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Old stomping grounds

Of all the utterly bizarre things to happen in 2020, I would have said that a global pandemic was far more likely to happen than me helping to cover a news story for my old local paper.

As it turned out, both ended up happening this year. And for the first time since June 2009, I was reporting on a news story in the Cotswolds for the very same publication where I was once a trainee reporter.

It all happened on Sunday afternoon after I received a message from a mate who still works for the newsgroup. There had been some severe flooding in and around Cirencester and the paper needed some pictures from one of the villages badly hit.

With me being a freelance journalist, I can’t really afford to turn work down. And with them being a cash-strapped local paper, they don’t really have resources to employ more people to cover everything they need to.

So I jumped into action, via the supermarket as I’d run out of dog biscuits. It was a race against time to firstly get to the supermarket before it closed due to Sunday opening hours; and secondly to get to the village before the sun went down.

When I worked at the paper, I was often deployed as a deputy photographer when the actual photographer had another job on. I always much preferred taking pictures to writing stories, mainly because it was more fun and a lot easier.

But 11.5 years on, I was a little rusty with the practicalities of the job. I arrived on the scene to take some pictures of flooding, but was wearing trainers. I had to do some nifty hopping about to avoid getting too wet and managed to get some decent shots on my phone.

I got talking to village residents and found out more information that would make a great story. I passed on the details to the news desk, so hopefully something will come of it.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances of my deployment to cover the flooding, it reminded me how much I really used to enjoy getting out and reporting back in the day. There was just unfortunately a lot of other stuff that came with the job that I needed to leave behind.

Still, it’s always nice to remember the positive experiences instead of the negative ones.

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