MacStig Feels the Heat as he Contemplates the Entries for the PP Lockdown Writing Challenge

Here at the but an’ ben I’ve been more or less self isolating since March. Can you believe it?, four months when I should have been charging about the country in the old jalopy reporting on Grade 2. We would have been well into the season by now with a few championships under the belt and excitement building for the Worlds.

Instead, all we can do my friends is think of past glories, like Closkelt pictured above, and hope for better days in 2021. Meanwhile I’m just trying to keep in contact with everyone but the ‘broadband’ beam from civilisation to here has been playing up terrible.

By MacStig

By MacStig

But the phone’s working. The Ed called about the writing competition. He asked me to consider which piece might win a prize. ‘Stiggy’ he said on the reverse charge call, ‘you are good on essays’. I paused before answering and in that nanosecond of delay on the string line he added ‘and what else are you doing other than furloughing?’

I was flummoxed and told him I was no such thing and had shaved my legs last week. After the usual high diplomatic discourse of ‘you are’, ‘I’m not’, I agreed so long as he sent me a side of beef and a haircut, both sadly amiss in the lockdown.

The Oxo cubes and sheep shears duly arrived after the courier tried twice, as I was apparently ‘not in’ when he attempted to deliver. I begged to differ per the ‘stay at home’ guidance, besides, I’m not qualified to be Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer and I don’t I have a second home in Fife – nor do I need to check my eyesight with a long drive.

On to the written word, and I admit to an inferiority complex creeping in as the articles came thick and fast like a back row rugby player, but working through them kept me sane – and I can get Radio Luxembourg at night if the wind isn’t more than three knots.

The satellite was on the blink for a few weeks and I’m told it was something to do with Elon Musk, but I can’t see what a man’s aftershave has to do with my watching television.

In this last while of pandemic lockdown there can be too much of a good thing. Like kicking around at home and too little of the getting out and about. Having ‘stayed home’ through to ‘being alert’, whatever that is, the Sky reception fixed, I’m now avoiding lectures by politicians whose riddle-like instructions amount to them all trying to avoid catching their specific strain of pandemic – a strain called blame

The rules were bewildering. You could bring in a cleaner or a nanny (whatever they are) but not your parents. You could fish for trout and hit a golf ball so long as you socially distanced – not sure if that was from the ball or the trout.

‘If you can work from home, continue to do so’ was the advice. Work from home – a sentence of three words with one glaring contradiction in terms: sitting at home dipping HobNobs and doing Zoom calls with your pyjamas on and saying the video isn’t working. And those are just the teachers and lecturers doing their online classes.

Working from home. It doesn’t even make sense – working ‘at’ home is more like it. I’m ‘from’ one end of the country but I’m ‘at’ somewhere else. Such are the debates in my head and I think I’m losing it. ‘Never had it’ I hear you say and I’m consoled by never being alone with paranoia. 

And joy of joys the entire population of Scotland celebrated when you could sunbathe in a park! The louder cheers and whoops were from the dispensing chemists piling up ointments and lotions for the inevitable ‘taps aff’ consequences – a red face and shoulders with tell tale simmit marks after the rarest of sunny weekends in Glasgow. There is no back to work for the masses for the time being so blushes were spared.

Sunbathing up here! I ask you. The reality is battering my window from the westerly coming in; it is precipitating down and blowing one in Argyll so the going out, never mind sunbathing is, in a word ‘aff’.

It was set to be so for the British Championships in Paisley too. Call me an old sentimental but I truly missed the smell of wet wool from the soaking kilts and waistcoats and accompanying honk of damp air polluted with jet fuel fumes from the nearby airport.

Sadly the piping, games and band seasons are in tatters. Importantly though, I know many of you pipers, drummers and camp followers have day jobs on the front line of health, law enforcement, care and essential working and I want to say thanks to you all.  

Ah well, we’ll meet again on the grass next summer dear reader but for now the Ed tells me you should check in tomorrow for my decisions and comments on the PP Writing Lockdown Challenge. Over and out.

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