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'Poetry, exercise and tidying Gay's office' help Kathleen to cope during virus lockdown

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Kathleen Watkins with husband Gay Byrne, the legendary RTE broadcaster who died in November of last year

Kathleen Watkins with husband Gay Byrne, the legendary RTE broadcaster who died in November of last year

Kathleen Watkins with husband Gay Byrne, the legendary RTE broadcaster who died in November of last year

Gay Byrne's widow Kathleen Watkins says she is getting through lockdown alone with poetry and exercise as she cleans a "lifetime of broadcasting" from her husband's office.

The legendary broadcaster died on November 4 last year and Ms Watkins said that she is trying to keep busy during the Covid-19 lockdown.

"I'm doing my best in more ways than one," the 85-year-old said.

"I'm doing quite well here and alone, of course, but my daughter Susie is filling my fridge regularly, and my niece Susan is flying around looking after the three widowed Watkins sisters.

"We're all very spoiled and we're counting our blessings really. I have been tidying up Gay's office, and after a lifetime of broadcasting there's a fair bit to tidy up.

"I certainly think it's important if you can have a structure to your day. I would get up and shower and dress and have breakfast, and I read the paper, then I get into some of the poetry books, and then I do some walking around with some exercises."

Ms Watkins, who has made a name as a broadcaster, harpist, actress, singer and author, was on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE Radio 1, where the host asked her to read a poem that was appropriate for the times.

The Dublin woman, who added that she is remaining positive, read Love After Love by Derek Walcott.

Amazing

The poem spreads the message "whenever you've hidden yourself, there's always time to come out into the light of day. And now is the time to feast on your life".

Ms Watkins added: "Of course the phone is great and the iPad is also great. I'm not big into technology, but because I'm forced to be here on my own, it's amazing what you'll learn.

"I think it's a shocking thing, but it's like I used to hear people talking about war, and that in times of war people had so much time with each other and they were very generous."