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The speed of change coronavirus sweeping across the nation has brought about so many unprecedented events and circumstances – many of which none of us expected to see in our lifetimes.
The Prime Minister making daily, and often war-like, addresses to the nation; shops and small businesses shut; the football being cancelled; and our streets now all but emptied by lockdown.
Perhaps most unprecedented of them all, however, is the temporary suspension of the Glasgow Letter! With the residents of the city confined to self-isolation, every single event has been cancelled and, therefore, there is nothing for me to preview or report. It is a situation that I can’t imagine many of my predecessors ever encountered. And so it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this new-look, temporary column: Robert in Lockdown!
Like many Highlanders and Islanders, I am absolutely desperate to head back up the road for the duration of this social distancing policy.
Isolating with a view of Ben Nevis and a chance of fresh air has much more appeal to me than isolating in my tenement flat. For fear of infecting my parents, however, I am locking myself away for a week or so before I head home. People my age can carry the virus without having any symptoms.
Whether I make it home now with the country in lockdown remains to be seen but, for the time being, I have found various means of getting through the trials and tribulations of self-isolation in Glasgow!
I awoke one sunny morning over the weekend and saw on the television that Italians, French, and Spanish urban dwellers had been singing to each other from their balconies in the streets. I immediately thought: that’s exactly what we need here in Partick!
I opened my window, closed my eyes, thought of the Park Bar, and belted out the chorus of the well-known cèilidh classic Teann a-nall ’s thoir dhomh do làmh.
As luck would have it, my Gaelic speaking neighbour across the street (Amina Davidson) was on hand to lean out her window and join in with me! As our impromptu chorus came to an end, a round of applause arose from a few tradesmen in the street below.
I had filmed the whole thing on my phone to send to a couple of mates but, given that Amina had joined in, I thought it was worth a post on my instagram account. I flung it on the Tide Lines account too while I was at it.
Within an hour, Reporting Scotland, STV News, BBC Radio Scotland, and Glasgow Live (among many other media outlets) had been in touch asking to use the footage. Our Tide Lines social media interaction shot up by over 1,000 per cent!
This was all a bit of good craic but, more importantly, it made me realise that (throughout this difficult period) we can all still have a smile.
This is going to be an incredibly tough few months for everyone. But we’re going to get through it.