Colonies Covid Chronicle 15 (final issue): Life goes on

Ten Little Goosanders ~ Daphne Brett, age 9

Rushing through the rocky river

looks quite cold but they never shiver.

Over the bumps and whoosh down the slide –

all the goosanders like the ride!

Past the trees and the brightest flowers,

rocking around and spraying big showers.

Dive down low with their froggy legs,

up one bobs and to his mum he begs:

‘Please, mummy, one more time, just one.’

And the mum replies, ‘No, little darling,

you’re much too young.’

And off the little goosander goes.

But a heron swoops down really low.

But baby goosander dives down like a pro

and dodges the heron who’s his biggest foe.

Mum tells him off again,

but baby goosander’s now braver than ten!

They have a party all through the night,

then go to bed in the dimmish light.

baby goosander isn’t scared any more.

he’s happy again and he swims to the shore!



Life Goes On ~ Bob Christie

Three months and more, from equinox to solstice. And life goes on, now noticed.

Dawn chorus rose and fell, yet birds stay busy at their feeders – chaffinches, goldfinches and bullfinches; subtle blackcap, squabbling sparrows and so many tits (types still unlearnt).

There’s safety in numbers, when parents bring fledglings for their first feeds. While blackbird robin hoover falling seed, despite the cruel prowl of cats round here.

Heron stands aloof, scanning from neighbours’ roofs for bitesize life. Sparrowhawk sallies high from the Botanics, masking her sharp intent with crow’s ragged flap or pigeon’s stalling arc. While swifts scythe the warming sky for gnats, and bats criss-cross the dusk above the RocheidPath.

All eyes look up when swans power white above our waterway.

Magpies may rattle and wood pigeons burble, but the gulls have been stilled by our lockdown. Unlike that yappy wee dog nipping your sleeping ears.

And other pests too. No roofspace wasps this year, and no bites either (with the stink of poisoned mouse before fleas seek fresh blood). But carpet moths are back, big time. Does nothing work against them?

Peacock butterflies on every bush, at first, then gone. And so few honeybees, so few. Yet bumblebees in scores, thronging cotoneaster’s buds, and buzzing through the clover in (ahem) my wildflower meadow.

Sitting in the garden, eyes shaded from the glare, with back to sun-warmed stone. The emerald shimmer of rose chafer beetles in the lengthening grass. A damselfly pauses on my reddening arm, a stunning azure needle. Electric blue, unseen before, but now the highlight of the season.

And once again, tree bumblebees at home in my back dormer, quietly ‘chirping’ as evening cools and birds fall silent, the colony at rest, nest time now.

So life goes on.



The hills are hidden today ~ Pat B.


The hills are hidden today

cocooned in the eastern haar.

This is how it is at times

when the day seems grey

colours gone away

or shadowy.


Odd how in an hour

the mist has lifted,

the outline of the Pentlands

clear, a darker shade of green.

I pass the copper beech

and see as if I’d never seen

the colour of the leaves before.


It will change again

and clouds will shield

the hills and threaten rain;

battered, they’ll appear again –


our time is short but theirs eternal.




Week 15: 1st July: The simple haven of a hug ~ Hilery Williams

I watched the stunning National Theatre of Scotland production of Larchview, in which Mark Bonnar plays a senior adviser rehearsing his grovelling apology for breaching lockdown. He gradually realises the enormity of his actions and the horrifying scale of the havoc he has caused.

‘I just wanted a hug from ma maw,’ he cries.

The intimacy and honesty of the production – filmed and watched in isolation – is heart-breaking.

How lucky I am to have sheltering arms when things get tough.

I too broke the rules (just a little) this week. My daughter was back from Manila briefly, staying nearby and hoping she can get a flight back when work starts in August. I saw her almost daily for three weeks, sometimes eating together in the garden (so grateful for fine weather), sometimes as she ran by. At Waverley we hugged.

That will keep me going till next year.




To everything there is a season

​​and a time to every purpose under heaven


A time to recognise that this crisis is an opportunity.  


A time for community, for sharing, and for loving one’s neighbour.

A time to see that a different way of governing society is possible: giving life and health priority over financial interests.


A time to know we’ve already solved the climate crisis. All that’s left to do is make a choice: Ecology or Economy?  


A time to realise that our values and lifestyles threaten our future.                                        


A time to see the killing of George Floyd not just as a murder, but as a metaphor for injustice and democracy in crisis.


A time to engage with the sorrow of a world that excludes more people every day.  


A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.


Alastair Hulbert


Dear editors,

The CCC was an inspired idea, helping to connect us and to share thoughts on so many fronts. Congratulations and thanks, for the idea and the encouragement. I shall miss it!

Rose Pipes


We sign off with thanks over the weeks to all our contributors, particularly our regulars, and to Jane for putting up the chronicles on the website.

Diana and Hamish