Life in Lockdown

Alisha Thomson 

Photo of a Dutch spotted Texel ram lamb. Stenness. Alisha Thomson.

While in lockdown, I have mostly been doing school work and FaceTiming with friends and family.  It is different talking to family through a screen, but at least I can speak to family in some way.

At the start of Lockdown my Mum and I went for a walk each day around where we live. I have been for a few cycles when it has been sunny.

The weather has been really good during lockdown. This is a good and a bad thing: we can go outside in the garden, but we cannot go to the beach as often as we would have.

My dad has a farm. As lambing has started, I stayed with with him to help on the farm. There were lots of caddy lambs to feed every day. Since the weather was so good, most of the lambs were able to go outside and enjoy jumping and running in

all the fields. There was one special lamb whose mum had died, so I named him Bill, after my step-grandad.

Daffodil bud.
Alisha Thomson

How are Locals Dealing with Isolation?

Katrina Braddock

As the seventh case of the Covid 19 hits our islands many locals are currently in isolation. Locals are either self-isolating, or have gotten a letter from the government advising them to.

Sian, a local in Graemsay, who is isolating, said she is in isolation because of her asthma – a condition which affects her lungs and her breathing. If she catches Covid-19 she said her lungs would not be able to cope.

She said she received a letter from the government advising her to “shield” for at least 12 weeks. That means no face to face contact with anyone. She is not allowed to leave her house or garden over that period of time, although she does go down to the beach for a walk when there is no-one around.

She passes the time by working parts of the day from Monday to Friday. This also makes sure she has a routine. It is important to have a routine when you are in isolation. She goes out for fresh air each day, usually by looking after the chickens and walking the cat.

She said in the evenings she watches tv or films online. She also enjoys reading and jigsaws.

She said that initially she will be “shielding” (that is a group of people who are vulnerable to getting very ill with Covid 19 due to health issues) for 12 weeks. Sian said that she expects to be in isolation longer, at least until Orkney is clear of Covid-19 or they can give her a vaccine.

Sian said she keeps in touch with her friends using social media (Facebook  and WhatsApp) and video calls them using Facetime, WhatsApp or Zoom. She prefers WhatsApp to the rest. She said we talk on the phone, and sometimes email each other as well.

She said, as ever, folk on Graemsay have been helpful, especially my neighbours Sandra and Michael, and the shops have also been helpful. They have delivered my food to the pier for me.

Sian said she has been working at home for 15 years now so being in isolation doesn’t affect her work, but it does affect her colleagues. They’re having to find new ways to communicate

Sian said that she is very worried about Covid-19. Usually when she gets an asthma attack the drugs quickly make her feel better, but last year she went to hospital and the drugs didn’t work.  She had to walk slowly and stop for a breaths. She is worried because she knows that Covid-19 is even worse than that. Sian said she is also very worried about her family and friends getting it. Sian also commented that isolation can get quite hard sometimes.

There are many people in Orkney with asthma or other health issues who are isolating that do not know how long they will be in isolation for and are finding it difficult. Orkney is lucky to have such a great community that are helping each other through these difficult times.

Stenness WIFI Struggles

Elsa McIntosh

Orkney has bad wifi, but for some reason Stenness is the worst. It is so bad that it is stopping us getting on with work. We cannot communicate with family members and friends. Only one person can be uploading or downloading something at a time. 







During the first week of lockdown there was a BT engineer at our house to try and fix the internet. It turns out that there was a fault in the line. A couple hours later the line was fixed, but nothing had changed; the internet remains as bad as before.

The average speed for good wifi in 2019 was a 25Mbps upload speed, and for some people that is considered slow compared to what they might have. But, here in Stenness, we only have an upload speed of 0.08Mbps, and a download speed of 0.28Mbps. That is not enough to upload my homework to Teams, or for my sisters to show their teachers some work on Seasaw. Mum and Dad have to use a personal hotspot on their phones to do their work.

It is important that our wifi works because we use it everyday and for many things. I use it for homework and so do my sisters. Mum uses it for her work. We cannot use our wifi to connect to my sister’s dance class. We have to use a hotspot.  This is costing us a fortune as we have to buy extra ‘data’ to cope with how much we use it.

Kim McIntosh, my mother, explained that working from home using bad wifi is: “Frustrating!”

She said: “A lot of the work that I do requires, video calls, email, access to teams and uploading and downloading documents, so I do need a strong internet connection for lots of those things. Sometimes I am just not able to participate in team meetings and conferences because the internet just can’t cope with it. I sometimes have to get inventive with how I keep connected.”

Suddenly… Nothing Happened

Raven Lea

Reports are coming in that yesterday, nothing happened.

The view of nothing happening.

Reliable sources confirmed today that nothing has been happening in small outbreaks all over the country.  They went on to say that, in their opinion, it was not anything to worry about.

Eyewitnesses have been contacting us with their stories.  One lady, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated: “I was just sat there, when it happened. Nothing, just happened. I didn’t know what to make of it.”

When asked to confirm these reports, government officials said: “We cannot confirm or deny this at the moment, but rest assured we will be looking into it. But when reports like this come in it is usually in the public interest to go along with it to maintain safety.”

The official said that more information can be found on the government website

In the past there have been sporadic reports of nothing happening, but never to such an extent.  During these outbreaks no one was injured and we are led to believe by following the current trends that there is a very good chance that nothing will happen tomorrow.

If you have any stories or pictures about nothing happening to you, please email them to our newsdesk.

How is Covid-19 affecting key workers?

Beth Fisher

People like delivery drivers, council works and teaches could be risking their lives to keep the country moving, help you to survive and feel safe.

We know that the NHS is under extreme pressure, but no one really mentions all the other key works working day and night who are not getting any praise. The country needs to respect  key workers and what they do.

Does anyone now what happens at their work or how it is affecting their families? My Dad is a delivery driver and he is working down in England (the north east) were there are 2,948 people who have died. I have not seen him for 2 months and hardly talk to him as because he works nights he is always asleep in the day and at work at night. It is putting a strain on the family. He is being more distance and he told us he is just fed up. He does not have a set timetable and he can go days with no work and then have days of consecutive work. He is staying at our other house by himself; he goes to work at night and sees no one, then goes home to no one.

My sister, who is a teacher of 6-7-year olds, is also still working. In her school there were only 2 pupils in the whole school. She must go in once every three weeks with one other teacher to look after the two children. She states that if we were going to go back to school then they wouldn’t even be able to fit half of the class in and still maintain social distancing, not to mention that a lot of her children are already behind in school so they cannot afford to miss out even more.