AMIDST all the chaos, hardship and distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it's more important than ever to appreciate the small things.

Whilst the country has been on lockdown, affecting every sphere of human life, spring has crept in regardless.

Blossom is blooming, the birds are busy and we've been treated to some glorious weather.

Those of us lucky enough to have gardens are probably appreciating them more than ever in these testing times.

I've always been fond of our garden birds, but now I watch them with the sort of intensity normally reserved for football games at the Riverside.

And I've come to realise that watching blackbirds taking their bath in the water feature and sparrows hopping around with their beaks full of nesting materials is far less stressful than watching Middlesbrough FC grind through 90-minutes of Championship football.

That's not to say that things that seemed so important before lockdown are now less so.

But there's nothing like a global pandemic to put things into perspective and encourage us to connect with the little things that might have gone completely unnoticed if life was at its normal jam-packed pace.

From the VE Day social distancing street parties, to the Thursday night clap for the carers, the pandemic has somewhat ironically brought communities together in a way that they have never been before.

And all the while nature rejoices in its newfound freedom from human disturbance.

One day coronavirus will be a shadowy memory and it's the chinks of light I'd rather remember best.