Colonies Covid Chronicle 12: why don’t we listen?

Week 11: Tuesday 9th June: All Lives Matter – but some more urgently than others ~ Hilery Williams

If you didn’t blink between 6 and 6.10pm last Tuesday you may have viewed me on STV hobbling along the street as part of an interview about the proposal to restart elective surgery. The circuitous route by which they found me was a bit spooky.

Since then kind folk have regaled me with queries: but no, I expect this to happen glacially slowly. I am merely in (acute) arthritic pain. Life-threatening conditions, quite rightly, are prioritised.

I can’t imagine life without confinement and have no wish to speculate. All will be well.

Pain is all relative.

Meantime, we can commemorate those dead black lives.

Eric Garner (asphyxiated 2014) was a gardener. Perhaps he sowed seeds. Perhaps they still grow. Maybe these plants convert sunlight into food, then oxygen. Possibly his death makes it easier for his killers to breathe.

Black Lives Matter. We are a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns.



Why don’t we listen? ~ Alastair Hulbert

During the pandemic ordinary people and politicians have on the whole listened to what doctors say about health and safety. Why don’t they listen more to what naturalists and climatologists are saying about the extinction of life on earth?

It’s not just that I haven’t seen a honey bee this summer, and the moths that other years have eaten holes in my sweaters aren’t there. Increasing numbers of species of animals, birds and insects are becoming extinct. We reify the living world, breeding vast numbers of animals for our consumption after a brief life of suffering. A recent news photo I saw of a pig, one of hundreds of thousands to be slaughtered in barbaric ways in the USA, is engraved on my conscience.

Not long ago, as I entered the eightieth year of my life, I became a vegetarian. I am consumed with regret that I didn’t do it years ago.



Mind the Gap ~ Hamish Whyte


There are many gaps to mind

in the mantra of the age:



platform and train

stretcher and ambulance

stay indoors and run to Durham

walker and jogger

podium and powerpoint

booking and cancellation

mask and mouth

care and home

machine and gun


mind and gap.

Another P.S.

Shame on the Royal Botanic Garden. They can manage to guide (and profit from) thousands of visitors for their Christmas Lights, but somehow can’t offer even a few people – small groups of children or families? – a chance to visit the gardens during this time of pandemic.