Sky newsreader Gemma Morris on her perfect Surrey weekend
11:09 21 July 2011
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2011
As a newsreader for Sky and Channel 5, Richmond resident Gemma Morris often finds herself working at the weekends. When she does get a moment to herself, however, she likes nothing better than a jog along the Thames, drinks on Richmond Green or hitting the shops in Kingston (oh, and a bit of Radio Jackie...)
Its Friday afternoon, and the first thing I do at the end of my presenting shift is to pop into the make-up department at Sky News to take off some of the heavy TV make-up Ive been wearing since early morning.
Mind you, it may be the start of the weekend, but for me and many others who work for a 24-hour news channel, it often means working both Saturday and Sunday. I could moan, but actually I love it. Who knows what big stories might break over the weekend while Im on shift? Theres always an element of anticipation.
I get back to my home near the Thames in Richmond and dump my suit jacket and heels before heading out for a run along the river. Jogging in the early evening is so beautiful. I have run the route from Old Isleworth to Ham House countless times but am still awestruck by this area of the River Thames. It is also a great time to reflect on the past week. I reach Ham then turn back home to change before meeting friends for drinks at The Cricketers on Richmond Green. I love the way everyone spills out onto the grass with their drinks on warm summer evenings.
Richmond has always been a hang-out for me. It holds happy memories of being a student at Richmond College over ten years ago, before I went on to study journalism at university.
Back at work on Saturday morning, this time Im presenting Channel 5 news, which is produced by Sky News at our studios in Osterley. Its just the two news programmes for me today, which I write and piece together from scratch before presenting them. Im told that in days gone by, many presenters were required to merely read out loud. Ha... if only.
A walk in the park
In the evening, I drive over to my parents house in New Malden for a barbeque, Radio Jackie blaring loudly in the car. The local station, based in Tolworth, is where I started as a reporter and newsreader many years ago, doing unpaid work while I studied at university.
After the barbeque, we head out with my sister for a walk in the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. We have walked there as a family since I was a small child. In early summer, the flowers look spectacular a riot of colour.
I hit the shops in Kingston on my way to work late morning, often popping into my favourite health food shop, Food For Thought, in the Apple Market. Its great for picking up yummy snacks to take on to work.
The feel of the town on a weekend is very familiar to me. While I was a college student, still deciding which career path to take, I had Saturday jobs in Knickerbox, formerly in the Apple Market, and Gap on the high street (I can still fold a jumper perfectly in less than five seconds!).
Depending on what time the news programmes are scheduled to air on a Sunday, the length of my day can be anywhere between eight and 13 hours. My final bulletin is usually slotted into an ad break during the late film on Channel 5. It always takes me by surprise when a friend says they saw me pop up in the middle of Godzilla or Ghostbusters.
At the end of my news update, I get ready to sign off and look forward to a day off on Monday.