More COVID sanity savers in these half-locked down, semi-isolated, crazy, crazy times. | HerCanberra

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More COVID sanity savers in these half-locked down, semi-isolated, crazy, crazy times.

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It’s been two years. And in the words of untamed American activist Glennon Doyle, “being really over it does not make it over”.

So we stay largely in our houses, obsessing over Covid numbers and elusive RAT tests and generally feeling snarky.

But there are some bright spots on an otherwise bleak pandemic horizon if you look for them. Here’s my latest list of what’s keeping me sane in a self-imposed semi-lockdown.


Morning Wars

A green light for the third series of this spectacular show was announced this week and I could not be more thrilled.

If you’ve managed to miss this Apple TV series despite its well-deserved hype (and the Emmys) then thank your lucky stars it’s there to be consumed. Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon are the hosts of America’s top-rating commercial morning show as the network implodes in the wake of a sexual predator anchor and his enablers among the station hierarchy.

It’s the #metoo movement chronicled in all its horrific, nuanced, confronting and confusing ways and some episodes are so powerful I had to watch them twice. Season 2 (starting that this week) focuses on the pandemic. Should be a ball of laughs.

The Rescue

As an antidote to the toxic masculinity of Morning Wars and a morale-boosting glimpse into the triumph of humanity, you NEED to watch National Geographic’s documentary The Rescue. It is an incredible glimpse into the 2018 rescue of the 13 young boys and their coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

I started crying about five minutes in and by the end of it was a sodden, hiccuping mess. Which is saying a lot given we all knew a happy ending was coming and the team would, in fact, be rescued. What I didn’t know was the human stories behind the cave divers who pulled off this miraculous feat. Men who were loners and bullied at school, who sought solace in the silence and darkness of cave diving, were called on to do the impossible. And in doing so they demonstrated supreme sacrifice, courage and humanity.

Dear God, I’m crying again. This is the best documentary I have ever watched.

The Beatles: Get Back

Imagine crawling into a time machine and going back into a Twickenham warehouse studio in 1969 to watch, like a fly on the wall, the Fab Four brainstorm the tunes that now define modern music? How would it be to observe Paul McCartney stumble around trying to find a geographical location to rhyme with, “Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner*” as it actually happened?

Get Back is a revelatory series produced by Peter Jackson using 60 hours of never-before-seen film footage taken in 21 days as the band pulls an album out of nowhere and then mounts their iconic rooftop concert. You get to be the fly on the wall. It’s a mind-bending experience to watch the magic happen right in front of you.

*How does Tucson Arizona work for you?


Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci

Before he was a Hollywood actor, Stanely Tucci was just an Italian-American kid who took scrambled egg, fried potato and sautéed sweet green pepper wedged on a slab of Italian bread to school for lunch.

In the tradition of the best food writers (and redolent of Canberra’s own brilliant food writer Marion Halligan), Tucci takes us on a food journey that mixes memory, family, love and humour as perfectly as a well-balanced homemade passata. All stories accompanied by recipes.

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jacku

In deference to this incredible Australian holocaust survivor and author who died late last year aged 101, I took some time out to revisit this beautiful book. It is a perfect dose of perspective and positivity despite its subject matter.

Eddie puts things in absolute perspective when he speaks of his survival through Nazi death camps and the horrors of war, intense privations, and unimaginable suffering all the while maintaining hope and decency in his heart. We should all be like Eddie.



Some of you may have read that I am officially on the wagon, having drunk waaaay too many glasses of wine in our last lockdown. It’s still going well (nearly 90 days alcohol-free) and I am liking life a whole lot better for a variety of reasons you can read here. But I also want to acknowledge that I haven’t done it alone.

T2 Tea has held my hand every evening as I have opted for a Canberra Breakfast blend over a Canberra vintage. In fact, the Canberra blend has replaced my passionate addiction for the French Earl Grey tea (which, somewhat ironically, was the inspiration for the HerCanberra/Canberra Distillery French Early Grey gin we created some years back).

It’s best described as an Anzac biscuit in a teacup. Coconutty, buttery, and with a strong maple syrup fragrance, this tea is like dessert in a cup. And quite unlike any other tea. I cannot get enough of the stuff and the fact that it is the Canberra blend makes my heart swell with pride.



Another addition

It would be remiss of me to write a column about things that I love during COVID without acknowledging my cats. Yes, plural. Some of you may remember Cosmo the Ragdoll joined the family as a result of our first lockdown. Think of him as an emotional support cat.

During the second lockdown, we buckled and decided ‘what’s one more?’. Cosmo’s nephew Jupiter joined the household in November and it’s like they are brothers. Jupiter has breathed new life into Cosmo, who rarely moved and spent entire days upside down in the sun. But even the new kitten is a little on the lethargic side despite the odd zoomie. We didn’t get Ragdolls for the excitement, let me tell you, but gosh we couldn’t love them any more if we tried.

Pets are the ultimate COVID companion.

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