The Story of an Isolated Man – by Alastair Sharp

Primrose Hill Short Story Entry

I am in isolation and I think I’m so content
As I am old and vulnerable up to the North I’m sent
By loving and well meaning folk
I am transported at a stroke
To Alba’s highest mountains true
Which I am told are good for you
The air is clear and virus free
And you can muse beneath a tree
Away from London’s smoky clime
At this extremely dangerous time
We’ll visit you they say with cheer Although it may not be this year

So I arrive still just alive
To our small highland but and ben
Back to the land where all the men
Wear skirts we call them kilts up here
And lady folk the trousers wear
My father’s folk have fished the sea
And farmed the land and felled the tree
For many a year it must be said
My ancestors the hills did tread
So I am not a total stranger
And do not pose any real danger
As others from the south are feared With Sassenach like virus seared

But if the truth be fully known
Its in the south that I’ve been grown
My father as a widow’s son
Left his wee township on the Don To seek his future and such fame
As he could sprinkle on his name
And I his son have stayed down south
Returning to the river’s mouth
For holidays and now at last
Where I am basking in the past
So Yes I am content I think Enjoying my ancestral link

But months go by and lonesome I
Still gazing at the Highland sky
Am thinking now of Primrose Hill
And where I’ve often had my fill
From there and Hampstead’s giddy hights
Of London’s magisterial sights
In daytime gazing at the Zoo
Observing any creatures new
At night to see the floodlit wheel
So close it seems I almost feel
Its bright reflections in the river
Which wends beneath me in a sliver
The hustle bustle of the street
In villages where people meet
In cafes restaurants and bar
All visiting from near or far
Content I am Yes, pretty clear But not sure if I’ll be next year !

So one fine day
I sped away
And caught the train to London town
I felt quite bad
A little mad
A man so old But still so bold
I bought a mask
For this fine task
A large one too
To hide from you
And others who would be surprised
For me to come before their eyes
I then emerged from Kings Cross Station
To see the state of our fine Nation
And was I happy at the sight
Of Londoners all in their plight
And wearing masks and skulking by
Their eyes averted from the sky
For fear of catching covid’s curse
And maybe even something worse
The pubs were closed the shutters drawn
The atmosphere was most forlorn
Content am I? I’m not so sure Now that I’ve entered London’s door

I caught a bus to Belsize Park
Sat on the top just for a lark
Some maskless youths were drinking beer
Of covid’s bugs they had no fear
I thought I’d walk to Hampstead Heath
To see all London spread beneath
Again the cafes shops and bars
Were shut and in the street no cars
All absent which of course was healthy
Apart from whoppers of the wealthy
Who always seem to ride the wave
Whilst claiming the whole world to save
But for the humble guys like me
I look around and sadly see An empty shell
A kind of Hell
Portending future expectation Awaiting our next generation

Perhaps content I am no longer
To live I now need something stronger
So back upon the bus I crept
And on the journey quietly wept
But as the train went further North
And when it reached the Firth of Forth
My tears had dried
And I had sighed
I’m back again with Highland men And living soon back in my glen

The Highland air the mountain view
The deer the hare and pheasant too
The heather purple on the hill
The soaring eagle so to thrill
The capercaillie and the grouse
The swallows flying o’er the house
My bees that come out when its sunny
To make for me my juicy honey
These things will keep me going Yes
Until we kill this covid mess
Until that time when e’re t’wil be
I’ll stay alone
And use the phone
To those who hold my interest dear I’ll re-assure them not to fear

I love my London’s northern climes
But not in these inclement times Until the South’s a better place
I’ll stay up here my fate to face
Where I’m content I now am sure
Perhaps to live here ever more

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