SO how do you cope, they ask. Living in a village and all. Being locked down away from a proper town.

These queries usually come from folks still living in my home city of Glasgow, or from Edinburgh where I have a lot of friends. (Some even gave me my tea pre Covid!)

What none of them understands is that village life has a different set of ground rules, and a different order of advantages.

This morning, as I write, the mobile fish van stopped at my gate. He doesn’t usually; normally he parks at the end of the road. But a neighbour told him I’d been out earlier looking for him, so he came along when his queue had gone, and sold me my weekly supplies. It’s a village thing.

A wee while back, I got a puncture about a mile from home, two miles from the local garage. It was ten minutes before the garage shut for lunch. A passing acquaintance stopped, and raced to the garage before it closed. The garage then put lunch on pause and came along to rescue me. It’s a village thing. (And yes, I have changed tyres before, but not since wheel nuts became machine tightened.)

We like to celebrate birthdays round here. When one of them fell in fully blown lockdown, we made a socially distanced pilgrimage to her house with gifts and bubbly. A local piper played happy birthday. A very special village thing.

READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: April 22, 2021

There aren’t leisure attractions round the corner, but we have a film society, a sailing club, a multi faceted village hall, and our own book festival. Of late the heroic efforts of the creative communities have brought us lots of lockdown soul food online. Not exclusively a village thing, of course, but a real treat.

It’s not the perfect lifestyle; there’s not much folks don’t know about what’s happening to you, and to just about everyone else. We can, and do, gossip with the best of them.

Yet that’s not always a bad thing. A wee while back I had a bit of hassle with some bampot. A local pal recommended some home security, and said he’d help fit it. New neighbours gave me their mobiles in case I needed them. It’s a village thing.

Plus local shops which may lack range, but chat on first name terms. Scenery on the doorstep which never ceases to amaze and inspire. It’s a village thing. Wouldn’t swap it.