Colonies COVID Chronicles, March-July 2020

A Grapevine request in March 2020 from Colonies resident writers, Diana Hendry and Hamish White, for our poems, thoughts, reflections, diary entries…  on this unprecedented period in global history and how we in the Colonies are coping, yielded an excellent response! The first week’s entries are below and further contributions for the 15 weeks have been compiled to be read by clicking here

COLONIES COVID CHRONICLES 1: from fearful to cheerful 

26 March 2020

Uncharted Territory – Jo Edwardson

Saturday 20 March 2020

This is the first day of seriously starting to pull back from society. Over the past three weeks I have felt this coming – a growing state of anxiety. I felt self-conscious at times, declining (politely) a proffered handshake. I felt uneasy about the proximity of others at a weekend course. I had already prepared a hand-cleaning kit.

Today I decided to wear latex gloves (hidden under plain black ones) to go to the supermarket. I was consciously keeping a distance from other shoppers. I felt an inkling of uneasiness, and even fear, at my first sight of the depleted shelves.

We went to buy some fish then drove to Stenton to have a walk in the woods. On the way we popped in to the Co-op in Dunbar. I wanted to buy lip salve. It is odd the way we remember such apparently trivial details at times like this. Actually, I have never experienced a time like this. There was a conversation between an assistant and a customer about someone who was ill and having to double-bag their clothes. This chilled me a little.

We parked at the woodland car park and I can still recall in stark detail the young family, a mum, dad and three children, who were unpacking a picnic at a wooden table. It was heart-rending.

We had a beautiful walk in Pressmennan woods. The paths alongside the small lake were muddy, there were ducks playing in the water and a heron standing tall in a tree. The sense of imminent spring and the sound of birdsong were uplifting. We picked a bunch of wild garlic and went home to make pesto.

First Week – Pat Bryden

 For almost a week

my own company has had to suffice.

Saying goodbye last Monday – for how long?


(Oh, I had forgotten – I had a cataract done on Thursday

and was very nervous about seeing other people there,

though the operators had good masks on.

Also hard to walk and be two metres apart from the many

people on the street!)


But – the streets are not drained of life,

for the birds sing, the worms squirm as they turn the soil

and the spring flowers keep on growing.

There will be blossom.


Here too the children in their gardens

chatter, play and keep those in earshot hoping

for a future that will be cleansed, creative, more modest


in the demands of consumption.


Dear Colonies!

I hope you are having a really good time because you know things are a bit triccy at the momint because of Covid19. Some people have not enuffood and my Mum acthelly saw somewon shop lifting and she felt sorry for him. I can’t go to school but lucely my Mum is a teacher and it is fun at home beacuse we do lots of bred making and art.

From Elsa age 6


Virus? What virus? – Hilery Williams

Here I am at my upper window looking along Glenogle Road, sitting in the occasional sun, while my Beloved looks after me.

Why? Arthritis has disabled me for months. I sometimes totter to the car so I can look at the sea or borrow a mobility scooter and whizz around the Botanics. Friends visit, bringing chocolate and good cheer.

On the whole, though, I’ve been content. I naturally hibernate in the cold months: I read, and I knit and I listen to stories and podcasts. Sometimes I write or sing.

Last Tuesday morning I’d had the long-anticipated news that my hip replacement was to go ahead next Tuesday (tomorrow, as I write). Just in time for the spring, I thought. Hooray, I thought. I’ve almost run the library dry, I remembered.

On Wednesday morning came the inevitable phone call: Your surgery is cancelled for the foreseeable future.


Dear Colonies,

I hope you are well even in the strangest times. At the moment things are tough, but we have all got each other to help us.

Schools are shut but we have been up to a lot of things such as bread making, playing football and basket ball. Also going in our garden and Reid Terrace. All our lessons and clubs are cancelled so we have been doing aerobics with each other. My drum lessons are now on Skype and my first onw was on Monday the 23rd March! It felt very weird but I am sure I will get used to it.

In home schooling we have been painting daffodils! When we were walking along we saw a ‘Lost Toilet Roll Sign!’ Also, a ‘Question of the Day’ on Someone’s window! We have also seen quite a few pictures of rainbows around to cheer people up. Hope you stay well!

From Daphne


Dear colonies,

I hope you are all well as our country goes into lockdown.. It is scary because a few weeks ago I told my Dad that I felt like we were living in the country in ww2- we were hearing about the outbreak in other countries without the virus really affecting us, but now it really is affecting us. I miss seeing my friends at school and it’s sad that my transition is probably ruined because I won’t do a school play, skiing or the leavers assembly. Currently, after having breakfast, my family go on a tiny walk round the neighbourhood.  Our Mum is a Primary School teacher which is very lucky for us. Every second day we make bread before starting work. We do maths or English in the morning, then after lunch we do art, gardening, cooking, etc. Homeschool finishes about 3:00pm and then I lead an intensive fitness class for my sisters. Before dinner we go to the park and play football then come back to play racing demon (a fast-paced card game) into the evening.

From  Benjamin.