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Out of the starting blocks – Lockdown life 2020

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Racehorses; designed for speed, agility and their innate desire to pip colleagues at the post.


Not always the case.

The aptly named gee gee, Mad Moose, bucked that trend with his recurring reluctance to sprint from the starting line.

“He has to think everything’s his idea,” commented frustrated owner, Sophie Burkin, "Sometimes we will go on a hack and he says 'not today thank you'.

Mad Moose needn’t have worried about professional progression. Subsequently, he picked-up a new ‘career’ as a showjumper, acquiring his own Twitter Feed and a dedicated following from those appreciative of his foot-dragging form in the process.

But we digress. Scotland’s lockdown starting-gates are opening and, like a new-born foal, we’re taking the first, wobbly, steps.

Fantastic news and fingers crossed it’s going to last.

Freedom though comes with different responsibilities and, just like our enigmatic equine, a whole new raft of rules must be rediscovered.

Case one: Money.

Take the card PIN number. Banks rapidly increased contactless payments from £30 to £45. Hoorah. Buying mainly online, with occasional scoots to the obliging Co-op, we’ve happily scuttled beneath this financial watershed for most of the lockdown.

Imagine the shame, when rashly stocking-up at the chemists, ‘enter your pin number here’ put me on the spot like a Mastermind contestant. Had someone produced a thermometer, my temperature would undoubtedly have elicited alarms.

Case two: Transport.

You never forget to ride a bike apparently but driving’s another contentious matter. Like most households, our family car is suffering from infrequent use, issuing dire warnings of dipping battery levels whenever the ignition is sparked.

Two and half months to the gallon anybody? Yup, us too.

Venturing to the supermarket elicited a Boeing-sized check-list before pressing the accelerator, habitual instincts of an experienced driver having, like the mysterious security digits, galloped away.

Case three: Security.

Talking of leaving the home, for many months the house has been permanently occupied, amply fulfilling the insurance company’s demand for continual inhabitance.

Going our separate ways, it’s back to the drawing board.

Hitherto brazenly waltzing out the door - little thought of boiling pots, open windows or running taps - now that we’re all out to play, a full security sweep must suddenly be conducted before locking-up.

Oh yes, locking the door. There’s a story.

“I thought you had the key.”

“I thought YOU had the key.”

“Er, no.”

And all this before we’ve even attempted shopping.

Stand here. Don’t sit there. You mustn’t touch that. Have you wiped your bag madam? Move along. Please don’t put that back on the shelf.


Exhausting, just thinking about it.

But proceed we must, even if it is, like Mad Moose, at a self-imposed pace.

New tricks – and old ones – to be learnt and exercised on our personal racetracks.

So, saddle-up everyone, we’re under starter’s orders. Time to walk the course and think about the race plan. No slacking number seven!

Mairi Fraser


Not an actual racehorse. Good spot!

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