Day 153 – Reflections on Lock-Down

posted in: Stories | 0

Wow – such a long day today!!  Unlike yesterday (Day 152) when I hardly left my flat, today I have hardly been in my flat 🙂

I annoyingly woke up at 6am this morning and after trying to get back to sleep, at 7am decided to get up and go for a run.  So at about 7.30am Honey the Dog and I headed on a run round Arthur’s Seat (clockwise).

The streets to Holyrood Park were pretty quiet, being before 8am on a Sunday morning, but Arthur’s Seat was busy with lots of runners and cyclists.  I felt quite righteous being out of bed so early on a Sunday doing exercise with all these super fit and keen people 😉

As we headed towards ‘Honey’s Pond’, where the swans and signets live, I spotted a path up a hill we hadn’t explored before so we headed up there.  Lots of purple flowers everywhere!

When we started to pick up our route back home, I decided I fancied going to the top of Arthur’s Seat.  I’d had enough of running, so we walked.  There are some steep steps that take you nearly to the top.  As we headed up them, it started to think about how many tourists have walked up and down these steps.  Going to the top of Arthur’s Seat is like a pilgrimage for tourists 😉

Was great at the top and then I jogged back home.


When we got home we had been out for nearly 2.5 hours and covered over 10km!  Felt really good to do such a long walk so early on a Sunday morning, thinking “maybe I should do this every Sunday”, but in reality I probably wouldn’t get out of bed!

One of the reasons for such a long walk was because today I was heading to Glasgow for a magic lesson that I was giving and wanted to ensure Honey would sleep most of the day!

So I packed up my things and headed into town.

Due to the Union Canal bursting its banks a few weeks ago and washing away some of the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line, it was either getting the long train that stops at every stop or the bus – both take about 1.5 hours.  I opted for the bus, which I am glad about because I noticed on the news this evening that due to a landslip the long train to Glasgow had also been cancelled.

Noticed some advertising which was Covid-19 related.  The 2nd two were on Harvey Nichol’s windows.

The bus was great, a double decker and much more luxurious than I had expected, thinking “why have I not come through to Glasgow on the bus more often since lock-down was eased?”.

When we arrived it was raining, no surprise there!  It always rains in Glasgow 😉

I had to run to catch the train from Glasgow Central and then onto my magic lesson with Lewis.

He seemed to really enjoy the magic lesson and impressed his family at the end with a trick I had taught him!  He looked very pleased with himself, when his family were discussing how on earth did he do it!

Then I did the whole journey the other way round back to Edinburgh.

The train station had seats blocked off to ensure social distancing.

Glasgow was a lot quieter than I had expected, compared to Edinburgh.

As I came out of Glasgow Central train station, I had a memory from 13 years ago.

It was August 2007, the final day in my job, which I quit to become self-employed.  In fact the last time I have worked in a full-time job!

I was dressed in a suit,  this is what we had to wear at work, but had a big rucksack on my back, with all my office belongings in it.  I was feeling scared on what I had done, had I been stupid to quit my job into a world of no work to go into?  But I was feeling a massive sense of freedom, with nothing ahead of me, I could do whatever I wanted.  I was going on an exciting adventure.

As I came out the station, a guy was giving out leaflets, I stopped and starting talking to him, why not?  I mean, I was not in any rush, I didn’t have to be anywhere anymore.

He started to tell me about how we are all doomed – the western capitalists were creating a new world order and soon we were all going to lose our freedom and have no choice on what we could and couldn’t do (sounds a bit like a pandemic 😉 ) !!  He said he was travelling round all the main cities encouraging people to join him to stop this happening.

He pointed to a youngish man down the street also giving out leaflets, saying “that’s Bob” and we also are travelling with an older couple with their daughter whose in her late twenties.

He asked me what I was doing in life and I explained I didn’t know, I had quit my job and my life was a plain canvas ahead.

He said they were staying in two Campervans in Gifford on the outskirts of Glasgow.  He invited me to join them that evening for some food and then hear more about what they were doing, going through the list of who would be there “him, Bob, an oldish couple and their daughter whose in her late twenties”.

Looking back at it now, it seemed pretty suspicious – but I was in this total place of freedom, could do whatever I wanted.  What he said made sense.

Plus, being single, the daughter in her late twenties was appealing 😉

But I said to him, that I wasn’t sure, I had to go home anyway to drop off my heavy rucksack and wanted to think about it some more.  He piled me with lots of leaflets, we exchanged mobile numbers and we said we would be in touch later.

As I headed home something didn’t feel right.  So I phoned my friend Helen to see what she thought, she suggested I met tomorrow in the city centre for a coffee somewhere instead of tonight in some remote area in Campervans!

Great idea 🙂

Although the internet existed back then and I had a computer and the internet, I didn’t even consider doing a Google search about the group – I guess, we didn’t do that kind of thing back then!!

So I phoned him and he was fine with this, saying he would bring the whole group along tomorrow.  He also said he would phone me in the morning with a meeting place.

Sure enough on Saturday morning he phoned and suggested we met in MacDonald’s for a coffee….MacDonald’s??  If he is against capitalism – this was surely not the place to meet.

When I got there, it was just him, he said everyone else was busy.  I asked why MacDonald’s and he replied it was cheap coffee.  He had one of those vouchers, if you buy 6 coffees you get the 7th free.  So he must have been a regular visitor as he had two of these cards full up!

He went through all the same stuff as the day before.  When I asked what can the world do to change this, he said everyone needs to get out of the system.  Get rid of their passport, shut down their bank accounts, disappear from the system.

When I said if not passport no one would be able to leave the country – he agreed, saying this is a small sacrifice to make, which he was going to do at the end of the year.

He said, if I joined their group – I would have to shut my bank accounts down.  When I explained I owned a flat, he told me I would have to sell it.  So I had no bank accounts.  Then give him all the money and my passport – he would take care of it.

Whaaat??  This was crazy!

At this point, Bob, arrived.  He didn’t look like a “Bob”.  He was about 16 years old – you wouldn’t call yourself “Bob” at 16 years old, it would be “Rob” or “Robert”.  He then started talking about the others in the group “we have an older couple and their son who is in his late twenties”.

Son???  It was a daughter yesterday!

Now I knew everything he was saying was made up.

I bid farewell to him and left.

I was never tempted to join, but what he said made a lot of sense and was curious.  Why not!

So that was my close encounter with joining a Cult !!

He text a few times over the next few weeks asking if I wanted to join the group.  I never replied.

I wish I had some kind of documentation now – like an email or something – as it would have been good to look up the group online.


The final part of my journey was on a Just Eat Bicycle.

Today I was on Fiona

As I cycled down towards the Leith Walk Police Box (remember it first appeared on Day 118) there was some kind of mini festival / event going on.  There was socially distanced chairs, one was empty!  So I stopped and sat down a for a few minutes to enjoy.

Then spoke with Monty who owns the police box, before heading home.

Honey was super pleased to see me 🙂


I made a Vlog of my travels, observations and adventure.  I didn’t have time to edit it, so it’s quite long – about 9 minutes!  So I have added some music from The Chair to it to keep it interesting.  Also not enough time to adjust the sounds, so hopefully you can hear my voice over the top!  The first tune is ‘Furmiston Ruby’, the second is ‘Humorous’.

But I am still waiting for it to upload, and it’s only at 44% – so I will have to include it in tomorrows blog (Day 154).



Face-Mask Corner

As I headed home this evening I suddenly remembered I didn’t have a face-mask for today!  Like on Day 149, I started wondering if I could ask a random person if I could take a photo of them wearing their face-mask.  Then I remembered I had this one, which was complementary when I returned to The Melting Pot.  Phew!

Not sure where they got it from.


Readers Corner

Just one sharing today from Helen.



Helen left a comment on yesterdays blog (Day 152) saying:


“I hope you have a better day today Jim. Thank you for writing your blog even when you don’t feel like it. I didn’t know you played piano!

There’s nothing worse than being stood up by tradesmen and delivery drivers. I’m not very good at arriving for things on time (as the Chi Gong group knows), but I’ll at least try to let people know if I’m a no-show or need to reschedule. This one thing was actually quite high up on my list of reasons to move to Sweden.”


Thanks for that, yes I had a much better day today.  Yes, I love playing the piano!  Loved going to play them in train stations pre-lock-down 🙂

The grandmother who appeared on Day 58 of our last few years together before she died, helped me buy my Yamaha Digital Piano.  Just before Christmas, 6 months before she died, she sent me a letter in the post with a cheque for £1000 as a wee present to help me through Christmas time.

I used £800 of it to buy my Yamaha Digital Piano and because it was on a special Christmas offer I got a free piano stool with it!  It sits with pride in the corner of my living room 🙂


It Made Me Smile

I saw this on a Facebook page this morning and it made me smile 🙂



Music Corner

Another sharing in Music Corner from Helen, she said:

“Another wee music gem”.


This is titled – James Hill, “Billie Jean” With His Imaginary Band




Thanks Helen, will have a listen to it sometime soon.


As I come to the end of the blog, I am super tired – but what a fun day 🙂

Was so good to get out of Edinburgh and travel to a different part of Scotland.  I lived in Glasgow for 3 years, so always good to go back, it always brings back lots of memories 🙂

After the magic lesson, I did a few tricks for Lewis’ whole family and really enjoyed it.  I had forgotten how much I love performing and wowing people with close-up magic!  Such a joy and a thrill for me, to bring magic to people’s lives!  Was also really chuffed that Lewis was able to baffle his family with the trick he did, which he had learnt in the lesson.

I am starting to think that I need to slowly start getting back into magic, well at least start learning all my tricks again.

This morning the weather in Edinburgh was good – warm, cloudy but some sun.  In Glasgow it rained most of the day.  This evening Edinburgh has been try and cloudy.

Hope you’ve had a fun weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Jim xx