The Coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, its changed the way we live our lives and has even given rise to this blog! Those of you who know me are no doubt wondering what I am doing writing a blog – I am too (who knows it could end as badly as my stand up comedy career). However, as we have all returned home and sought to shut the outside world out its important that we stay in touch and use this ‘new normal’ as an opportunity to learn about the world outside our own bubble. To that extent, at the request of my good friends at Personality, I have set the task of telling the story of coronavirus on the Isle of Man. As a small and self governing island juridstiction there have been unique challenges and solutions which can and have resulted in an extreme isolation – Hence the title Marooned. With each post I hope to convey something new about life under coronavirus, a life that at times may seem similair to those on the ‘mainland’ but that is equally so different. I sincerely hope that you find the stories to follow enjoyable!
But to begin we must treck back to the time when we were all at University. Yes there were rumblings of potential disruption as we departed for spring break but the lightening fast pace of developments caught many of us off guard, myself included. Having flown home on the lastday before spring break I found myself in a state of limbo. All my possesions in addition to my car were still in Scotland as it became increasingly obvious that there would be no more spring term. As such, just two days after returning the decision was made that I should return to St Andrews collect all my things and come back to the relative safe haven of the Isle of Man. Events quickly took on an added impetus however once the Isle of Man government annoucned a mandatory fourteen day quarantine for all arrivals, an act that would promptly be followed by a complete closure of the borders altogether. Hence, as I boarded the rather small twin propeller Loganair flight back to Edinburgh I knew I was in for a long 24 hours. Having landed and arriving back in St Andrews by 9pm I set about the task of packing all my belongings. It quickly dawned that this peculiar monday night was to be my last in my current house and also my last in St Andrews for months at best. As many students learnt our normal was quite rapidly shattered, in the previous seven days there had been cup finals, pub football and AGM’s (or OGM’s as I think they are better known). Nonetheless after a frantic night of packing and little to no sleep I started the day long drive home, energy drink in hand of course. As I traversed the Queensferry crossing and later left Scotland altogether it was difficult to not feel unnerved. I still don’t know when i’ll next get to relive those sights. Eventually however, Heysham port was reached and the Manx freight ferry the Ben-My-Chree came into sight. A long held icon of pride for Manx people it today took on extra meaning as a refuge. Of course however the four hour crossing was not as kind. Choppy seas and a crowded ferry made for one of the most uncomfortable journeys I can remember. Regardless though she eventually docked at Douglas harbour and I was back. Not an average 24 hours but then again nothing has been normal for a long while. Still an all-nighter is an all-nighter and university wouldn’t be the same without them – guess this was just a rather unusual one!