In my day job of finding stories, issues and interviewees to piece together the show every Saturday morning, 90% of the job is thinking – the rest is doing. Each Tuesday morning, my producer Eileen Heron and I will chat and lay out what we might cover and where I might go that week.

Before, we’d meet over coffee in RTÉ, but we haven’t done this since March. I try to separate my apartment from my office; my life from my work – albeit, in the same physical space. It’s part of adapting to life in lockdown and respecting the guidelines around working from home and social distancing. It’s an important divide to make, to create and also achieve work-life balance within the same physical space.

We chat by phone for maybe an hour, dissecting what might work and what might not. Each week, we only have 45 minutes to fill but it takes a lot of careful piecing-together to create a programme which is enlightening, entertaining, educating and enchanting. In the world of radio, it’s impossible to please everybody. And it’s always interesting to analyse texts and tweets from listeners with differing views and opinions.

What one listener detests, another loves – and both views tend to be expressed in very partisan ways, as if there should be no other view. My core principle over the past quarter of a century of broadcasting is to be balanced and fair, without fear or favour. It’s an old-fashioned mantra, but at this stage of my career I’m not going to change.

I remember once presenting Liveline and, later, a producer showed me two texts which arrived within a nanosecond of each other: one claiming we were pro-Government and the other describing us as anti-Government, in relation to a topic we had been discussing live on air. “Job well done,” was his summary.

On the road

But back to Countrywide. It’s when I’m on the road visiting farms that I’m happiest and feel, quietly, that I’ve the best job going. Give me a chat with a farmer in a field over a famous sportsperson interview any day of the week.

I’ve been to hundreds of farms across the 32 counties (and beyond) over the past 22 years or so. In my job, I’m deemed an essential service which allows me to travel, taking all the necessary precautions. But last week, Eileen suggested I look within the 5km limit for a story, in solidarity with the rest of the country.

Where would I find a farm within 5km of Castleknock, Dublin? Well, 500 metres from where I live, as it happens. The Guinness farm - which I have always passed but never visited - sprawls from Castleknock College to the Strawberry Beds. Until last year it was a dairy farm supplying Glanbia, but the decision was made by the owners to quit milking and now beef cattle run on its 120 acres.

When I popped by last week, it was like walking through a magic door – from a bustling city one minute into the quiet countryside the next. There, I met farm manager Peter Taaffe quietly working away – like any farmer anywhere in the country – within hearing distance of the busy M50.

It was the shortest journey I’ve ever made to record a piece for the show and it proved, in a 5km lockdown limit, there are places to see and explore for the very first time literally around the corner.