Day 280 – Reflections on Lockdown

posted in: Stories | 1

Today it has been super cold all day and I’ve had the fire lit since 8.30am!

I had an early start, with my alarm going off at 7.50am, as I had to get the hire car back by 10am.

I didn’t sleep well last night, not because of the heat or coldness, but just because I couldn’t sleep.

This usually happens when I have drank caffeine after midday, so I thought back, but hadn’t had any caffeine, concluding it must have been due to the change in routine.

Do you find that over Christmas, routines go all over the place?  It’s great!  I am really loving having a 2 week break from QiGong.  Normally, I would stresse if I get to bed too late or can’t sleep due to having to get up at 8am for QiGong.

Well as I came out of the boat this morning, I noticed the canal was frozen!  Not thick ice, but going up along the boats, but stopping at my neighbours boat, Fiona – so not frozen at mine.

Although I thought this could be due to my boat being super hot (from wood burner!) apparently it always freezes from the Leamington Bridge upwards, so didn’t reach us.  My boat neighbours were telling me, when the ice is a lot thicker, the sound travels all the way up the canal and you can hear everything on the boat!

Where the light is not reflecting on the photos, is where it is frozen.

I spotted Honey’s bone that she dropped into the canal yesterday (Day 279) but too deep to get it.

Very icy today.

The general behaviour of the public on a frozen canal spotted yesterday (Day 279) and today – is to pick up pieces of the ice out of the canal and admire it, then throw it over the frozen canal!

So I headed into town and dropped off the car, but then realised I was desperate for a pee, so went into the train station.

Although on the way, I headed along Princess Street, which was exceptionally quiet, except for lots of buses.

I haven’t been in Waverley train station for ages, so got some new Covid Sign photos.  Including a poster of a guy wearing a face-mask, remembering back to yesterday’s blog (Day 279) and ‘Review of the Year 2020’, something else we’ve learned this year, is seeing lots of posters of people wearing face-masks!

Also (3rd photo along) – why is the water filling bottle out of use due to ‘social distancing’??

The Waiting Room in the train station where the toilets are, was busier than I anticipated, so more folk travelling than I had thought.

Although, the 11am train to Peterborough was completely empty, even though it was due to leave in 10 minutes.

The toilets were closed due to refurbishment so I had to find temporary toilets, which were very nice.  Due to only 1 person allowed in them at a time – I had two urinals, two cubicles and three sinks to myself!

The guy managing these toilets was getting suspicious of my photos, so I had to be more careful after that!

I then walked up to the Royal Mile and then all the way home, taking some more Covid Sign photos as I went.  Many saying they were now closed due to the Level 4 lockdown.


I spotted this sign outside a pub on the Royal Mile, that Made Me Smile:


I then got approached by a guy, who asked me why all the shops were shut!!!  I explained that today was a bank holiday (as Boxing Day was on a Saturday), but we are now in Level 4 lockdown!  Where had he been for the last week?  He didn’t know anything about the lockdown, saying he had got fed up with media and had stopped looking at it – he was wanting to buy some new clothes today!

As I talked with him, I noticed that under his jacket he had a white shirt, waist coat and tie on, although now dishevelled looking, I concluded he had been partying for the last few days!  Perhaps that’s how he missed the start of Lockdown?

Then onwards to the canal.

Pierre came round and fixed up my solar panel, battery charger and new leisure battery.  I feel a lot more happier that my electrics are more in order.  I forgot to get a photo of him for the blog.

Lots of boating neighbours were out and about, doing jobs on their boats and Honey was super happy to go between them with her bone in her mouth.  However, as Pierre stepped onto Discovery, he accidently kicked Honey’s bone and it went into the canal.  She had left it near the boat – so now two of her bones are at the bottom of the canal!  She is down to one bone, which I am stopping her from taking outside!

Then I fell asleep for an hour on the sofa and Honey woke me up at 3.30pm wanting to go for a walk!

The sun was just going down and it was lovely walk 🙂


Review of the Year 2020

I started this new section yesterday (Day 279) when I looked at what we have learnt in 2020, including alcohol gel, face-masks, social distancing, washing our hands, Teams/Zoom and virtual meetings.  Today I thought I will look at what I have learnt in 2020.

I’ve put them in alphabetical order.


Computer Shortcuts – With all this blog writing, I have learnt some new ‘computer shortcuts’.  The one I use the most when writing this blog is ‘CTRL + K’ – this then allows you to add a link and it is universal across different platforms.  I have also learnt Zoom shortcuts – ‘ALT + A’ allows you to toggle between Audio being on and off; ‘ALT + V’ allows you to toggle between switching your video on and off; ‘ALT + Q’ allows you to Leave/End the meeting; ‘ALT + F1’ switches to ‘Speaker View’; and ‘ALT + F2’ allows you to switch to Gallery View.

Connecting Virtually – not a massive fan of connecting virtual, I much prefer IRL.  I certainly have got Zoom fatigue, but the two virtual Energy Festivals / Gatherings I’ve been to with my very good friends (Day 89 and Day 264) , have been awesome – and really didn’t feel we were looking at a computer and instead were together IRL.

Decorating – I’ve learnt to decorate my flat, Polyfilla, Woodfilla, Gloss and using a sanding machine.

Lighting a Fire / Wood Burner – I’ve always enjoyed lighting a fire, but can’t say that I have been really skilful at it, until 2020!  It’s second nature to me now, the challenge (as you know) is keeping it the right temperature 😉

Living on a Boat – That’s something massive that I wouldn’t have thought I would be writing about learning at the end of 2020.

QiGong Sessions – although I learnt QiGong before, I didn’t think I would be running daily sessions for nearly 9 months!  So that is something else I have learnt in 2020.

Writing a Daily Blog – I’ve always wanted to write a regular blog, but never keep it going.  At least with a daily blog, I have to keep it going.   This blog has evolved so much over the last 8 months – it feels a massive achievement – I’m not sure there are many people who can say they have written a daily blog for a year!  I am going to miss the blog once the year is over, I won’t know what to do with myself in the evening!

Zoom – I have learnt how to use Zoom.  I had never used Zoom or even heard of it before 2020.


Lockdown Restrictions Corner

On my travels through Waverley train station today, I was surprised to see Timpson open.  Is shoe repairs, key cutting, dry cleaning and engraving an essential shop?  I thought all non-essential shops are now closed, including Hardware stores and garden centres.


In an attempt to find out more I have done some research, so today I am looking at what is classed as an Essential Shop in Scotland’s Level 4 Protections.

It is actually really hard to find a full list, but I found this article published on 21st December, before Nicola announced that Hardware Stores and Garden Centres are also to shut (


All of the below are classed as ‘essential shops’ so can remain open:



All supermarkets, food shops, markets, takeaways, newsagents, licensed premises and off-licensed shops 

These include:

  • Sainsbury
  • Asda
  • Tesco
  • Morrison
  • Lidl
  • Aldi
  • M&S
  • Waitrose
  • Co-operative
  • Scotmid



All pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists.

This includes:

  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Specsavers
  • Vision Express



Homeware, Building Supplies, Hardware Stores and Bicycle Shops

(although this has partly changed – I found this article to say that B&Q will remain open as it’s being classed as “building merchants and supplies products and tools in building works and repairs, on the Scottish Government list of exemptions”. –

The rest I am not sure about.

This includes:

  • B&M (probably not)
  • Homebase (maybe?)
  • Home Bargains (probably not)
  • IKEA (no)
  • Poundland (unsure?)
  • Next Home (probably not)
  • Timpson (it was today)
  • B&Q (Yes)
  • Wikes (probably)
  • The Toolbox (maybe?)
  • Toolstation (maybe?)
  • Halfords (probably yes)


If anyone finds these are open or not, please let me know and I can update.



Garden Centres and plant nurseries.

This has now changed – so are closed.



Some services relating to travel – including car sales – are classed as essential.

This includes:

  • Petrol stations (including at supermarkets)
  • Car repair and MOT services
  • Taxi and vehicle hire
  • Garages
  • Outdoor car lots



The Post Office and banks.

This includes:

  • Banks
  • Building Societies
  • Credit Unions
  • Short-term loan providers
  • Savings Clubs
  • Cash Points
  • Currency Exchange office
  • Post offices



Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.


It Made Me Smile

Today Honey the Dog sat outside Fiona’s boat for over 10 minutes, on the hope that she would come out and give her a biscuit!  Although, what Honey doesn’t know, is that it is her jumping on the boat, that Fiona hears and comes to see Honey.

This made me smile 🙂


As I come to the end end of this blog, I seem to have lots of new energy to write a longer blog.  My washing is on at the moment, so I also have time to wait until it is finished!

I don’t want to tempt fate, but I think I have sussed the wood burner!  I found a new setting, which allows it to very slowly burn, without going out and doesn’t get too hot.  I have been using this setting most of the day, keeping the boat around about 25 degrees – I am super excited to use it tonight and see if the fire is still going in the morning, but doesn’t get too hot!!

This evening it snowed a little – quite a bit of snow, but then it turned to rain.  In fact, it was snowing a little this morning and at other parts through the day 🙂

The canal is still frozen to Fiona’s boat, so it may freeze some more tonight, although it doesn’t seem so cold this evening.

I’m surprised on how many shops are classed as ‘essential shops’ in the current Level 4 lockdown – apart from clothes shops and cafe’s now being only takeaway, I don’t see what much has changed for us since the end of September!  I would have thought more shops would have been closed, especially as Nicola initially described ‘Level 4’ as similar to the lockdown we had in at the end of March.  Back then most shops were shut – now so many more seem to be open.

On my walk home from dropping off the hire car, I noticed so many newsagents open.  Also in the grassmarket, there were quite a few tourists around – with their usual signs, looking at a map confused where to go or having suitcases with them.  I guess, despite the Scottish Government announcements many people have come to Edinburgh for a holiday anyway ?!

Today it has been cold all day, it hasn’t rained, a bit of snow.  A pleasant day (apart from it being really cold).

Hope you’ve all enjoyed your Boxing Day (observed) bank holiday!

Jim x


  1. Ian Buchan

    Glad you are feeling better Jim. We have to remember there are still the same old colds and sniffles to be had. I was surprised at the amount of cars on the road still. Certainly won’t be venturing out in the car with this weather anyway.
    Take care