Day 81 – Reflections on Lock-Down

posted in: Stories | 1

I love this time of year in Scotland, when it hardly gets dark.  You can see the clouds in the sky at midnight!  Further north, there is hardly any darkness at all.

Last night I was super excited because of the stunning sunset, knowing that today was going to be a lovely day, following

“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”.

It seems to be pretty accurate, but not today!

I wonder whether due to the light nights, the weather got confused and thought it was ‘Red sky in the morning’?   It was cloudy all day and then started raining heavily about 4pm – then intermittent rain for the rest of the evening.

Did you know the concept of red sky at night…first appeared in the Bible in the book of Matthew?

I found a website all about it, by The Met Office –

Apparently, the red sky happens due to dust and small particles getting trapped in the atmosphere due high pressure.  This results in blue light scattering, leaving only the red light and so a red sky.

The saying comes from the idea, that in the UK, where the weather usually passes west to east, if there is a red sky at night, it suggests there is a high pressure coming in from the west.  If there is a red sky in the morning, the high pressure has past by.

The article doesn’t have a date on it, so maybe it was written before climate change?

Despite not going to bed until near 1.30am last night night and not switching the light off until 2am – I woke up straight away at 8.10am when my clock radio came on to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show.  He was talking about Black Lives Matter and the impact this movement is having on the world.

As I was worried that I was going to sleep through my four alarms and Honey the Dog and miss Morning Chi Gong, I didn’t sleep so well.  So was really surprised how good I felt, with lots of energy this morning.

But by about 6pm this evening, the lack of sleep started to kick in and I felt really tired.  With various plans this evening, I didn’t have time for a wee nap.  Now at 11.30pm I am feeling exhausted!

Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday my day of rest.  Although, I have some (paid) work to do over the weekend, which needs to be finished by the end of Sunday.  So I plan to work tomorrow, then take Sunday off.  Otherwise, it will be hanging over my head all weekend and I’ll end up staying up super late to finish by the end of Sunday!

Today, I have seemed to have had a series of Zoom meetings most of the day.  Five in fact!

I have been thinking about the impact of the numerous Zoom meetings that has had on us, since lock-down.

Over the last few days, when I have been out and about talking, etc…I have noticed how I communicate differently.

Before lock-down, when I get excited about a poignant point I wanted to make, I would often speak over someone who I was talking.  But in the last few days, I have noticed myself, waiting for a gap in speech to jump in, so to speak!  I can feel my growing need to jump in and make my point.  But I wait…hoping…wishing…praying…that the conversation doesn’t move on and my point is no longer relevant!

With the various Zoom meetings I had today – I realised it is the same feeling.  With Zoom, you can’t speak over someone else – they get cut out.  Or if you try and speak over the top of someone, it doesn’t work.  You have to wait.

So I realised, that because of so many Zoom conversations over the last 10 weeks, I have changed the way I talk.

How amazing is that Zoom is affecting the way I communicate in the real world!

Has anyone else noticed this?

When I was at the Bar-BQ on Sunday I was aware of this massively.  That we took our turns to speak, rather than speak over each other.

I also noticed this on my morning walk with Honey the Dog.  I went into Mo Beans Coffee Shop to get an early lunch, at 11am.  The Chi Gong discussions after the session went on until nearly 11am – then I had to take Honey out for her morning walk.

In Mo Beans Coffee Shop, there was one other customer in the shop, waiting for his coffee.  The three of us (customer, me and Mo) started talking about how lock-down was going.  The customer, was surprised when I said I was enjoying it.  He asked if I was being sarcastic!

This led onto discussions about the economy.  But I noticed, the Zoom type Communication between the three of us.

The discussion ended about how we need to support local independently run business, rather than the big multi-national chain stores.  Ultimately, because when lock-down eases and everyone starts going back to work, it is more likely that the small business are going to suffer the most and maybe even shut down.  The big business will probably have enough cash reserves to keep going.  Or maybe not – with jobs cuts already being announced, perhaps all businesses are going to suffer?

I am a big fan of supporting the local community.

I have believed for a number of years, that if we all stopped using the supermarkets – Lidl, Sainburys, Tesco, ASDA, etc… and instead started to buy our food and supplies in the local small businesses.  Then the owners of these businesses will start spending money in the local community.  It makes sense they probably live relatively near to their shop.  And so the economy and the local communities will grow.

However, sadly what most of us do, including myself.  Is we use supermarkets, because they are cheaper, open much earlier and later, have a wide range of products, all we need in one shop and ultimately is more convenient to use.  But all the money they make, goes straight out of the local community.

With lock-down, there has been a pause.  We can start again.  If we want our local communities to grow, we have an opportunity to change our habits and shop in local business.

I am aware that many folk use supermarket online shopping and delivery.  But many local business provide a similar, smaller service.  I also completely acknowledge, that it means going to a few different shops, but I personally think it is worth it.  What do you think?

With all that in mind – I am going to try and avoid supermarkets more and use local stores.

Maybe I could set up a ‘I nominate challenge’ on Facebook, for people to take a photo of the local shops they have used for 10 days 😉

Readers Corner

Not much sharing in Readers Corner today.  But there are still two people, well kind of.



I was talking with Anna this morning, after Chi Gong about the old style chain letters that I was mentioning in yesterday’s blog.  I couldn’t remember how it worked.

We recalled, that you would get a letter with a list of names on it.  You would put your name at the bottom of the list of names and send whatever it was asking, to the person at the top of the list.  Then pass on the list of names, with your name at the bottom to five friends.  And so it continued.

A pyramid type scheme!

Anna pointed it out, it is a bit like Covid-19 spreading.  If one person has it, they infect a few other people.  Then each of those people go on and infect a few people and so it spreads.

I did a bit more internet research on chain letters and found this article –

The article says chain letters originated in the USA.  The first being sent in 1880.  It was a fundraiser for a Methodist church in Chicago.  The article explains, it sometimes is associated with sending money, or a postcard or a recipe.  But don’t trust them!

With always with some kind message that if you break it you will be cursed with “bad luck“.

I remember, now doing it, sending a post card.  Worrying that if I broke it I would be cursed with “bad luck” as the letter said.

Thanks Anna for clearing that up!




Matt responded to yesterday’s blog, by a Facebook comment.  In relation to me catching him out copying text online!  He wrote:

“Great stuff, Jim. So is the whole of my celebrated academic career now to come under scrutiny after my cut and paste of the definition of phatic communion from Google?! What a way to go after getting away with it all these years! You’ll have to introduce a Harvard referencing / bibliography section at the bottom of Readers’ Corner!”


I later messaged him and we chatted about yesterday’s blog.  He also commented about his regular swimming in the the Avon.  Saying:

“Difficult to express how much good a river swim does. A great pleasure on sunny days, on a cloudy, windy slightly chilly day like yesterday, you don’t want to get in but it clears everything away!”

He continued:

“Only you Ball who haven’t yet in the Avon – me and Honey know swimming in the Avon only too well!”


Thanks for that Matt.  Cannae wait to get a swim in the River Avon, hopefully in 2021.



It Made Me Smile

Nothing in here from myself.  But



Matt messaged me to say that my blog yesterday, made him smile.  So I thought I would include it in here.  He said:

“Yes totally – absolutely copied and pasted it! Has made me smile this morning!”


I messaged him saying “Can I put that in It Made Me Smile for today’s blog? Jim the Newshound 🤣“.


Matt responded with:

“Yes of course (I googled for the appropriate response! 😂)”


So as I come to the end of this blog, I am knackered – it is now 1am!

That late night last night has caught up on me!  How I survived staying up that late every night, a few weeks ago and then got up at 7.30am – I do not know!

I went for a shorter run today, 5km.  I noticed, that if I run too far two days in a row, I over do it and then don’t run for a week!

This evening’s bedtime walk it was raining 🙁

I had a Zoom meeting this evening about a virtual ‘Energy Festival’ that I have volunteered to co-host, taking place next Saturday.  It’s being described as a ‘Small Scale Live Aid’ raising money for The Gatliff Trust.”

I am getting a bit of an expert at co-running these online charity type events 😉

Sadly, I have little inspiration on what to say in summary for today’s blog.  My mind is asleep 🙁

I never thought when I wrote yesterday’s blog, that chain letters could have any connection with Covid-19!

I guess, I am beginning to notice how everything is changing, due to the impact of lock-down.  For me, the way I communicate with people in the real world!

What I also want to say is, with lock-down we have all had a pause in life.  This could be lifetime opportunity to change the way we do things.

So I invite you to consider what habits you have in life, which you could change and make the world, the environment, the community, the local community a better place.

Go Well.

Jim xxx

  1. Christel

    Hi Jim. With you talking about supporting the local economy I wondered, have you ever heard about the Transition Towns network?