Conor Marlborough: 'How the lockdown has brought me so much closer to the one I love'

Scotsman reporter Conor Marlborough opens up on why he is dreading the end of the Covid-19 lockdown.

I’m sitting across from Angus at a flimsy fold-out table in the living room of his cottage. Angus is my partner, but we do not live together.

Our different careers have kept us separate. I live in Edinburgh, he lives here in rural Aberdeenshire.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

If we are lucky, we might be able to see each other once a fortnight – but we aren’t always lucky.

"But it was not until I watched health secretary Matt Hancock field questions about when the lockdown might end in a press conference that I realised – I don’t want it to."

Nowadays the spring sunlight beams in through the windows of the cottage each morning. It wasn’t this warm when I arrived.

I was visiting Angus in frosty mid-March when we were both told to work from home. Soon after that, the full lockdown was imposed.

The cottage’s table has been our shared workspace ever since.

The rest of the house is so snug that from his seat at the other end of the table, Angus can reach out an arm into the kitchen and pick up a piece of fruit for me.

I think I always knew he was an oddball, but it has taken this prolonged spell of confinement with him to realise just how odd he really is.

Last Monday, he spent much of the working day diligently cutting a piece of paper into the shape of a slug, neatly labelling it with my name, sello-taping it to a pencil, and then puppeting it across the top of my computer monitor.

Behaviour like that would be enough to disconcert me, if it were not for the fact that I secretly know I am much more odd than that myself.

Even so, after weeks and weeks in such a confined space, I know that it would be natural to feel desperate to break out, to be amongst other people.

But it was not until I watched health secretary Matt Hancock field questions about when the lockdown might end in a press conference that I realised – I don’t want it to.

Because, bizarre though it may seem, the lockdown has made me happier than I have been in years.

And I know how selfish that sounds. I know how many parents long to hold their children, and how many husbands who cannot see their wives. But I cannot help how I feel.

Angus and I have been separate for so long that these last three weeks are the longest we have ever lived together.

But I know that eventually, it does have to end.

As families around the country embrace each other tightly for the first time in months, Angus will drop me at Stonehaven station and kiss me goodbye.

I know that before he leaves for work, he will text me and tell me he loves me. That will help. I will tell him I love him too.

On my walk to the office I will smile and think of this cramped fold-out table – and curse it.

In a weekend or two or three I’ll see him. He’ll come down or I’ll go up. We will approach another anniversary together, 150 miles apart.

I’ll remember the lockdown as a time when Angus and I did what normal couples do. We cooked and cleaned and argued. We watched TV and danced around. We sat in the sun and fell asleep.

When the lockdown ends and the world gears up once again, I will have to leave that stuff behind. But I will cherish those times.

And I hope you can cherish yours too.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Frank O'Donnell

Editorial Director