WHEN I was training for the four marathons that I somehow managed to finish, I was given some terrific advice.
I was told not to think about the 26.2 miles as one big scary lump, but to cut things up into manageable chunks, to take each mile as it comes and, when I was almost running on empty, to just think about getting to the next lamp-post.
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It sounds very simplistic but it worked, and I think it’s a message that could get us through life as we know it today. We are all weary of this vile virus, and many of us are anxious, frightened and overwhelmed.
I’ve had my share of waking up at 3am with my stomach churning and feeling as though a very large elephant is sitting on my chest.
It’s to be expected with all the confusion, chaos and lack of clarity, but if we just take baby steps then it will be a whole lot easier.
Listening to experts solemnly tell us that things won’t be back to normal in six months or even a year is tough to hear, extremely daunting and difficult to come to terms with right now.
I don’t know about you, but I feel as though I’m at the bottom of a bloody big mountain without the right equipment to get to the top.
Instead of panicking, though, I intend to concentrate on getting through all of this taking a week, or even a day, at a time.
I think it’s really important to try to have something to look forward to, even if it’s just watching your favourite TV show, buying a newspaper or magazine or enjoying a video call with friends. As you all know, I’ve found taking my dog Angus out for a walk makes me feel much less stressed.
It’s sometimes hard to force myself out of the door, but once in the fresh air my spirits are always lifted.
It’s also vital not to bottle everything up. If you are feeling desperate, please talk to your friends and family or someone else you trust.
You aren’t alone in feeling tearful and confused. We have all been there. But trying to soldier on isn’t a sign of strength. It’s actually very brave to ask for help.
This is a really crucial time and we all have to take responsibility for our own safety, protect ourselves and family and friends but also look out for everyone else.
We will only get through this if we join forces and start acting like a proper community. We need to use our common sense and knuckle down to the new laws, no matter how tough they may be.
Personally, I could weep for vulnerable elderly people in care homes who can’t see their families, for idealistic university students who are being told to stay in their tiny rooms when there’s a big wide world out there to explore and new friends to be made, and for anyone in danger of losing their job.
And, of course, there are those still battling this illness, and families mourning the loss of those who have died.
The only way we can ever hope to get our old way of life back is to make a massive effort right now, and try to stop this bastard of a virus from spreading until science can save us with a vaccine.
We need to keep healthy, both mentally and physically, cut down on the booze and comfort-eating and concentrate on just getting through the next 24 hours.
We will get there together.
Gene and co still Rain supreme
CAN I heartily recommend, to anyone in need of a pick-me-up, watching the classic 1952 musical Singin’ In The Rain.
It’s utterly life-enhancing, with hilarious dialogue, incredible song-and-dance numbers and the glorious, rubber-faced Donald O’Connor doing a gravity-defying rendition of Make ’Em Laugh without the use of special effects.
Gene Kelly, pictured, and Cyd Charisse have never been more sexy and sultry together and Debbie Reynolds was the ultimate, fresh-faced all-American sweetheart.
My favourite character of them all was the baddie Lina Lamont, who has the face of an angel and the voice of a screeching banshee. The movie just wouldn’t have been the same without Jean Hagen’s brilliant portrayal of this conniving but basically rather dim silent-screen actress.
Even if you have seen this film before, I guarantee you will love it all over again and it’s as fresh and relevant today as it was 68 years ago.
It’s make your mind up time for Harry and Meghan
I SALUTE Harry and Meghan for urging people in the US to get out and vote, especially as they will be listened to by the younger electorate.
They didn’t actually wear “Vote Biden” badges and urge citizens to put their cross in the box marked Democrat but they may as well have done.
By sticking their necks out, however, it does leave the couple open to criticism.
Inevitably, a huffy Donald Trump had a pop at Meghan but they will also have upset the Queen, who has tiptoed brilliantly through a field of political landmines during her 68 years on the throne and never put a foot wrong. I think Her Maj will take rather a dim view of her grandson’s grandstanding alongside her granddaughter-in-law.
It’s time Harry and Meghan stopped playing the Hokey Cokey, with one foot out and one foot in the Royal Family, and severed official ties altogether.
That means no longer having the titles of Duke and Duchess, being under any kind of obligation to the Crown or having to abide by the rules when it comes to talking about politics or accepting commercial deals. Of course, the Catch 22 here is that much of their cachet is built on those royal titles and any future lucrative deals could take a big hit.
As plain old Harry and Meghan Windsor, they would be free to say what they want but would everyone still want to listen?
They would also obviously still be very much part of the family, but just not members of the ROYAL family business.
They can’t have it both ways.
The Sun is top of the poppies
THE Sun’s Poppy Appeal campaign, to encourage online donations while Covid-19 stops veterans and elderly volunteers having to go out to fundraise, is such a brilliant idea.
And how wonderful to have the seal of approval of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
This splendid man has become a symbol of hope in these tough times and, as an ex-serviceman, knows what a difference The Royal British Legion makes to the lives of our veterans.
Covid restrictions mean many of the 40,000 indomitable volunteers – a lot of them veterans – cannot go out selling poppies because they are vulnerable to the virus.
I know, from years of experience of working with them, that this has been a huge blow and could have a massive impact on fundraising.
That’s why The Sun’s campaign is so very important.
The men and women of our Armed Forces have made so many sacrifices over the years in conflicts including World War Two, Korea, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans and their families need our help more than ever and there are many ways you can make sure you wear your poppy with pride.
You can simply go online and make a donation, visiting the online poppy shop for a range of themed products, and can also still buy a poppy from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Morrisons.
I know times are tough, but whatever you can spare really will make all the difference.
Sir Nick is man for job
DO you remember back in April when an Army general appeared at the now-scrapped daily 5pm coronavirus briefing?
To be honest, when I saw the Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, in uniform at the podium I heaved a sigh of relief.
At last the grown-ups were in charge and we might be getting somewhere.
But we never saw Sir Nick there again.
I reckon it was because he did far too good a job.
The Government ministers were probably worried he would make them look even more incompetent if he were to appear on a regular basis.
We know the Army worked hard behind the scenes to help build and equip the Nightingale hospitals across the country – which thankfully were not needed – and we are told they are on standby to help us get through the next few months.
I, for one, whole-heartedly welcome the Army’s involvement and just wish at the start they had been given the job of distributing PPE, sorting out track-and-trace and making sure our testing centres were fit for purpose.
I’d rather have Sir Nick in charge, exuding no-nonsense confidence, than quivering, out-of-his-depth Boris Johnson and his sorry gang of incompetents who couldn’t run a p***-up in the proverbial.
BEST news of the week is that a new series of TV’s Below Deck has been given the green light.
This reality show about life on the ocean continues to be my lockdown guilty pleasure.
JEREMY CLARKSONTV ads have overshot the mark and become too PC when they should be funny
THE SUN SAYSRishi's latest Sunakonomics rescue is a sticking-plaster on a bullethole
LORRAINE KELLYCriticising Charlie Dimmock for putting on weight is horribly unfair... she still looks great
ROD LIDDLEHere's a solution Boris - protect the elderly and let the rest carry on as usual
DAN WOOTTONGovernment needs us all on side for Covid vaccine...but will we still trust it?
DOUGLAS MACKINNONBiden should learn from Love Actually by worrying about the US not Brexit
The sheer escapism of observing spoilt rich people making clowns of themselves aboard breathtakingly expensive charter yachts, and the crew bickering, getting drunk and having sex with one another, is one of life’s joys.
And don’t worry if you are late to the party.
You can download Below Deck on Netflix then binge on the shows Below Deck Mediterranean and Below Deck Sailing Yacht on streaming service Hayu.
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