Day 145 – Reflections on Lock-Down

posted in: Stories | 1

Wow – what a day!

Woke up at 10am and went for our morning walk to Kate’s Park.  Was thinking how great the community is that I am part of on Easter Road.  There’s so many familiar people, I see and talk to, shop keepers, cafe owners, residents, friends, etc…It feels so vibrant and alive!  Most people know me or recognise me, because of Honey the Dog.  About a month ago, someone commented that it’s great that I take Honey with me where ever I go, as many dog owners just leave their dog at home.  I would not think to leave her home alone, unless she can’t come with me.

I then, set a plan on how to get Pets at Home to buy Honey a new lead.  It’s a slip rope lead, that goes over her head, rather than attaches to her collar.  She is very good at just slipping her collar off when using a lead that attaches to her collar.  We dropped into the Ear Shop and they did sell slip rope leads, but it was a bit thicker and shorter.  Wondering whether it would be easier to go with that one, I felt a sense of disappointment, as I was planning on cycling to Pets at Home and didn’t want to miss out on a mini-adventure!

It’s about 6 miles to Fort Kinnaird, which is an out of town retail park.

The Just Eat Cycles, that I use is a special offer, pay £2.50 a month and you use them as many times as you like – the first 60 minutes is free, then it starts at 5p a minute.  So I had to plan, how to get there and back, going via the Just Eat Cycle bike stations, so I could drop off the bike within 60 minutes and pick another up.  With a little bit of hesitation if this would not be possible!

I worked out my route and started my journey.

I decided to go through the Innocent Railway Tunnel, which appeared on Day 128.  On the way to pick up the bike, I bumped into Tom who last appeared on Day 117, but also on Day 96 and Day 40.

The first part of the journey to the tunnel was on roads, the rest was on cycle paths.  As I headed up Leith Street I found that today it was totally closed, yesterday (Day 144) it was closed one way.

I didn’t realise that the Tunnel was downhill all the way and so managed to take a great video going through it, it’s just over 500 metres long, without peddling at all.

The video is 60 seconds long, I originally edited the video so it was twice as fast, but didn’t think that very worked.  So I’ve added a wee tune to it, so you can enjoy watching and not get bored!


It really feels like you are going through a tunnel on a train!

I then continued on cycle paths all the way to Brunstane train station.  This is a popular route for cyclists, so I kept checking all bikes, to see if I spotted my bike that I lost.  Thinking, if someone stole my bike, they would sell it or use it in another part of Edinburgh.

Near Bingham, I suddenly saw my bike – I think!!  I realised, my bike is quite distinctive – it was/is a mountain bike, with thin tyres, with pannier racks on the back, quite unique handle bars and a bottle holder.  The cyclist was going the other way to me, quite fast and I thought I could turn round, but I was on a mission to get to the next Just Eat Cycle Station.  I let it go.  I did only see it for a couple of seconds, before it was gone, perhaps it wasn’t my bike?

I then started thinking about my bike and concluded that if the bike was being used by someone, living with little money, in hard conditions, it felt okay that it was being used by someone who needed it more than I did.  Starting to feel empathy for the person who had it.  I would be happy that it was being used, rather than being in a ditch somewhere.

I reflected on how, it is our society, that stealing what belong to us, is a criminal act – wondering whether it has always been like that.  I also, thought about a chapter in the book Who Dies by Stephen Levine and how we have so much emotional attachment to our possessions.  It’s good to let things go through our lives, because when we die we have to let everything go.

Anyway, I got to Brunstane Train Station and couldn’t find the bike station.  Getting out the App to find there wasn’t one there, but I found another one not too far away.

I checked in my bike, I’d had it for 40 minutes and then took another and I was away again.  I had to use Google Maps to find my way for the next part of the journey and found a quick route, which I didn’t know existed arriving at the back end of Fort Kinnaird Retail Park.

It was super busy, with lots of people queuing to get into the shops.

I also had to queue outside Pets at Home, with a guy (who said I could take his photo) letting people in and out.

I bought the lead – it had a 25% discount, so only £6 and returned to my bike.

I’d had it for 25 minutes and so decided to try and cycle it all the way back home, without swapping it for another bike.

The journey home was a lot slower, it was all up hill, a gradual hill.  I started to really feel the weight of the bike.  They are super heavy.  It feels like being on an exercise bike in a gym.

I decided to avoid the innocent railway tunnel, as I didn’t fancy the gradual uphill all the way through it.

But beforehand stopped off for some photos and read a plaque about the Innocent Railway.

Although the Innocent Railway was built to transport coal from the Dalkeith area to “Auld Reekie” (Edinburgh’s nickname), it became really popular by the public as a “convenient novelty” and soon 300,000 passengers were carried on it annually.

The time on the bike was now 45 minutes, I was not going to get home before 60 minutes.  I looked on the App and found Pollock Halls of Residence (part of Edinburgh University) had a bike station.  I got there at 57 minutes, phew, I just made it.

I checked my bike in and searched for another, seeing mine was back on the list.  So I took my bike again, thinking “this is great, I don’t even have to change bikes”.  Very quickly I’ve learnt when you pick a bike up, you want one that is working – the bell works, the seat does not wobble and its easy to adjust to the correct height.

Then I continued on my journey, heading through Holyrood Park, remembering it is closed to traffic at the weekends, so was great going down the big hill.  Finally arriving at another bike station.  It was 16 minutes since I had last checked it in.

So I did 12 miles and got a lead.  The other great thing about these hire bikes is that you don’t have time to get distracted, as you are “on the clock”.  This is the same with the City Car Club that I use, however zooming through the streets trying to get it back on time doesn’t feel so safe – and no exercise 😉

I got home, exhausted!

This evening Honey and I went to a Beach Party in Portobello, this was why I wanted to get a new lead beforehand.

It was for Cleo’s birthday and we had a great time.  Just a small gathering, including Hannah, Cleo Miles and Lily – who’ve all appeared in these blogs 🙂

The tide was really far out 🙂

We made a fire for food (although I took my own food for my Detox).   We played boules, frisby and after the Bar-BQ turned it into a fire.  It wasn’t sunny, but no rain.  The fire kept us warm.

By 11pm, the alcohol everyone was drinking was starting to kick in, I wasn’t drinking (my detox) and I was finding myself less connected with everyone.  I always find that when out with people drinking when I am not, you get to a certain point in the night when it’s time to leave.

I had such a lovely evening 🙂

Creative / Gardening Corner

We’ve come to the end of Anna’s Paintings.

Anna discovered The Paint Republic during lock-down.  You can access free paint-as-you-go classes via their website or Facebook page.  Or you can join for £5 a month to access over 60 classes!  All online (virtual) rather than real world.

Which was your favourite?


I love them all 🙂

Readers Corner

Nothing in here today.


It Made Me Smile

I stumbled across a wee pile of things today, which had been left out on the street, with the sign ‘Take Me ;)’.  This made me smile, as there seems to be more and more of this appearing since lock-down.

It’s as if people are connecting with each other more, with the community, rather than existing in their own small worlds.  This has always been the case, seeing things left on the street.  But what is touching is there notes that go with them.

Music Corner

Nothing in here either 🙁

I am going to have to sign up to Spotify to start putting in my own playlists!

Please do share your playlists for here 🙂


As I come to the end of today’s blog, I am totally exhausted!

It’s been a super fun day.  I have noticed that I no longer get anxious going beyond my ‘geographical bubble’ (read Day 96 to find out what I mean by this) and also don’t get tired being round people.  I am not quite sure when that started happening?!  Certainly, cycling is a more gentler way to break being the bubble, than the bus.

I am also loving the Just Eat Bicycles, apart from them being really heavy.  I used to associate them with being used by just tourists, but that is not the case anymore.  They are so handy to just jump on, no need to lock up outside the shop, no more carrying them up all the stairs to my flat AND they don’t take up lots of space in my flat.  I also learnt today, that the 60 minute (free) limit is not a restriction, you just have to plan your route a bit more.

There were quite a few groups on the part of the beach we were at with fires and mini parties.  I really do think folk are enjoying where they live so much more with lock-down, rather than going on holiday to somewhere else.  It’s great that we are enjoying our local communities and learning to enjoy where we live, rather than seeking somewhere else for a ‘holiday’.

As we didn’t go for our usual ‘bedtime walk’ round the graveyard today.  The photo here is of the final selfie before I left.

The weather was cloudy and relatively cold all day.  I would have been wearing my shorts today, but they were being washed, but I think it would have been too cold for just shorts and t-shirt.  It didn’t rain at all today, which was great for the beach party.

I have that smell of fire on me, which I love after being near a fire all evening.

Honey and I are going to sleep well tonight 🙂

Hope you’ve had a fun Saturday.

Lots of Love

Jim xx

  1. Olivia Duggan

    Hi Jim

    Your bike ride looked like fun!! Also the beach party too…:)
    We are on a local lockdown here in County Kildare, Ireland, as the numbers have gone up here due to meat factories unfortunately! ! So looking forward to seeing the sea again in a few weeks hopefully ….! !

    Take it easy, Olivia