How coronavirus restrictions could give us a new perspective on life – Kevan Christie

Kevan Christie is thinking about doing something he’s never done before – going ‘island hopping’ on a CalMac ferry (Picture: Robert Perry)Kevan Christie is thinking about doing something he’s never done before – going ‘island hopping’ on a CalMac ferry (Picture: Robert Perry)
Kevan Christie is thinking about doing something he’s never done before – going ‘island hopping’ on a CalMac ferry (Picture: Robert Perry)
Duvet days, ‘social distancing’ and staycations could help us reconnect with each other, writes Kevan Christie.

In the words of Madonna ‘we need a holiday’ and I for one have already started planning my staycation on these shores.

Ten days of trudging back and forth to work from the Halbeath Park and Ride, through the horizontal rain, while the trusty Toyota Auris self-isolated with a dodgy gearbox before packing in completely, has left me dreaming of better things, dear readers.

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I’m in mourning for the grand old dame of Japanese motoring but have ordered a newer, similar model, that comes with tartan travel rug and a musical device for playing Hall and Oates.

There’s nothing worse than dealing with a garage when you know hee-haw about cars and they decide on the price of the repair by telling you to think of a number, double it then add a thousand.

No Sitges this year then, no sandy beaches or pilgrimages to Barcelona for the Sagrada Familia and the shopping – way too risky for that, what with Covid-19 and all that goes with it.

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Still, at least we won’t have to stand in the ‘no longer in the EU queue’ post-Breakfast at Edinburgh Airport, having got there at half-four in the morning for the half-six flight. “You cannae park there - gies a fiver.”

Anyway, the good ole UK has moved into the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus with the closure of schools and workplaces imminent.

Nicola Sturgeon has called for a ban on mass gatherings just as soon as we get the Rangers v Celtic match played in front of a full house out of the way tomorrow but thankfully SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster saw sense and suspended the Scottish football season indefinitely. She must think the coronavirus gets weekends off.

Shortly, we will all be watching Netflix while pretending to work from home and I’ve stocked up on Maltesers in preparation for the seven duvet days that lie ahead.

The social calendar is about to be decimated, parties will have to be cancelled and I’ve told my agent not to accept any more invitations to cut the ribbon at the opening of new garden centres as ‘I’m staying in to wash my hands’ becomes a legitimate excuse to dinghy things.

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Major events will have to be postponed and it’s touch and go whether the Crossgates Gala Day, highlight of the central Fife social calendar gets given the green light in the summer. “Hold the float.”

I have informed the Home Secretary we will be packing up our troubles in our old kit bags come July and heading west and possibly northish... to Ayrshire, Dunoon and assorted other places with nice ice-cream, ferries and palm trees.

At this point, I must admit that my knowledge of large swathes of Scotland is limited to the point of ignorance – but I have an open mind and a strong desire to eat fish and chips outside.

I couldn’t point to Dunoon on a map having spent most of my life in east Edinburgh before the move to the Kingdom 13 years ago – being one of those people who got a nose bleed if they went past Haymarket. I guess you could call me an ‘eastcoaster’.

I remember a close friend once quit his job because the company he worked for were moving offices from Leith Links to the Gyle which could have been in Glasgow as far as he was concerned as there was no way he was going to ‘commute’ there from Lochend. “That’s miles away,” he muttered while choosing to go on the dole.

I’ve never been bitten by a Highland midge and grew up thinking that going over the Forth Road Bridge was the only way to access the frozen north.

I have visited a lot of places in Scotland, mainly ones with football grounds and spent a fair chunk of my youth accompanying my football manager dad and wee brother to go and watch whoever Meadowbank Thistle’s next opponents happened to be.

So, Methil, Coatbridge, Forfar and Arbroath have been ticked off the bucket list.

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We did holiday in Portpatrick in 1982, which I remember because the World Cup was on and I also recall going to the Ayr Football Tournament with Salvesen Boys Club where we stayed at Butlin’s and hit the cider. Forgive me if a theme has emerged. However, I glaze over when work colleagues, some of whom are from the Western Isles, talk fondly of nights spent on sandy beaches, gazing at the stars and going to ceilidhs where they know the dance steps and listen to something called Peat and Diesel.

I have been known to shout loudly when any story about CalMac and his ferry goes in the paper, giving an Alan Partridge-style shrug of the shoulders while saying “I don’t get it.” But for all of this I am eternally ashamed.

So, by way of recompense to my fellow countrymen I now plan to seek out CalMac and take part in his ‘island hopping adventures’ on Das Boot.

I want to sit on a beach with my anorak on and turn blue like Billy Connolly describes.

Perhaps the wife and I will meet another lovely couple who come from Hamilton or Airdrie and we’ll stay in touch.

I have an open mind and I’m willing to experience new things.

Maybe this coronavirus pandemic and the inherent ‘social distancing’ that comes with it could actually help us reconnect with our own country and conversely bring people closer together.

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