to great lengths to bring our readers a wide range of stories, puzzles, opinion and features – not to mention the sport team’s ingenious and creative contributions – but the truth is, there is only one story at the moment and, even though there are heart-warming tales of community-minded heroes, good deeds and businesses pulling out all the stops to do their bit, overshadowing it all is the terrible daily and weekly toll.
So, three-weeks in, how is working from home (sorry, not from a shed)?
I can’t pretend I’ve found it easy. I’m lucky that I can shut myself away in a study, in splendid isolation while our new fractured and uneasy family routines unfold on the other side of the door, but that’s the problem – I really miss the buzz of the office and face-to-face interaction. A Google hangout just doesn’t do it for me and phone conversations are no good; heaven knows what face is being pulled at the other end of the line.
I’ve also missed my drive in to work, my me-time, when I mull things over in peace, nothing to disturb my thoughts other than the speeders, tailgaters and cutter-upperers (is that a word?) on the A14.
But, on the plus side, no commuting has meant a bit more time to read and it’s given me the chance to pick up Bury St Edmunds writer Matt Gaw’s latest book, Under The Stars.
Part travelogue and part nature book (with a bit of history, science and philosophy thrown in), it’s an evocative and poetic journey into the darkness (and, surprisingly, light) of nighttime.
For Matt it’s also an exploration of the fear and trepidation (shared by many) that nightfall can bring and he shares the adventures and scrapes he gets into while trying to face up to them.
And I suppose we’re all confronting a darkness at the moment – let’s hope that, like Matt, we all find some positives at the end of it.
Highlight: Somehow blagging an online shopping delivery for just two days later.
Lowlight: The miserable selection of stuff that was dumped on our doorstep (sorry for forgetting to tick the ‘no substitutions’ box, Mrs T).
Surprise discovery: My in-car music playlist seems to be the perfect tempo to accompany my new-found (if somewhat haphazard) efforts on my son’s treadmill. So the question is, does this mean I'm A) A speedy boy-racer runner, or B) A pedestrian driver. Answers on a postcard . . .