Irene’s Story

Irene’s Story

“… when I came out, I thought the Burgh band would’ve been there, playing a tune for me. “

“The day before, no the sorry, the Sunday before that [lockdown] I had taken my grandchildren to see Cirque de Soleil out at Braehead; my older grandchildren… and I said to them when we were in the car, ‘This is the last big thing you’ll see like this for at least a few years. Things like this aren’t going to be possible’… and they couldn’t understand. I mean, they had known, they’d been talking about it at school, they’d some kind of inkling but it was the impact of ordinary life… being able to be spontaneous and go and do something fun like that. So we really enjoyed that circus and the whole time I was watching all those acrobats thinking, ‘You poor souls.’ ‘Cause they were from Poland, from Russia, from Canada… and I was thinking, ‘How are you all gonna get home if we go into a lockdown in a few days?’ Which of course we did but I think they all managed to get home [laughs].”

“But there was lot of time you were on your own and there came a time, I think after about three weeks, I had to stop watching the news. I had to stop sitting down with a cup of tea ready to watch today’s announcements because it was just piling up and piling up and it was just making me angry. ‘Cause I was really thinking… it could not have been avoided but it could’ve been managed much better.”

“I went down to the house once; [her daughter’s house] I walked down and I had something to give my daughter and I stood at one end of the garden and she stood at the front door and we both just stood and cried. So we didn’t do that again. Because I couldn’t go in the house and the kids were all waving at the window and no, I’m not doing that again. It was too difficult.”

Irene Widdop at Barrhead Foundry, photograph by Wes Kingston

“When they came along [vaccines] the sense of relief was overwhelming, it really was. I couldn’t wait to bare my arm and get one.”

“I went to the big gymnasium in Barrhead Sports Centre and eh it was [pauses] D’you know I was disappointed in a lot of ways ‘cause when I came out, I thought the Burgh band would’ve been there, playing a tune for me. And they weren’t! [laughs] But I wanted to celebrate, really celebrate and encourage everybody else to go and get it done and they were so pleasant all the people that were in there. Straight in, got it done, back out again after my wee sit and wait. It was great.”

“I found the second lockdown worse because that was over Christmas and I couldn’t travel… and that was really hard. Couldn’t get together as a family. But once we could actually start getting together after the first lockdown, it was very tentative. We were all very tentative, in trying to keep our distance and waving from the other end of the garden and stuff and it… just didn’t, none of it feels right and in some ways, I’d have rather not been there and still rather just be on my own until we can be back to normal, whatever the hell that is now.”

Testimony of Irene Widdop, retired nurse
Photography by Wes Kingston
Interview & transcript by Amanda Robb

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