Day 118 – Reflections on Lock-Down

posted in: Stories | 2
This photo is from the Day 76 and NOT taken today.

It was 9 days ago on Friday 10th July (Day 109) when wearing face-coverings in shops in Scotland, became compulsory.  England is soon to follow with it becomes compulsory on Friday 24th July (Day 123).

For the first few days of the law coming in, I would find myself arriving at a shop and thinking “Damn, I’ve forgotten my face-covering, again!”.  Then peering in, explaining I had forgotten my face-covering and could I come in?  The reply, was always Yes!  Phew!

As the days, progressed, I would get half way down the street and then remember I had forgotten my face-covering and then turn back and go and get it.  More recently, I get to the bottom of the stairwell in my flat and remember.  Today, I got outside my flat and remembered!

It’s not just me – everyone I’ve spoken to says the same thing.  Also, everyone agrees that it is really uncomfortable wearing them.  Hot, hard to hear what people are saying and feels unnatural.

This photo is from the Day 76 and NOT taken today.

Why, do I start my blog with this?  This morning, when I was thinking about yesterdays blog (Day 117) I was mulling over the ‘muscle memory’ analogy of venturing beyond the ‘geographical bubble’ of safety.  Then I realised, that this whole wearing face-covering in shops and remember to take it with you is also muscle memory!  I’m sure in a matter of weeks or months, it will become second nature to go out with a face-covering and not wearing will feel uncomfortable!

Certainly in the winter, they are going to help to keep us all warm 😉

There have been so many massive changes in our lives since March, so many adjustments and new things to get our heads round, no wonder it is all becoming a bit overwhelming for us all and it is talking a while to catch up with it.

I remember Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, saying that he wants taking your face-covering everywhere you go, to become as natural as taking your mobile phone with you, where everywhere you go!

Usually, new things, like having a mobile phone is a gradual thing.  You see friends have one and you think, I’ll get one – it’s a matter of choice.  We may mull over it for a while, before venturing to the shop to get one.  Maybe talking to people first, doing a bit of research, before finally making the commitment.

I can’t remember, when things were so heavily enforced, so quickly within my lifetime.

The other thing that I find a real hassle, is when you arrive at the shop, having to slip the mask on.  I carry mine in a wee bag in my pocket, which also has alcohol gel, to use before and after I go into the shop and put on the face-covering.  Wearing sunglasses as well, when putting on the face-covering can be a real hassle.  Yesterday the arm of my sunglasses jagged up my nose, as I tried to put the face-covering on – ouch!

I now understand why so many people, wear theirs just round their neck.  It’s easy, just to pull on and pull off and you know where it is!  I may try this and see if it’s easier.  Face-coverings have definitely become a fashion accessory!

On our morning walk, I noticed just how many cafes, restaurants and pubs have chairs outside them.  Yesterday afternoon, they were all full up with people.  Leith has been trying to encourage people to sit outside for years, but the cold weather has put people off – now people are keen, as they don’t want to be inside!

Now that the north-bound of Leith Walk is shut due to the Tram works, it is also really quiet to sit outside and have a drink.

There was even a cafe outside the Leith Walk Police Box.  Originally there were 142 police boxes in Edinburgh, installed in 1933.  The police boxes used to have a siren on the top of them and were used by police officers on the beat to phone in to the station with a note of where they were and get instructions on where to go next.

You can read more from the article that I took this from –

In 2012, 22 of the police boxes were put up for sale and turned into various things like coffee shops, ice cream shop, vape shop, sandwich shop, etc…the one on Easter Road was used for a while an Art Exhibition about telephones!  Monty bought the one on Leith Walk and it is used for a variety of different things over the years, including a campaigning station for the Scottish Green Party and the Edinburgh Tool Library.

I remember she said when Leith Walk gets closed for the Tram works, she was hoping to set up a mini-market next to the Police Box.

Today, it was set up as Smex Cafe, selling art and illustration work and fair-trade coffee and tea!  They are there once a fortnight, Saturday and Sunday from midday to 5pm.


Poetry / Art Corner

Here is the forth in the series of drawings I did many years ago at my first and only Life Drawing Class.  The first drawing is on Day 115, the second drawing is on Day 116 and the third yesterday on Day 117.

My friend Theo had taken me along to the class and although I protested I could not draw, he encouraged me that anyone could draw.  The lady was only posing for 10-15 minutes before changing pose.

Whilst doing this particular drawing, I heard some people laughing somewhere behind me.  Were they laughing it my drawings?  No they couldn’t be, this was a professional class!!  I mentioned it to Theo in the car on the way back to his house and he said I was being paranoid – they wouldn’t have been laughing at my drawings.

However, later when Theo and his wife Jane asked to see my drawings, they burst out laughing – and confirmed that the people in the class were probably laughing at my drawings!  We all fell about in hysterics at the drawings!

That Christmas, I printed a calendar of all the photos and gave it to Theo and Jane as a present.  It hung with pride in their Kitchen and provided a lot of laughter to visitors!

I find them really funny too!  But also proud of them all!

This probably is my favourite – although it looks like a face, it is not – the “eyes” are meant to breasts!



If you have any paintings, drawings, sculptures or any type of art you want to share here please do send to me.  Or some art you really like.  Or any poem you have written or really like.  Otherwise, I will continue with my daily life drawing pictures!

Readers Corner

Ryan, who I wrote about on Day 116, posted a comment today at the bottom of that blog saying:

“Hey Jim hope you’re well, it was good to talk to you, brought some sunshine into an otherwise dreich day. Take care, Ryan.”.


Thanks Ryan for your comment.  I must admit that meeting you and chatting also brightened up my Friday.  Hope to catch you again soon in the park!


It Made Me Smile

This photo was posted on an Edinburgh WhatsApp Group I am part of.  Which made me smile.

It is showing the amount of plants that are growing outside a unused office in Edinburgh!  How amazing, that without human intervention, the city is turning into the countryside 🙂



As I come to the end of this blog, it is super early, which is nice to be going to bed before midnight!

It’s been a productive weekend of decorating my flat, which I am really enjoying.  It turns out that the 3/4 full tub of 10 litres of paint that Kate gave to me on Day 110 was actually unused!  I bumped into her neighbour last week, who had given it to Kate and thanked her for the paint.  She said, it had been given to her about 4 months ago, but she didn’t use it, so gave it to Kate, who also didn’t use it!  I am totally thankful to the both of them for giving me the paint.  I am sure they are glad it’s gone to a good home.

Yesterday, Austen who I was at the Bar-BQ last Sunday (Day 111) messaged me to say his girlfriends, sister-in-law had met me and Honey on Arthur’s Seat and had a “lovely encounter” with me and I took a photo of her for the blog.  It took me a while to work out who that was but it was Laura from Latvia on Day 54.  I am sure these connections happen all the time, but this blog, is allowing me realise them more!

It’s been 70 days (Day 48) since Boris Johnson first addressed the nation to say that lock-down was easing.  I am now accepting that a full lock-down is over and that we are in a phase of easing it, but I am still adjusting to all these massive changes!  Using alcohol gel, is a way of life.  Washing hands every time I come into my flat, or after unpacking my shopping or receiving a parcel and unwrapping it, is a way of life.  Social distancing, is a way of life.  Not being able to hug friends when I see them or say goodbye is really hard, but a way of life.  But wearing a face-covering or venturing into Edinburgh city centre or beyond is not a way of life!

What have you adjusted to easily, but finding hard to adjust to?

I’ve arranged to go and visit my friend Henry in Fife next weekend, which will involve getting a train, so that will be interesting!

Today the weather has been relatively warm(ish), but also cold(ish), cloudy with some sun, although not too cold to get away with wearing shorts (and socks) all day!

Hope you have all had a great weekend.

Lots of love.

Jim xx


2 Responses

  1. Helen

    I remember seatbelts in the back seat becoming legally mandatory (in the 80s?) I’m sure there were a few trips where we clicked in halfway to our destination. Although, back then it was my parent in the driver’s seat who had to remind us to buckle up.

  2. Helen

    Just reflecting on the things you mention that have become a way of life now … I had a lovely day yesterday with family, but I had to remind myself, out loud, that I couldn’t hug Micke’s cousin. She’s such a huggable person And her dad gives the best bear hugs that I found myself really missing yesterday.