It’s all a bit weird. This is my first column for the new Torbay Weekly newspaper of which I am proud and privileged to be editor.
Fred the rocking horse is helping along with my other new friends in my office, including Sam the Scooter and Charlie the car (I made those names up). You see my office is really the playroom at home. A playroom which is usually loud with laughter and carnage with the grandkids.
A room which is currently soulless and lifeless apart from the keyboard typing of yours truly. I am ‘locked away’ here with Mrs P because of the current crisis. I don’t even like using its name.
Not seeing the family is probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, consequences in all this. Yes, you can Face Time and call them, Zoom them or whatever these days.
But that’s not the same as a hug and to see them turn away and leave as we began lockdown was truly one of the most heart-breaking moments of my life.
But what has kept me going is a six-letter word. Torbay. Torbay and its people.
The theme of the new Torbay Weekly is ‘Naturally Inspiring’ - celebrating and recognising all that is good in the Bay where naturally inspiring people are doing naturally inspiring things.
None more so than now. The number of stories about the community coming together in one way or the other has been mind-blowing and at the same time humbling.
Dozens of help groups have been set up by volunteers and neighbours to make sure some of the most vulnerable and isolated in our community are cared for. Retired medical staff and police officers have gone back to work.
I came across some of these stories as we put together a special launch edition of the Torbay Weekly in partnership with Torbay Council last week. A unique edition in unique, unprecedented circumstances which was being delivered to every one of the 65,000 homes in the Bay because of its information-busting content.
Likewise, with lots of other community-focused stories as we put together our next edition.
Stories of unbelievable kindness and of sheer bravery of those fighting the silent killer on the NHS front line.
Too many stories to recount but every single one will be remembered in generations to come.
Our landscape has and will be for ever transformed especially when it comes to business. Our tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated overnight. Let’s just hope that government help hasn’t come too late and it can recover slowly but surely.
Other businesses have had to totally change the way they operate. Shops, restaurants and other food and drink outlets have been closed. Home delivery has been their saviour.
Butchers, brewers, fruit and veg merchants and Indian and Chinese takeaways all bringing their goods to your doorstep.
All showing that true British, wartime spirit. That Torbay spirit. That spirit which will see us through these awful days.
So, I can once again give my children and the grandkids one, giant hug!