Day 291 – Reflections on Lockdown

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Not long after moving onto the boat, one of my neighbours told me how strange sounds travel up the canal when it is frozen.  This evening I have finally experienced it.  It sounds like someone is throwing rocks at the boat, hitting the hull, which is quite disturbing!  The first time it happened, this evening, I jumped up, thinking someone was walking on the ice next to my boat.  Looking out the window, there was no one around.  The second time it happened I went outside and still no one about.

What is happening is the sounds is travelling along the frozen canal.  So someone maybe walking on the ice or maybe throwing a rock on the ice to see if it breaks, but they are not nearby, with the sound travelling all the way along the frozen canal.

In fact, there are lots of strange sounds coming from Discovery this evening.  When I returned from my flat, she was creaking as I walked along her (inside), I guess the movement cracking the ice!

When I got up this morning, it felt that Discovery was slopping downwards and to the right (when in the boat).  Generally the right corner, where the kitchen was, felt like it was at a slant.  I went outside and looked at it and thought it may be slanting a little.

Thinking about it more tonight, I wonder whether the extra weight of me sleeping on that side of the boat, moves her every night to that side, but now she has become frozen in the canal she continues to slant that side.  This morning, I initially worried that she was sinking, but then remembered my neighbour Fiona’s words, that the boat will take a lot to sink, as it is like a tin can sitting on water.  Fiona has lived on her boat for 15 years, so I trust her wisdom!

But I haven’t filed her water tank up for a good few weeks, so this also affects her position in the water, making her lift up more out the water as there is less weight.  I was going to fill the water up today, until it was explained that the hose will be frozen, so it is now thawing out in the Facilities Block, ready to be used tomorrow morning.

Today in the boating community, all that has been talked about is the dropping temperature today and the fearful minus 8 degrees that is coming tonight, the common question of is “how are you doing – are you warm?”.  It’s my first night at so low temperatures.

This morning, I did QiGong outside, which is lovely.  It was such a clear blue sky and a lovely light with the sun coming up.  Most of the canal was frozen!

After QiGong, my neighbour Helen asked for my help, as the padlock at the gate was frozen, a kettle of hot water did the trick, although it was frozen again this evening!!

Then to my delight, on a short walk to the shops, I discovered that I live only 5 minutes walk from the first flat I lived in, in Edinburgh – in Bruntsfield.

The red circle is where my room was (in photo).  Just walk up Leamington Terrace, which starts at the locked canal gate (not the one that was frozen).

That was back in 1996.  I was looking for a flat in Bruntsfield area, as I had stayed in the youth hostel there and thought it was a nice area to live in.  However, it was September time when I was looking for a flat and all the students were also looking for flats.  I had some nursing agency work lined up in Edinburgh, as a nursing assistant, but as it was not a permeant job, people were less keen for me to move in.  I finally found this room at 4 Bruntsfield Place.  It was a flat of PhD Students and the room was illegally sub-let to me, for just 3 months, as the guy living in it had gone abroad to collect data.  I paid £200 a month which included the room and all the bills.

However, one day the letting agent, who the flat was rented through, wanted to do a flat inspection.  They had never met ‘Dave Roberts’, whose room I was in, so my flatmates gave me a rundown about him, his studies, etc…and we scattered letters and other things with his name on around my room.  So when the letting agent people came round I had to pretend to be Dave Roberts.  It worked and they were fooled !

Another story, living there, was that I owned a very old Mini Clubman which was my first car (made in 1973), for a while there was something wrong with it starting and I hadn’t found a reliable garage to fix it – so each evening I would park it near my flat, at the top of the hill (outside Bruntsfield Hotel) and then in the morning, I would let the handbrake off, let it roll down the hill and jump start it.  I was always doing early shifts in the hospital, so it would be 6am in the morning, so no traffic about.  I would then have to find someone in the hospital car park to push it, to jump start it again!  I lived like that for 4 weeks, until I found a garage!!

Super special to be living so close to my first home in Edinburgh 🙂

Then Honey and I ran to my flat via The Meadows and Arthur’s Seat.  It was super cold, but by the end of the run my cold feet had warmed up 🙂

Then some more painting and we ran back home, doing a total of 11km (6.5 to flat, 4.5km home) !!  I’ve now worked out how to get kilometre updates on Strava 🙂

With temperatures dropping and my fear of Honey getting cold in the night, I bought her a bed coat, which arrived today.  She can be very particular on what she tolerates, so I was worried whether she would be ok wearing the coat.  But she seemed very happy in.

They look a bit like Pyjamas 🙂


Lockdown Restrictions Corner

Today as I ran back to the flat, I decided I would learn what FACTS means.  This is the Scottish Covid acronym which I can never get right!  I found a picture of it and recited it over and over as I ran.  I think it have more detail to the English version of ‘Hands, Space, Face’, which is also a lot easier to remember.

So for all of you who’ve never heard of FACTS or those who can’t remember what it means, here is the picture.




Readers Corner

One sharing from Pat.



Pat posted a Facebook comment on yesterday’s blog (Day 290) saying:

“With That Beard You Look Homeless…😉😉Knowing You As I Do Your Dad Would Be Proud Of The Man You Are… Stay Safe and Stay Well Mate…☘️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿☘️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿“.

Ha!  Thanks Pat 🙂



It Made Me Smile

Anna sent me this saying it made her smile 🙂

She said:

“This made me smile, it’s very true!”.



Ha!  I can imagine that is how it would be!


As I come to the end of today’s blog, it’s been a good day!  I am enjoying my daily runs to and from the flat and definitely starting to feel fitter from it!  I also run with a bulky rucksack, which is full of my clothes, lunch and other bits and bobs, so a bit of a slower pace (for anyone who wants to follow me on Strava), but will be great when I am not wearing that.  A lot of both runs today were very icy, but I’ve learnt to take very small steps, which seems to give me more grip when running, watching others walking the same route falling over, as they are taking too bigger steps!

I am also enjoying having my flat as a project in my life at the moment, thinking next year, I need to have another project to do.  Its great to have a clear focus, in the cold, darker winter months, rather than trying to get through it until the Spring!

I’m looking forward to seeing how Honey gets on tonight with her new PJs!  She is super tired this evening after all the exercise – my flat was super cold today, as I haven’t had the heating on, so she can’t have got much sleep there, curled up in a tight ball.

I got the wood burner just right last night, we went to sleep when it was 30 degrees and this morning it was 20 degrees!

Today it has been super cold, I think the top temperature was -1 degrees!  Although a lovely clear blue sky all day, reminds me of the summer!  A little bit of snow through the night, but nothing to get excited about.  Although I heard from ‘Wee Davie’ who works for Scottish Canals, that there was 2 inches of snow in Ratho (8 miles up the canal) and 4 inches in Livingston (15 miles up the canal)!

The canal is frozen solid tonight, with -8 degrees forecast through the night, it’s going to be a cold night!

Hope you’ve had a Fantastic Friday!

Stay Safe!

Lots of Love

Jim & Honey the Dog xx

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