Day 205 – Reflections on Lockdown

posted in: Stories | 1

On our morning walk today, I saw some great writing in the windows of a pub, which gave me some hope for the future 🙂


This afternoon, we had a wee trip to Portobello.  Honey needed to go to the vets for our annual vaccination, this also includes her being weighed and getting a general check by the vet.

This time last year she weighted 25kg and the vet said she needed to go on a diet.  So I reduced her food by 20 grams a day.  Through lockdown, with all our long walks and running, everyone started to comment she was looking really good and had lost weight.  So I increased her food by 10 grams a day.

You will be pleased to hear that today her weight was 21.85kg!  The vet said she was perfect weight and she was fine.

A few years ago, the vet told me I should start cleaning Honey’s teeth, which completely removed her bad breath.  However, since lockdown began I have fallen out of the habit of cleaning her teeth and her breath was not so good.  So a bit like when one is about to go the dentist, I’ve cleaned her teeth 4 times in the last 36 hours!!  The dentist didn’t mention her teeth, so it worked!!

Due to Covid Safety, I couldn’t go into the vets, instead dropped Honey off and then waited 10 minutes and then she came out again.  I must admit, the usual wait from the appointment time to when she actually sees a vet is usually between 30-45 minutes.

However, today, the vet came out about 3 minutes before our appointment time, we had arrived 5 minutes early and she was seen straight away!

A much slicker and efficient service.  I hope they continue this quick turn around in years to come 🙂

We then went for a walk on the beach as Honey loves the sea and met up with our friend John.



Instead of taking loads of photos, I made a short VLOG of our trip to Portobello.

Just to let you know if includes Honey tucking into her favourite Portobello delicacy, Seagull Wings!  So if you are vegetarian, vegan or just don’t want to see her eating one, maybe don’t watch 😉




Is it a Café or Is it a Restaurant Game

As I am getting into this game more and more I decided to look at Scottish Government guidelines in more detail!

Brian sent them to me a few days ago and I had a quick look, but was overwhelmed by it all.  But have now had a longer look.


There is a great Questions & Answers section, which is quite long but does answer some of the questions I have been ponding about.

So to start with, this is how the Scottish Government defines a Café.  I remember Nicola giving this definition when she laid out the new restrictions last week (Day 198):

“The regulations define a café as ‘“café” means an establishment whose primary business activity, in the ordinary course of its business, is the sale of non-alcoholic drinks, snacks or light meals, which may be consumed on the premises”.

Remember those last few words – is the sale of non-alcoholic drinks, snacks or light meals


Secondly it answers my question from Day 201 about BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle).  The question was:

QUESTION “Is Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) permitted?”

ANSWER   –  “No, it is not possible to consume alcohol in either licensed premises or unlicensed premises in cafes, bars, or restaurants during the temporary period of restrictions.”


Just a reminder

A Café can open from 6am to 6pm as long as it doesn’t sell alcohol (but can sell alcohol, if it has a licence, for take-away), people can sit in a café.

A pub/bar and a restaurant must be closed completely, it cannot open, BUT it can sell food and drink (including alcohol) as take-away.



On the way to Portobello on the bus, I was horrified to spot four people sitting in McDonald’s eating food at a table at the window!  I immediately looked up online and throughout the McDonald’s website it describes itself as a “restaurant”.

Wikipedia describes McDonald’s as “the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue“.


Wondering if perhaps I had been mistaken, on the way back as the bus zoom past, I captured some photos.  You can’t really see, but there were two people sitting at a table in the window eating.  I could see their straws sticking up out of their drinks!

Can you spot them, on the left side of the window, to the right of the yellowish sign?


Only cafe’s can be open and have people dining in them.  So lets turn to Nicola and the Scottish Government and their definition of a café:

“In the ordinary course of its business, is the sale of non-alcoholic drinks, snacks or light meals, which may be consumed on the premises”.

Do you go to McDonald’s for “snacks or a light meal”?  I don’t think so, people go to McDonalds for a full meal, they can even get a dessert too!

So why is McDonald’s acting like a café?  Do they have separate guidelines?


The Espy

I was delighted to see The Espy, in Portobello, which is a pub doing take-away 🙂


The Beach House

The Beach House, in Portobello, is a café.  I think it can sell alcohol, but is definitely a café and it was super busy, but no one sitting outside, all inside.


Portobello Beach Bistro

Now the Portobello Beach Bistro is an interesting one.  Above the door, the sign says ‘Café – Bistro – Restaurant”.  The sign on the side of the building (at the bottom) says “Café and Restaurant’.

Now that is a great way to get round the new restrictions, call your self all three!  Then you can decide which you want to be in line with the Central Belt lockdown 😉




You will have remembered I talked about the Dalriada on Day 68.  It was a great pub with fantastic music nights and great character.  But sadly it has now closed.  Not because of Covid, it was shut before then.  But things are moved on since I last saw it.


It has been sold and is being turned into 6 apartments.  It was on the market at Offers Offer £950,000  Check out the description here of what it is going to become –

Face-Mask Corner

Today we have Cecile, who walked past the vets whilst I was waiting for Honey.  Cecile works at the Edinburgh Tool Library and although her day off, today she was heading to the workshop to make something (can’t remember what she said it was).

I used to volunteer at the Edinburgh Tool Library which is how I know her.  The Edinburgh Tool Library was set up by my friend Chris, which was part of the Good Ideas project that was set up by The Melting PotGood Ideas, is a kind of academy to help people turn their ideas into a social venture.  I don’t think Chris has appeared in this blog, but his wife, son and dog (Juliette, Sid and Joe) did on Day 164.

The Edinburgh Tool Library is a great project, that acts like a book library, but with tools.  Instead of your home being cluttered with loads of tools, you borrow them.  Its great for the environment and everyone shares the tools.  They say the average use of Cordless Drill in its life time is 17 minutes.

Cecile got her face-mask from the Edinburgh Mask Maker.  Their Facebook Page –

It describes itself as:

“A voluntary group of about 800 volunteers. They make and distribute non-surgical masks for charities, organisations and businesses who need PPE but who don’t have access to it.”.

Cecile was telling me that it was set up during the Full Lockdown by 2-3 friends when they made 3000 masks by volunteers.  The masks were originally made for organisations, for example care homes.  The Edinburgh Tool Library was a Distribution Hub for them all.  Then some individuals started to get them as well.

Thanks Cecile for appearing in Face-Mask Corner 🙂

Also really interesting to hear all about the Edinburgh Mask Maker!



It Made Me Smile

This made me smile 🙂


Music Corner

If you have a favourite tune, track, album or even your own music, please share here.  It can be any format – Spotify, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud or even just the raw file.



As I come to the end of this blog it’s been fun to write!  I am loving the ‘Is it a Café or Is it a Restaurant Game!  I am forever on the hunt for cafes, restaurants and bistros 😉  Was also great to make the wee VLOG for you all, rather than just showing you photos.

I’m so glad that I saw Cecile for a catch-up and have her in Face-Mask Corner as I haven’t had any photos in it for a few days.  She mentioned that in the early days of the blog, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep the blog going, but was super impressed that I am!  Makes me feel good that my commitment is appreciated, although it is now very much part of my routine.  As Helen pointed out, it keeps me more in the present.

Was also lovely to see John and catch-up with him.  I really enjoy hearing all his stories about life.  I know John from the mediation group I go to.  He said that he saw me wearing a hoody at one recently and was inspired to buy one for himself, saying that he is loving having one as it keeps you warm.  I have three, although may have to reduced to two in my down sizing.

Things are slowly progressing with the boat, although my flat is no where near ready to be moving out of it in 2 weeks time.  Although, I am sure it will all come together in the end, even if it is a rush.  On Friday Honey and I are having our first sleepover on the boat, which we are getting excited about.

The weather today has been dry (I think), but really windy, as you can see from the VLOG.  The temperature is definitely dropping, winter is on it’s way.  We now have our ‘bedtime’ walk round the graveyard at 6.20pm and it is still quite dark.  I remember back in June, when we could have our bedtime walk at 10pm!!!

Hope you are having a good week.

Lots of Love

Jim & Honey xx

  1. Helen

    That was a great read today, thanks Jim! I’ve been enjoying following your “cafe or restaurant” game too. How long were these temporary restrictions going to be in place? I hope it makes a difference and stops the spiralling numbers of new cases. I heard on the Swedish news today that the number of ICU patients being treated with Covid-19 has doubled to 31 since last week. Hopefully it’s just a blip, and not a sign of things getting worse here in Sweden.

    I enjoyed the vlog today too. Honey is such a good girl! You could see when she got off the bus that she’s got a waist. Well done on the weight loss!