An Aberdeenshire man unable to work at sea due to the pandemic has penned a children’s story about life in lockdown.
Matthew Kinghorn, 38, originally from Macduff, now of Pitmedden, usually works as a net rigger at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen but, like many, has been working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The father-of -two recorded himself reading his story, Grin and Bear It, which tells the story of a family of bears experiencing the ups and downs of lockdown life.
In the first 24 hours after being uploaded, the video has been viewed more than 13,000 times and he has since been inundated with positive comments from people including teachers and childminders requesting to share it with their students, children and colleagues.
Mr Kinghorn, who already writes short daily poems about life as a young father under the moniker Baby and Bard, said he has been “overwhelmed by the response”.
He added: “My poems usually get some kind words and likes from family and friends but this is the first time I’ve put a longer story out there with illustrations and a video of me reading it, and the feedback has been unbelievable.
“I’ve had comments from Australia and Singapore, almost 250 in all, and the video has reached 25,000 people.
“People have been asking if I have physical copies of the book to sell. I even got stopped on my way to the shop by a local lady who had seen it, it’s just crazy.”
The story follows a day in the life of a family of bears adapting to life indoors and features familiar struggles which will be well-known to many such as, DIY haircuts, the perils of video group chats and the fruitless attempts to get young children to partake in exercise.
Mr Kinghorn asked his friend Euan Wemyss to draw some illustrations to compliment the story, and the two of them, while observing social distancing, filmed Mr Kinghorn reading it in the forest around Pitmedden Garden.
He said: “It’s obviously a story that resonates with us all at this time – and of course I’ve tried to tell it in a way that will hopefully make people smile.
“The little bear family go through many of the experiences we’ve all had during lockdown – from the panic buying to the overeating of tasty treats.
“It seems to have genuinely made people happy for five minutes. I believe life is all about finding those little reasons to smile and I think it’s pretty special that me and Euan, with his drawings, have been one of those reasons for some people – especially at this time.
“I’m luckier than many people. I’ve got a happy, healthy family and while I’ve felt some of the pressures brought about by the weirdness of the situation, I’m really blessed and it’s been lovely having this extra time with my two girls – I’m seeing them grow up before my eyes.”
With his work, Mr Kinghorn can often be away from home for three weeks at a time.
He added: “I have a wee book where I jot down poems and story ideas.
“It helps pass the time at sea. I’ve also taken up the ukulele and often make up songs that I post on my Baby and Bard blog – much to the amusement of my friends and family.
“This latest story has given me a real kick. I’ve definitely been encouraged by the positive reaction, so I’m sure I’ll get something else out in the near future.”
To follow and read more of Mr Kinghorn’s work visit www.facebook.com/babyandbard
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