Day 376 – Reflections on Lockdown

posted in: Stories | 0


Yesterday, I made the decision to practice magic to people queuing at the ‘Coffee Boat. on the towpath, near to where I live.  With forecasts to be a glorious sunny day I decided it would be the perfect time to do some magic.  I haven’t performed any magic for over a year and have forgotten a lot of it.

But first I had to gather my magic together!  By far the most stuff on this boat, is my magic, in different parts across Discovery.  Some in the drawer under the sofa, some under the first section of my bed and some under the larger (but harder to get to) part under the bed!

I woke up at 9am and Honey was pestering me to go out, so I just got up then and skipped the long lie in, it was a glorious sunny morning 🙂

So I decided to start with the magic under the bed and while at it thought I’d wash all my bedding too.  Then I got the inspiration to clear out the bow, this is where my wood lives and over the last 6 months has got filled with wood dust and small pieces of wood.  It is also like my spare room – if I can’t work out where it put it, it goes in the bow!


I sorted through all that, swept and hoovered the whole bow – but forgot to take a photo of the end result.

Honey sunbathed in the sun the whole time I was doing this!

By about 2pm, I realised that I was in fact procrastinating to go and do magic – I felt nervous!  So I practiced about 5 tricks, loaded up my jacket and headed out.  I also worked out how to do Covid Safe magic – I had a small stool, which I put a tray over.  I also had a small bag with me, with alcohol gel and a box of gloves.  Plus a not very fetching clear face-mask!

The face-mask was given to me from the owner at Word of Mouth cafe in Leith.  He and his staff had tried many different types of face-masks and had finally settled on one which was functional, he gave me one about 6 months ago to do magic 🙂

As I headed along the canal to start the magic, I felt super nervous, the familiar feeling of uneasiness approaching random people to ask if they want to see magic returned.  However, I wasn’t busking, just practicing – so this made it a lot easier, as I could explain this near the start.

The first two groups said no, but the next group – 3 women said yes and a way I went.  The third trick I forgot half way through what I was doing, but have since practiced and the routine has returned – muscle memory!

Not only am I doing magic, chatting and keeping people engaged – everything in my jacket has a ‘home’.  I had forgotten where certain things went, but I found myself going for something in my jacket and it not being there, more muscle memory, so was able to move things to their correct ‘home’.

I entertained 4 groups of people, for about 20 minutes each, which was a good start.  But only got one selfie – an older couple who were exploring a part of Edinburgh they didn’t know so well.  The gentleman was originally from Belgium, the lady originally from Northern Ireland, although they had been in Edinburgh for over 40 years!

The face-mask is definitely not very fetching – perhaps I could snap the plastic off the nose piece?  I will also return to the café, as I don’t remember seeing the staff wearing it like that!  Perhaps he had told me he snapped the nose piece off and I’ve forgotten?  Or perhaps he has found a better one since I last spoke with him about face-masks.

Then back to the boat and Honey and I went for a walk 🙂

The canal was super busy and Harrison Park was packed!  I did spot a new Covid Sign in the Harrison Park West notice board 🙂


This evening, I had to make my bed – the worst part, I find, from washing your bedding!  The best part I think is climbing into newly washed bedding at the end of the night, I find I always have a great sleep in newly washed bedding 🙂

I also washed the throws on my sofa – so everything is smelling fresh and free from Honey dog hair!!!


On This Day In History

A year ago today was Day 11


Here’s some extracts from that blog from Day 11

Confined in the dark, narrow cage of our own making which we take for the whole universe, very few of us can even begin to imagine another dimension of reality.  Patrul Rinpoche tells the story of an old frog who had lived all his life in a dank well.  One day a frog from the sea paid him a visit.

‘Where do you can from?” asked the frog in the well.

“From the great ocean,” he replied.

“How big is your ocean?”

“It’s gigantic.”

“You mean about a quarter of the size of my well here?”


“Bigger?  You mean half as big?”

“No, even bigger.”

“It is…as big as this well?”

“There’s no comparison.”

“That’s impossible!  I’ve got to see this for myself.”

They set off together.  When the frog from the well saw the ocean, it was such a shock that his head just exploded into pieces.’


This quote is from the start of Chapter Four from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche.  It’s a big book (22 Chapters) and to be honest I haven’t got further than Chapter Four!  This quote has sat with me for many years.  What I see as reality, is just my reality!

For me, it captures what is going on for me / us at the moment in UK lock-down as we experience a different reality.  Not just in the physical world – the routines, etc…But for me, I seem to be slowly slowly, shifting into something different – into the ’empty space’.

Could it be a different level of reality?  Could the ’empty space’ be a different level of reality that has been written for hundreds, if not thousands of years?

The most common word used in media, news, radio, etc…of this UK lock-down is…”in these strange times“.  It is so very different to what we are ‘usually’ used to – yet instead of wishing that we return to “normal times” – how it used to be.  I am trying to embrace it and go deeper in to it.

I am wanting to stay with the empty space to see where it goes.

Just like the Frog in the Well, I want to find a different reality.”


This is what I wrote in my diary on Day 11

      • This time last week I was struggling with lockdown (tired), today is so different – I’m loving it 🙂
      • Qi Gong twice, blog and lots of spare time
      • Ran 4km today.
      • Bed at 01:22


Covid News Headlines on Day 11

      • UK hospitals prepare for peak Covid cases.
      • Staying at home this weekend is not a request, it is an instruction.
      • Whisky production in Scotland resumes.


TOTAL Covid Cases and Deaths on Day 11











TOTAL Covid Cases

(increase since Day 10)


3001 (399)

1,097, 810 (84,062)

38,168 (4,450)

119,827 (4,585)

119199 (7,134)

302,088 (58,116)

TOTAL Covid Deaths

(increase since Day 10)


172 (96)

47,175 (11,965)

3,605 (683)

13,915 (730)

11.198 (850)


Lockdown Restrictions Corner



With a surge of new cases, Italy has returned to strict lockdown for Easter, for the next 3 days.

  • No non-essential movement
  • Easter Meal – 2 adults are allowed to share an Easter Meal together.
  • Churches – open, but only can attend services locally.
  • The Pope – for the second year Pope Francis will deliver his Easter Message to an empty St. Peters Square.



Covid fears prompt Cardiff Bay to close.

Hundreds of people have been partying in Cardiff Bay.


Readers Corner

A few sharing’s today in relation to my announcement to the blog community (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020) that I’ve decided to stop writing the blog on a daily basis on 26th April (Day 399).



Glenn posted a comment on yesterday’s blog (Day 375) saying:

“A great achievement Jim … And wise to know when to be flexible and step back from routine or habit when it becomes a hindrance rather than a help”.

Thanks Glenn for your words of wisdom 🙂



Ivan posted a comment on yesterday’s blog (Day 375) saying:

“Good decision Jim! You have put a lot of work into this blog and many people have enjoyed your daily sharing. Perhaps it’s time to blog as you please and not be under any compulsion to do it. That way it might be more fun and less distracting even though it has served many purposes for you and for so many others. Cheers pal”.

Cheers Ivan!  I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog, which you’ve described more like a daily newspaper!!



Matt posted a Facebook comment on yesterday’s blog (Day 375) saying:

“I thought you were writing until the end of the global pandemic, Jim. I’m sure I won’t be the only one to feel slightly short-changed by this announcement! 😂 Seriously a top effort – typical of you Jim and executed with al of your skill, humanity and wit! Thank you!”.

Newer blog readers will not know that Matt became the designated Union Rep for the Blog Community (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020) in the early days!!  So with his approval, then the decision is made!!

Looking back at the blogs at the very start, it seems that I agreed to write the blog through lockdown – by 26th April 2021, lockdown will be nearly over in Scotland, so I think I have stuck to my original commitment 🙂



It Made Me Smile

This video was sent to me today which is filmed around the canal.  I love the words 🙂



As I come to the end of this blog, I feel relieved that the blog community (Brayshaw, MJ, 2020) are supporting my decision to stop writing the daily blog.  After reading yesterday’s blog, even Fiona my neighbour said she thought it was time to finish the daily blog 🙂

It’s been sunny all day today and a very productive day!  It’s amazing how sunshine lifts one’s mood and energy.  Also glad I have started re-learning my magic again, can’t wait to do some more, although maybe a different face-mask 😉

Stay Safe!

Jim x



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