Day 201 – Reflections on Lockdown

posted in: Stories | 2

I’ve had such a fun day today 🙂

After a long lie, Honey and I went for a run to the boat.  Just a short 6km run through Arthur’s Seat and then onto the Meadows.  Was great to be back in the south of Edinburgh again.

When we arrived at the boat, I changed into some non-running clothes and we both had breakfast.  I had run with my rucksack.

I then spent a while exploring the boat properly and looking at all the areas of storage.  Despite, my original fears that there was little room to store anything, there is actually quite a few different places.  So feeling a bit more optimistic 🙂

I then sat on one of the chairs next to the boat and enjoyed watching people walking past on the toll path across the canal.  I imagined sitting here each morning eating my breakfast and having a coffee 🙂

Honey reluctantly posed for a photo!


We then went for a walk along the toll path.  But first stopping off at the wee boat café, which is virtually opposite my boat.  It’s called the Watershed, but doesn’t have a website or even a Facebook page, so couldn’t put a link to it.

Honey was delighted to find a bowl of dog biscuits which were at her level, so started tucking into them before I could stop her!


You can’t quite see my boat in these photos.  In the photo with Honey in it, my boat is between the green boat and purple boat 🙂

We then walked a long the toll-path away from my boat.  Passing various activities and other boats along the way.

On our way back, I realised it was really quiet and I was walking really slowly.  It reminded me of when we were in full lockdown, when the streets were really quiet, there was hardly any traffic and we all walked really slowly.  I noticed that I was walking slower and thought about living on Easter Road where there is so much traffic.  It made me think, that with so many cars driving so fast, coupled with noise pollution, it makes us (well at least me) rush more.  Which makes me less present.

Also walking along the canal reminded me of the many disused railway paths in Edinburgh which are now cycle/walkway paths.  Remember, I first wrote about them on Day 27.  Like these disused railway paths, the canals take you on a route that you are unfamiliar with.  I am so familiar with Edinburgh by the roads, I don’t know Edinburgh by the disused railways or canals.  It creates a kind of newness and mystery to it all, not really knowing where you are!

The other similarity is there were loads of cyclists on the canal toll-paths.  I kept Honey on the lead, mainly to stop her going for a swim, but also to keep her safe from the many cyclists.


As we arrived back at Lochrin Basin, which is where my boat is, I stopped and admired the Leamington Lift Bridge.

The bridge was constructed around 1906, where Fountainbridge crossed the canal.  See photo below.


Back then the Union Canal stopped at Port Hopetoun at Lothian Road, but in 1922 the canal was shortened and Leamington Bridge was moved to it’s current location.

The spot where Leamington Bridge is now, used to have a wooden drawbridge, which was constructed in 1869.  See photo below:


Leamington Bridge is the only hydraulic bridge on the Union Canal, it lifts the road to give a clearance of 9 feet (2.7m) for boats to pass underneath.  The bridge was refurbished in 2019.


We then returned to the boat and I spotted a guy with a Scottish Canals jumper, so I introduced myself and chatted for quite a while.  He was David, known as “Wee Davie” or “Smithy” and is the “man on the ground” to help with anything we need.  He’s worked with Scottish Canals for 16 years.  Scottish Canals are the people I pay my mooring fee to.  He explained that Scottish Canals owns all the canals and the toll-paths, so are ultimately private property, rather than council run.

Is it a Café or Is it a Restaurant Game

On the way home to my flat, I played the ‘Is it a café or is it a restaurant? Game’ and looked out for cafes or pubs with ‘take-away’ signs.

I first played this game yesterday on Day 200.  With new Central Belt government restrictions in which bars and restaurants can only do take-aways, but cafes can open 6am to 6pm, as long as they don’t sell alcohol (except for take-aways), its great fun to try and work out if it is a café or a restaurant.

If you live in the Central Belt or Scotland, why don’t you play along and send me your thoughts and photos.  Then I can start a regular section 🙂



Whilst playing the game, I was very excited to stumble across a ‘Covid Testing Centre’ – the first I have ever seen!

It was part of Usher Hall, which is a huge concert hall, housing 2,200 seat!  Despite there being barriers for long queues, I only spotted two people going in.

In the ‘Is it a Café or Is it a Restaurant? Game’ I was stumped by two places.

Firstly, ‘Doner Kebab‘, which describes itself as a “German Doner Kebab fast food retailer“.  I didn’t go in, instead peered in the window and it looked and felt like a fast-food restaurant like McDonalds.

There were people sitting at the window and people in booths.  They weren’t eating food, so I guess, they were waiting for their food to take-away?

It didn’t look like a café and nothing on it’s website states it being a café or a restaurant.

However, with deeper exploration of their website, I found a competition which describes the prize as a “Boss Box for use in-restaurant for sit-in or takeaway”.  Their menu has a ‘Boss Box’, so I am guessing their mention of a ‘restaurant’ is referring to themselves!

I can only assume that everyone inside were waiting for their food to take-away.  Although, it didn’t feel very Covid Safe with so many people inside!


The other place I was stumped by was on Leith Walk, which described itself as a ‘Deli’.  Is a Deli a café or a restaurant?

But looking it up on the internet, it is – Pera Turkish Restaurant.

What caught my attention was the sign on the window – “Dine In (BYOB) Takeaway Delivery”.

I am guessing, they have not yet updated their signs and are only doing takeaway.

But it made me think more about the ‘BYOB’ – Bring Your Own Bottle.  Does a café need a license for BYOB?  If it does not need a license, then can people sit in and drink alcohol?  How does this fit in with the new Central Belt Restrictions?

Anyone know?


Finally as I walked along Leith Walk playing the game, I saw one pub The Windsor, that was doing take-away.  It’s the only pub/bar that I spotted doing this, all the rest were shut – good to see it open 🙂

The main bar areas was blocked off, but you could walk in to a small part of the bar to buy drinks to take-away – ‘Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Whisky, Rum’ is what it said on the blackboard outside.


I also walked by Renroc Cafe to see it was full of people, both inside and out.  So glad of this after its plight in my blog on Day 198.



Face-Mask Corner

Today we have me 🙂

Following James’ raving review of his face-mask on Day 199, I decided to buy one myself!  The lady who sold them, said she owned 10 face-masks – she goes through 3 a day at work!  She was reluctant of me taking a photo of her for Face-Mask Corner, so I took a photo of all the face-masks she is selling.

This is from The Cats Miaou (36 Elm Row, Edinburgh).

James was right, these face-masks are very comfortable and so many colours to choose from 🙂



Readers Corner

Two comments today in Readers Corner 🙂



Gareth left a Facebook comment on yesterday’s (Day 200) blog, saying:

“Congrats on 200!”


Thanks Gareth!  Although I haven’t written 200 blogs, as I didn’t start until Day 3 🙂

Maybe we should all be congratulating ourselves for surviving 200 days of lockdown 😉



Robin left a Facebook comment on yesterday’s (Day 200) blog, saying:

“Two hundred days, crumbs! That’s a wee while alright… 200 days, and 10+10=20 xx”.

Cheers Robin!  What’s the “10+10=20″ ??





It Made Me Smile

This made me smile 🙂


Music Corner

Nothing in here today.  The music I’ve been listening to today, as already appeared in Music Corner!

Please share any music that you are listening to or love.


As I come to the end of my blog, it’s a long one!  It’s been such a great day hanging out on my boat and exploring The Union Canal.  I worked out how to empty the Bilge Pump today on my boat.  The bilge is the lowest area in the boat below the floor and where the engine sits.  This area can fill up with water for various reasons including rainwater.  The Bilge Pump, pumps the water out into the canal and is powered by the Residential Battery.

Rach (the previous owner) had showed me how it works and that it automatically switches itself on, when the water gets too full.  However, there seemed to be quite a lot of water in the bilge, although I don’t really know how much is a lot.  But after texting Rach, she said that the bilge has to fill up quite a lot before the pump switches on.  She also explained what I needed to do to switch it on – that is, stand on the side of the boat where the pump is.  Which I did, well hanging off the side of the boat (far side on the blog cover photo behind Honey) and sure enough all the water rushed to that side and was pumped out.

I have so much to learn, but it is super fun to being doing it.  When I got home, I had a swaying feeling on my sofa and remembered that feeling when being on a canal boat holiday!  I am now getting super excited that soon I will be moving and living on a boat and learning a whole new world 🙂

Today the weather forecast was to be sunny most of the day, however it was cloudy most of the day, with some rain.  It was quite warm for this time of the year!

Thanks for reading!

Jim x

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Dempsey

    Brilliant Jim….this situation is forcing a massive amount of change on everyones life. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected in one way or another. Your blog shows just how we’re having to deal with this. I miss the ceilidhs soooo much.

  2. Tommy

    Pera is a very special wee place, and has always been Byob as far as I know. My favourite Edinburgh restaurant. Or cafe. Whatever it is.
    Congrats on the boat.