Day 114 – Reflections on Lock-Down

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Today is the 15th July, the day that everyone has been waiting for in Scotland, when tourism, pubs, restaurants and sit-in cafes opened up!

This morning, I had forgotten all about this, but on our morning walk around the nearby streets in Leith, we past a number of pubs that were open or opening up.  There were also some barbers and hairdressers open as well, but can’t remember if they opened today or another day?!

In fact as we went by The Beir Hoose, Nathan the manager, was just opening up – I know him from my magic.  He seemed happy to be finally opening the shutters and unlocking the door saying “it’s been a long wait”. 

This is the pub, that I mentioned in Day 38, remember the ‘Pilrig Muddle’?. The bar on the Leith / Edinburgh boundary, has a door in Edinburgh and a door in Leith.  Due to Leith and Edinburgh having different licensing laws, back in the early 1900s, in which Edinburgh stopped serving at 9.30pm and Leith at 10pm.  The pub has two doors, so that at 9.30pm, everyone would move across the boundary and have another 30 minutes drinking time, leaving the pub via the Leith door.

We went into Word of Mouth cafe, which from today, could allow people to eat in.  Usually this place is very busy, but due to social distancing only four tables were available for eating in.  With a couple outside too.


Wednesday evenings seem to have become the day that Honey and I run round Arthur’s Seat (clockwise), in total doing 8km.  It was a harder run today, as I have run the last two days too, although only 4-5km each day.  I think I will take a break from running for a few days!  We have planned a walk with our friend Helen tomorrow!

Today we have a guest blog from Matt, who is currently on holiday staying above Penpol Creek, part of the river, waterway and estuary network around Falmouth, in Cornwall.  Thanks Matt for taking the time to write this.

If you want to submit something for a Guest Blog, about anything at all that you are up to and interested in, please do get in touch.

So I will hand you over to Matt.


Guest Blog

When I arrived, I was anticipating a bit of a lockdown situation. This would have been understandable. Instead, an abbot of a Buddhist temple was staying here along with 3 people supporting his visit!

So we started Saturday morning with some chanting in Pali led by the abbot, gave him alms, then had a wonderful breakfast of the food prepared for his visit!

So there are so many places to swim as well as the sea. The sea is very safe to swim in round here, near Falmouth, as the bays are very sheltered.

And then there are the waterways. I swam at St Mawes, a village at the end of the Roseland Peninsula on Sunday evening.


And in the river Helford, among others, yesterday


Swimming in the Helford reminds me of a swim made by Roger Deakin, who wrote Waterlog, about wild swimming in and around the British Isles. He swam I’m Frenchman’s Creek on the opposite side of the river at low tide, crawling through the mud at times!

I had a similar experience swimming locally on Saturday where Penpol Creek meets the larger Restronguet Creek at Point, a ten minute leisurely walk from auntie’s – there were some slightly deeper channels but at times I was in barely a foot of water, with the bottom so muddy you could only sink not walk.

I’m very fortunate to be here enjoying a holiday not restricted by where we are with Covid-19. And yes, Honey would love the swimming, and no doubt the mud here!!

Poetry Corner

Nothing to share here, anyone want to share their favourite poem?  Or a poem you have written?  Or even words from a favourite song?


Jennie’s Mini-Blog Corner

Nothing to share here, Jennie’s hit writers block!

If anyone has ever wanted to write a blog, but not had the time or the platform to do so, then let in touch and you can have your own ‘Mini-Blog Corner’!  You don’t need to write much, just like a paragraph or two.  Doesn’t even have to be everyday, could be twice a week, weekly or just once a month!  As long as it’s regular.

Here’s a photo of Honey the Dog instead!  She’s got good at posing for photos, since I started writing this blog!



Readers Corner

No writers blog for Brian, who sent me 755 words saying “Extended Readers Corner Contribution!”.

I wondered, whether it in fact could be a ‘Guest Blog’, but Matt had already submitted something AND Brian seems to have written this stories addressed to me.  So feels it fits better in Readers Corner.  This is what Brian says:

“Hello There!

I was reflecting over the last couple of days that this is the time of year when we are normally hanging out on Berneray and it got me thinking about my many visits there. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I then saw a message posted by the Gatliff Trust to say that the hostels they run at Berneray, Howmore and Rhenigdale are to remain closed as they say it is impossible for them to meet the social distancing restrictions. I was obviously quite sad at this, as it meant that these places, which are normally so sociable, welcoming and friendly, will be lying empty and quiet as the tourism industry gradually opens up this week, the very week when we are normally in the islands.

You will remember we had a virtual Energy Festival on Day 89, to raise money for the Gatliff Trust.  We raised £250.  These photos below are of the newly thatched Berneray Hostel, just before lock-down.

I had heard about Berneray a lot before I finally made it there on one of my trips through the islands, I think in 2003, when I went to the islands between two weddings, including my sister’s, which happened to be on a Thursday! I have very vivid memories of the long week to the ferry terminal in blazing sunshine. It didn’t seem that far going in the other direction when you got a lift! I remember thinking it was an amazing place to visit, albeit it briefly on that occasion, when I think I managed to hitch a lift there, with the unbeatable combination of the location overlooking the beach and the distant hills of Harris, along with the timeless hostel, with its open kitchen and common room. I’m sure this was the same trip that I hired a bike and cycled from South Uist to Eriskay…which I’m sure you have never believed to this day! Maybe it was another six years before I visited again, in 2009, when you cycled there yourself all the way from Barra!

I have lots of other memories of camping by the dunes, hanging out in the hostel, exploring the island – and its only shop! and of course going to events at Berneray Week, the social highlight of the year…especially the infamous Maverick Monday Ceilidh which often coincides with our visits! In the last couple of years we have been encouraging friends to rendezvous there on route to our traditional mass gathering at the HebCelt festival in Stornoway.

The announcement that the hostels were to stay closed reminded me of the time we were there with the infamous Drew Huggan and his wife Kirsten, before they had a family! I had always thought that the song he wrote inspired by his visits there and the friendly welcome new arrivals always get at the hostel would make a great video, so I was a bit disappointed when Drew expressed reluctance at the idea. But of course with a bit of gentle persuasion, he warmed to the idea and we had great fun filming the scenes, some of which featured people we had just met who must have thought we had lost our minds!

The video that Brian is referring to is a music video we made in 2017, filmed and edited completely on Drew’s iPhone.  The weather was perfect!  The song is based on Berneray Hostel, where most of the filming took place.  Check it out below:



Then this morning, another memorable Berneray-related picture popped up on my phone, which I know you have a funny anecdote about.

But just in case you have forgotten…

As you know we have great fun every year wondering if we will discover any “Fresh Blood” for the Celtic Energy Gang on our travels. When we were travelling to Stornoway a few years ago I dropped into Berneray for the night with Jules “The Rockstar” Reed, full of high hopes that we were bound to meet Fresh Blood in the hostel that night. For some strange reason, the hostel was very quiet that night, with Jules and I sitting in the kitchen on our own as darkness began to fall outside… And then the door burst open and in stumbled a mysterious French backbacker, who announced triumphantly that she had hitched to Berneray all the way from Stornoway, our very destination the following day! In a strange twist of fate, Heloise the hitchhiking French maverick, had decided to head south to find somewhere to celebrate her birthday, the day before Jules was due to celebrate his own birthday…! With some gentle persuasion, a plan was hatched over a few whiskies to take Heloise back to Stornoway to let her join in the fun and festivities at Hebcelt. The only problem looming on the horizon was that the two main days at the festival on the Friday and Saturday were completely sold out! Did we know anyone that could help ensure Heloise’s first Hebcelt adventure did not fizzle out…??”


The story continues, with Brian sending me a message saying he was looking for Heb Celt tickets.  I was arriving late to the festival that year and was getting the ferry from Ullapool on the Friday lunchtime.  As I boarded the ferry and before I lost mobile reception, Brian messaged me saying “make a sign”!  A great idea, but not so easy when you are on a packed ferry with nothing to make a sign with.

BUT – I came up with an ingenious plan.  I found a ‘sick bag’ on the ferry (unused), carefully opened it up and went to the Kids area and used the pens there to write on it and make a sign.  I then used my mobile phone charging cable to poke through the bag and wore it round my neck.

It resulted in us being inundated with ticket offers and Heloise, made it to the whole of the festival.  All tickets had been sold out weeks, if not months in advance, because Runrig were playing.


If you enjoyed the music video we made (above), you may enjoy this one as well, which is The Out-Takes of the filming.




It Made Me Smile

This video made me smile – well until the very end when I realised it was an advert for following Jesus.  Not that I am particularly anti-christianity.  But I think it would have been more universal if the christianity part was missed out at the end.

What it did remind me of, is how Covid-19 is connecting us all together.  Connecting us all to our humanity, to our vulnerability.  I explored this on Day 73 and Day 74 looking at how Covid-19 and lock-down was created a ‘universal connection’ and ‘universal experience’.  The video made this so much more real.

The other thing that annoyed me about this video, is that it showed ‘England’ and not ‘UK’ or ‘Britain’.  A common mistake by people, who are English or from the US – but still very annoying.  It always winds up the Scottish!



Day 3 of Post-25 Day Push-Up Challenge


As I come to the end of today’s blog, I must apologise that my daily photo to go in this section, which I take whilst walking Honey the Dog on our bedtime walk, did not come out.  I took the photo and then moved and so the photo was blurred.

So instead, I have included a great photo that I took today, whist running round Arthur’s Seat, with the clouds, sun and Edinburgh skyline.  I am pretty proud of this photo as I took it with no filters!  The clouds over the last few days have been amazing!

The weather today has been warm, with some blue sky, lots of clouds and no rain.  On our bedtime walk, it was getting dark by 9.50pm, we used to be in total daylight at that time.  It is a stark reminder that it won’t be long until we have the early dark nights!

The next 4 days I am not working, but I seem to have packed quite a lot into it.  I hope to find sometime to just relax and chill out – plus get on with continuing to decorate my flat!

Hope you’ve had a good week so far.

Thanks for your continual reading.

Take Care!

Jim xx