Hazel McHaffie

Covid-security

Perchance to dream …

After all these months of going nowhere, it felt like a big adventure to drive up into the Highlands for three days over the weekend. The scenery is breathtaking, and there are plenty of opportunities to tramp through the forests and beside the lochs, with no necessity for masks or sanitisers or yellow arrows.

It’s so peaceful, the mind and imagination can roam uninterrupted.

I suppose it was because of the sudden sense of freedom, that I saw opportunities everywhere.

The 18th Century seat of the Clan Campbell and Dukes of Argyll, Inverary Castle, for example … it only opened its doors to the ‘new normal’ on Friday last week, so this was just day 4 of their season, everywhere looked pristine. It’s a Covid-secure, no-touch, no-lingering, social distancing policy, so one could only dream, but how delicious to settle here in the secluded courtyard to write the opening chapters for a new novel about privilege and intrigue …

with nothing more than this tame chaffinch to disturb the serenity …

Or to enjoy the magnificence of this secluded reading space, set into the massive open stairwell …

or curl up amidst the clan tartan for a wallow in some gripping tale or other about Scottish nobles and their colourful romps …

Or maybe to perch on one of these seats in the immaculate grounds to set a scene for a new historical work of fiction …

But of course, even pre-pandemic, this would have been more dream than reality. Much more accessible, however, was a secluded seating area beside a beautiful old church, overlooking a loch …

and this little gem beside the main road: an old phonebox crammed with secondhand books, and well worth a stop … and a quick squish or two of sanitiser.

Back now to reality, but refreshed and more confident about life in the ‘new normal’ world.

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