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Freezing cheese and finding heroes: Another week In Lockdown. Personal blog by Calendar presenter Christine Talbot

At home: Christine in the kitchen

Can you freeze cheese? Now this a question that I’ve never voiced before and I doubt I will again, but this week it was added to my ever-growing list of lockdown quandaries. (By the way, if you’re interested yes you can – I googled it. But it may go crumbly.)

Anyway, it joins my growing collection of minor new things to natter about in these unchartered times. Things such as what shade of root touch to order when Amazon only has tiny thumbnail colour charts and none of which seem to match your own hair?

And pathway protocol - just who moves aside first on the daily walk? I’m just about getting used to the two square metre road dance – but what if we both do it at the same time? Trivial stuff I know, but it’s all a big lockdown learning curve.

But back to freezing cheese which is part of my recent transformation into the Fridge and Cupboard Police. From now on, in order to avoid unnecessary supermarket trips, I have deemed that Nothing. Shall. Go. To. Waste.

I admit may have taken it a bit far, startling my husband when I hurl myself at the fridge shouting “noooooooooo!’ as he commits the ultimate sin of opening a new packet of salad before (shock, horror) the last manky piece of iceberg had been consumed in the old one. But as for his, frankly cavalier, approach to rice and pasta – well!

Anyway, aside from my newly discovered military operation approach to kitchen organisation, it’s been a quieter, but no less busy week at ITV Calendar where we continue to produce the programmes with a skeleton staff in the office whilst everyone else works from home.

The daily death figures for the virus hit us hard every afternoon, but this week there were less major Government pronouncements and, with our journalists toiling hard, our 6pm programmes and website has been bursting with information, stories of courage and hardship, but also quite a few uplifting moments.

The residents of the Thornhill Care Home in Darfield near Barnsley as they sang “We’ll meet Again” in their sunny garden put a smile on my face and the viral video of the dancing doctors and nurses of the Leeds General Infirmary was a joy. Here they are incase you missed it.

Two moments really struck me. I was on the late shift at Calendar on Monday night when it was announced at 8pm that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to intensive care.

It was clear what shock waves the news had caused and, as a very reduced team of us in the newsroom hurriedly rang around our region’s MPs for their reaction, it was heart-warming to hear representatives of all parties putting politics aside to send him their good wishes.

I’m also a patron of a number of charities which I know have been very worried about their futures. I’d been chatting to the lovely people at the Martin House Children’s Hospice where I’m lucky enough to be an Ambassador and the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract, which I’ve supported for 25 years.

They felt particularly vulnerable as they are considered a vital part of the health care system, yet have to fund themselves to the tune of millions every year just to survive. With much of their revenue cut off with the close of their charity shops and cancellation of events we did a feature on the issues they faced last Friday.

I really felt their relief on Wednesday when, after much lobbying at national level, the Government announced a £750 million package to keep charities afloat. Thank goodness.

It does feel as if each day on Calendar offers a new perspective on the crisis and we are hearing about so many incredible people and stories. We want to highlight these as much as we can and so week we launched our search for our Calendar Coronavirus Heroes – click this link to find out how you can nominate yours. See here to find out more https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2020-04-06/coronavirus-heroes-we-want-your-nominations/

Two amazing women I interviewed via the internet for Calendar this week definitely fit the bill. Joanne Morrell is an intensive care nurse in Huddersfield, tough, fearless and desperately proud to be fighting what she describes as a “battle”on the frontline.

But even this nurse of ten years admitted to moments of fear and vulnerability and told us how she misses being able to huge her family after a stressful shift at the hospital. Also how much the 'Clap for Carers' is boosting morale.

And it was heartening to see recovered Covid-19 patient Chelsea Allen, a young mum who had recently left intensive care. It was so moving to hear how a nurse had sat at her bedside all night long because she was so afraid.

Luckily Chelsea is now home with her children and recovering well. It’s all the more reason to get out with your pots and pans and “clap for our carers” on a Thursday isn’t it?

Last night was my first chance to do this as I have been at work for the last two weeks and I was out on my doorstep clapping hard with Joanne and Chelsea and that kind, caring nurse very much on my mind.

Joining in the Clap for Carers

So, as Easter weekend approaches I hope everyone, including our many key workers, can get some sunshine and enjoy it in a safe way.

Who knows I may even relax my guard on the kitchen cupboard? I’ve stashed away a couple of Easter eggs – but if my husband thinks he can have a whole one he’s very much mistaken!

Have a good Easter and take care, Christine

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