THE order to shield has now been removed as a compulsory Government order but many of us in this “high-risk” category are not about to let our guard down.

We’re not ready to use public transport or to wander among the supermarket food shoppers – we’ve got used to alternative arrangements and still feel that exposure is a step too far.

Many of us went into isolation before the official lockdown so we’re only a couple of weeks away from five months in this strangely odd life of limbo.

Recently my wife and me were delighted to welcome our boxer dog Mishka back home – she’d been staying with family in Glasgow while we were unable to take her out for walks. Since then, we’ve tried a few local parks and beaches to find suitably quiet places to walk and feel safe but the obvious places are always very busy.

Maintaining two metres of separation doesn’t come close to what we require to feel safe. Faced with this dilemma, we decided to visit the “old” section of Kilmarnock cemetery.

As a younger woman, my wife often walked in Eastwood cemetery in Glasgow where she would enjoy the peace and quiet, and stop to read the engraved headstones.

It’s never been something I’ve even considered – in fact, it all seemed a bit odd to want to walk in a graveyard.

But I’ve listened to her stories of those walks and the memories she’s discovered during those quiet moments.

There was a gravestone marking the resting place of a very young boy. The words on the stone said “Frankie’s no’ a bad boy”.

When passing the graveside she’d notice someone had left what appeared to be a few coins of pocket money for the wee lad. There is something very beautiful about that story. Perhaps it was a mum or a grandad who left those pennies. Knowing who is not important.

So, it was with stories such as this in my mind that we headed to the nearby Kilmarnock cemetery where gravestones date back more than 200 years.

Many are grand monuments to pillars of society but there are also many more modest stones reflecting lives well lived and loved.

It’s here that we have found a peace, a solace and a place we like to walk together. It’s not that we’re thinking about death itself or that my cancer undoubtedly makes death more likely in the near future.

It’s all part of the mystery that causes so many roads to lead to the same place. A place that is nice to visit and be at one with yourself and where memories live.

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management.