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For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home is his safest refuge].”—Sir Edward Coke in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628

It’s official. Like many other places worldwide, we’re all on lockdown now here in the UK. In a last ditch effort to stop a pandemic, our castles are now also our jails.

I’m one of the lucky ones. On our little Scottish Island, neighbors naturally offer to help. A local soap maker has offered free soap to any who need it. The two grocery stores offer to collect and deliver orders. Others have offered to help in so many ways, large and small.

I’m stunned to find myself in that “vulnerable” group, so there hasn’t been much I could do to help my neighbors. But my daughter’s request for face masks for herself and her children led me to give it a shot. And yes—before you tell me, I already know that masks can’t keep you from getting the virus. All they can do is help filter the airborne particles. But since every little bit helps, I made some masks using the easy online pattern found here.

FOR MY ISLAND NEIGHBORS: it occurs to me there might be other at-risk neighbors nearby who might also want to have washable/reusable masks around. If you live on Arran and would like a mask for someone who is over age 70, a child, or otherwise at-risk, please PM your address and I’ll drop one in the mail for each member of your household.

Others have found ways to welcome this enforced solitude, but I’m a writer: I’m already more than happy to stay in one room, wear pajamas all day, and have my most significant social contact with someone who barks and licks her privates.

Still, as we shelter from a killer we can’t see or feel, I’ve realized it’s also the best time I’ll ever have to catch up with my friends, video chat with my family, give thanks for my neighbors, and sew a LOT of little masks.

Meanwhile, I wish each of you the best. May your castle walls guard you well.