Day 273 – Reflections on Lockdown

posted in: Stories | 1

Today is the shortest day, Winter Solstice with the great conjunction (see Day 272 about this).  Did anyone get to see the conjunction?  It was raining in Edinburgh 🙁

Danny sent me this link which is a website dedicated to it all –

So today, I have been doing lots of travelling!

This morning, I caught the bus into town to pick up the hire car.  I then drove it to my flat, then picked up my bicycle and cycled back to the boat, then picked up Honey and got the bus back to my flat.

I then did a bit of painting and then a mammoth drive to lots of places I have been wanting to go to (on the edge of Edinburgh) which I can’t get to easily without a car.


  • First dropping off at Halford to swap over a battery charger for my Leisure Battery.
  • Then onto IKEA to take back the chair I bought ages ago for the boat (it was the wrong size).
  • Then onto B&Q to get some more paint and other bits and bobs,
  • Then to Pets at Home to get Honey a Christmas present.
  • Then to Marks & Spencer to buy some Christmas food, but the queue was so long, so I ditched that idea.
  • Then finally to ASDA to buy some Christmas food, but the shelves were bare!

Finally back at the boat, I put up some lights I had bought at IKEA last week, but didn’t have any batteries for them, but now they are hung on Discovery 🙂

At the start of my day, taking Honey for a walk, I noticed just how quiet it was, hardly no one walking and no cyclists.  It was only 20 minutes later than my normal walk, so it couldn’t have been anything to do with the timing.  It felt that we were already in lockdown!

I saw this article today, describing the same in London, which is currently in Tier 4 (see Day 272 to find out what that actually means).

When I walked to the bus stop, Tollcross, where I live was also very quiet.  Many shops, cafes, etc…were closed.  I spotted a barbers open, so decided to take a sneaky photo for the blog, but the barber saw me, gesturing me to go in.

He opened the door and said “come in, come in, you can get your hair cut in a few minutes”.  I pretended I was trying to find out when he closed for Christmas and had taken a photo of the opening times.  Afterwards, I thought to myself, he was being a bit pushy to get my haircut, but then remembered looking in the mirror this morning and noticing my hair looked a mess 😉

When I arrived at Easter Road, the place was mobbed with people, queuing to get into shops, cafes, etc…that was where everyone was!  But I guess this area is a densely populated and many more people are working from home.

It was great to be cycling again – exercise and exhilaration 🙂

As I cycled, I looked for places open.  The first half of the Royal Mile (from the bottom) was really quiet but nearly all shops, cafes, etc…were open.  The second half of the Royal Mile was busier with people but hardly no shops were open!


When I got to IKEA, it was completely empty – no queuing needed and lots of staff standing around looking bored!  But when I arrived at Fort Kinnaird (out of town retail park) where Pets at Home and Marks & Spencer are it was so so busy!  I had to wait for ages to get served in Pets at Homes!!


Lockdown Restrictions Corner

In the last 24 hours there has been a rapid speed of countries closing their borders to the UK.

Media reports say “more than 40 countries”, I think it is 45, have now closed their borders to the UK, because of concerns of the new variant of Covid-19.

It feels that the whole of the UK (as a country) is now in a kind of lockdown to the rest of the world!  So today I thought I would look at what countries have closed their borders and for how long.

So today I am looking at UK Lockdown Restrictions to the World.


At present these are all the countries that have closed their borders to the UK, banning travel from UK to them (unless specified):



  • Netherlands – All flights and ferry passengers – until 1st January 2021 (but freight will continue)
  • Spain – All arrivals from Tuesday – Controls on entry to Gibraltar will be tightened
  • Germany – All flights – initially until 31st December, but looking to extend into January (but freight will continue)
  • Italy – All flights – until 6th January – and anyone who has arrived in last 14 days
  • Poland – All travel from Monday
  • Belgium – All flights and train
  • Bulgaria – All flights to and from UK – until 31st January
  • Estonia – All flights until 1st January
  • Crotia – All flights until 31st January
  • Switzerland – All flights until further notice.  Arrivals from South Africa also banned and ordered to quarantine
  • Ireland – All flights – for 48 hours from Sunday – The 310 mile long land border remains open.
  • Norway – All flights for two days
  • Sweden – All travellers including Denmark, except Swedish citizens
  • Romania – All flights for 2 weeks
  • Malta – All flights from Tuesday
  • Austria – All flights – from midnight on Tuesday
  • Portugal – All flights – following same as Spain, as only country it borders with
  • Latvia – All flights, ferry and bus – until 1st January
  • Luxembourg
  • Lithuania – All flights – until 1st January
  • Macedonia – All flights – until 1st January
  • Finland – All flights – for 2 weeks
  • Denmark
  • Turkey – All flights – including South Africa, Denmark and Netherlands
  • Russia – All flights for 1 week
  • Czech Republic – All flights
  • Greece – imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from UK
  • France – all travel links (freight, rail, ferry, flights) suspended for 48 hours, from Sunday (Day 272) at 23:00
      • Eurotunnel services to France are suspended
      • Eurostar trains to Belgium are not operating
      • Port of Dover is closed – M20 has turned into a lorry park

Northern Ireland Executive met this evening to consider whether to pose a travel ban between Northern Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales.


Beyond Europe

  • Canada – All flights – for 72 hours
  • Kuwait – All flights – UK added to ‘high risk’ nation
  • Mauritius – All flights – including anyone from South Africa
  • Israel – All flights (including travellers from South Africa and Denmark) – Israeli citizens returning will have tougher quarantine
  • India – All flights – until 31st December – anyone travelling through India will immediately be given a Covid Test
  • Hong Kong – All flights – from Tuesday – people arrived in last 2 weeks will have quarantine extended
  • Chile – All flights from Tuesday – if arrived from UK in last 2 weeks and don’t have Chilean residency will also be banned
  • Iran – All flight – for 2 weeks
  • Jordan – All flights until 3rd January
  • Peru – All flights to and from Europe – for 2 weeks
  • Oman – Borders closed for 2 weeks
  • Argentina – All flights – from Tuesday
  • Morocco – All flights from Sunday
  • Tunisia
  • Colombia – All flights – until further notice
  • Saudi Arabia – All borders closed – for 1 week – arrivals from Europe over weekend will quarantine for 2 weeks and tested
  • El Salvador – Anyone travelled to South Africa or UK in past 30 days will be banned



In addition:

  • Royal Mail has temporarily suspended all mail services to Europe – except the Republic of Ireland.
  • Sainsbury’s has said there maybe shortage of fresh food, although Boris emphasised (in his media briefing today) only 20% of food is held up and so there will not be any food shortages.  A sure sign that they government is worried about panic buying.
  • There is currently 5 miles of lorries parked, queuing, on the M20.




Face-Mask Corner (Christmas)

Today we have Christmas Grinch face-masks.

They come in packs of 6 for adults or children at £7.99.

They are available on EBay –


It Made Me Smile

A double entry today, but no ‘Christmas Music Corner, because the second is music!

Saw this and it made me smile 🙂



Helen sent me this today, saying It Made Her Smile.  I find it super funny!!  –



As I come to the end of this blog, it is super late, just after 1am!  I think I was being a bit ambitious listing every country that has shut it’s borders to the UK and the details of each one – took over an hour to research and type up!  But so interesting!

I’ve heard on the radio and read “over 40 countries has shut their border” but until I actually looked at them all, it’s pretty much all the main countries (except the US) in the world!  It was also interesting to see, that it is not just for a few days, some countries are for weeks!!

I feel for all those lorry drivers stuck on the M20 not knowing when they will get home.  I was listening on Radio 4 about this and so many of them are self employed and so are losing so much money just sitting there.  Apparently they have limited food 🙁

The country does seem to be in an interesting time, with all this, Brexit Deal, Christmas changed very quickly and dramatically and many people already in full lockdown (in England and Wales) and many more of us going into full lockdown after Christmas Day.  Could it be something to do with the conjunction and Winter Solstice?

I am starting to get into the Christmas mood and also loving having a car to drive about in.  It’s been a fun day 🙂

Tomorrow, I plan to get up early and do lots of painting in the flat.  Wednesday I am back on the boat, whilst a trades person repairs my window frames.

Today the weather has been a mixture of rain and not rain, the temperature has dropped a little, but not much, about 4/5 degress centigrade.

Thanks for reading!

Jim x

  1. Jill

    Hi Jim, I came about your blog ages ago when I googled to see what was happening to the Indian on Easter rd (now Walrus) you appeared in the results. Since then I read your blog daily. I have enjoyed reading it, I live on Easter road, I do think it’s great to see business here doing well. Sometimes it’s pretty busy though. Thanks for the read, sorry you can’t see your mum. But Wishing you and honey a Merry Christmas!