Day 4 – Reflections on Lock-Down

posted in: Stories | 1

It’s been a sluggish day today.  I spent way too long staring at my computer yesterday, at my super small Netbook screen (25cm to 14 cm) and worked out it is starting to hurt my head!  A kind of computer hangover.  Time for some changes!!  More to follow.

As usual I woke up to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show, on my digital clock radio, as he reflected on lock-down and made some poignant points.  The first thing that stuck with me was his discussion about last night’s ‘Clap for the NHS’ and how amazing everyone is appreciating each other.  He encouraged us to clap every time we saw an ambulance drive by (but not when they have a blue light).  He said he tried this on his way to work this morning and they had massive smiles.  He also talked about just a few of the amazing things that people are doing, reflecting that the world is changing, even commenting that Oasis has made an announcement that they are getting back together for a concert to raise money for the NHS.

What stayed with me all day, was the following.  He quoted Donald Trump saying that things will get back to normal very quickly.  Of course we will all return to work at some point, but he then went onto say

“I don’t want the world to return to how it used to be.  The world was broken.  There’s been a pause.  There needs to be change…”

These words struck me.  He is right, we need to change how we have been living – we can’t go back to how life has been.

As I headed up Easter Road, I was disappointed to see so much traffic on the streets.  Why was this?  It was the same time as yesterday, but everyone was out.  The beautiful silence was no longer there, cars and lorries trundling past me.  I felt annoyed and didn’t feel the amazing presence of yesterday.  Were people getting fed up with being stuck in doors?  It was a dreich morning – the cloud from yesterday still hung over the streets, but now there was rain too.  Could everyone be in their cars instead of walking?

As we headed up the wee lane towards Holyrood Park, as on previous days, I said “Good Morning” to people we saw.  But only about 20% replied – was there some kind of sponsored silence going on that I had missed?

My energy to do our usual walk was not just there.  My energy was sluggish.  Was lock-down finally catching up on me?  We went for a short walk and headed back towards Easter Road.  An ambulance passed by and I clapped and sure enough the ambulance driver waved back.

I was surprised to see three non-essential shops open that were not open the last few days.  I wondered, whether people were finally starting to crack?!

So I stomp up the road, feeling despondent of my mood, Honey the Dog, dragged me into the Pet Shop.  It was open!  It had been shut for the last few days.  Don, the owner, seemed pleased to see us and explained he was getting an order in today, so was open.  Ah-Ha!  Maybe that’s why all the streets were busy, everyone was getting deliveries?!

Over the last year or so ‘Capital Pets’ on Easter Road has been a favourite for Honey to visit.  She loves to get a pigs ear.  In fact, we have renamed it to ‘The Ear Shop’ and Don is ‘The Ear Man’.

When I was very young, on a Saturday, my dad would buy me and my sister a bottle of coca-cola each, as a treat.  So to follow that tradition, Honey the Dog gets an Ear from the Ear Shop on a Saturday.  But with the Ear Shop being closed tomorrow, we got one today!

When talking to Don (the ‘ear man’) I realised he was the first person I had talked to (non virtually) since Monday.  It was nice to connect with him in the real world!

And then back to the flat.

My motivation to do anything today, was minimal.  I put together a few paragraphs for a Blog for Citizen Basic Income Network Scotland,  watched Magic Gareth’s live magic show on Facebook and looked at some more funny things shared about living in lock-down.

Here is one of them, my friends, Hannah and Cleo horsing around!

Before I knew it, it was nearly time for my first ‘Virtual Pub’ on Zoom.  On the last Friday of every month, members of the office space I use – The Melting Pot – meet in the Abbotsford bar for drinks.  Being the last Friday of the month, but on lock-down, a ‘Virtual Pub’ gathering was organised.


Reluctant to stare at a computer for the ‘Virtual Pub’, I tried to work out what I could do.  And then it dawned on me, I had a projector in my flat, I could project it on my living room wall.  I worked out, that I would have to prop my laptop high up in line with the projector, so that I could be looking towards the camera and the wall at the same time.  Perfect!


And so the virtual pub, began,  Slowly at first, but then more and more people arrived.  I had a few problems with getting my sound to work, but it was so much better watching on my living room wall (2 metres across, 1 metre down) (compared to my laptop 25cm across – 14 cm down) – it felt like I was watching a film!

After a while, Ben joined and asked if I had done Friday Afternoon Magic.  Every Friday afternoon I try out some new magic on members in the office.  With nothing prepared, I did on of my old favourites with my ‘Magic Show’ box with everyone shouting “Amazing!”.

After a few hours I wanted to have some dinner, so I set the sound up on my Bluetooth Speaker and headed into the kitchen.  I could listen to what was being said and could join in when I wanted to.

If felt like listening to the radio, but with all my friends and being able to interact when you wanted to!  This included a “hat party”, piano playing, watching each other eat their dinner and random chat.  In fact, I continued having this on in the background for the rest of my evening – even whilst writing this blog!

As Justin said, late into the night, what is great about the ‘Virtual Pub’ is you can hang-out with your friends, get on with doing what you want, get some great interaction and see people’s homes, with some ‘show and tell’.  Instead, of looking at endless Facebook posts, there is a level of realness here!!  I agree – I must admit that this was the highlight of my day!

As I come to the end of today’s blog,  I reflect on my day in lock-down, I wonder whether in fact I am starting to struggle being home alone?  I am sure there will be ups and downs on this journey and interested to see what happens next.

What is obvious is the world is changing so much.

We are starting to discover new ways to interact, inventing new things as we discover, like an interactive virtual pub radio station!  All this newness and change, it is amazing!!  Although totally exhausting!  After so long in stagnation – we have the control to create a new world!

I totally agree with what Chris Evan’s was saying this morning.  I don’t want the world to return to how it used to be.  The world was broken.  There’s been a pause.  There needs to be change and it is happening right now!

Thanks for reading.

Jim xx

  1. John King

    There is something really captivating, charming about the way you write, Jim. Something in the straightforwardness and simplicity of the way you express yourself.. And of course it’s very focused –on one man, one life, one lockdown! And there is a thread – your relationship with a very massive situation. So there is an element of drama about it – what will the changes be, and how will he cope? Hope you keep it up!