• Brian O'Fril

Covid, Copywriting & Love Birds on the Lawn

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Captain’s Log, Week 4, Covid-19, Lockdown 2020.

Greetings, fellow travellers. It’s been a strange few weeks, hasn’t it? No trips to the office, no idle chatting about football over the first coffee of the day, no making plans for some stronger drinks after work.

My recent visitors

No – instead, most of us are locked away for 23 hours a day. Many are trying to work from home while also trying to entertain or educate cantankerous kids. Many are also trying to tolerate equally cantankerous partners or spouses. And of course thousands upon thousands are binging on box sets and books - while others are equally hooked on biscuits and booze.

Welcome, therefore, to the latest ‘new normal’.

For a copywriter like myself, this is a slightly frustrating time. Watching the news, I see a lot of very talented people turning their hands to things that will actually help our heroic frontline workers. People are sewing face masks, making Perspex face shields on their 3D printers, doing 100 laps of their garden like brave Captain Tom, or running a sponsored marathon on the rickety old treadmill in the garage.

Not having the skills, talent or perseverance to do anything similar leaves me feeling a little despondent. Hopeless might be a better word.

Sure, I can make a donation to whatever fundraising activities are happening locally. I can go out in the evening and applaud our health workers alongside the neighbours. I can share uplifting and inspiring videos. I could even draw a rainbow, colour it in and stick it in the front window only to have the local kids laugh at it because it’s nowhere near as good as theirs.

But that’s not enough, is it? Because everything pales into insignificance really when you compare it to those out there doing truly brave work. From bus drivers, cleaners and ambulance crews, to nurses and doctors across the world working maybe up to three 24-hour shifts in a row, soaked in sweat, temporarily scarred by ill-fitting face protection, and often being the last human contact for patients who succumb to the virus and die without their loved ones anywhere near. It’s heart-breaking to watch it all unfold.

And while we're personally lucky to have family safe and close to hand, we often think of those who constantly worry about their nearest and dearest - maybe stranded abroad, maybe concerned about lost income, maybe struggling to get their heads around the enormity of it all.

In our house, we find that work can take your mind off it for a little while between the dreaded news bulletins.

That's why we stick to the hours of an ‘old normal’ day as much as possible. That means up early, out with the dog, back for breakfast and then sitting down at the desk even earlier than usual thanks to not having to battle the cross-town traffic in the morning. It also means avoiding Netflix in the evenings and not getting suckered into watching 370 episodes of ‘Better Call Ozark Tiger’ or whatever.

Sticking to something like this regular routine is vital in my opinion. Work-wise at present, we are lucky have a mix of projects on the cards that break down into three brackets: copywriting and design jobs that were already scheduled in; ‘announcement’ type work that has to be done for clients who are keeping their customers informed about how they’re adapting to the crisis; and also some work for clients who are taking the opportunity to bring forward projects that had been put on the long finger for a while.

So with enough to be getting on with, it means I'm not pining for the actual office - not for a while yet at least.

And while I’m sitting here at home, there’s always the added bonus of being able to look out the window occasionally and seeing something I wouldn't see from the office window in town. Like the pair of young love birds - collared doves - that I spotted the other day at the bird table on the lawn below.

I saw them land in a flutter and begin their canoodling, so I made a mad stretch across for the camera on the bookshelf and had time to get off just a few shots before they flitted away.

They know nothing of Covid-19 of course (and are obviously not 'social-distancing' properly in the picture) – but hopefully they realise that someone with a fraction more time on their hands (someone who is hopeless at pretty much everything else) has taken to putting the bird seed out more regularly.

So, chin up everyone. Let’s all stay as busy as we can. Let’s enjoy the simpler things a little more. Let's be kinder. And let's also press for better support for our Healthcare workers so that we can battle this bugger of a virus together.

Stay safe.