Day 71 – Reflections on Lock-Down

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This morning my first alarm went off at 6.20am BEFORE The Chris Evans Breakfast Show had started!  But luckily my 3rd alarm, the clock radio, came on at 6.30am, just as his show began!  I’ve never heard the beginning of his radio show.

He was giving a long monologue for ages – about social distancing and why is it 2 metres.  Could it be 1 metre or maybe we could meet half-way and be 1.5 metres?  He said, if it was shorter, it would make it so much easier for shops to open up!!

WHY I hear you cry – was my alarms going off so early?

I had my secret project to carry out at 7am!

So I got up, BEFORE Honey the Dog and we went out for a walk at 6.40am, before my 4th alarm clock went off at 6.45am!  The sun was rising and it looked beautiful.  A quick circuit round the graveyard.  Then I gave Honey her breakfast, grabbed my tools and headed down Leith Walk on my bicycle.

Today is my friend Hannah’s 30th Birthday.  She had a party planned for last Sunday, but due to lock-down it had been cancelled.  I wanted to do something special for her birthday.

I originally had thought about creating a massive sign on a sheet saying “Happy Birthday Hannah” and hanging it somewhere – but where?  I wondered, whether I could speak to one of her neighbours that lived in the flats opposite and get them to hang a big sheet with the writing on it.  But this seemed quite a lot of organising.

I therefore came up with the idea of writing on the pavement with chalk, Happy Birthday messages.  As I wrote yesterday, I had tried to buy chalk in various shops last week, without success.  On Thursday I looked online and chalk was not going to arrive until the end of this week or next week, so I went for Liquid Chalk – which is like pens with chalk like soluble ink.

So I arrived at Hannah’s Street just before 7am, chained my bike up.  Went to her front door and tried to write on the pavement.  It wasn’t working too well, the pavement was soo dirty, the dirty just clogged up the pen.  Damn!

I had originally thought about doing this last night, about 11pm – but then it was really dark and who knows what could have happened by the morning and she may have even saw me!  I wanted it to be a surprise!!

But now I was thinking, if I had done it last night, I could have gone back for a brush.

So I gave up with the pavement idea.  Wondering where else I could write the message.

I then decided it would be good to write it on the front door of her flats (she lives on the top floor).  I started writing and it worked.  Well, kind of – because I was writing upward – the pen kept running out.  But finally it worked.  And the message was there.

I then started wondering where else I could write something.

A flat surface would be better.

I walked to the top of the street and found a nice painted wall and wrote the message again!  I also added some arrows, so this may catch her attention.

At this point, I looked down at her flat door and saw a man coming out of it and taking a photo.  “this is going to be all over social media by the end of today”, I thought!

I then started wondering – whether she would actually see the message.  I mean, when I am in a rush, going somewhere, I open the door and walk out – I don’t always study the actual door that I’ve just pushed open, that I open numerous times a day!

So I then decided to write a message on the drain pipe opposite the front door on the other-side of the street.

Whilst I was doing this, a man came out of her flats and looked pretty annoyed and grumpy.

I started to wonder, how “legal” this was.  I mean, could I be reported to the police?  It is soluble, just like chalk.  I had tested it yesterday and could easily wash off.

I was about to write on one of the bins, but then thought “hang on, this is council property, so I could get into trouble here”.  So I stopped.

Still worried, that Hannah may still miss the messages.  I spotted a lady, coming out the flats but didn’t shut the door behind her.

So I went into the flats and put a message on the back of the door – on the inside.  But the corridor was soo dark, she could miss that too!

I had brought a Birthday Card with me.  So I went up to the top floor and wrote a message in the card, which included “your birthday present is on [street name]”.  By now I had this liquid chalk all over my hands and I got this all over the envelope too!  But I quietly popped it through her letterbox at 7.35am.

I heard someone coming up the stairs.  So waited.  Then when they went into their flat, I left the flat.  Finding the front door now shut.  I wonder, whether that was the man who seemed less pleased to what I was doing?!

I then spotted a drain pipe next to her front door, so I wrote a message there and two more messages on the wall either side of the door!

Now it felt that my job was done.

Check out photos below, you can click on any of them to see them in full size!


I jumped on my bike and cycled back to my flat.

Stopping off at Lidl to buy some breakfast, it had just opened at 8am 🙂

I had a lazy 45 minutes before Chi Gong started at 8.45am.

But then I started whether I had perhaps gone a bit over the top?  I am sure Hannah would love it, she’s that kind of person.  But I still started to worry about it.

Was it graffiti?  Was it legal?  I messaged my friend Miles, who knew I was doing it.  He said it was legal and he thought she would love it!

After Chi Gong, she messaged me saying – she had seen the message and did indeed love it.  Phew!

I said I would wash it off tomorrow, but she said she would happily wash it off later today.

I think it is a pretty unique and special 30th Birthday present!

The rest of the day I spent most of it recording more of my blogs for the radio.

By the time it got to 3pm and Honey the Dog was pestering me to go outside, the early start and less sleep was starting to kick in.  Memories of a few weeks ago trying to live on 5-6 hours sleep every night started to kick in.

Do I have a small sleep now or try to keep going?“, I thought.

One thing for sure, my motivation / energy for a big walk on Arthur’s Seat was not there.  So we returned to Kate’s Park.  Just as Kate was taking a break from her work (she was working from home) and having a coffee break.  So we sat in the garden and chatted about life, etc….

After that we popped into Mo Beans Coffee Shop and Honey saw her dog friend Nuno.

THEN I had a wee sleep on the sofa, before returning to the computer and doing another blog recording.

I then got an email from Ron asking if I was about for a Zoom call.

Ron is my friend who had a heart-attack on Saturday night and is in hospital in Glasgow.  We chatted for a while.  He seems to be doing OK.  Has had a bit of a temperature, but not Covid-19 (he got tested and is negative).  But because of Covid-19 he is in a room on his own, to keep him in self-isolation to stop him catching it from others.

Tomorrow he is going to have an operation on his heart, to have another stent put in it.  Fingers crossed all goes to plan and he will be back home soon.

Readers Corner



This morning Colin posted a comment on Day 69’s blog in regards to the link I provided to Ram Dass’s Facing Death lecture.  Colin writes:

“Thanks for recommending Ram Dass Jim. A very thought provoking listen.”

My absolutely pleasure!  I love Ram Dass lectures, so glad you managed to get to listen to one of them.




Matt sent me a message this morning, reflecting on when Honey and I met up about a year ago, including a video.  He wrote:

“Hi Jim this was Honey a year ago at Bidford on Avon when you stayed the weekend after your canal boat trip. A small group of us go river swimming on Thursday evenings in the summer, mainly the Avon, and we came down to swim at Bidford a few weeks later than Honey! We had our first swim of the season last Thursday”.



Thanks Matt, I remember you loving that video.

You will see on the original Facebook link, that one of our regular blog readers (Graham Hutton) commented on it a year ago saying “Better than a spin dryer” 😉


As I come to the end of today’s blog, I am now feeling really tired!  6 hours sleep is not enough to survive on!  Goodness knows how I used to survive on it everyday for weeks on end?!

At least tomorrow, I can change my alarm clocks back to 8am!

This morning it was really warm (t-shirt & shorts), but as the day has progressed it has become cloudy and muggy.  It has rained on and off since about 4pm.  This evening, I had to go out earlier that our usual 9.45pm bedtime walk, as it was nearly dark by 9.30pm – with rain in the air and dark rain clouds.

I think our summer spell is over 🙁

A lot of conversations over the last few days has been about lock-down and to what level people are sticking to the rules and advice.  It seemed so much easier when it was straight forward “STAY AT HOME”.  Now with things are starting to change – with England different to Scotland.  It seems there are varying degrees of how it is being followed and kept to.  Plus some folk getting quite angry about it all.

It’s as if, our egos are back trying to re-organise what is “normal”.  At the start of lock-down, we all struggled with the massive change, but then got used to it and even accepted it.  Now it seems that everything is changing again and we are all finding the transition and change really hard.  As if our egos are having to re-adjust to it and find somewhere that feels comfortable.

It’s as if we are going through a reverse process of lock-down.  With the threat that if we don’t stick to the rules/guidelines there will have to be more stricter lock-down again.  The message, is so less clear now.  There is less of “STAY AT HOME.  SAFE THE NHS”.

That message was pretty much drummed into me.  Now I don’t really have a message.

How about you – do you have a simple message that you now follow?

Thanks for continuous reading.

Good Night

Jim xx