Colonies covid chronicle 11: whatever gets you through

The Park ~ Pat Bryden

‘What did you see in the park today,

dear little child of mine?

Were the swans on the pond

and the cygnets in line?

Was it busy today

and did the sun shine?’


‘The sun did shine

and the ducks were fine

but no cygnets yet to be seen.

And the trees so vividly green.


‘But I looked at the grass

and saw plenty of glass

bottles and all kinds of waste

and titbits for dogs to taste.


‘So why are we punished

or severely admonished

for dropping our wrappings

when adults are lacking

the virtues they preach?’


Time for a ‘Take home your rubbish’ notice?



Heroic stoic?  Anon

A friend recently sent me a newspaper cutting about how people are turning to the ancient philosophy of Stoicism for inspiration on how to endure lockdown. Apparently, sales of the ebook edition of Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic have increased by 747 per cent since lockdown began in late March, as compared with sales in the preceding four weeks;

and Penguin Random House report that sales of their edition of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations have gone up by 356 per cent. Both books speak to the difficulties of living through an epidemic or a prolonged period of deprivation; they offer advice on how to cope with adversity and remain serene.

I first encountered the Meditations a long time ago now, when I was young. I really admired Marcus’s strength of character, and the way he cultivated a quiet mind that enabled him to remain calm in a sea of troubles, instead of being tossed about and shipwrecked by them.

As the years have gone by I’ve come to see that his equanimity is largely derived from acceptance of and submission to the will of the far-seeing gods (what strikes us as a disaster may be all part of a plan for our ultimate good). I can have no such faith. Worse still: it’s now thought that much of his serenity in the face of misfortune may have resulted from the fact that his physician, Galen, was treating his patient’s chronic stomach disorder (ulcers? cancer?) with various compounds of opium. No wonder he was laid-back. But…well, whatever gets you through.



Week 10: Monday 1st June: I can’t breathe (George Floyd) ~ Hilery Williams

I am white and privileged in terms of education and socio-economic power. I suspect readers of this are likewise largely white and privileged too.

I am rarely asked to think about myself in racial terms. I represent ‘the norm’. I rarely question my entitlement to my advantage, despite having close family members who are black.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced hardships: it means my skin tone isn’t one of the things making life harder.

White Privilege means I actively benefit from the oppression of people of colour. My actions aren’t perceived as those of my entire race. People at work, in the media, in this comfortable neighbourhood, look like me. ‘Flesh-coloured’ tights are designed for me.

This bestows advantage.

What can I do?

I can risk making people (and myself) feel uncomfortable by opening discussion and confronting racial injustices.

I can read writers of colour.

I can be more than ‘non-racist’.

I can be anti-racist.




Enough ~ Mona Kastel   2 June 2020

Enough is enough

Don’t f***ing tell me

That a man is less than another

That some lives don’t matter


I am outraged

And so should you


I am angry

And so should you


I am disgusted

And so should you


I will not be silent

And nor should you


Enough is enough





Yes. All lives matter. Unfortunately white lives are seen as more important than any people of colour due to centuries of privilege. Hence the importance of highlighting the fact that not all are treated equally because of the colour of their skin and that their lives are as precious as white people’s. This is not only happening in the USA. Discrimination happens here in the UK too. We must focus on social justice in a time where not all are treated equally.

MK (In solidarity with Black Lives Matter)



The Frailty of Life ~ Alastair Hulbert 

The frailty of life makes Hollanders of us all,

Inhabitants each of our own nether lands,

Living beneath the level of the waters,

Subject to the wind and the sea.


I wrote these lines many years ago on a visit to Egmond aan Zee.

Years later I discovered a painting of Egmond by the Dutch Master Jacob van Ruisdael in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. It depicts a village amongst dunes, the steep roofed houses facing streets that converge on an enormous church which dominates the scene. Between 1714 and 1741 the sea claimed the church and half the village houses. Engravings in the local museum show the huge tower balanced over the beach in various stages of collapse till finally it fell in a pile of rubble. Within one generation! It was a catastrophe for the community.

Climate change is like that I think.

​​​​​​​​​              *


The River ~ Benjamin Brett 

Bluebells whizz by,

I go so fast I could fly,

I dodge and dance,

and play and prance,

my  journey continues unless I run dry…


Red Campion rushes past,

I run ever so fast,

I leap and twirl,

and dart and whirl,

till I reach the sea at last.



In truth, where do we begin? ~ Ross Robertson, father

We usually have the radio on in the kitchen when we are eating. So our two-and-a-half-year-old is exposed to outside voices and sometimes he listens along. At other times he’s in his own world and our adult activity is just a background to his play. When a good song comes on we usually stop what we are doing and we have a wee dance.

Last week I was at the worktop concentrating on getting a toddler lunch together, the news was filling the room with incredulity at police brutality and I caught his little voice from behind me. I hadn’t been able to tune in to his wavelength quickly enough to make out his words. So I turned round, found him looking at me and I smiled. He’d got himself up onto his seat at the kitchen table – a marvelous action that is new to him, and to me, since I have grown used to carrying, assisting and generally supporting him since day one. My son was not just waiting for his lunch – he was waiting for an answer.

‘What did you say?’ I asked as I walked over and crouched down to listen. I heard his words this time, but I couldn’t believe them. ‘Sorry, can you say it again?’

And there it was.

‘What’s Donald Trump actually like, Daddy?’