Davinia Smythe-Barrett, ordinary mum
I am not afraid to admit it – like any ordinary mum, I am finding life hard as lockdown grinds on.
Although for me, it is even more difficult than for many others.
With Emmeline’s pony to look after, the grounds of the house to maintain and regular drives down to Stirling for our essential food shopping at Waitrose, I really do feel pulled in all directions.
Things must be so much easier for people who only have a small flat to look after and no garden to keep on top of! And of course, I am doing all this without Svetlana.
She’s Bulgarian, she’s marvellous, but she’s back in Bulgaria, having declined my very kind offer to put her on the government’s furlough scheme.
In these extraordinary times I thought it only fair that if she was to be continuing to live with us and take part in our family activities such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and mucking out the stables the least we could do would be to make sure she got 80% of her wages.
But clearly the pull of her homeland was too strong. No sooner had I said it than she muttered what I took to be “Thank you, but you are too kind” in Bulgarian under her breath, looked at me out of the side of her eyes and was gone.
At least in her absence, I am saved the regular trip to Lidl, where we got her provisions (I’m sure it’s what she wanted).
In addition to my other burdens I now find myself home-schooling young Fidel, which is quite a task in itself. It’s been a very up and down process for poor Fidel.
When he first went online he really seemed to take to it. We set him up in a little office with Svetlana and his grades went right up.
But with her gone, he’s sitting at the breakfast bar with me while I’m having “Zoom & Cocktails” with all the other ordinary mums, and we keep getting feedback that his English language use and mathematical abilities are declining.
The school is doing their best but I can’t help but feel that their curriculum is not really suitably tailored to the present crisis.
Shakespeare and trigonometry are all well and good, but what the ordinary mum really needs right now are lessons on how to work an induction hob and a Nespresso machine.
View From The Midden; rural Affairs with Jock Alexander
It’s been an unnerving week in the village.
Ab’dy is hinging on for June 18, fan the Scottish Government are reviewing fit we can or canna dae.
As with athin’ else, we’re aye hoping. Of course, here in the village oor economy is teetering on the brink at the best of times, and so it is even mair important tae find the elusive “big idea” fit will act as a magnet tae folk and allow us tae once again welcome vees’tors, even if it is strictly ootdoors, at a distance, and only twa at a time.
Wi’ gairden centres a’ across the country now reopened and being flocked to by folk grateful for somewye tae ging, nae matter foo foostie the scones, we are looking into converting the village intae a paradise for horticulturalists.
We’ve made attempts tae “landscape” it wi’ the addition o’ a few pots of poinsettias, some roosty gairden furniture and a one-way sign nicked aff the B9001 tae keep the socially distanced crowds flowing in the right direction.
We’ve also designated some of the ootlying fields as “exercise areas” for vees’tors fa wint tae wander aboot in the fresh air.
Maist popular has been Haldie Winton’s bottom field, as, although it is affa boggy, it his some good thick bushes – handy, in the absence of the usual facilities, for onyb’dy fa forgot to ging afore they came, or fa didna reckon on the twisty twosty road tae Meiklewartle taking as lang as a trip fae London tae Durham.
But fit’s been heirt-warming this wik wis seeing pupils of Aiberdeen’s Albyn School singing a new version o’ the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles online wi’ multiple wee windows and a virtual orchestra.
Feel Moira immediately proposed a village version tae get us some nationwide publicity on BBC Breakfast, fit it seems ab’dys watching these days as they try tae get their breath back efter PE wi’ Joe Wicks.
Weel, we hid a go, but pitting tae one one side the suitability of the song choice – I Gotta Get Outta This Place by The Animals – we wis at a number o’ disadvantages.
Chiefly thanks tae the poor quality of wir internet connections, wi couldna get mair nor twa videos tae run at the same time withoot a delay.
We hid mair lags than Peterheid Prison. Also, the vocal abilities of the locals lacked a certain finesse.
I couldna say I’d never heard nithin’ like it, but nae since yon time Dod Ferguson’s hale herd o’ cattle a’ gave birth at once.
Plus, there’s a distinct lack of musical instruments in the village. In fact, a’ we could find wis Skittery Wullie’s grandpa’s bagpipes, and they wis in the same state as the rest o’ us at the minute – sadly deflated.