Comedian and podcast host Matt Forde has told of his joy at being able to leave his house for the first time since lockdown.
Forde – who hosts The Political Party – had been shielding at home for almost 11 weeks in line with government advice for those especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
When the guidance was updated, Forde was able to leave his flat for a two-and-a-half hour walk – saying he would remember it “for the rest of my life”.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m still obviously being alert and being careful when I’m out there but I didn’t expect it to be such a vivid, overwhelming experience.
“The last time I went to my local park it was March. It was boggy, it was muddy and I couldn’t walk over parts of it. Now, it’s dry. The grass is golden and the soil is parched.
“Obviously, I knew the seasons had changed because I’ve got windows. But actually going and seeing it, this landscape that previously had been barren and all the leaves off the trees, and now all of a sudden it’s this lush, green, summer experience.”
Forde, whose podcast has included appearances from political heavyweights including Nicola Sturgeon, Ken Clarke, George Osborne and Tony Blair, said colours appeared more vivid following his prolonged spell indoors, while smells also seemed more intense.
He added: “It was overwhelming. It was like waking up from a coma and the world had changed a bit.”
Forde’s podcast, known for its mix of humour and serious political analysis, has been dealing with the Covid-19 crisis as it has unfolded.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and influential political scientists Philip Tetlock have been among the guests. Forde said it was more important than ever to offer the public a balanced source of information.
“At a time like this, information is so important and the way that people receive their information is so important. So many channels and organs are so partisan that I think people worry about stuff they can trust,” he said.
“Obviously I have my own political opinions, I don’t hide them but I try and be as reasonable as I can be with every guest.”
You can listen to The Political Party With Matt Forde on all major podcast platforms and Forde’s rescheduled tour dates can be found at Mattforde.com