In isolation with Ross McRae

Ross McRae is the Features Editor of The West Australian. A man used to a hectic pace and getting things done on the fly – literally. We have travelled together for work, shared far too many martinis and watched the sunset with a glass of bubbles while sitting on dinosaur footprints. We convinced Ross to sit down (for a moment) and let us know what he has been doing in isolation…


What is your best advice (given or received) during this time of change?
That we can now appreciate the meaning of gratitude. 

What business sites/blogs/podcasts are offering solid advice/insight for this time in your profession?
The West has launched a new online streaming audio news platform – The West Live – which has followed the breaking news on a local level in a really interesting and topical way every day answering questions that affect people that live in WA rather than national and international news reporting. 

What is keeping you sane?
Knowing that we are ahead health-wise than most of the world which means we will come through this better than most. And yes, Quarantini hour (but not before 5pm)

What business ‘pivots’ have you admired?
Local restaurants taking on global giants like Uber and making delivery services their own. Hopefully, in the future, businesses realise that they can take growth into their own hands to meet customers’ needs and expectations.

What are you listening to at the moment – is there a favourite playlist you can share?
The Dinner Party: jazz/soul/blues

What are you reading? (audiobooks count too!)
Marie Kondo’s Joy At Work. It is all about organising your professional life and workspace and when working from home you need to try to separated home and work life even when working in the living room.

What are you watching? Whether you’ve delved into the depths of Netflix, you’re occupying your time with YouTube tutorials or you’re revisiting your old DVD collection we want to know about it.
I have bought a new Samsung 65” QLed TV and Sony wireless headphones to make the WFH and EEFM (everything else from home) as entertaining as it can be. I have reorganised all my (ridiculously extensive) digital storage and gone through the archives of some classic TV, doco and film. Now that the Mad Men Netflix binge has ended, I am discovering the new Ryan Murphy series Hollywood with a dash of MasterChef Australia, which I have avoided for the past ten years.

How are you entertaining the kids (or flatmate, dog or cat) at the moment?
The dog has never been clingier in his life and he has me more than ever. He often sits on a chair next to the work desk.

Best home office hack? Tell us how you’re minimising distractions, organising your workspace or improving productivity.
Working in news, we haven’t really slowed down, so I often forget I am working from home once the day starts and the first coffee kicks in until the dog doesn’t stop barking and brings me back to reality.

What are you cooking? If you’ve got a favourite isolation recipe, we’d love to hear about it.
I love to roast chicken that have been butterflied. Butterflying them halves the cooking time and keeps them moister. Just get some premium chicken scissors to cut out the backbone and experiment each time with a different array of spices.

Have you gotten on board with any of the current social media cooking trends – sourdough or banana bread perhaps?
No one in Perth makes sourdough likes Dejaxo so why would I even try.

To counter all of the cooking, how are you finding your 30 each day? If you’ve moved to an ‘at-home’ fitness regime tell us about it.
I trialled Chris Hemsworth’s Centr APP for a few weeks but wasn’t starting to look anything like Thor. So, I am now trying F45’s new online challenge APP videos of 45 minutes of body weight cardio at least three times a week. Plus, I found some weights, a kettlebell and a dodgy bench at a dubious martial arts store after everywhere gym related had been raided so I have tried to keep up with two days of resistance.

How are you mixing things up on the weekends when the days all seem to blur into one?
Quarantini hour can start at 4pm.

Word: Ross McRae

Imagery: Several very talented photographers including Ross McRae