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Walking my way through ‘Lockdown’ 

Walking my way through ‘Lockdown’ 

By Daniel   

During this last year of ‘lockdown’ life has changed for everyone, with people working or studying from home, many activities being reduced, key workers being pushed to their limits, and the worry of what could happen. We’ve all had to find our own ways to relax, and cope with the stresses of life in ‘lockdown’.  

‘Lockdown’ has also opened our eyes to the mental health struggles that many people suffer from every day, such as depression and anxiety, and we can all relate to feelings of boredom, lack of focus, and loneliness.  

During lockdown I have managed to find some useful ways to help ‘control’ my negative feelings and try to make the most of ‘lockdown’, including reading all sorts of books, cooking and baking, and gaming (online and traditional).  

My favourite way to feel happier and more relaxed though, was/is to go long walks. I normally go my walks with my mum, or sometimes my dad at the weekend, and we chat about all sorts of things along the way. 

We have been going for walks all through ‘lockdown’, and in all weathers.  In Springtime we often walk in the countryside, and it is always good to see the Spring lambs in the fields. Summer walks are great, though it can get tiring if it is too warm, so I prefer when there is a slight breeze to keep us cool.  

Most of my countryside walks are around Stromness, often up behind my house or ‘round the Loons’.  

One of the downsides of walking in the countryside is when farmers are spreading slurry on the fields, and we have gone home a few times smelling a bit! The good thing about Autumn walks is walking

 

 through the fallen leaves – although we don’t have a lot of trees in Orkney there are some places with a few, like Hillside Rd in Stromness. In Autumn and Winter, the nights get dark sooner, so most of our walks are in the dark, and I have always loved looking up at the stars. Winter walks can be cold and windy, so I don’t always enjoy them so much, though it is still good to get some fresh air. 

Sometimes the weather in Orkney can suddenly change – one Spring day we set off on a walk, and it was quite mild and sunny, but halfway round, near the Waterworks, suddenly we got snowed on! It was a shock but also quite cool! Snowy winter walks can be fun – there is something satisfying about walking on snow, fresh snow, crunchy snow, slushy snow, all snow! 

 

Although we often walk in the countryside, we also go walks by the shore, along beaches, or to places like Happy Valley – I love going to the beach to walk on the sand and paddle in the water, especially in summer, and in Happy Valley it is fun to walk along the river or through the trees. Sometimes we just go a walk down the street and back, which I enjoy, but it can get a bit repetitive if you do it too often. At Christmas it was nice to walk along the street at night and see the houses all lit up.

The walks are even more fun when I discover a new route or go somewhere that I have not been for a while. During ‘lockdown’ we found a few new routes, including one from ‘the Loons’ down past the Waterworks and to Outertown – we didn’t know exactly where we would come out, so that made it more exciting. More recently, in the snow, we went this walk again but in the opposite direction.

As well as getting fresh air, brisk walking is also good exercise, and although we walked more on some days than others, I got out most days, and covered at least a few miles on each walk. A brisk walk can wake you up, or a slower walk can also help to relax you, and walking in the fresh air often gives a better night’s sleep too.  

I often see others out enjoying the fresh air too, walking, running, or cycling – I did go cycling at the start of lockdown, and really enjoy that too, but I need a bigger bike as I have outgrown mine. When we are out, we often bump into folk and have a catch-up chat about what we have been doing – we can still feel connected even though we cannot be together.   

After ‘lockdown’ is over, I’m looking forward to visiting my family on the Scottish mainland, and going some walks with them, through the urban areas and different countryside.

Returning to School after Second Lockdown 

Returning to school after second lockdown 

By Mia 

The Orkney secondary school Stromness Academy went back on the 15th of March as a phased return. All the junior classes were split into three groups that would each go in on different days. One group would go in on Monday and Thursday, another group would go in on Tuesday and Friday and the last group would only go in on Wednesday. These would change each week so that every pupil would get at least a week of school at the end of the three weeks.  

There are certain restrictions that must be carried out by schools. Some of these include: 

– two metre social distancing where possible  

– masks to be worn at all times, except whilst eating or drinking 

– pupils not to attend school if they show any symptoms of coronavirus  

– frequent washing/sanitising 

– for pupils to wipe down their desk/chair or any equipment they were using before leaving the classroom  

This is all subject to change after the Easter Holidays. Currently, plans are in place for pupils going back to school full time after Easter, though this will be confirmed towards the end of the Easter break.  Some of the restrictions like social distancing will ease slightly, but ventilation will most likely increase because of the number of pupils in the school. 

Cosplay in Lockdown

Cosplay in lockdown

By Stella

In lockdown, we have all been looking for alternative ways to entertain ourselves: maybe it’s a new sport, taking up knitting or crocheting, or other crafts.  In early lockdown I first got into cosplaying. My first cosplay was Jack, a character from an anime called Beastars and since then, cosplaying has become a huge hobby for me.

Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume play” is a performance art in which cosplayers dress up and roleplay as characters from tv shows, books, films, video games, and especially Japanese manga and anime. Cosplaying is a very broad term, but it generally applies to anyone dressing up and roleplaying in venues other than on the stage.

 

The term “cosplay” was first coined in 1984, and since the 1990s, it has become a significant aspect of pop culture in Japan, as well as other parts of east Asia and the western world.

A lot of cosplayers use social media, such as tiktok, to share their art, or going to cosplay conventions where they can turn up to an event in cosplay and meet other cosplayers with similar interests.

Japanese anime and manga plays an important role in cosplay: if you

 go to a convention you are certain to see characters from popular anime such as My Hero Academia, Danganropa, and Haikyu.

Cosplay is a very skilled artform and while I have improved since last year, I have a lot to learn. I can’t wait to go to a convention after lockdown!