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After four months of sheltering on our little island off the coast of Scotland, the big day is coming. Scotland has been cautiously loosening, and now is moving to opening shops, allowing people to go to restaurants, and finally meet with family and friends. We still have to wear facemasks and distance, but it’s really happening. It’s exciting and it’s scary. For the first time in four months, the ferry will bring passengers to our covid-free shores. We want them here, we’ve missed them, we love them, and they terrify us.

Last week, a group of hazmat-clad protestors stood at the border between Scotland and England, discouraging arrivals. Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she won’t “shy away” from imposing quarantine on arrivals from England. [image credit: The Telegraph]

What’s next? A letter from the trenches?

Dearest Mama,

I ken you’re still shelterin’ in place and wondering who’ll bring yer breakfast wee dram an’ haggis. But when they cut me, I bleed tartan. So when I heard the English were flooding into Scotland, I knew those germ-laden potential serial killers were coming for all we hold dear—our golf courses and water o’ life.

My duty was clear. I got out my good kilt, dusted off Da’s bagpipes, and headed out to protect our borders. It willnae be easy. We don’t have enough hazmat suits, we’re running low on the Saltire flags leftover from the referendum, and the closest any of us has been to a claymore was the time we got drunk and sat in the front cinema row for Braveheart. But we have plenty of brave pipers, and the Coop just sent three truckloads of Irn Bru and haggis-flavoured crisps. The Colonel has us bivouacked at the Gretna Green Starbucks off M6 at the border. Our plan is simple:

      • Anyone coming from England goes into quarantine.
      • We’ll send their clothing and golf kit off for decontamination and mockery.
      • Each Sassenach will be issued a kilt and a facemask. Anyone caught with only one piece of their quarantine equipment will automatically have the other one confiscated.  (We try not to point at their skinny English legs and laugh hysterically, but except for those in the wedding industry, we haven’t been trained for this so it’s asking a lot…)
      • The first day in quarantine, the English will receive full rations of Irn Bru and porridge, while giant screens show the 1967 footie Wembley Wizards victory, Scots taking the cup at the Cricket in Edinburgh in 2018, and each of the Scot rugby union triumphs.
      • In the evening, our own brave lot will finish our pints. Then our singing starts, of course, along with pipes until dawn.
      • The following day we’ll give the Sassenach blood puddings, neeps and tatties, haggis of course, plus nonstop Billy Connolly and Outlander videos.
      • For the last day, we’ll do re-enactments of the battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. (The Sassenach will play the horses.)
      • Any that are still in Scotland will be given a final test. We’ll pass around some single malt. Those who say they can smell it will be given a wee dram. If they can taste it, they’re given shortbread and released into the wild.

For now, Dear Mother, pray for us. I know you and your friends are cutting up your plaids to make tartan facemasks as fast as you can. And we all appreciate the hand sanitizer you made with byproducts from the distillery. (I’ve been sharing them with my mates and they all say they’re delicious.)

I hope this pandemic ends soon. Till then, wear your facemasks, keep two meters apart, and mind you stay alert in these dangerous times or some wily Sassenach will take your tee time. 

—Davie 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 😷