Craving physical connection in the age of social distancing? Well, Iceland's solution is to hug a tree. As Lonely Planet reports, the Icelandic Forest Service says that spending at least five minutes a day hugging your arboreal neighbours is a great way to beat loneliness in quarantine. Paths have been ploughed through the snow in East Iceland to give residents easier access to trees, and trails have been expanded so hikers can get outdoors while keeping their distance. Tree-hugging, according to East Iceland's forest manager Por Porfinnsson, produces feelings of relaxation. "When you hug a tree, you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest, and then up into your head," he told a local radio station. Porfinnsson's anecdotal endorsement aside, exposure to trees has been shown to promote good health. Trees cleanse the air of pollutants and reduce stress in people living near them. You don't necessarily need to wrap your arms around a tree to reap those benefits, but if you have no one else to hug, it definitely won't hurt.
Panic erupts on movie set
"Following on from Steve's story about the pandemic movie filmed in Auckland 12 years ago," writes Conrad. "I was also an extra around that time and it may be the same movie. We were in Takanini. At Mitre 10 the entire carpark was filled with American cars and trucks and we were instructed to rush into the store and grab items off the shelves in a panic. At the time we only heard whispers it may have been to do with the bird flu."
Global shutdown bites sharks
Hope he's got a hairy chest
"Walked into the bathroom the other day to find my husband liberally spraying himself — underarms and all over his body with my hair spray," writes Barbara. "When I asked him what on earth he was doing, he said he thought it was spray-on deodorant!! Not sure how many times he had already used it!"
Sour grapes from would-be limericist
A reader stamped his foot after his mediocre limerick was not picked for publication. "I see that this limerick I sent your column last Friday has not appeared in print, but a lot of inane, smutty, rubbishy doggerel has! I guess, that's about all I can expect from the NZ Herald. It's not just the National Party bias, but apparently, British tabloid-ism is taking hold as well. You should be ashamed!"