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  • Maddie Noton

Letters to a loved one.

Letter-writing, although slowly moving over to a digitalised format, retains a certain amount of antique beauty. No longer practical, economical or fast, the art of putting ink to paper and sending its physical body across the world is disappearing, slowly retreating into a relic of the past.

And yet receiving words from a loved one in a letter holds a certain amount of sentimental value, unmatched by a simple text which disappears amid a wave of others. Especially at the moment, as we battle against a virus that seeks to separate us.

In demonstrating the vitality of preserving the culture of letter-writing, I asked many people to choose someone close to them and simply write them a letter. The letters themselves and their responses are listed below and make for a very wholesome reading.

Thank you so much to everyone who got involved!

Greetings from Isolation! by Holly Overs (Instagram: @heovers)

Description: This is a sketchbook page with my ramblings from the first lockdown, dated 23rd of April, 2020. At the time I was struggling with lockdown blues, the postcard was a sort of ironic way of venting off some of the feelings I had ... usually sent to loved ones when you're travelling - instead, it's a postcard for when the world has stopped turning.

Jonathan & Jamie

Dear Jonathan,

It’s been a while! Hope your studies are all going well and all going well, we can meet up soon (preferably somewhere else tropical!) for a drink.

From Jamie.


Dear Jamie,

Hope you are doing well! Can’t believe it has already been 4 years since we first bumped into each other. Missing your craic and hopefully we catch up again soon.

From Jonathan

Rosie & Alice

Dear Rosie,

Did I really only see you a couple of times last year? 2020 is blurry. I have been painting at an alarming rate. Next time you see me I’ll be wearing clay earrings in the shape of little vegetables and smelling of sandalwood. But there are other exciting things to come. I really look forward to seeing you, hopefully in a café somewhere sunny and your face not made of pixels. We are doing well. Big love.

From Alice


Dear Alice,

I can’t believe how long it’s been- even before the pandemic, we really didn’t make it any easier by being at opposite ends of the country! I hope you’re doing okay considering everything. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will be a bit better soon. In the meantime, please keep sending all your TV recommendations my way- there’s only so many times one girl can rewatch Grey’s Anatomy. I miss you and can’t wait to see you!

From Rosie

Sarah & Rhoda

Dear Rhoda,

Thank you for being my ‘straightforward friend.’ For as long as I have known you, I have never had to be anything other than myself in your company. We have shared so many things; good and bad. You really are the sister I never had and the closest thing to an ‘Aunty,’ which I could give my children. Circumstances have meant that we often go a long time without seeing each other but it is the sign of true friendship that we are always able to pick up, exactly where we left off. Lockdown has made me miss you, even though we probably wouldn’t have seen each other anyway! Maybe it is the fact of knowing that we couldn’t get together even if we wanted too. I can’t wait to be allowed to get on a plane and come and see you.

Thank you for being you. Love you lots.

Sarah xx


Dear Sarah,

I’m smiling just writing this as I think of all the laughs and hilarious situations we’ve found ourselves in over many a year! You absolutely warm my heart! You’ve also mended it a fair few times!

Many say Uni days comprise the best days of one’s life. Considering our amazing friendship which emerged from those days, I completely agree!

You’ve held my hand, walked beside me, and ‘had my back’ through fabulous times, tough, grief-stricken times, and those times when I hadn’t a clue what was coming next! Your words of wisdom and support are here in my head and heart. I carry you with me, and for that, I am very grateful!

I simply can’t wait for us to be sitting in the same room again and chatting from dawn until dusk!

All my love coming right at you! You are a truly wonderful, beautiful being!

Rhoda xxx

Isla & Issy

Dear Issy,

Thank you for being a friend during these strange times. I miss going to galleries and talking about art and history with you. Here’s to the future...

Love Isla


Dear Isla,

Thank you for your friendship my lovely. I hope to see you soon and make pizzas and watch movies again. The future will be better.

Issy xx

Athene & Ellie

Dear Ellie,

I know I obviously saw you at Christmas and in the Summer, but this is probably the longest time we've gone without seeing each other over the course of a year. I feel like I am missing a lot of your day-to-day life and the updates I would normally hear about if we lived together (not that that has really happened post boarding school). I am gutted not to have ever seen your old flat or properly met your whole work team or even all your flatmates.

Having just received the book and postcard you sent me, I think book sharing is the way to go - we can actually put our degrees to use after all these years (I say this while deliberately not writing my essay due in 5 days). Rest assured you'll receive some more letters from me and maybe even a book if I too can work out how to post a parcel.

Loads and loads of love,



Dear Bean,

In reality, we would normally only see each other once or twice a year anyway, and I reckon we’ve probably been in touch far more than usual over the course of the old corona-chaos... But just like those videos of small children being told not to eat sweets, not being allowed to do something triggers something of an obstinate response and I can’t wait to give you a hug and question your clothing choices. It’s been too long.

It has been a treat to chat more this year and I’ve really enjoyed our book-club-via-voice-notes. I’d like to put in a request for this to continue post-pandemonium, if only for the perk of good book recommendations.

Ironically, I’ve said a lot of this in the actual letter I actually sent you last week. Hey ho and away we go.

From Ellie

Tom & Eavie

Dear Eavie,

It's strange to me how little I've seen you over the last year. It's weird that we saw each other a week or so before lockdown 1, almost a year ago, and only once since then. It's been strange not getting to experience your unique and fun company and I really miss it and you. Even though it's hard to find opportunities to see each other, I can't wait for the day it happens again.

From Tom


Dear Tom,

I love that when we're together we either end up lying on the floor dying of laughter or else literally almost dying. Dying aside, thank you for always being just a phone call away and giving me (annoyingly) reasonable solutions to all my problems. I miss you and I can't wait to see you again,

Love Eavie.

Poppy & Alice

Dear Alice,

I'm so glad we got to see each other at Christmas, hopefully it won't be long before we're both home again.

It's been a difficult year but I'm looking forward to the time when we'll be able to visit each other and go to gigs and on holiday again.

All my love,



Dear Poppy,

I’m so proud of how well you’ve been doing with your degree.

I can’t wait until we can go out and celebrate your exam results properly!

I miss you!

From Alice

Bea & Maddie

Dear Bea,

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud and inspired by an individual as beautiful and selflessly kind-hearted as you. I feel blessed to have grown up alongside you and I treasure all our moments and memories together (many yet to come!). Although physically we’re currently at opposite ends of the UK, our frequent facetimes and virtual catch ups never fail to brighten my day and hopefully soon I’ll drag you up to Edinburgh – seriously, bring a jacket: it’s cold.

Your unwavering support and friendship mean more to me than I can hope to contain within a few sentences, but you should know that I am thoroughly grateful for your presence in my life. Thanks for that gal!

It seems strange to long for a return to normality – whatever that means – but far from separate us, this abnormal year has only made me more aware of how close we are and how much I’m looking forward to catching up over a good deal of wine and cake.

All my love,

Maddie x


Dear Maddie,

I wanted to write this letter to you in appreciation of everything you are! I have had the pleasure of growing up with you through our early teen years to now, years that truly shape our aspirations and how we want to be in life. This I am so grateful for, as your kindness, diligence and adventurousness really inspire me to look at life with different perspectives and these perspectives will forever stay with me.

It makes me so happy to see you going after your goals while being your wonderful self along the way. I am so proud of you.

Although this past year has been different, I love our facetimes and virtual movie nights so much that for those moments, I forget just how much I miss being with you in person!

I can’t wait to be able to see you in Edinburgh and to create more memories, which in times when we can’t do all that much, I especially enjoy reminiscing on.



Maddie Noton is a second year MA Italian and English Literature student at the University of Edinburgh. This piece was edited by Tamara El-Halawani.



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