CROWDED beaches, childhood cuisine and the cult of celebrities were topics debated by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Richard Littlejohn recognised that the ‘natives are getting restless’ as lockdown nears two months and admitted he is one of them.

But, he argued, that’s no excused for a trip to the seaside as appeared to happen across the country this week as temperatures soared and the sun shone.

“We’re still in the middle of the gravest public health crisis in modern times,” he said. “Yet the Golden Mile at Southend looked like the Nags Head in Peckham’s annual charabanc beano writ large.

“On any normal midweek afternoon in May, crowds wouldn’t be descending on resorts from Blackpool to Brighton. Instead, the lockdown is turning into the Long Hot Summer.”

He pointed out the contrast between NHS workers and key workers doing their best to keep the country going and those millions more treating this as a paid holliday.

“While the public-spirited and those who have no alternative answered the call to go back to work, braving crowded mass transport in the process, millions decided to carry on making themselves busy doing nothing,” he said. “For that, I blame the Government — and the over-praised Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in particular. Yes, he was right, in the short term, to underwrite jobs that will be vital to our recovery when we emerge from this crisis. But he was utterly wrong to extend the furlough scheme until October. Nobody knows where we’re going to be by then.”

He said public sector workers have been guaranteed full pay for the foreseeable future and millions of private sector employees will be paid part of their salaries until October. “The staycation starts here.”

The Guardian

Eleanor Margolis is taking refuge in the foods of her childhood.

“If Wotsits still exist 30 years from now, I may eat one and be transported back to 2020,2 she said. “I’ll fall down a rabbit hole of Zoom quizzes, hand sanitiser and unintelligible government briefings.”

Not that Wotsits would be her first choice, she said. she would probably choose ‘something fancy and literary, like fresh New England clams, or the first bite of a ripe Comice pear.’

But Wotsits it is.

“Because global crises, it transpires, put me into a culinary regression, the likes of which I’ve never known,” she said. “Real comfort foods are the ones you remember.Tinned spaghetti on toast is something my grandma (who was a great cook, before old age and dementia) used to make me for lunch, when I’d go and stay with her as a kid. And it’s a carb-on-carb delight I can’t remember tasting since my 90s childhood. “

The spaghetti on toast culinary experience is one she has recreated in lockdown, she said, and ‘it is still the food of the gods.’

“I’m not sure anyone would struggle to figure out why, in “difficult,strange, unprecedented” times, you’d reach for the stuff of your childhood. As I write this – a craving for Skips so intense that I may have to leave the house, thereby risking my life, just to get a packet.Staying healthy while the world descends into chaos beyond anything most of us have ever seen seems needlessly punitive. With every snack, may memories of simpler and nicer times wash over you like a warm, syrupy wave.”

The Daily Express

Virginia Blackburn bemoans the ‘stars’ quick to share their own views on Covid-19.

“Baby Spice [admits she] wouldn’t know where to start to find a vaccine,” she said. “A woman who acquired fame and fortune through belting out lyrics such as “I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah” turns out not to be qualified virologist armed with specialist knowledge that will make the world a safe and free place once more.2

She said it was ‘touching’ the way we invest some people with reserves of knowledge because they were once famous.

“In the States, Kevin Spacey, has been saying that he can sympathise with those losing work because of COVID-19 because three years ago he lost a lot of work too!,” she said. “You might recall that this was in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual impropriety, including from a man who’d been 14 at the time and a male massage therapist.

“Celebrity advice; celebrity pontifications – it’s always, always better to keep your mouth shut.”